LiveChat Loading...

Australian National Character Check livechat loading
Australian National Character Check livechat loading
  • Resources & Technical Articles
  • Pre-Employment Screening Topics
  • Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z)
  • Driving & Traffic Offences
  • Locations
  • Do overseas sentences show up on a police check?

    It can be tiring having a sentence/criminal record following you about, especially if such records are an overseas record. An overseas criminal record does not impede you in Australia as long as;

    • The record is not a pending arrest warrant or court order requiring your presence,
    • You were not on parole in the country,
    • It is not a standing order by a Commonwealth court preventing you from applying for a passport,
    • You don't have bail conditions that are pending.

    Most people with overseas criminal records generally have no legal issues living in Australia once they have arrived via legal means into the country. However, a lot are scared that those previous records will appear in an Australian Police Check when they apply for employment, volunteering, probity related roles or for a license.

    What is an overseas sentence or record?

    An overseas record means the convictions and sentences that an offender received while residing in another country. If Mr Smith has an overseas fraud offence, that sentence forms part of his overseas conviction.

    Will an Overseas sentence appear on a Police Check in Australia?

    The Police Check in Australia is a nationally coordinated criminal history check that includes a person's conviction and sentence history from the Australian Criminal Database. Therefore, an overseas conviction or sentence will not appear on an Australian Police Check.

    What is a Police Check in Australia?

    If the court finds a person guilty of an offence and issues sentencing; the court will;

    • Input such records into their criminal records on the Australian Criminal database,
    • Issue a conviction and penalty unless it commits such a person for special programs (Conditional Release Orders) under the law.

    The Checking conducted by Australian police agencies will;

    The Police Check is an Australian based document; it only includes records and DCOs within the Australian jurisdiction.

    How does an agency determine overseas conviction records?

    There are some cases where a person's criminal history from an early age is essential. For example, an agency that deals with children or related services may need to know if a candidate has any history of child abuse or sexual assault.

    Since a Police Check only reveals conviction records from the Australian database, it cannot inform the requesting party of their overseas or previous records outside Australia.

    In such cases, the party may employ any available service or online correspondence to check their records in the previous country.

    Can an overseas record affect me in Australia?

    An overseas record may affect your chances in Australia, especially if a Commonwealth court issued it. Some roles require the employers or organisation to carry out deeper checks on the candidate.

    For example, an employer may require the candidate to provide their overseas records like an international police check for a financial role. If a candidate has a conviction in a finance-related offence, the employer can assess them based on such records.

    Other overseas convictions that can affect your chances in Australia are;

    • Financial related convictions,
    • Child abuse and assault,
    • Sexual assault and related offences,
    • Treason offences,
    • Murder,
    • Other violations in sensitive roles.

    What shows up on the Police Check in Australia?

    The Criminal History Check in Australia contains a person's DCOs as per the jurisdiction’s disclosure laws. It reveals the court convictions where special programs do not apply. The offence on an Australian criminal record check is a sum of all convictions given in any Australian Court in the various States and Territories.

    The Australian Police Check discloses;

    What does not show up on a Police Check?

    Not all offences or violations appear on your Criminal records/Police Check. Your Check will not include conviction records issued outside of Australia. Other details that do not show in a Police Check are;

    • Overseas convictions/records,
    • Infringement notices where there was no associated court hearing,
    • Matters settled outside an Australian Courts/legislation,
    • Offences against an organisation or group that does not interfere with Australian laws,
    • Police cautions or warnings,
    • Restriction or Intervention Orders

    Can you use an Overseas Police Check in Australia?

    While an overseas police check may reinforce the Australian criminal history check, it cannot be a substitute. Most employers and agencies in Australia require only the Australian background check as the means of assessment.

    The overseas Check is not a recent document and does not reveal your convictions in the Australian criminal database. This makes it invalid compared to the Australian Police Check.

    However, some organisations that need a deeper assessment of your records may request you provide your overseas record.

    How long does a criminal record last?

    An adult court criminal record usually lasts long on the Australian Criminal Database. However, specific legal programs may erase from your records some conditions if they qualify for the Scheme.

    It means unless a special legal program or the Spent Convictions Scheme erases your convictions, it may show up on a criminal background check for a lifetime.

    What is the spent convictions scheme?

    Under this Scheme, eligible offences are erased from the person's criminal records. The Spent conviction scheme affects primarily minor offences.

    The Scheme allows eligible offences to be removed from a person’s record after certain conditions are satisfied. These conditions include;

    • A waiting period has elapsed without the person re-offending,
    • The offence did not incur more than a 30 months imprisonment penalty,
    • The offence is eligible to be spent under the Scheme.

    Waiting period for the Spent Convictions Scheme

    The waiting period is a consecutive duration where the offender must observe good behaviour. In other cases, it is rightly referred to as the God behaviour Period.

    The Good behaviour period is;

    • Ten years period for convictions given as an adult or by an Adult Court;
    • Five years period (3 in NSW) for convictions given as a juvenile or by a Youth Court.

    An offender must not re-offend during this period, or the period restarts.

    Are overseas convictions eligible for the spent conviction scheme?

    The Spent convictions scheme is a nationwide scheme in Australian jurisdictions for convictions given by an Australian Court. It means that only offences in your Australian Criminal records are eligible to be spent.

    Overseas convictions, no matter how minor, cannot be spent, or qualify for any other pardon under Australian laws as they are not within the Australian jurisdiction.

    What is a Criminal History Check used for in Australia?

    A major worry of most applicants is the kind of records that show up in their Police Check. And it should be worth the trouble, considering how vital the Check is to Australia's economy, businesses and government.

    The criminal record check has lots of applications in Australia for a broad group of people and businesses.

    • The Check is commonly used for assessing suitability for employment roles

    Besides academic qualifications and merit for a job, employers also want to consider how suitable the candidate is. In a fragile and fast-paced world, employing an improper candidate for a job can ruin an organisation's image.

    It may be a disaster for companies to deal with the bad P.R. for having their staff convicted of Rape, Misappropriation or other financial offences.

    The criminal record check result provides a valid, authentic and legal document about an individual's record.

    • Police Checks are helpful for probity checks

    Receiving certain benefits, Grants or roles may require you to apply for a probity check. Probity checks are one of the several types of Police checks you can apply for in Australia.

    The probity checks determine how suitable a candidate is for a role.

    • National Police Checks may be used for licensing purposes

    There are lots of licenses you cannot get in Australia without a criminal history check. It does not matter that you were running the same business outside of Australia. To continue such business in Australia, the candidate must obtain a Police Check for licensing.

    Where can I obtain a Police Check in Australia?

    There are many ways to obtain a criminal background check in Australia; it depends on the preference of the requesting party or the candidate's choice.

    • Applying online via ANCC

    You can apply for a Police Check from anywhere in the world when you apply online through ANCC.

    Applicants who apply online will receive an electronic copy of their Police Check mostly within 48 hours. The remaining checks that get referred for manual processing will take longer. Online applications can be completed from a mobile, tablet or P.C. device.

    • Local Post Office

    The local post office acts as a broker between applicants and the national checking agency.

    Applicants can visit the local post office with their completed application form and the verification I.D. for a police check.

    The Local Post office sends their application to the central government agency and returns the completed certificate.

    • Australian Police Force Websites

    State and Territory police forces issue applicants with their certificate after a completed check. The process may need to be completed in-person to verify or attest identification documents.

    How can I obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check for Employment purposes?


    If you are an individual, you can obtain a national criminal record check certificate online via Australian National Character Check’s police check application 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 criminal record 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.