What is the change? U.S. citizens and permanent residents needing an FBI clearance for an Australian visa can now use select FBI-approved channelers to obtain clearance.

What does the change mean? The change could save significant time in the visa-application process.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing. 
  • Visas/permits affected: Any visas for which FBI clearance is required. 
  • Who is affected: U.S. citizen and permanent residents who require FBI clearance to obtain an Australian visa.
  • Impact on processing times: The FBI’s current processing time for issuance of clearance is approximately 12 to 14 weeks. FBI-approved channelers are able to issue clearance significantly faster.
  • Next Steps: U.S. citizens and permanent residents can now use the following FBI-approved channelers when obtaining FBI clearance for purposes of visa processing: National Background Check, IncNational Credit Reporting and Telos Identity Management Solutions, LLC.

Background: Foreign nationals often need police clearances in order to obtain certain subclasses of Australian visas. When police clearances are required as part of the visa application process, foreign nationals need to obtain the relevant clearances for those countries they have lived in for at least 12 months in the past 10 years.

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection recently began accepting clearances from the three FBI-approved channelers, who are able to expedite the process by submitting the applicant’s information to the FBI and obtaining the clearance from the FBI. In some cases non-U.S. nationals who have lived in the U.S. will require FBI clearance for an Australian visa. However, FBI-approved channelers are only permitted to process requests from U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

BAL Analysis: Using an FBI-approved channeler could significantly reduce the time it takes to receive necessary FBI clearance when applying for a visa. Visa applicants should contact their local BAL attorney if they have any questions about the process.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact

MARN: 9683856

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