Australia – Police Checks

Police Checks FAQs

What are they?
Police checks, police certificates, or criminal record checks (among various other names) provide an official record of any disclosable criminal activity on your personal record for the issuing country. They provide immigration officials with the background they need before making further enquiries or passing your application along for further consideration of other elements.
Who needs to submit them?
Probably you. With few exceptions, Australian immigration authorities require visa applicants, including all permanent residency visa applicants, to submit police certificates as part of the application process.
When do I need to submit them?
You submit your police check documentation with your final visa application. Upon receiving your invitation to apply for a visa, you have only 60 days to submit your final visa application. Police checks from countries relevant to your application could take longer than that, so do not delay if you consider this might be an issue for your application. NB: Police checks are not required to be submitted when you submit your initial expression of interest.
Which countries do I need them from?
Applicants are required to submit police checks from every country they have lived in for six months or more from their 18th birthdate to the submission of the application – including Australia, if applicable. All police checks must be dated after the last day you lived in that country, unless of course you continue to be a resident.
How long does it take to receive them? 
That depends. Delivery times will vary widely by country and issuing authority. We advise most applicants begin the process of obtaining police checks as soon as they begin the process of preparing the initial visa application.
In the UK, the authority that issues UK police certificates, the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office (ACRO), advises that it takes at least 40 days for them to send certificates from date of receipt of the request. This can vary depending on demand, and apparently does not include postal times, which they list separately with time estimates based on method of delivery and delivery address. Times for receipt of equivalent checks from other countries may vary substantially.
Where do I apply to get my police check?
See below. 

Police Check Issuing Authorities by Country

Note that some countries may have different issuing procedures for citizens, resident (or formerly resident) foreign nationals, or anyone living outside that country at the date of the request. We have provided links to police check authorities for some of the countries most frequently cited by our clients below (and we regularly extend this list). By default, we have chosen the best route available for non-residents, as most of our clients will be requesting these documents from the UK. Note also that some countries listed below (e.g. Belgium) require written requests and do not have a readily applicable or relevant link, in which case we have provided our suggestion for a starting point:

United Kingdom






Czech Republic















New Zealand






Republic of Ireland




South Africa



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