To satisfy character requirements of the 820/801 Partner Visa for permanent residency in Australia (and sponsorship of a partner to migrate), it is necessary to complete police checks in every country you’ve lived for more than 12 months in the last 10 years. For most onshore applicants (and definitely their sponsors), this will include Australia. Thankfully, the process of applying for an Australian Federal Police National Police Check is incredibly simple, quick, and inexpensive! This post will walk you through the entire process, including when to apply for your AFP police checks, completing the online application, and what to expect after submission.
Some people choose to have their AFP National Police Checks completed at the time of initially submitting the online 820/801 Partner Visa application. This is referred to as “front loading” or having a “decision-ready application”, meaning the CO could in theory pick up your application and approve it without asking for any additional documentation. It used to be a great way to speed up the visa grant process, but seems to have fallen out of fashion as wait times have gotten longer and longer.
Given that police and medical checks are only valid for one year and visa processing times often extend far beyond this (as high as 2 years for the grant of the 820 Temporary Partner Visa), many applicants choose to wait for the CO to request the checks rather than risking expiration (and having to re-do the checks).
The third, and probably safest, option is to fall somewhere in the middle of these two strategies: wait ~6 months after submitting your application, when there is a reasonable chance of having the visa granted within the next year, and then submit your police checks. This avoids waiting for a CO to request the police checks, but also (hopefully) prevents you from doing the checks twice if they expire.
Note: Both the applicant and the sponsor should complete this police check!
Submitting your application for an AFP police check
Compared to other steps of the immigration process, completing an AFP National Police Check is alarmingly simple. To get started, click this link to navigate to the National Police Check application page, and have your ID ready (your passport and an Australian driver’s licence are enough).
Select which ID documents you are going to provide from the list provided, ensuring your selections add up to greater than 100 points (list of accepted Primary ID Documents pictured above)
Upload your chosen ID as JPEG, PDF, or TIF only (under 4MB)
Check all of the files before ticking the box and continuing
Confirm your full name, country of birth, daytime contact number, Aus driver licence number, and any other names (e.g. maiden)
Do you live in Australia? Provide residential address and address start date
Provide a history of every address you’ve lived at
Confirm your application details are correct
Pay the $42 AFP National Police Check application fee and you’re done!
After completing the AFP National Police Check
After submitting and paying for your application for a National Police Check, all that’s left to do is wait— and thankfully not long at all! My partner and I got our AFP checks back in the mail within 2 weeks.
You can then scan these documents and upload them to your application under the appropriate section: Character, Evidence of.
Need to complete FBI police checks?
Obviously I can’t offer advice on completing police checks for countries other than those I’ve actually completed myself (and there are vastly different processes and regulations governing these checks around the world), but for any fellow American applicants or those who have lived in America for longer than 12 months, I wrote a comprehensive post about getting your FBI checks done while in Australia. Check it out, since the process is a fair bit more complicated than the AFP checks!
I hope this information has been helpful and I wish you so much luck on your Australian Partner Visa journey! Feel free to ask any questions below and I will do my very best to answer them.
* I am not a migration agent or affiliated with Home Affairs in any way, so all the information provided in these posts and in the comments below is based entirely on my own experience and my own understanding of the application process.
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UPDATE: A MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who’s commented on these posts to let me know that you found the information helpful— I can’t tell you how much it means to me, because it was a crazy amount of work to put this together (while I was trying to finish my PhD, no less), but knowing that it’s being used makes it all totally worth it. More importantly, though, thank you to everyone who has shared their own experience or answered questions for other readers in the comments below!!
We are building a little community of Partner Visa applicants and survivors here and it’s massively reassuring for anyone just beginning their application to hear stories of success or get advice from those who’ve come out the other end. SO, if you felt like these posts or the information in the comments helped with your application, I’d encourage you to come back after your visa is granted (or even after various milestones) and let us know what happened! It could end up being a huge help to someone else 🙂 xx Brooke