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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 check depending on what you need it for.

The 2 most common types are

  • a Queensland criminal history check
  • a national criminal history check.

Apply for a criminal history check at your local police station.

Queensland criminal history check

This check is most often sought for court-related purposes. It provides you with convictions for criminal offences arising from prosecution action initiated by officers of the Queensland Police Service.  It does not provide you with convictions incurred in other Australian States or Territories—you need to apply for a national criminal history check for that.

A national criminal history check is generally required if you need a police check for employment.

Only you can request your Queensland criminal history check and the results can be given only to you or your legal representative with your consent.

National criminal history checks

These are most often sought for employment or overseas visa purposes. There are three types of National Police Certificates.

Name only search

A National Police Certificate based on a search of the person's name against the criminal history records held by police services Australia-wide.

This is most often sought for employment purposes.

Name with fingerprints

A National Police Certificate based on a search of the person's name and fingerprints against the criminal history and fingerprint records held by the police services Australia-wide.

This is most often sought by persons applying for a visa to work or reside in another country, or for adoption purposes.

Name with ASIO Security Assessment

A National Police Certificate based on a search of the person's name against the criminal history records held by the police services Australia-wide, and an ASIO security assessment relating to politically motivated violence.

This Certificate is sought by persons employed or seeking employment with companies and other employers who are licensed to access security sensitive Ammonium Nitrate e.g. mining companies, agriculture.

Australian Federal Police (AFP)

The AFP provides National criminal history checks where you are -

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

Further information can be obtained at www.afp.gov.au

How to apply for a criminal history check

You can apply for a criminal history check in person at your local police station.

You’ll need to provide identification, such as a current driver licence, passport or other photo ID, and pay an application fee.

If you are living overseas or otherwise need to apply directly to the Australian Federal Police.

Fees and payment

There are different fees depending which type of criminal history check you need.

You'll need to pay when you apply at the police station.

You can pay by:

  • cash
  • bank cheque
  • personal cheque
  • money order made out to the Commissioner for Police.

The fees are:

ItemCost
Criminal histories (QLD only) $55.30
National Police Certificate (national search; name only) $56.50
National Police Certificate (national search; name and fingerprints only) $200.65
Court brief $24.65
Record of charges $55.30
Photocopy fee (after and including 10 pages of copies) $0.95 per page

Source: Queensland Police Service Schedule of fees and charges (DOC 7KB) effective 1 July 2016.

Person history

A person history is a record of all charges made against you by Queensland police officers, whether or not you were convicted of the offence. This includes cautions, community conferences and youth justice agreements.

It does not include charges brought against you outside Queensland.

To apply for your person history, write to:

The Manager Police Information Centre
Queensland Police Service
GPO Box 1440
BRISBANE QLD 4000

State your full name, any previous names, date and place of birth, and brief details of your offender history.

Also include a copy of identification, such as a valid driver licence, passport or other photo ID, and payment by cheque made out to the Commissioner for Police.

Email pic.clo@police.qld.gov.au to find out the current fee.

Blue card screening

You need a blue card to work with children and young people, either as a paid employee, a volunteer or a student.

Getting a blue card involves a national criminal history check. This takes place as part of the blue card application and screening process—so you shouldn’t need to get your own criminal history check.

Blue card screening includes other child safety screening, such as checks for child protection orders made against you or disciplinary action that didn’t result in a criminal conviction. So you may not get a blue card even if you have no criminal record.

You will not necessarily be refused a blue card if you have a criminal history, either. It depends on the type and nature of your conviction. You are, however, unable to apply if you are a disqualified person because of a past conviction for certain offences including child sex offences or possessing child pornography.

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 to them for a job, licence or registration.

Your criminal history may be checked if you apply for a job working in such areas as:

  • with children
  • for some government positions e.g. teacher, police officer
  • in the gaming and racing industry
  • a public passenger driver e.g. bus, taxi
  • in the legal profession
  • 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. Applying for a blue card is an example of when you must disclose old convictions.

Police will not give your employer information about a spent conviction on a police check unless there is an exemption requiring them 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.

Last updated
23 August 2016
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