Every applicant must meet the Character Test and be of good character before they are granted a visa. The character test can be a complex assessment for people with convictions.
All charges and convictions must be declared in the application form and/or incoming passenger card. Failure to disclose can lead to your visa being cancelled and/or be denied immigration clearance.
People with a substantial criminal record might be requested to provide a Form 80 together with police clearances and a statutory declaration explaining in detail each charge and/or conviction. The character unit of the Department of Home Affairs is in charge of making a decision as to whether a person meets the character test and can be granted a visa and allowed to enter or remain in Australia.
The Character Test
A person does not pass the character test if:
1.The person has a substantial criminal record, which means if an individual has been:
- sentenced to death
- sentenced to imprisonment for life
- sentenced to a term of imprisonment for 12 months or more
- sentenced to two or more terms of imprisonment that total 12 months or more
- acquitted of an offence on the grounds of insanity and has been detailed in a mental facility or institution
- found not fit to plead by a Court but has been found guilty of committing an offence and has therefore been detained in a facility or institution.
2. The person has been convicted of a designated office, i.e. violence against a person, such as murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, assault, threat of violence, aggravated burglary and non-consensual sex.
3. The person escaped from immigration detention and committed an offence
4. The person is found to have direct association with person/group/organization that the Minister suspects has been involved or is involved in criminal conduct (i.e. terrorism)
5. The person is involved in people smuggling, trafficking, genocide, war crimes (whether or not a conviction has been made)
6. The person is not found to be of good character based on their past and present criminal and general conduct
7. If the person is found to pose a risk of engaging in criminal conduct, harassment, molestation, intimidation or stalking, vilify, incite discord or represent danger to the community if he/she is allowed to enter or remain in Australia.
8. The person has been convicted or found guilty of child sex offences either in Australia or overseas.
9. The person has been charged with genocide, war crime, torture, slavery, crime against humanity in Australia or overseas.
10. If there is an Interpol notice in effect or
11. If ASIO has made an assessment and has found the person to be of risk.
Character Test Assessment Process
- You must answer honestly and accurately the Character section of your application form and/or incoming passenger card.
- You may be required to provide police clearance certificates for each country where you have resided for more than 12 months in the last 10 years if you are an applicant over 17 years old. Your agent will advise on the type and quantity of police clearance certificates you must provide as it depends on individual circumstances.
- Permanent visas require you to complete and submit a Form 80 together with your visa application. If applicants of temporary visas have a criminal record, it is suggested that they also complete and submit the form.
- You may be required to provide military certificates (if applicable).
- In some cases, your registered migration agent may suggest you complete a character statutory declaration form explaining in detailed your convictions and/or charges.
- If the case officer is satisfied that you meet the character test, he/she will proceed with making sure you satisfy the rest of the visa requirement before granting the visa. If there is character issue, your case may be sent to the Character Unit (VACCU) for further assessment. This process may cause a delay on the visa decision as they may request further documents or invite you for an interview.
You can find more information about meeting the Character Requirement on the Department of Home Affairs’ website: