Changes for obtaining a police clearance certificate from Australia

Published: 23/02/2009

Changes to the process of obtaining a police clearance certificate from Australia have recently been announced, with the potential to affect a number of Australian visa applications classes.

Following changes to the National Police Check Application Form (also known as the NPCAF and the NPCA) instigated at the end of December 2008, those applicants of marriage visa, partner visa, fiancee visa, and other types of migrant-class family visas that have previously resided in Australia are required to use a new form.

The new form is required for all requests for national police checks by the Australian Federal Police (the AFP) and, crucially, includes those people that require AFP police checks for immigration purposes, as is common in such applications.

Until recently, the old Form 1101 had been acceptable, running concurrently with the new form, but this will soon cease. The new form is easily accessible on the AFP website and is widely considered to be clear to navigate. However, the new NPCAF has caused some confusion on both question three and four, with guidelines released to overcome this.

Question three on the new form refers to the return postal address of the applicant and requests a mailing address for the Police Certificate to be sent to, with a clear note that, without an alternative address, the certificate will be sent to the applicant’s residential address. This is causing some issues for people, so it is imperative that visa applicant’s to whom this may cause a problem use an appropriate address.

Question four relates to a code number that, when not present, means the applications cannot be processed, causing long delays and great frustration. The AFP has noted that large numbers of applicants are not using the correct code number and have made it clear that applications will not be processed without it, so it is worth noting that the correct number for applications relating to immigration and citizenship is 33. Question four relates to the purpose of the application.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has realised clear information that can be used to clarify a range of common questions for police checks for visa applications for various categories, including subclass 300 prospective marriage visa, spousal visa and other visa applications for entering Australia.

The requirement to provide police checks for Australian visa applications is related to the character requirements that are also part of the process. They relate to the previous countries of residence of the applicant and are needed for both permanent and temporary migration.

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