Travel

Travelling to Australia with a Criminal Conviction

Are you a New Zealand citizen with a criminal record and wondering about the implications for your travel plans to Australia? We’ve got you covered! In this article, we will provide you with all the essential information you need to know when travelling to Australia with a criminal conviction.

Travelling to Australia as a New Zealand Citizen

New Zealand residents can be granted Special Class Visas upon arrival in Australia, given that they meet certain criteria. To be eligible, you should:

  • Hold a valid New Zealand passport
  • Present a completed incoming passenger card
  • Not be classified as a ‘behaviour concern non-citizen’ or a ‘health concern non-citizen’

It’s important to note that if you have felony convictions, regardless of how long ago they occurred or whether they have been removed from government records, it is highly recommended to obtain a pre-departure assessment of your criminal conviction history. This assessment will determine whether you will be assessed as a ‘behaviour concern non-citizen’ and may affect your eligibility for a Special Class (subclass 444) visa (SCV).

Convictions in New Zealand

If you are a New Zealand passport holder with felony convictions and planning to travel to Australia, you are required to complete the online enquiry form specifically designed for this purpose. The form will provide guidance on whether you might be considered a “behaviour concern non-citizen,” which can impact your eligibility for a SCV.

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It’s important to remember that the decision to grant a SCV is made by an Australian Border Force Officer at the time of your entry into the country. Any pre-travel assessment or advice provided is only guidance and does not guarantee a particular outcome at the border.

Convictions in Other Countries

If you have felony convictions in any other country, including Australia, it is essential to declare them upon arrival in Australia. Regardless of how long ago the convictions occurred, you must declare them on your incoming passenger card during the immigration clearance process. Your declaration will be assessed by an Australian Border Force Officer.

For more information about Australia’s character requirements and the supporting evidence you might be asked to provide, please visit the iBlog.

Character Assessments

If you plan to apply for another visa subclass, it is recommended to use ImmiAccount, the preferred and most convenient method for having your application assessed.

The initial processing of visa applications begins at the Australian High Commission in Suva. Character assessments under Section 501 are sent to the Visa Application Character Consideration Unit (VACCU) in Melbourne, Australia for evaluation.

Please note that the timeframe for a character assessment by VACCU varies depending on individual circumstances, but it may take up to, or longer than, six months.

FAQs

FAQ 1: What if I am a New Zealand citizen with a felony conviction?

If you are a New Zealand citizen with a felony conviction, it is important to obtain a pre-departure assessment of your criminal conviction history. This assessment will determine whether you will be assessed as a ‘behaviour concern non-citizen’ and may affect your eligibility for a Special Class visa.

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FAQ 2: How should I declare my felony convictions upon arrival in Australia?

If you have felony convictions in any country, including Australia, you must declare them on your incoming passenger card during the immigration clearance process.

FAQ 3: How long does a character assessment by VACCU take?

The timeframe for a character assessment by VACCU varies depending on individual circumstances but may take up to, or longer than, six months.

Conclusion

Travelling to Australia with a criminal conviction as a New Zealand citizen is possible, but it is essential to understand the requirements and procedures involved. Obtaining a pre-departure assessment and being transparent about your criminal history upon arrival are crucial steps to ensure a smooth travel experience. For more information, visit iBlog and stay informed. Safe travels!

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