Is Australia your next travel destination? For countries like Australia, it is a prerequisite for you to have a character check certificate in order to get the approval for the Australian visa. There are countries like India who issue “visa on arrival”, while countries such as Australia require you to have a visa prior to your arrival. Visa on arrival means you will receive the visa once you have landed in that country. One of the main reasons behind asking for a police check is because they want to make sure anyone interested to travel to Australia should be free of any criminal history or convictions. Here are a few things you need to know when planning a visit to Australia.

According to Australian law, someone who has had past records as mentioned below, will not be approved of an Australian visa if:

  • They have a record of harassing, stalking, intimidating, or molesting someone
  • Someone poses a threat to the Australian community
  • Someone could encourage any type of dispute or conflict in Australian society
  • They are of offensive nature, have a criminal record of abusing or insulting someone
  • They were engaged in any kind of criminal activities

There is a high chance of getting your visa refused if one fails to get a police clearance certificate.

A visa applicant must be clear of any bad records if he/she wants to receive the visa without any hassle. This had been mentioned under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 in the Australian Human Rights Commission. It is usually a two-stage process taken by the delegate or the Minister.

There is a slight change in this rule for the citizens of New Zealand. For the New Zealanders who do not hold any convictions or criminal history, a visa is not required for them to work or travel in Australia. However, if they have been convicted of any cases or offenses, it is mandatory for them to obtain written confirmation from the Department of Home Affairs in New Zealand. Regardless of the type of crime committed, how long ago it was committed, or even if it is removed from the government records, they must get it before traveling to Australia.


A good character test may not pass with a successful outcome if:

  • Someone has committed an offense before being taken into detention, is guilty of running away from the detention, when staying in the detention center or during or after the escape from the center.
  • Someone has criminal records.
  • Someone is clearly found of being involved with human trafficking, is a war criminal, genocide, smuggling, and all other serious types of crimes that could put the country’s people in danger.
  • Someone is associated with any business, group, or organization which has been accused or recognized as being held responsible for illegal or criminal activities.


A police clearance certificate from all the countries you have resided in the last 12 months which includes staying in Australia if you have. This is seen as a common request done by immigration in order to decide on a visa. A police clearance certificate also referred to as a penal clearance certificate is asked from anyone aged 17 and above. The certificate is valid up to a period of 12 months from the date of issue.

For applicants residing out of Australia and requiring a police check, they should be able to get it from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) website. The AFP is an approved body to issue a national police clearance certificate for immigration and visa purposes. This certificate is acceptable by other countries as stated by the AFP, but it is always better to double-check the matter with the local authority if it is acceptable by that country.

australia, australia day, borders

The type of certificate needed, it’s cost and the application form may vary from state to state. All the territories and states of Australia are able to issue any one of the certificates mentioned below. They are:

  • A name check certificate
  • National police clearance certificate; and
  • Certificate-based on someone’s fingerprint

A police check also referred to as a nationally coordinated criminal history check can be obtained from websites for individuals, businesses, and workplaces. The police check obtained from them can be utilized to apply for volunteer works, employment purposes, a variety of registration schemes, and Australian licensing, and recruiting someone for a position of trust.

It is easy to get a police certificate online from a service like Australian National Character Check (ANCC) for someone who is residing in Australia and needs a police check for employment purposes. They are accredited by the Federal government of Australia to provide a police clearance certificate usually referred to as national police check for licensing and employment purposes. They do not, however, provide a police check for visa purposes.

An Australian Federal Police Check (AFP Check), done by the AFP, is acceptable for visa purposes. Other purposes where AFP checks are acceptable are:

  • Industry-specific standards or compliance requirement
  • Overseas employment
  • Checks needed due to workplace legislation and regulations
  • Working within any departments of the Federal Government


By now, we all have understood that a character certificate is a must to be able to enter Australia. But, do we know how is that possible or what are the main elements to consider when applying for a visa or check? The keys are to:

  • All the answers must be true
  • The information should be provided accurately and correctly
  • Any offenses or crimes must be declared

Although it is the decision of the decision-maker, the Department of Home Affairs, to decide whether or not to approve, reject or cancel a visa application. All the conditions and situations of the cases are considered carefully while deciding upon the visa outcomes. This is done according to Australian law.

Police certificates issued by an Australian state or territory are not accepted for visa purposes. Australian police certificate does not require a fingerprint either.

Traffic infringements or offenses such as on-the-spot parking fine or speeding fine are not considered as convictions.


No offense is too small when it comes to deciding your future. So, keep your records clear and be truthful when applying for a visa. Get a police check done and travel to your holiday destination. Remember, immigration has the full right to keep track of your records and investigate further if they need to.