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How long does an online police check take?

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.

The biggest fear for some applicants is that they think their police check application will be delayed regardless of how they apply; this is false. By statistics, only around 30% of the police check applications get delayed across Australia.

Suppose you are thinking of applying for the police check in Australia. In that case, the most convenient and quickest way to get a police check certificate tends to be to apply online through license agencies.

Candidates who apply online through ANCC get their police check certificate/result via email, so the process tends to be faster. It is usually as fast as within 24 to 48 hours of applying for the check result unless the check gets referred for manual processing.

Whilst the majority of online police checks are returned to applicants within 24 to 48 hours, the remaining checks that get referred for manual processing will take longer. Below, we take a look at the reasoning behind this.

What does it mean to apply for a police check online?

There are various mediums for applicants to "Start" their police check in Australia. One such method is to apply through accredited service providers. These agencies hasten and ease the police check application process, but they offer online application services for all applicants.

Agencies like the Australian National Character Check (ANCC) provide services that make it easier for candidates and third-party organisations or employers to streamline the application process.

How does the police check process work in Australia?

The National Police Checking Service conducts all police checks in Australia using the applicant's details. It compares the details the applicants submit with the profile on the Australian Criminal Database; this is sometimes referred to as the Name Check.

The end of the check returns whether the person is a Person Of Interest to the Australian criminal legal system or not. If the applicant is of interest to the Police (has certain records), their application is transferred to the Police for verification and vetting.

The Police completes the vetting process and applies the relevant legislation that applies to their State to determine which records will be disclosed and those that are not.

The police check result can either return with;

Why can there be delays in Processing my police check?

Several reasons cause the delays in the police check application; it is not a whim of the National Police Checking Service. Your police check application will be delayed for the time it takes to correct or verify the source of the delay.

Some of the reasons for a police check delay include, but are not limited to any of these;

  • Inaccurate or insufficient data

The Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check is basically a "Name Check" that compares the basic personal information of the candidate to the records on the Australian Criminal Database and any other relevant criminal records in Australia. If the information about your details is insufficient, the check cannot continue, and police agencies may request further clarifications.

  • Vetting of results by lots of Police jurisdictions

The NPCS usually forward the police check result to all relevant State and Territory Police records where the applicant has resided. If the candidate has lived in different areas within a short period, it may cause significant delays if their name is a potential match on the police database.

Also, transferring Police records to different jurisdictions may lead to bureaucratic issues in the handling.

  • Pending or outstanding records

The NPCS will immediately alert the Police and delay the process for confirmation if the candidate has a warrant or any other pressing matter. The NPCS forwards the applicant's police check result to confirm if they are a Person Of Interest (P.O.I) to the Police.

We advise applicants to settle all their infringement notices, conditions for cautions, and Restrictions before applying for the police check certificate.

  • Manual Processing

About 30% of applications may need manual supervision from an official during the check process. These applications usually contain elements of data that are incomprehensible or difficult to process by the algorithm.

A manual review of an application can cause delays 5 to 15+ business days before the candidate gets their application and therefore the check takes longer.

A manual review is one of the lengthiest periods of delay for some applications. Thankfully, it occurs rarely compared to the applications that are completed in time.

What causes Manual Processing?

The factors that cause the application to get flagged for manual review are not usually far from typical delays. Only that in this case, a human must come to correct the reason for the delay.

Some reasons for the manual process includes;

  • Candidates have common data

Common or shared names can be problematic in the police check application. Where the candidate shares names like Tim, John, James, Brown, Barry, and so on, it can be difficult distinguishing them, primarily where they do not provide further distinct details.

It is also possible for a criminal database algorithm to match your Name and other details coincidentally. An official will have to come and sort out such a case.

  • Incomplete details

If some required fields are blank or "undefined", the check algorithm can suspend the check until an official settles the issue. The time it takes for the official to correct such matters increases the period till the applicant gets their police check.

  • Conflicting details

If the System cannot separate or process certain application details correctly, the check will be suspended. The only way to settle such a case is for an official to manually correct or include the accurate information.

Can an Online agency know beforehand that my police check will get flagged?

It is impossible for any service provider to know whether an application will be flagged for manual review. However, ANCC updates the applicants about the progress of their Police Check until they get their Background Check via the “track a check” feature on the website.

What can I do if my police check is delayed?

A delayed police check can be very distressing, usually because there is little you can do at that point. The best way to correct this is to meticulously review and confirm all details you submit for your police check.

Since many of the reasons for delays come from anomalies in the candidate's information, we advise all applicants to be cautious in their application and ensure all details are correct.

No action will cause a significant change on a delayed police check application.

Does an online police check last longer than a regular police check?

All police checks in Australia are “nationally coordinated” by the central government agency; there are no differences in their legitimacy or authenticity. The nationally coordinated criminal history checks are all the same and have the same legislation guiding them in Australia regardless of the medium or the agency that processes the check.

police checks in Australia are point-in-time checks; they are valid for as long as the candidate, and the requesting party continues to use them. No police check lasts longer than another just because of variations in the agency or medium.

How long does the police check last in Australia?

The validity period for a police check can vary depending on the requesting party or the “Purpose” of the check. However, most employers do not accept police checks older than three months.

Since a Person's Criminal records are constantly updated in Australia, Employers believe that a three-month period is enough until the candidate gets a conviction record that will compromise their role.

Does Location affect the time to process an online police check?

No, your Location does not affect the time to process your police check application. Since the entire application is online, you can complete your police check application anywhere, anytime, using your internet-enabled devices.

How do I complete an online application?

It is "a breeze" to complete an online application using a Mobile, P.C. or Tablet device connected to the internet.

Applicants can fill the NPC Informed Consent form electronically by logging on to the portal of the ANCC. Also, the required Identity documents can be completed by submitting Scanned copies or JPEG formats.

Generally, the police check application process should not take more than 10 minutes for a standard application. The following steps should guide through an easy and quick method of obtaining a police check online;

  1. Connect your device with good access to the internet, a P.C, Tablet or Mobile device, and using a solid browser, get to the online portal of the Australian National Character Check.
  2. Select the "Start a new police check" option on the online portal of the ANCC; you will find the Informed Consent Form. Those below 18 should complete the form with their guardian or parents.
  3. Fill out this form with your accurate details. Your data is run against the information on the Criminal database; Always be explicit with information.
  4. Select the "Purpose" of the police check; Whether as a probity, paid employment, or other roles. The police check certificate varies slightly depending on the purpose of the check.
  5. Make payments via any of the online options; PayPal, Debit/Credit card, and co.
  6. Confirm all the information you have filled in on the Informed Consent form. Ensure that you have selected the correct purpose of the check and spelt the details correctly
  7. If the check is processed for a wrongly selected purpose, you may have to re-apply for another police check.
  8. Add the required Identity Documents in your application before you can finally submit a police check application. These IDs prove the person or profile you claim; Provide the required Identification Documents through;
    • JPEGs, PNG images or other soft copy formats (online application),
    • Scanning and uploading the document (online application),
    • Sending mails copies (in the case of a physical application).
  9. Complete the informed consent online with your signature before submitting the police check application. It allows you to manage the parties that you grant access to the information released on your police check certificate.
  10. Use the "Track a Check" option on the website to track the status of the application. The certificates of tracking are also downloadable in case you want to show them as evidence.
  11. Get the soft copy of the police check result. It is sent to the submitted Email address on your application.

If you request the hard copy, it will be forwarded to your submitted postal address.

What is the benefit of applying for the police check online?

The benefits of applying for the police check online abound, from the ease of using or accessing your results anywhere in Australia to the convenient application process.

  • The online application makes it easier for employers to do a police check for their employees

The online application process can ease an organization’s plan of streamlining the entire police check application process. The ANCC Business Portal is a service provided by the Australian National Character Check for employers to initiate a police check application for their employees or candidates.

  • It makes the police check easily accessible

You can forward soft copies of your police check directly to the requesting party using the online platform. The applicant can also access the police check wherever they are in Australia without compromising any other data.

  • It makes the Payment easier

When you apply online, you can complete the police check application payment through their online payment option. Most candidates opt to pay through PayPal as it is faster and secure. Other options include;

  • PayPal Payments,
  • Credit/Debit Card transactions,
  • Bank transfers.

How much does the online police check cost?

The police check application is a paid service regardless of the medium of application. It costs $48.90 to apply for a police check online and a further $9.90 if you request the hard copy of the police check certificate.

You must complete the Payment online during the application to validate the application.

How can I obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?


If you are an individual, you can obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check certificate online via Australian National Character Check’s police check 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’ criminal history check results on their business portal. Organisations will undergo a process for approval prior to being granted access to ANCC’s business portal.

ANCC sends an invite to the applicant to complete their Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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.

Copyright & Disclaimer

The content on this website is communicated to you on behalf of Australian National Character Check™ (ANCC®) pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

Why use ANCC?


Fast online application form

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'.


Australian based support team

All of our staff are based in Canberra, ACT. All data is stored securely in Australia. Each application is checked in accordance with Federal Government guidelines. Support staff are available from Monday to Friday 9AM to 5PM.


Top rated national police check provider

ANCC is amongst the highest rated employment background check providers. Refer to ANCC's Google Reviews and Product Reviews.


Guaranteed to be valid Australia wide

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

Need discount police checks? We beat prices!

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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