Foreigners who apply for an Australia visa or citizenship have to fulfill the character requirements. These requirements will help Australian officials make a decision regarding your visa/citizenship application.

Character requirements will be requested alongside additional requirements when you apply for an Australia visa.

What Are the Character Requirements for an Australia Visa?

You have to meet the following character requirements when applying for an Australia Visa:

  • You don’t have a weighty criminal record.
  • You haven’t been convicted of domestic violence.
  • You haven’t been subjected to a restraining order as a result of domestic violence.
  • You haven’t been accused, convicted, or charged guilty with sexual assault towards a minor (one or more offences).
  • You aren’t considered a security risk by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
  • You aren’t subject to an Interpol notice, which may label you as a possible risk to the Australian community.
  • You aren’t or haven’t previously been a known member of a group or association that is suspected to be involved in criminal activity.
  • You aren’t suspected to have been involved in people trafficking, people smuggling, war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes related to torture and slavery, regardless of whether you’ve been convicted or not.
  • You haven’t been convicted of escaping from immigration detention.
  • You haven’t been convicted of an offence that you committed as you were escaping from immigration detention, while you were in immigration detention or after you escaped from immigration detention.
  • While you are in Australia you aren’t considered a risk to:
    • Be a danger to Australia or a community part of it.
    • Partake in criminal activity.
    • Verbally abuse or write vial information about the Australian community.
    • Purposefully instigate conflict in Australia.
    • Assault, harm, or stalk another person.

Character Requirements During the Application Process

When you apply for an Australian visa, you have to make sure to:

  • Honestly answer all the questions in the visa form.
  • State all of your criminal activity (if there is any).
  • Present all the information that is required by the Immigration Office.

You’re more likely to receive a visa if you are completely honest during the application process.

Character Requirements After You Apply for an Australia Visa

Once you submit your visa application, the Australian Immigration Office may ask you to provide extra documents regarding the character criteria:

  • Police Certificate.
  • Military Certificate.
  • Character assessment
  • Statutory Declaration.
  • Letter of good conduct from employer (if applicable).

In case you are asked to submit a statutory declaration, the statement needs to be in English.

Police Certificate for Australia Visa

A police certificate is usually a statement issued by government officials (police force, civil courts, ministry of defense, etc.), which shows that you don’t have a criminal record. In case you have one, a police certificate will contain a copy of your record.

These certificates are known differently depending from country to country:

  • Police Clearance Certificate (PCC).
  • Good Conduct Certificate.
  • Penal Clearance Certificate.

Usually, this document is valid for a year. If you are asked to provide one, make sure it’s not expired. Police clearances don’t have to be copies, you can submit original versions but, the document has to be in English.

If you’ve lived in different countries for more than 12 months, you have to provide police clearance certificates from each country. The documents have to cover:

  • The entire time you were in the country.
  • The time from when you turned 16 up to the date the certificate was issued.

How Do I Get a Police Certificate for an Australia Visa?

You have to find out which administration in your country issues police certificates, and then make a request to receive one. The time it takes to issue this certificate depends from country to country, some may take less than a day, while others months.

Applicants Who Are in Australia at the Time of Application

If you have been in Australia for more than 12 months during the last 10 years, to get a police clearance certificate you must submit an Australian Federal Police National Police Check; you won’t be required to submit your fingerprints.

Military Certificate for Australia Visa

Applicants who completed military service may be asked to submit a military certificate. This is usually requested in cases where the service was for longer than 12 months. Applicants may also be asked to submit a police certificate from the countries they served for more than a year including the periods where they were stationed at a military base.

You can also submit a letter from your commanding officer stating that you did not commit any crimes during the time you served in the military.

Character Requirements for Ship Workers

Applicants who have spent more than a year in the last decade working in merchant ships, cruise ships, private yachts, or oil rigs, have to submit a police certificate. The country under which the ship operates is responsible for issuing the certificate.

Applicants should also provide a letter of good conduct from every ship’s captain. The letter has to provide:

  • The name of the ship.
  • The nature of the applicant’s job.
  • The dates when the job started and ended.
  • A brief statement about your character.

In cases where applicants have worked less than 12 months in a particular ship, the letter of good conduct will suffice.

Can I Still Get an Australia Visa With a Criminal Record?

If you don’t meet the above-mentioned criteria (including having a criminal record), it’s most likely you won’t receive a visa. However, every application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and you may be given a visa even if you committed some of these offences.

What if I Fail the Character Requirements for an Australia Visa?

Applicants who fail to meet the character requirements as set out by the Immigration Office will most likely be denied the visa request. If a visa is denied based on the character requirements, applicants may not be eligible for other Australian visas, except for humanitarian and protection visas.

In cases of visa denial, applicants have a limited number of days to lodge a request for visa reconsideration. The request must be submitted at the institution in question where you applied for the visa, i.e., the Department of Foreign Affairs.

However, in cases of serious crimes, such as sexual crimes involving a child, a decision reconsideration is not permissible.

Character Requirements for Australia Citizenship

For citizenship applications, it’s important to provide evidence that you are of good character. The eligibility criteria for good character is defined as someone “enduring moral qualities of a person”, by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Meeting this requirement means that you will uphold all the Australian laws and any other commitments you pledge during your citizenship vow.

It’s important that you provide all the information regarding your criminal record to the department when you apply for citizenship. This may include:

  • Charges.
  • Court convictions.
  • Cases where the applicant was found guilty with no conviction.
  • Court appearances.
  • Good behaviour bonds.
  • Cases waiting for court hearings.
  • Warrants or police warnings.
  • Charges related to traffic.