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  • When does a Police Check Expire in South Australia (SA)?

    Most applicants are usually surprised when an employer or other agency with authority rejects their police check result. Police history checks in South Australia are the most important and requested document in South Australia, especially for employment or volunteer related roles.

    However, it is not uncommon if an employer returns the criminal record check result back to the applicant due to the check being too old.

    When does a police check expire in South Australia (SA)?

    A national police check in South Australia (SA) is a point-in-time check and therefore it has no set expiry date. Decision makers in SA decide on expiry dates for national criminal history checks based on their internal risk mitigation policies. Generally, most employers in South Australia (SA) do not accept a police check result that is older than three (3) months.

    What is a criminal history check certificate?

    The criminal history check certificate is one of the few documents that discloses a person's criminal history. The certificate contains details and convictions of all a person's interactions with the Australian legal system.

    Background checks should be relevant to the purpose the person intends to use them. National Police Check results cannot be used as one-size-fits-all. For example, a person cannot use a police check originally obtained for a paid nursing role for a finance related job as both roles are different and their inherent risks are not the same.

    How long does a criminal record check certificate last?

    A criminal history check certificate is a point-in-time check; they have no expiry date. However, it remains valid as long as the certificate is issued until the person uses such records.

    Do SA organisations accept Police Checks older than three months?

    While a National Police Check does not officially expire, most employers, organisations, or agencies will reject a police background check certificate older than three (3) months. It is this rejection that translates to some people as "expiration” of the police check in South Australia.

    Why do organisations refuse older criminal history check results?

    Police background check assessments are usually based on the recent criminal activity of a person rather than older convictions. Current offenders or violators may have more tendencies to re-offend and a lesser period of self-rehabilitation.

    Employers also believe such periods (3 months) are enough to get another conviction. Making these stipulations about the criminal record check they assess makes their interpretation and assessment of the result more transparent.

    It enables employers and decision makers to determine the inherent requirements of a job by assessing current and updated criminal records.

    Can an employer refuse a police check?

    Police clearance certificates are mandatory requirements when applying for some roles in South Australia.

    Employers are free to interpret/assess the result of a police clearance depending on the peculiarities of the position they are recruiting to, as long as it does not translate to discrimination. When dealing with applicant’s criminal history check records or other personal information, they must abide by privacy principles on the disclosure and use of criminal record checks.

    What should I do if my police check “expires”?

    Only a few employers in SA will accept a background certificate older than three months, with the least acceptable being six months or so.

    However, if your police clearance result is old, apply for a new one.

    Applying for a background check renewal in South Australia is more convenient and faster when using online service providers.

    All successful applications and procedures can be completed using a mobile device, tablet or PC.

    You can finish your nationally coordinated criminal history check within 15 minutes in these simple steps;

    1. Select the "Start a new Police Check" button on the Australian National Character Check portal.
    2. Complete the application form provided.
    3. Fill in all contact details and extra information required on the check. Cross-check previous data you entered.
    4. Select and fill the purpose of the check application; volunteer, employment, and so on.
    5. Complete payments via any online options; PayPal, Debit/Credit card, and co.
    6. Provide the requested Identification documents by;
    • Taking photos,
    • Scanning and uploading,
    • Mailing copies (Post/Police office).
    1. Submit all IDs online.
    2. Sign the informed consent online before submitting the application.
    3. Use the “Track a Police Check” option on the website to track the status of the application. The certificates are also downloadable.
    4. Get an electronic copy of the result. It is sent to the Email address on your application.

    Other methods of obtaining a national police background check can be through;


    The local police office in South Australia

    If the requesting party only deals with criminal history checks obtained directly from the SA police, the applicant must visit the Local Police Office in SA. The in-person application may be paper-based, and you may need to submit your verification IDs physically.

    Applicants who submit through the local police office should allow at least 10 business days for a result.


    Local Post office South Australia

    The Post office forwards all applications from the candidate to the National Check agency. The applicants must complete all the requested information together with the specified ID verification.

    Why do employers use criminal history checks in SA?

    Police Checks are one of the several background checks an employer must carry out before employing their candidate. It aids the employer to determine the candidate's suitability for the role, primarily if they work in sensitive sectors.

    Submitting updated criminal record checks is beneficial to both the employer and the candidate.

    An updated National Criminal History Check;

    1. Discloses the recent conviction records of the candidate.

    Recent records usually hold more weight than older conviction records. If you have a clean current document, you have a strong chance.

    1. Spent convictions

    The spent convictions scheme allows all eligible offences to be removed from the candidate's criminal record. Updating your check will in most cases automatically apply the spent convictions scheme if any of your convictions are "eligible” to be spent.

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