October 8th, 2020
This is the department of Immigration’s policy on police clearances
5.14 Can the validity period of a National Police Check be extended?
The validity period of a National Police Check cannot normally be extended as it has only a 12 month validity
period for migration purposes.
However, if a visa application is close to approval and the applicant’s certificate has expired within the last
three months due to delays caused by the Department, the Department’s policy is that the case officer can
grant an extension to that certificate.
The following conditions should be met:
• the certificate must state there are no disclosable outcomes
• the extension can only be up to the date of the visa grant and
• the total period of the extension must not be for more than three months from the expiry of the initial
12 month validity period.
If a visa application is not finalised within the extended (15 month) period, the applicant must provide a new
certificate. This applies to all visa applications, including those where the Department has been responsible
for delays in processing.
If the applicant is overseas whe
n the certificate expires and has not returned to Australia since the expiry
date, the certificate can be extended to the time of the visa grant
5.15 Can the validity period of an overseas police clearance certificate
5.15 (a) – Onshore applicants/sponsors
Where a certificate has expired and the applicant has returned to the country that issued the certificate for
more than two months in total (as a cumulative period) since the certificate expired, the applicant will need to
provide a new certificate. The fact that the applicant would not meet the threshold of having lived for
12 months or more in the last 10 years in the country that issued the certificate, is irrelevant in this respect.
A new certificate must still be provided.
Example: a Japanese applicant applies for the third subsequent Investor Retirement
(subclass 405) visa in Australia and has resided 9.5 years out of the past 10 years in
Australia. The applicant provided a Japanese penal certificate three years ago when
applying for the previous visa, but has returned to Japan for 5 months since the validity of
that certificate expired. The applicant will need to provide a new penal certificate from
The exception to this is for Permanent Partner visa applicants where a new certificate is required only where
the applicant has returned to the country that issued the certificate for a cumulative period of 12 months or
more since the grant of the temporary partner visa (subclasses 309 or 820). However, if there are character
concerns, a new certificate must be requested, even where the period is less than two months.
Where a certificate has expired and the applicant has not returned to the country that issued the certificate, a
new certificate is not required.
For example, offshore penal certificates and waivers for third countries obtained by TPV and SHEV holders
as part of a previous TPV/SHEV application can be reused for a subsequent TPV/SHEV application, as long
as the holder has not travelled back to that country for more than two months.
The time allowed on a visa for initial entry to Australia is tied to the 12 month validity of any penal or health
checks. This is to ensure that the applicant enters Australia while the penal and health certificates are still
valid. This 12 month period is set under policy and is not a requirement under the Regulations. This period
within which the visa holder must make initial entry to Australia, is a condition of the visa. It is not a criterion
for grant and must not be confused with the visa period as described in section 68 of the Migration Act.
5.15 (b) – Offshore applicants
The certificate can be extended by up to three months by the case officer if the application is close to
approval and the delays have been caused by the Department.
The same conditions apply as in section 5.14 – ‘Can the validity period of a National Police Check be
For overseas posts, the decision to extend the certificate should be made by an A-based staff member or in
consultation with an A-based staff member. Where a certificate has expired and the applicant has not
returned to the country that issued the certificate, a new certificate is not required.
There may be some circumstances where an ‘offshore’ applicant has been in Australia since providing police
clearances and is required to be offshore for the grant of their subsequent visa. If the offshore penal
clearances are older than 12 months, there may be no need to request new clearances unless the person
has spent over two months in any country other than Australia since the issuance of the previous certificate.
Visa processing officers should ensure that they have regard to country information when deciding whether
another certificate is required.