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Can I get a free Criminal History 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.


If you apply for a license, a job opening, or other work appointments, you will likely be asked to submit a police check. In some cases, it even becomes a mandatory requirement if what you apply for falls under the "sensitive" activities like care of vulnerable, aged, financial roles, child-related roles and co.

The Criminal History Check certificate has become an important document in Australia. It improves the decision making of employers and keeps society safer for the vulnerable. Therefore, most potential applicants must provide valid and updated copies of a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check when applying for a position.

Can I get a free Criminal History Check?

Police checks go through a compulsory process where after submission, the application form is firstly checked for compliance from the agency where you apply. It is then forwarded to the national criminal database for a result. In some cases, an official from a state or territory police agency will need to manually vet an application if it has been referred for manual processing.

Due to this resource intensive process, it is important to note that all criminal history check requests in Australia come with a fee. It is therefore not possible to obtain an authentic criminal history check that is free.

How much do criminal history checks cost?

  • Police checks for Employment/Licensing/Probity/Accreditation
  • If individuals bear the cost in full

    The most common way of applying for a police check is by doing it yourself. Individuals can apply online or in person. When individuals apply for a police check, they bear the total cost.

    Prices may vary depending on how you apply for the check (for example, in person or online).

    Applicants generally prefer to apply online due to the convenience of completing the check anywhere using a mobile, tablet or PC device, and the speed of obtaining their results when applying online.

    Applicants can obtain criminal history checks online from Australian National Character Check (ANCC) at a cost of $48.90 (base price) per check request.

    Individuals can obtain a nationally coordinated criminal history check online by the using the following link: Start Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check Application Form

  • For corporate bodies and agencies;
  • Organisations may bear the full/part cost for their applicants, however that is purely at their discretion.

    It is not uncommon for organisations to request a valid criminal history check from an employee and ask them to go through a service like Australian National Character Check (ANCC). They often do this to preclude authenticity issues that arise from the applicants presenting their own Criminal History Check.

    Organisations can also apply for police checks on behalf of their staff through ANCC’s business portal. However, when organisations apply for a police check on behalf of their staff, the invitation to complete the check is sent directly to the applicant and the process is completed with the applicant’s informed consent.

    When corporate institutions apply for a police check on behalf of a person, they may bear the full cost depending on the arrangements.

Applying for a police check online

A convenient way to apply for a police check is through the online portal of the Australian National Character Check.

All applications completed on our portal are transferred to the national criminal database over a secure server. We return Criminal Check certificates to all applicants mostly within 24 to 48 hours with the remaining that get referred for manual processing taking longer.

Individuals can apply on our portal via their PC, Tablet or mobile device. And the application procedures only take about 12 minutes, including verification of IDs and payment. It removes the stress of visiting the post office.

Who can apply for a police check?

Anyone who wishes to obtain employment, licensing or accreditation in Australia can apply for a police check. All those who seek employment especially in sensitive roles should apply for a Check. Some of these roles and purpose include;

  • Roles that involve the care of children
  • Care of the old and vulnerable
  • Teachers/professors
  • Rural Fireman Service
  • Medical care
  • Financial roles
  • Solicitors, welfare reps, and many others

Others include;

  • Licensing (Firearms, CPV, Operators, Real Estate, and co)
  • Checks for the purpose of immigration or visa must be obtained via the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Persons under 18 years of age can also apply for a police check with the written consent of their legal guardians or Parents

What shows up in a police check?

When you apply for a police check, you should know that not all the offences you committed may show up in the document. Some of these offences do not lead to charges or summons and are not part of your conviction history. However, these convictions show up in your Criminal History Check;

  • Traffic offences that lead to conviction (drunk-driving, no license)
  • Pending court charges and offences
  • Any Sexual assault or related offences
  • Offences against corporate bodies

What does not show up in my Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

Depending on the State's legislation on Criminal records, some offences are either expunged or irrelevant in your Criminal records. The offences are;

  • Findings of non-guilt
  • Convictions outside the country
  • Diversion programs
  • Punitive measures by third party institutions or other professional bodies/unions
  • Offences outside the jurisdiction of Australian police agencies/courts

What happens if my police check takes longer than 48 hours?

All successful police checks applications via ANCC’s online portal are usually returned to the applicants within 24 to 48 hours. However, a few percentages of applications (< 30%) may be delayed due to a "manual review" from Australian police agencies.

Applications flagged for manual review requires an official to manually vet that particular application. This manual supervision could result in the application being delayed for a further 3-15 days.

Also, we do not (neither do any other agency) know beforehand which applications may be automatically referred for a manual review.

Wrapping Up

Due to the extensive processes involved in providing an authentic criminal history check, applying for a police check anywhere in Australia will require paying a stipulated fee for the checking process. Applicants may be reimbursed for the check by the requesting organisation however that is at the discretion of the 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?

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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'.

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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.

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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.

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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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Not sure where to start?

Book in a free consultation with us to discuss your organisation's employment background check needs, or to get an overview of the ANCC Business Portal.