Police checks for partner visa applications.

Police checks are required for all partner visa and prospective marraige visa applicants as part of the application process.

They are also required for sponsors of partner visa and prospective marriage visa applications.

A police check is required from every country the applicant or sponsor has spent a year or more in (cumulatively) in the last ten years.

Every applicant and sponsor needs at least one police check – many applicants and sponsors need police checks from more than one country.

Australian Police Checks

All time spent in a country in the last ten years (cumulatively – that is, when it is ‘added up’) counts in determining whether or not you have spent a year in a country.  So time in a country, living, working, or just visiting there all counts.

It’s relatively easy to obtain police checks from some countries – Australia for example – you apply online, pay the $42 fee and receive the police check by mail in a few weeks’ time if you are in Australia.

If you are not in Australia you can still apply online for your Australian police check.  However, I recommend that you consider getting your Australian police check posted to a friend or relative in Australia (you can stipulate the postal address on the application form).  This avoids a potential long delay in you receiving the police check if you were to get it posted to you outside Australia.

There are many different types of police checks you can obtain in Australia form both State governments and from the Australian Federal Police.

However, only one type of Australian police check is accepted by the immigration department – information on this is available on the immigration department’s website.

What to do if it’s difficult or impossible to obtain a police check from a particular country?

In some countries it can be difficult to obtain a police check. For example, it can be difficult for people who are not Indonesian citizens (but who have spent a year, cumulatively, in Indonesia) to obtain a police check from Indonesia.

The first thing you should try to do is to obtain a police check from that “difficult” country.  You should keep evidence that you have tried to obtain the police check – copies of emails, letters, etc.

Then, if after genuinely trying you have been unable to obtain the police check form that country, you could prepare and lodge a ‘Character’ Statutory Declaration with the Australian Immigration Department that explains why you can’t get the police check (attaching evidence that you have tried to obtain it), lists any convictions you may have in that country or states that you don’t have convictions in that country.

Immigration may then accept this Statutory Declaration in place of a police clearance from a particular country.

Feel free to contact me for a consultation if you need further information about this.


Ross McDougall
Immigration Lawyer


Tel: 08 8528 9187

This information is correct at July 18th, 2019.  But, keep in mind that immigration law changes from time to time.

Information (or the lack of it) contained here does not take into account anyone’s individual circumstances and should not be relied upon as immigration assistance or legal advice.

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