An Australian police certificate also known as a police check is a certificate that enumerates the criminal record such as convictions of an individual. There are several ways to obtain the check.

  • You could decide to obtain it at the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
  • It could also be obtained at your local police station in Australia.
  • Or you could get it from an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) accredited agency.

Applying via a police station could take a lot of time before the applicant receives the check. It could take about 7 to 21 days to get the check. This is because the process would be generally paper dependent and the check would have to be posted to an actual physical address.

However, if the applicant completes the police check application online, they would be able to get it within two days provided the check is not flagged. If the check gets flagged, the process could take up to fifteen days or more because the process turns into a manual process. This manual process would then be handled by Australian police agencies. The referral to manual process occurs when certain individuals have the same name or when the applicant is involved in crimes.

Uses of the police certificate

The police certificate is used for a large number of things in Australian states and surrounding territories.

  • It is used by people who dwell in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Jervis Bay Territory as well as the external Commonwealth territories.
  • It is used for immigration. It is amongst of the documents shown during an Australian immigration process.
  • In certain cases when Australian citizens reside overseas, the check is used at the foreign place of residence. The check is not only used for residence but also when the individual is searching for employment. An Australian citizen could also use it when adopting a child overseas. The check is requested for to ensure the person has a clean record.
  • For international travel processing, the check is used to complete the visa application.
  • Individuals who seek work with the Commonwealth government as well as those requiring the check under Commonwealth legislation make use of the police certificate.


The police certificate is a very important document and is used for so many things as stated earlier. The period of validity of the document is however dependent on the organization that requests it. These organizations request the check when seeking a means of reference.

The check is valid up to the time of expiry. However, some organizations would not accept checks which are more than three months old.

It is quite important to note that the check is not transferable in any way from one organization to another. This is because the Australian police agencies only base the checks on criminal charges that is in relation or relevant to the occupation of the applicant as indicated in the firm. Any other criminal charges not in relation to the applicant’s job would not be included on the check.