Criminal history checks

You may need a criminal history check when you are:

  • starting a new job
  • working overseas
  • adopting a child.

There are different types and levels of criminal history checks. Which type to apply for depends on what you need it for.

The 2 most common types are:

Learn more about documents available for purchase from the Queensland Police Service (QPS).

Australian Federal Police checks

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) provides national criminal history checks when you are:

  • seeking employment with the Australian Government
  • requiring a check under Commonwealth legislation
  • seeking it for Australian immigration purposes
  • living overseas.

If you are living overseas, you must apply directly to the AFP. Learn more about police checks from the AFP.

How to apply for a criminal history check

National Police Certificate

You can apply for a National Police Certificate (NPC) conducted by the QPS either online or in person at your local Australia Post outlet.

Online applications include online payment, ID verification and delivery.

If your application does not require any further investigation, it can be completed within an hour.

Copy of own criminal history

You can apply for a Queensland Criminal History (copy of own) in person at your local police station. You’ll need to:

  • provide identification, such as a current driver licence, passport or other photo ID
  • pay an application fee.

Fees and payment

There are different fees and payment methods depending which type of criminal history check you apply for.

Applications for an NPC can be paid for either online or in person at an Australia Post outlet.

Other documents available for purchase at your local police can be paid by:

  • cash
  • bank cheque
  • personal cheque
  • money order made out to the Commissioner for Police.
Criminal histories (QLD only) $60.60
National Police Certificate (national search; name only) $61.90
National Police Certificate (national search; name and fingerprints only) $219.75
National Police check processing fee $5.95
Court brief $27.00
Record of charges $60.60
Photocopy fee (after and including 10 pages of copies) $1.10 per page

Source: Queensland Police Service Schedule of fees and charges (PDF, 72KB) effective 1 July 2019.

Blue card screening

You need a blue card to work with children and young people as a:

  • paid employee
  • volunteer
  • student
  • business operator.

Find out more about blue card screening and how to apply .

When employers must check records

Some employers and licensing and registration bodies are legally required to check your criminal record when you apply for a job, licence or registration with them. They include:

  • working with children (i.e. blue card screening)
  • some government positions (e.g. teacher, police officer)
  • the gaming and racing industry
  • public passenger drivers (e.g. bus, taxi)
  • the legal profession
  • working in prisons.

Employers and licensing and registration bodies must follow the law when determining suitability for a job, licence, or registration.

Old (spent) convictions

Each state has different laws about old convictions (also known as ‘spent convictions’). Under spent conviction laws, employees and job applicants don’t have to disclose old convictions to anyone unless the law specifically requires them to.

In some cases, you must disclose old convictions, such as when you apply for a blue card.

Police will not give your employer information about a spent conviction on a police check unless they are required to do so.

If your employer finds out about a spent conviction by other means, such as word of mouth, they are not allowed to consider it when deciding whether to offer you a job.

Find out about criminal records and spent convictions.