Australian High Commission
New Zealand

Travelling with a Criminal Conviction

Information on Australia's COVID-19 immigration and border arrangements

What if I am a New Zealand citizen and have a criminal history?

New Zealand citizens may be granted Special Category Visas on arrival in Australia if they:

·         Hold, and have presented to an officer or SmartGate, a New Zealand passport that is current;

·         Have presented a completed incoming passenger card; and

·         Are neither a ‘behaviour concern non-citizen’ nor a ‘health concern non-citizen’.

If you have criminal convictions, no matter how long ago your convictions were, or whether they have been removed from government records, you are encouraged to obtain a pre-departure assessment of your criminal conviction history. This will determine whether you would be assessed as a ‘behaviour concern non-citizen’.

Convictions in New Zealand

Download the Consent to Disclosure of Information (NZ Police) Form. This will allow the New Zealand police to provide the Australian High Commission with details of your criminal history.

Complete the form and return it to the Australian High Commission via the postal or email address below.

Australian High Commission
72-76 Hobson Street,
Thorndon,
Wellington 6011

Email:  [email protected]

You will be informed in writing whether or not you may be eligible for a Special Category Visa. If you are assessed as being a behaviour concern non-citizen, you are encouraged to lodge an application for an appropriate visa to enter Australia prior to your expected travel date.

Processing time for Criminal History checks is 25 working days from the date the completed form is received by the High Commission.  Enquiries in relation to the progress of checks will not be responded to if they fall within the 25 working day period.

Please note that due to privacy legislation, the Department is required to communicate only with the subject of the criminal conviction history report regarding our assessment. If you are contacting us on behalf of someone else, we are only able to provide general information.

Convictions in any other country

If you have criminal convictions in any other country (including Australia), when you arrive in Australia you must declare your criminal convictions, regardless of  how long ago the convictions occurred. This declaration is made on your incoming passenger card as part of the immigration clearance process. Your declaration will be assessed by an Australian Border Force Officer.

For further information about Australia’s character requirements and what supporting evidence you may be asked to provide, see: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/meeting-our-requirements/character

Character assessments

If you apply for another visa subclass: ImmiAccount is the preferred and most efficient way to have your application assessed.

Initial processing of visa applications begins at the Australian High Commission in Suva.

Section 501 Character assessments are sent to the Visa Application Character Consideration Unit (VACCU) in Melbourne, Australia for assessment.

The time frame for a character assessment by VACCU will vary depending upon your individual circumstances, but may take up to, or longer than six months.