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How long does a police check take?

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.


Applying to almost any organisation, roles, licenses and even probity will require you to provide a valid Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check certificate. The interpretation or use of a police check is discretionary across different organisations, depending on their internal risk control strategy. Yet, the Australian government mandates that individuals employed (in certain roles like aged care) must have a valid police check.

Now, if you are requested to provide a police check for any role you have applied for, you should know that;

  • Over 70% of police checks application through our online portal are completed and returned to the applicants within 24 to 48 hours
  • About 30% of applications are flagged for manual review by the check algorithm in the National Criminal Database.

Applying online through Australian National Character Check (ANCC)

Applicants can apply for a police check via their mobile devices, PC or Tablets through the ANCC® website. The application process/forms on the website take less than 15 minutes to complete. Also, applications done via the online portal can be completed anywhere. This makes it convenient for people with tight schedules or physical impediments.

Whenever a police check application is filled, we forward them to the national criminal database over a secured network protocol after our internal checking & compliance process is complete. The ANCC system mails the electronic copy to the applicants, with a physical copy to follow if it was requested at payment checkout.

All the procedures stated above are usually completed within 48 hours or even earlier. The quick timing makes this method convenient for applicants who have a limited window to providing a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check certificate.

When police checks takes longer than 48 hours

It is not uncommon for police check applications to get delayed past three business days. However, when this happens, the most plausible explanation is that such a police check application is being flagged for “manual review”.

When a police check application is marked for manual review, it doesn’t suggest that the applicant has failed their police check or that it is null. However, the flagging could range from further confirmation by a Check official to errors in data filled. Here are some reasons why applications may be flagged for manual review;

  • Common/Shared data (Name, Address, etc.)
  • Having shared common names like Williams, David, Douglas, Brian (for example) might lead to “slight matches” in the search algorithm. In this case, an official will need to manually check your data to see if there are any possible matches in the criminal history database for all Australian states and territories.

  • Applications referred to more than one police agencies
  • If you have changed addresses frequently within a short period, it could also draw “attention” to your application. Since the checking is initially done by A.I and is a national check for all states and territories of Australia, it may flag such "changes" as requiring attention from an official.

    Also, if you have lived in more than one state, your application will be "Checked" in those states too. The more frequently you have changed States, the more time may be required to complete your Check.

  • Unresolved previous infringements
  • Previous convictions on traffic offences (or other offences) can lead to your application being flagged for verification. It may be a good idea to ensure you resolve all past tickets, court summons, orders, and co.

  • Error in applicants’ data
  • When filling the application form, we encourage applicants to cross-check all information they provide. Our compliance team checks all applications for compliance with government requirements however it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure the information that they provide is correct and updated. Conflicting/Incomplete information on your application leads to delays in the check process.

When do I get my police check if it is delayed?

Depending on why a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check is delayed (from the above), it may take between 2 and 15 working days before your police check certificate is ready. However, our system will automatically update you with each progress that is made in your application. We also provide relevant service to any other issues you may have about your application.

Can I influence the waiting period for my police check?

Sadly, no one can influence the decisions of when a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check certificate becomes ready. We advise individuals to apply for their check earlier than they need it. We monitor all applications submitted through the ANCC® online application forms.

Do police check agencies know which applications will be flagged?

Unfortunately, all agencies including ANCC® cannot predict which applications will be flagged for "manual review". It only occurs during the automatic checking process via the national criminal database.

However, you don't need to panic when submitting your Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (NCCHC) application. We only advise that you fill in all details correctly.

What should I do if my application takes longer than 48 hours?

For now, there is nothing any applicant can do about the delay in their check. However, if there is a deadline for you to submit the police check certificate, you should contact the organisation, and relay the issue to them.

Our system automatically dispatches Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check results on the same day they are received (including weekends).

The fastest way to apply for a police check Australia

There are two main ways to apply for a police check Australia;

Via accredited bodies such as Australian National Character Check (Convenient, Online and Fast).

Via the Local Police Offices in the States and Territories.

When you apply through ANCC’s online application forms, you get a convenient, safe and secure application process completed online.

Why police checks are important

It helps organisations reach important recruitment decisions: Employers must protect the assets, life and resources entrusted in their care.

It helps Volunteering organisations: Volunteering, especially in sensitive roles like Child care, vulnerable care, and related positions require the highest form of staff assessment.

It helps individuals: Only those with a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check certificate can factually know their convictions at the criminal records. It includes knowledge about their charges and other DCOs (if any).

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.