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
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
Use this form if you are a New Zealand passport holder with criminal convictions, seeking to travel to Australia. This form will provide guidance on whether you may be considered a “behaviour concern non-citizen”, which impacts your eligibility for a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV).
Note that the decision whether to grant a SCV is made at the Australian border, by an Australian Border Force Officer, at the time of your entry into the country. Any pre-travel assessment regarding your eligibility for a SCV, or any advice included in the below information is guidance only and does not guarantee a particular outcome at the border.
The processing time for pre-travel assessment (submitted via the online enquiry form) 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 be advised that due to the Christmas/New Year holiday period, processing times may exceed 25 working days.
You will need to upload a copy of one form of photographic ID when submitting the online enquiry form e.g. Passport or Driver's Licence, that clearly shows your name and signature (if using your passport, the signature is on page 3). If you do not provide a copy of a form of ID, we will not process your request.
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.
Please be aware the Australian High Commission will no longer be accepting forms submitted via email or post.
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
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.