Police clearance certificates
Depending on your Australian visa application type and your personal circumstances, you may be required to provide a police clearance certificate with your Australian visa application so that the Australian Government can determine whether you are of good character.
If you are required to provide a police clearance certificate, you must obtain the certificates from all the countries you have lived for 12 months or more cumulatively during the last 10 years.
Police clearance certificates are also known as a penal clearance certificate or Certificate of Criminal Record in some countries. Unless otherwise requested by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, police clearance certificates are not required for persons under the age of 16 years.
Character requirements for an Australian Visa
If you want to enter Australia with a visa, you must be of good character and you will be assessed against the character requirements for the type of Australian visa you will be applying. As part of your Australian visa application, you might be required to provide a police clearance certificate (from each country where you have stayed for 12 months or more in the last 10 years) or other suitable evidence to satisfy the character requirements.
Under Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958, the Minister for Immigration or the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection can refuse or cancel your visa, if you do not meet the character requirements.
Character test to get an Australian visa
You will not pass the character test for an Australian visa if:
- you have a substantial criminal record. This means that you have been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, or multiple sentences that add up to more than 12 months in prison. A suspended sentence is also considered a prison sentence.
- you have been convicted of escaping from immigration detention, or convicted for an offence that you committed:
- while you were in immigration detention
- during an escape from immigration detention
- after an escape, but before you were taken into immigration detention again.
- you are or have been a member of a group or organisation, or had or have an association with a person, group or organisation that the Minister for Immigration reasonably suspects of involvement in criminal conduct
- the Minister for Immigration reasonably suspects that you have been involved in people smuggling, people trafficking, genocide, a war crime, a crime against humanity, a crime involving torture or slavery, or a crime that is of serious international concern, whether or not you have been convicted of such an offence
- your past and present criminal or general conduct shows that you are not of good character
- there is a risk that while you are in Australia you would:
- engage in criminal conduct
- harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person
- vilify a segment of the Australian community
- incite discord in the Australian community or in a part of it
- be a danger to the Australian community or a part of it.
- you have been convicted of, or found guilty or had a charge proven for one or more sexually based offences involving a child,
- you are subject to an adverse security assessment by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
- you are subject to an Interpol notice, from which it is reasonable to infer that you a direct or indirect risk to the Australian community, or a segment of the Australian community.
When is a police clearance certificate required?
If you are over the age of 16 and have lived in any of the countries for a total of one year or more in the last 10 years, you must get a Police clearance certificate from that country.
How long my police clearance certificate is valid?
For Australian immigration purposes a police clearance certificate is deemed to be valid for 12 months from the issue date.
How can you get a police clearance certificate?
For instructions on obtaining a certificate from an overseas government or law enforcement authority, refer to the relevant country information.
If you are required to provide an Australian police clearance certificate because you have spent more than 12 months in Australia within the last 10 years, you must complete the Australian Federal Police (AFP) National Police Check application form which is available from the AFP website:
For information on how to apply for a police clearance certificate from another country, please see the respective country information on this website or in the Department of Immigration Website.