Can you go to Australia with a Criminal Record?
If you are planning on visiting Australia with a criminal record, you must note that Australia has very strict rules regarding visas for individuals with prior criminal convictions. So it’s quite appropriate to ask: Can I travel to Australia with a criminal record? The nature of the crime, and the sentence served together with your change of lifestyle and rehabilitation, all play a part in determining whether or not you are granted a visa.
Declaring criminal convictions
What criminal convictions do I have to declare?
Any criminal convictions must be declared when applying for an Australian visa, however minor and regardless of how long ago they were incurred. Failure to do so, could mean that you are denied entry, even if you do have a visa.
How to apply for an Australian visitor visa when you have a criminal record
The difference is in how the applications are processed. Most visa applications are processed and issued electronically. However, if you have criminal convictions with a custodial sentence, (irrespective of the country you are from), you cannot apply for a visa using the standard on-line system. When an applicant has criminal convictions, they are usually allocated to an Australian Immigration case officer. The case officer will decide how the application is processed, and what is required for the visa application.
Registering your request to apply for an Australian Visa, when you have criminal convictions
To start the application process, you must first register your request on-line, at which time you pay our professional fee, as above.
- You will have to pay an Australian Government application fee for processing the application.
- If the application goes for further character assessment,you will have to pay a further fee
- Additional fees that may apply are for a police clearance certificate.
- There will be additional fees (payable directly to the agencies involved) if any documentation requires verification
Additional requirements when applying for you visa
Being able to support yourself financially during your stay in Australia
Supporting individuals with Criminal Convictions through the Visa Application process
Our team have years of experience in dealing with Australian Visa Applications for individuals with convictions. After accepting your application, a named member of our team will contact you to help you through the process. Because of our experience in processing these applications, we have a good idea of what a case officer will be looking for. Once we understand your circumstances, we can advise you on the information that you need to prepare and present to Australian Immigration. This is what your representative will do:
- Your representative will assess your circumstances and prepare a checklist of suitable information to support your application
- They will check through the supporting information that you provide and advise on any changes that may be required
- Your representative will assist with the preparation the presentation for Australian Immigration
After the application is lodged with Australian Immigration, your case will be assigned to an Australian Immigration case officer who has delegated powers to make a decision on an application.
- Your representative will inform you of an any queries that occur. They will advise and assist with a suitable response
- They will present the reply to the case officer.
Australian Immigration may refuse the visa application and there is generally no appeal process. But, unless the case officer puts in place an exclusion notification, you can apply again.
How long will it take to get a visa if you have criminal convictions?
When criminal convictions are involved it typically takes at least 3 months, but it could be up to 12 months, to obtain a decision on a visa dependent on the severity of the sentence and the exact pathway that is deemed suitable for the application by the Australian immigration case officer assigned to your application.
The time it takes to process your visa application will depend on the nature and severity of the offence(s), and the length of sentence. When we have more information on your specific circumstances, we should be able to provide you with an estimate.
Things to note about your passport:
- On the day that you enter Australia, you must have at least 6 months remaining on your passport before it expires
- The visa is linked to the passport that you used in your application. This means that, if you renew or replace your passport (for whatever reason), you will have to re-apply for a visa.
Conditions of your visa, once granted:
Depending on your personal circumstances and the reason for your visit, a grant can be issued for a single visit with the time allowed for the trip restricted to less than the normal 90 days.
Otherwise, the normal conditions are:
- Your visa will normally be valid for 12 months from the day it is granted.
- During this time you are normally allowed to visit Australia multiple times, but will be allowed to stay no more than 90 days on each visit.
- You are not allowed payment for work carried out in Australia
Visiting Australia with a criminal record: Frequently Asked Questions
What is a criminal conviction?
Where a crime has been committed and the culprit has been found guilty in a court of law.
Is a traffic offence a criminal conviction?
Yes. If this is your only offence, it will not restrict your ability to obtain a visa.
Can you travel to Australia with a criminal record?
Yes, provided you have applied appropriately and have been granted an entry visa
Can I go to Australia with a drink driving conviction?
Yes. If this is your only offence, it should not restrict your ability to obtain a visa.
Do you have to declare a drink driving conviction for an Australian visa?
It depends on the circumstances and the nature of the sentence
What criminal convictions prevent travel to Australia?
If you have a substantial criminal record, it is possible that you will be refused entry into Australia. A substantial criminal record will make the application process more complex and will take longer for a decision.
Offences which occurred over 10 years ago with a 12-month (or more) custodial sentence, no longer count on local police searches. However, they are still relevant to Australian entry visa applications.
The period since the offence: When making an application to travel to Australia, the period without re-offending is taken into account, together with your current lifestyle.
Suspended sentence: It is the length of the sentence – whether suspended or not – rather than the time served, that is taken into account, along with the nature of the crime.
Can I get an Australian visa with police caution?
Yes, a caution is not a conviction