Character and Penal Clearance Requirements

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What is the character requirement?

Everyone who wishes to enter Australia must be assessed against the character requirements.

Meeting the character requirement for temporary and permanent migration

For the Australian Government to determine whether you are of good character, you may be asked to provide police certificates for each country you have lived in for 12 months or more over the last ten (10) years since turning 16.

If you are applying outside Australia, you do not have to provide this information when you apply. You will be advised when it is required.

If you are applying in Australia, you should provide this information with your application.

Instructions for providing character-related information are included in the health and character section of the Partner, Child, Parent and Other Family booklets which are available from this website

Subject to availability, you can obtain a printed copy from a migration office in Australia or overseas for a minimal cost.

Meeting the character requirement for Australian citizenship

Applicants for Australian citizenship are also responsible for showing they are of good character.
Instructions for providing character-related information for Australian citizenship are available with the application forms and also on the citizenship website.
See: Citizenship website

Penal clearance requirements

In order for the Australian Government to determine whether you are of good character, you may be asked to provide a penal clearance certificate. These certificates are also known as a police certificate in some countries.
Instructions on obtaining a certificate from an overseas government or law enforcement authority are available in the following document.
See: Character Requirements - How to obtain police certificates (735KB PDF file)

Statutory Declaration information

As part of the character assessment, you may be asked to complete a Character statutory declaration.
See: Statutory Declaration ( 34KB PDF file)

Character-related information

Fact Sheet 79 - The Character Requirement
Form 80Personal particulars for character assessment (624KB PDF file)
AFP National Police Checks
Note: Applicants who are required to provide an Australian penal clearance certificate must complete the AFP National Police Check application form which is available from the Australian Federal Police website. Visa applicants should use Code 33 at Question 1 on the form and include details of any, and all, names they have been known by. If an AFP Certificate is provided based on incorrect information, the department may request another certificate. Please note fingerprints are not required for AFP National Police Checks.

Last reviewed Tuesday 19 November 2013

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