Working in Australia – What is a National Police Clearance?

In Australia, a police clearance is called a “National Police Certificate”, and some employers will ask for one before they agree to hire you. This certificate lists an individual’s criminal and traffic charges (past as well as pending).

To obtain a National Police Certificate, you will need to apply to the state or territory police department that you reside in, and they will carry out the search across all the available national databases. The form for this certificate is available either online or at Australia Post outlets, and once completed, will need to be taken to an Australia Post outlet with 100 points of identification. There is a fee of approximately $60, although this may vary from state to state.

There is a turnaround of approximately 15 business days for the National Police Certificate to be completed and returned to you once it has been submitted at Australia Post.

Working in Australia – Australian Federal Police Check

In some cases, you may be required to provide a federal Police certificate. Unlike state Police Check Certificates, federal police checks are carried out by the Australian Federal Police, instead of the state police, and must be processed in Canberra. There is a fee of approximately $42 for an application from an individual, or a higher fee (either $99 or $139) for searches involving fingerprints.

When you will need an Australian Federal Police Check

You will only be required to obtain a federal police check if the following apply:

  • You are living in the ACT;
  • You are applying for a job with the Australian government (usually, most New Zealanders are not eligible to work for the Australian government);
  • You are required to obtain a federal police check under Commonwealth legislation;
  • You are immigrating to Australia;
  • You are currently living in New Zealand but need an Australian check to verify you did not commit any crimes while previously living in Australia; and
  • You wish to adopt a child from overseas while living in Australia.

Under most circumstances, you will not be required to obtain an Australian Federal Police Check.