Problems with the 2023 Digital AFP National Police Check Certificate

What’s happened to the Digital AFP National Police Check Certificate?

We’ve just been advised by the Australian Federal Police that due to changes to the encryption and security features on their digital National Police Check certificate, the new/current digital certificate cannot be printed.

If you’re not sure whether your certificate is the new/current version or the previous version, just try to print it. If your certificate is the current version, the option to print will be blocked. If your certificate is the previous version, the option to print will still be available.

All National Police Check certificates include a QR code. Anyone with the code or the link can access your certificate online (for downloading or verification purposes). The version of the certificate available online from the AFP will be the same as the digital certificate that you received directly from the AFP. This means if the digital certificate that you received cannot be printed, then the version available online also cannot be printed.

What’s the problem with being unable to print the digital certificate?

If the digital certificate cannot be printed, then it cannot be notarised.

If the digital certificate cannot be printed, then it cannot be authenticated or legalised.

If the digital certificate cannot be printed, then it cannot be stamped with an apostille.

What can I do about it?

You must order the hard copy certificate.

If your AFP National Police Check certificate must be notarised, authenticated, legalised or stamped with an apostille for use in other countries, you must order the hard copy certificate. If you didn’t order the hard copy certificate in your initial application and you’ve already received your digital certificate, you can still call the AFP to ask them to send you the hard copy certificate. You can even speed up the process by asking the AFP to send the hard copy certificate directly to our office.

Was this always a problem?

No, this is only a recent problem.

Last year (2022) when the digital AFP National Police Check certificate was first announced, it could be printed. At that time, we notarised the printed copy of the digital certificated. We also arranged for the notarised printed copy to be authenticated and legalised or stamped with an apostille. If you still have a digital certificate from last year, check whether it can be printed. If it can, then we can help you with notarisation, authentication and legalisation or with the apostille. If it can’t, then it means you’ll need to order another certificate (this time with a hard copy certificate) or contact the AFP to see whether they can send you the hard copy certificate of your certificate.

Is it always going to be a problem?

Hopefully not.

Having a digital certificate doesn’t always have to be a problem. The intended recipient could always accept the digital National Police Check certificate because it can be verified online. However, recipients in other countries generally require certificates to be authenticated and legalised, or stamped with an apostille. That’s now a problem for everyone who only receives the digital certificate that cannot be printed.

If more people encounter the same problem and enough people complain, maybe the AFP will revert to its previous printable digital certificate. But until then, if you must send your AFP National Police Check certificate to another country, please order the hard copy certificate.

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Do you have any questions?

Sending documents from Australia to other countries can be complicated. We make it simple.

If your documents must be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and then legalised, we can help with that too. We've also created a flowchart to explain the process.

Not sure what you need? Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

So, what's next?

Visit our Notary Fees page for a free quote for our notary public services. Otherwise, call us on +61 2 9687 8885 to speak with our friendly team about your requirements.

Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?

We're a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. We're known for our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries, our low-cost fixed fees and service offering, and our availability to help on short notice.

Our office is conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area. We help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.

Ern Phang, Notary Public
Ern Phang
Notary Public

This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney.

Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to other countries.

All information on this website is for general purposes only and correct at the time of publication. Only rely on information and advice that is specific to your situation and current at the time you wish to rely on it.