Criminal history checks
You may need a criminal history check for many purposes, including when you are:
- starting a new job
- travelling overseas
- attending court
- working with children
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:
- a National Police Certificate—often sought for general employment, study or overseas travel
- a Queensland Criminal History (copy of own)—often sought for court-related purposes.
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 Commonwealth Government
- requiring a check under Commonwealth legislation
- seeking Australian immigration
- currently residing overseas
If you are currently residing 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
Online applications include online payment, ID verification and delivery. If your ID cannot be verified online, you can attend your local Australia Post outlet with a copy of your online application form to finalise the request.
If your application does not require any further investigation, it can be completed within an hour.
Copy of own criminal history
- 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. Current fees are located at QPS fees charges.
Applications for an online NPC are paid via credit card, with those lodged in person at an Australia Post outlet paid via cash or EFTPOS.
Other documents available for purchase at your local police can be paid by:
- EFTPOS (if your local station has EFTPOS facilities)
- money order made payable to the Commissioner of Police.
Blue card screening
You may need a blue card to work with children and young people as a:
- paid employee
- business operator.
When employers must check records
Some employers and licensing and registration bodies are legally permitted (with your consent) to check your criminal record when you apply for a job, licence or registration with them. Examples include:
- working with children (i.e. blue card screening)
- government positions (e.g. teacher, police officer)
- the gaming and racing industry
- public passenger drivers (e.g. bus drivers, taxi drivers)
- working in Correctional Centres.
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 unless they are legally 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.