Everything You Need to Know About Obtaining Police Checks
The majority of visa applications require you to obtain police checks from every country that you have resided in for a cumulative* period of 12 months or more in the last 10 years, since you were 16 years of age. This is in order to make sure that all criminal convictions have been disclosed, and that you have no character issues in any country.

*the total time spent in the country

Example – If you spent 6 months in the UK in 2016 and another 6 months in 2018, the total time spent in the UK would be 12 months within the last 10 years. You would therefore be required to provide an OCRC from the UK before a decision is made on your visa application.


Common mistakes

Through the course of asking our clients to obtain police checks for their visa applications, we have noticed a common theme of mistakes being made.

  • Applying for State checks, rather than the National checks which are required
  • Selecting the incorrect ‘disclosure’ or ‘Purpose Type’. Clearances must always be in full disclosure and for immigration purposes (generally character checks for the purposes of employment will not be suitable)
  • If you have declared on your visa application that you go/have gone by a different name, all names must be disclosed on your police clearance
Obtaining Fingerprints

There are many countries that require the applicant to provide a completed fingerprint card, along with their police check application. These fingerprints can be obtained from your state police, usually bookings are able to be made online, but only in selected police stations.

Duration of Validity

The Department will only accept police clearance certificates which are current, meaning that they have been issued no more than 12 months prior.

If, at the time your application is being finalised, your police clearance is no longer valid, the Department may ask you to provide new ones.

What if I have worked on a ship?

You’ll need to provide a police certificate if you have spent more than 12 months in the last 10 years working on one or more merchant ships, cruise ships, private yachts or oil rigs. The flag of the country that the vessel sails under is the country you should request the police certificate from. Click here to find out how to apply for police certificates form different countries.

How can AHWC Immigration Law help?

After engaging in our services, one of our friendly Registered Migration Agents/ Immigration Lawyers will be able to assist you in obtaining your Australian Federal Police checks, by applying for them directly on your behalf.  Information may also be provided for all other overseas police checks, in order to make the process as smooth as possible.

Check out the Department of Home Affairs Guide

As a general guide, you can also refer to the Department of Home Affairs guide to obtaining police checks from all over the world by clicking here.