Applicants for Australian citizenship aged 18 years and over must be of 'good character'. Good character generally refers to the 'enduring moral qualities of a person'. If a person is found to be of good character, then we have considered that they are likely to uphold and obey the laws of Australia and other commitments they make through the
Australian Citizenship Pledge.
Applicants may need to give us a penal clearance certificate for countries visited outside Australia.
In addition, any applicant for citizenship by conferral, regardless of age, must not be approved for citizenship in certain circumstances relating to criminal offences.
National Police Checking Service (NPCS)
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) works with Australian police agencies to deliver the National Police Checking Service (NPCS). The NPCS allows people to apply for a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (NCCHC). A NCCHC is an important part of the assessment of your citizenship application.
Information from your citizenship application form is forwarded to the NPCS and Australian police agencies for checking action. These include:
- Australian Federal Police
- New South Wales Police Force
- Victoria Police
- Queensland Police Service
- South Australia Police
- Western Australia Police Force
- Tasmania Police
- Northern Territory Police Force
By signing the NPCS consent section in your citizenship application, in physical or electronic format, you are consenting to these agencies accessing their records to obtain criminal history information that relates to you, and disclosing it to us according to the laws of the relevant agency and in accordance with the relevant agency's disclosure policy.
Criminal history information may include the following:
- court convictions, including penalties and sentences
- findings of guilt with no conviction
- court appearances
- good behaviour bonds or other court orders
- matters awaiting court hearing
- warrants and/or warnings
- traffic offences.
Having a criminal record does not automatically mean you will not meet the good character requirement. Each case is assessed on its merit. It is in your interest to provide full and accurate details in your citizenship application.
You have the right to dispute your police check result if you believe it is incorrect. For further information, see ACIC’s Appeals and disputes page.