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Do overseas sentences show up on a police check?

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.

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, 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 that did not involve Australian law enforcement will not appear on an Australian police check. An international police check will be required to reveal such offences.

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 interNationally Coordinated Criminal History 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 police 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 Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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.

What is a police 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 Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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 Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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.

  • Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks may be used for licensing purposes

There are lots of licenses you cannot get in Australia without a nationally coordinated 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 Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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 Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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 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.

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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.

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

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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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