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What kind of police check do I need?

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 is always the likelihood of presenting a police check result when you are applying for a role, license or other things in Australia. Most times, candidates can get confused about the exact type of police check they need for that particular purpose.

The kind of role/license you seek or the organisation you apply to usually determines the type of police check certificate you submit. There are various types of police check certificates used in Australia; while there may be slight differences in their scope or method of application, the process may remain the same.

What are the main types of Police checks in Australia?

To get the best out of a Background Check, the requesting party or organisation must seek a police check relevant to the role or position the Candidate is seeking. Among the background check an employer or organisation can request from an employee or other candidate, here are the most common ones;

  1. Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (Also known as “police check” or “Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check”)

Every nationally coordinated criminal history check in Australia (NCCHC or NPC) yields the same and similar result irrespective of where it is conducted. The Check is the most popular and general kind of police check result in Australia.

It is a Check that compares the basic details of the candidate (name, addresses, and so on) to the records on the Australian Criminal Database. It is a search to determine whether a person is Of Interest (P.O.I) to the Australian Police records.

  • What is disclosed in the NPC?

The NPC contains all of the Candidate's releasable conviction records per the legislation in the State.

The Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check is the most widely used background Check in Australia; about 6 million applications are made each year through various mediums. The most popular (and generally the fastest) way to obtain a police check is through approved service providers like Australian National Character Check (ANCC). Individual applicants can obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check via the ANCC website and businesses (employers, HR workers and other decision makers) can register for the Business Portal where they can order, manage, track and view police check results of their candidates.

  1. Fingerprint Check

Some special applications or circumstances may require the Candidate to conduct a police check using their fingerprints. This is not particularly common, as generally only Court or other legal regulations can permit or initiate such a Check.

For this Check, the Candidate will have their fingerprints compared against a central database of Police records. These Checks are usually for special kinds of background checks (sensitive purposes), criminal checking or verification.

Only the Local Police office in any jurisdiction can conduct a fingerprint check in Australia. It means the process is manual and physical and requires a paper-based form to complete.

  1. Name Check with Ammonium Nitrate Check

Although ammonium nitrate is a good fertilizer and chemical for plants, the wrong amount in the wrong hands can cause havoc to lives, properties and members of our community. This background check evaluates the suitability of a candidate who wants;

  • License to use/handle ammonium nitrate,
  • Wants to work in factory or company using ammonium nitrate,
  • Supply/Trade ammonium nitrate in large quantities.

The Ammonium Nitrate Check is sort of a double-check by the ASIO and the Australian Federal Police. It ensures that the person has the proper security clearance to handle or deal with such chemicals.

Examples of such companies that may require The Ammonium Nitrate Check is;

  • Quarrying company dealing with explosives,
  • Construction companies,
  • Mining Companies,
  • Ammonium Nitrate based fertilizer companies.

Only the ASIO and the Australian Federal Police can conduct a Name and Ammonium Nitrate Check in Australia.

  1. Australian Federal police check

The AFP police check is a background check that the Australian Federal Police in Australia can only issue. Although it is similar to the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check, it holds particular regard and bias for most employers and other requesting parties in Australia.

The AFP police check is predominantly suited for those seeking;

  • Immigration and Visas,
  • Commonwealth employment,
  • Overseas employment,
  • Overseas adoption purposes .

Is the AFP Check greater than the NPC?

No, these police checks are more or less sourced from the same Australian Criminal Database. The only difference is that the AFP Checks are granted specific access for certain purposes shown above that make it suitable for specific agencies or groups in Australia.

What is the significant difference between the NPC and the AFP Check?

Generally, all police checks reveal the exact details relating to the "purpose" you specify while applying for the police check. Any difference between a police check may come from their use or the technical difference in the agency that processes the police check.

However, an employer or decision maker can specify a specific medium for the police check certificate you submit. If this happens, you must apply through that medium, or your certificate may be disqualified regardless of if you select the required purpose.

The Major difference in both police check certificates is in their use. While the police check from approved service providers like Australian National Character Check (ANCC) are more popular and used in;

  • Employment,
  • Licensing,
  • Accreditation, and so on.

The AFP Checks are used in;

  • Overseas employment purposes,
  • Immigration and visa purposes,
  • Commonwealth employment purposes,
  • Firearms licenses and co,
  • Other approved purposes as stipulated on the AFP website.

What is a Name Check?

The Name check is the same as the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in Australia. As the name suggests, the Candidate's name is "run" against a host of others on the Australian Criminal database. The Name Check may also be called;

  • Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check,
  • Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check,
  • Crime Check,
  • Police Criminal Check,
  • Police check.

What is the general purpose of a police check in Australia?

Regardless of the type of police check you choose, the police check application always requests you to state a "purpose" for the police check application. There are various reasons or roles to applying for the police check, it includes;

  • ✔ Employment police checks

All those seeking paid roles in Australia will likely be requested to submit a police check certificate before getting such roles. The Employment police check certificate mainly contains conviction details relevant to the position the candidate is seeking.

For example, a person seeking a role as a truck driver will find the following conviction details on their police check;

  • All their traffic-related offences for which a court convicted them,
  • Offences against previous corporate bodies they have worked for as Commercial Drivers.

Who can apply for the Employment police check?

To ensure that your police check is for employment purposes, the Candidate must select this option on their Informed Consent Form in Australia. The Employment Check cannot be interchanged for any other purpose you choose; in such case, the Candidate has to re-apply for the police check.

Not only the Candidate may apply for the Employment police checks, but the organisation can also streamline the process through the Business Portal (ANCC) to initiate and manage all applicant checks that it receives.

Which Employed Positions Do You Need a police check for?

Submitting a police check in Australia for paid or unpaid employment cuts across the various sectors of Australia. Also, the government encourages internal policies from the organisation if it boosts their security and mitigates risks for them.

You will likely submit a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check result if you are applying for any of these;

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Aged care worker background checks
  • Childcare workers
  • Tutors
  • Correctional Staff
  • Mining workers
  • Government Personnel
  • Financial Service workers
  • Legal Workers
  • Liquor sellers
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Real Estate agent checks
  • Construction workers and contractors
  • Public vehicle drivers (E.g. checks for driver licensing and accreditation)
  • Civil servants
  • Chef, Cooks, Nannies
  • Fireman services
  • Domestic Staffs,
  • Air hosts/hostesses
  • Hoteliers and hotel managers
  • And any other profession that grants the personnel direct or indirect access to sensitive positions or positions of trust.

  • ✔ Probity police checks

An agency, organisation or government, through its numerous agencies, usually require Probity police checks before they assign an essential role to individuals. The Probity Checks, like other police checks, assesses the suitability of that individual for that position.

The Probity Checks are often required when such a position involves trust, integrity, sensitivity and high social/civil standing. The common situations where you may need a Probity Check includes;

  • Being appointed to a school Board member role,
  • Student work placements relating to their studies,
  • Adoption or Foster parent entitlement,
  • Getting specific permits or licenses,
  • Obtaining Rights for certain operations or commodities.

  • ✔ Licensing police checks

Almost all licensing applications involve a police check requirement relating to the license you seek.

There are different types of licenses in Australia, be sure that your police check application reflects that you are;

  • “Applying for a license” and,
  • The type of license you are seeking.

There are various license applications in Australia where you need a police check for the purpose of licensing; some examples are;

  • Real Estate License,
  • Liquor License,
  • Commercial Driver Operator License, and so on.

  • ✔ Immigration and Visa police check

The immigration agency will request an updated AFP police check certificate before renewing or issuing you with a Visa. These Federal police checks are usually compulsory to ensure that the person is not wanted or subject to Australian Court Orders that restrict them from travelling.

The Immigration agency can refuse you a Visa renewal if you have certain records on your police check like;

  • Arrest warrants,
  • Restriction Orders (that prevent you from travelling),
  • Pending/Ongoing trials or hearing,
  • You are on bail/house arrest,
  • Good Behaviour Bond that was exchanged for an imprisonment term,
  • Special Court orders prevent you from travelling.

Furthermore, only the Australian Federal Police (AFP) can issue valid Immigration and Visa police checks in Australia. You cannot obtain such police checks through the standard application process or methods.

What details does the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check reveal?

The details on the police check certificate are the Disclosable Court Outcomes of the Candidate. It includes details of all court convictions related to the "Purpose" of the check such as;

Are there other kinds of Background Checks that may be required for my application?

Yes, your organisation can request additional background checks with the police check certificate. However, it usually depends on the role or organisation you apply for or are seeking.

For example, a Child-related role may require the Candidate to submit a Working With Children Check in Australia. In other States or Territories (e.g.), it is called the Working with Vulnerable People check that is relevant to the role or position.

Other Background Checks include;

  • Credit History Check,
  • Right to work (VEVO Check),
  • Bankruptcy or Solvency Check,
  • Educational Check,
  • Work History or Employer reference Check,

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.

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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.

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.

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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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