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Home Resources & Technical Articles Pre-Employment Screening Topics Police Checks How long does a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check take for a job?

How long does a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check take for a job?

The information on this webpage is to be read in conjunction with this disclaimer:
Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

There are many reasons you need a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in Australia, and one of them is for applying for a job or paid employment in Australia. More organisations have continued to adopt the police check as a risk strategy and hence assess their candidates through the details of the police check.

Most applications for paid roles in Australia only have a limited window until the candidates provide all the required details for assessment. Because of this, candidates want to get their Background Check result as fast as they can.

Although the NPCS has improved its processing rate for the police check result over the years, the time to get your police check depends on a number of factors.

How fast does the NPCS conduct the police check?

The NPCS is the statutory body that conducts the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in Australia; it delivers over 70% of police check applications to the respective candidate within the stipulated average processing times. The remaining 30% of police check applications are usually delayed due to manual processing that is necessary for the application.

The NPCS conducts the police check by drawing information from all the State jurisdictions Criminal databases. In many cases, it may hit complications with an application, especially where the applicant is a Person Of Interest (P.O.I) to the Police.

However, how fast you get your police check result can also depend on the medium that transmits your police check application to the NPCS.

  • Applying online for the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check

The online application for the police check has become the most favoured in Australia since accredited agencies can now deliver police check results to the applicant. Candidates who want to apply online can do so simply with a Phone, P.C., Tablet connected to the internet.

All the forms for an online application can be completed electronically on their portal.

The entire application process for the police check online generally takes less than 48 hours to get a result unless the check is referred for manual processing. In the case of manual processing, the check will take up to 15+ business days.

  • Applying through other physical means

If you are applying through any physical means like the Police office or the local post office, it can take longer to process the police check.

The manual mode of application and the paper-based forms mean that candidates may have to wait an average of 10 to 15 business days before receiving the police check certificate.

How fast can I get my Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in Australia?

Most of the police checks in Australia are processed and returned around the average period. Usually, your online police check application should be completed within the 48 hours time frame unless there are complications with your application.

The most significant cause of delay for the police check is when it is flagged for manual processing or any other delays or complexities of the Police Check.

What if my Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check is delayed?

Although it is uncommon, the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check may be delayed beyond its usual point of issuance.

Furthermore, this can cause problems for the candidate, especially if their job application is time-sensitive or if the organisation stipulates a period to submit the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (C.B.C.). There is nothing the candidate can do to speed up or change the delays on their police check application for such cases.

One of the popular options for candidates whose police checks are delayed is to discuss with the decision-makers and reschedule an assessment.

Are specific applications selected for manual processing or delays?

The delay in a police check is irregular and haphazard; no one can know the application that gets delayed. Even officials do not see an application getting delayed until the check algorithm flags it for manual processing.

Therefore, it is untrue to suggest that your application is "blacklisted" or selected for the manual review. The truth is it can happen to anybody or occur to any application regardless of the applicant's status in Australia.

How do I know if my Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check will be delayed?

Of course, no one knows if their police check will be delayed or not, they can only hope and complete all application forms correctly. Not even the officials can foretell if an application will be flagged for manual review; the decision lies with the check system.

However, if your police check gets flagged for manual review, ANCC will update you via email through the system.

What causes manual processing?

The Check system flags an application for manual processing if it discovers certain irregularities or complexities about the candidate’s application. There are various causes for an application getting flagged for manual reviews, which may or not be the applicant's fault.

An application may get flagged for manual review for;

  • ✔ If it shares similar data with a profile on the Criminal database

It is prevalent that an applicant with a popular or common name shares such details with a profile on the criminal database. However, this does not mean that the candidate or applicant is indicted in an offence.

If the system finds similar records with the applicant, it will require supervision from an official to confirm they are not a person of interest (P.O.I.).

  • ✔ Unresolved infringements or Police penalties

Some people put off settling a Police infringement or penalty for a long time because it does not appear on their criminal records. However, a police check application will expose such records and may delay the application until the Police jurisdiction of the concerned agency approves the matter.

Before Starting a police check application, ANCC suggests that the candidates settle all their infringements or outstanding issues with the Police or other agencies in Australia.

  • ✔ Specific errors in the applicant's data

If there are some inconsistencies in the applicant's application, the system may discontinue the check until an officer arrives to rectify the issue.

  • ✔ Sorting the offences as DCO or NDCO

Not all convictions or criminal records show up in the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check;

After the check algorithm has completed the sorting and comparing of the application, the NPCS will transfer these records to the respective jurisdictions to determine which laws apply to the candidates check result.

Does an overseas conviction affect a police check?

The police check is only confined to the scope of the Australian criminal database.

All other offences or convictions outside Australia don't factor in your criminal records and your police check certificate unless the Australian legal system was involved.

Any records a person has overseas may show up in other records but not the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check for Australia. An employer that considers the abroad conviction of the candidate essential to the role must seek other means for accessing such records.

Is it only ‘Manual Processing’ that delays a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

Besides the manual processing, other factors can affect the time for an applicant to get their Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check result.

If your Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check is delayed for manual processing, it may take between 5 to 15 additional days before the applicant gets the result of their Check.

The delay from manual processing may also depend on how long it takes the official to resolve such crises in the applicant's data.

What are the other causes for delay in a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

There are other causes for the delay in the police check, and it is independent of if the candidate Passed/Failed their check.

  • ✔ Error in the applicant data

Candidates should cross-check their police check application form before submitting it; that is the best way to prevent errors in the application. If the Check algorithm discovers an error in the candidate data, it may suspend the checking until an official verifies it.

  • ✔ Applications referred to multiple Police jurisdictions

If the check algorithm finds a match against the candidate’s data, the NPCS will direct all the records to the relevant Police jurisdictions. If the candidate has resided in multiple States or Territories especially within a short time period, it may be time consuming transferring the results from one Police jurisdiction to another.

Transferring candidates' records among various Police jurisdictions also means that it may take more time for the NPCS to process the applicant's Police Check result.

What date does a delayed police check bear?

If your police check is delayed, it will now bear the issuance date of when the agency issues the certificate. If it is delayed for five days extra from the initial date, it will bear that issuance date.

The issuance date on a police check is important because that is how many employers calculate the validity date of the police check. Not that the police check expires, but employers or decision makers usually stipulate a period until the records on the certificate become obsolete.

Can an Online police check get delayed?

Most people think that since a police check is processed online, it can never be delayed; this is incorrect. Although agencies like ANCC help candidates to get their police check, it does not perform the main action of conducting the background check.

A police check application can still be delayed even when the candidate applies online. Any of the above reasons can cause an online police check to be delayed, but since the prices are online, it becomes easier to receive a result faster when it is available (electronically) than traditional means.

Does the candidate failing the police check influence the delay?

The outcome of a police check has nothing to do with whether the application is delayed. However, certain records on the candidate's criminal records may need vetting and extra confirmation from the State/Jurisdictions, resulting in a delay in the police check.

Therefore, it is wrong and erroneous to assume that you have “failed” the police check only because it is delayed.

How do I know when my police check gets delayed?

If there is an issue with any applications submitted online, the concerned agency will respond promptly to the problem. If a case leads to delay, the agency will send a message to the applicant through any of their contact addresses (usually their email address).

While approved agencies cannot do anything about a delay in the police check, you will continue to get valuable and valid updates about your application.

How long does the police check last?

Most employers see the police check as a background that a candidate should continue to update; regular checks. And many decision-makers stipulate an expiry period of 3 months for new applicants who must submit their police checks.

However, the police check remains a point-in-time check. It can stay valid as long as acceptable to the decision maker's internal risk mitigation policies.

How do I avoid delays in my police check application?

The only way to avoid a delay is to submit a compliant application with the correct corroborating documents.

The Identity documents that form part of the nationally coordinated criminal history check application are a means to verify your identity and match your details with your application.

Furthermore, applying through online agencies tends to be the quickest way to get your Criminal History Check certificate in Australia.

How can I obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?


If you are an individual, you can obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check online via Australian National Character Check’s application and informed consent form. The results are dispatched via email.

Business and Enterprise Customers

Business and Enterprise customers are able to sign up to ANCC’s business portal where they can order, manage, track and view candidates’ police check results on their business portal.

Organisations will undergo a process of approval prior to being granted access to ANCC’s business portal for the purpose of police checks.

ANCC sends an invite to the applicant to complete their background check online and handles the application and informed consent form. Contact ANCC’s business and enterprise partnerships team today to enquire about setting up a business portal for your organisation.

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The online application form can be completed in a few minutes online. 70% of results are dispatched in 24 hours. Approximately 30% can take longer than 15 days due to a 'potential match'.


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A nationally coordinated criminal history check is valid in all States and Territories of Australia.

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About ANCC

ANCC® enables individuals and approved legal entities to apply for a nationally coordinated criminal history check, which is commonly referred to as a national police check. The nationally coordinated criminal history check is valid all over Australia and can be used when applying for Employment, Probity, Licencing, or Commonwealth check purposes. Get discount police checks online. We beat prices!


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