What we do

Application and Recruitment Process

How the application and recruitment process for AFP officers works

We want the best people – from all backgrounds and cultures – to join the AFP as police officers and protective service officers. Our seven-step application process is designed to find them – and ensure they will not only excel in the job, but also display all the personal qualities required to help us stay a step ahead of crime.

Application quick facts

  • Each step of the process is known as a gateway
  • There are seven gateways to pass through before being accepted as an AFP officer
  • You will need to provide proof of Australian citizenship, traffic history and level of education.

The application process

The application process

Gateway 1: Registration

To register your interest in an AFP officer role, simply begin the application process and answer a few questions and give us some background information.

Gateway 2: Entrance Exam

You will receive an email invitation when you are required to complete this gateway. The invitation will include exam times and dates. The exam is generally held in a supervised environment four times a year at various locations around Australia. However, due to COVID-19, exams may be held in a home-based setting. 

The exam consists of five online tests designed to assess your cognitive ability and emotional intelligence. 

  1. Literacy skills - Text entry and multiple choice questions (30 questions, time allowed 35 minutes)
  2. Numeracy skills - Text entry and multiple choice questions (30 questions, time allowed 35 minutes)
  3. Abstract reasoning - Multiple choice questions (30 questions, time allowed 35 minutes)
  4. Writing ability - Extended writing (1 question, time allowed 35 minutes)
  5. Emotional intelligence - Multiple choice questions (141 questions, untimed)

Progress/re-sit

You must meet the minimum score in each test in order to progress to the next stage of the application process. If you don’t pass literacy skills, numeracy skills, abstract reasoning or writing ability at the first attempt, you will be given one opportunity to re-sit. If you don’t pass emotional intelligence, you will have to wait 12 months before you can re-sit.

Practice tests

The entrance exam is administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). You can find practice tests on their website.

Gateway 3: Detailed application and integrity check

After successfully completing the entrance exam, you will be invited to submit a detailed application. This includes completing an Employment Suitability Questionnaire. After successfully completing the entrance exam, you will be invited to submit a detailed application.

For more information on suitability, you can download a copy of the standards as a PDF or Word Document.

You will also be asked to provide a traffic history from any State/Territory/international traffic authority where you have held a driver’s licence. This must have been obtained in the last three months at the time of your AFP application and cover your entire driving history up to 10 years.

You will also need to provide proof of Australian citizenship (passport, birth certificate, citizenship certificate) and driver’s licence (full, automatic-only or provisional).

You may also be asked to attend a video interview at this point to help us further understand your motivation for becoming an AFP officer.

Gateway 4: Recruit Assessment Validation centre

The Recruit Assessment Validation Centre (RAVC) consists of a number of assessment activities including written assessments, team-based activities as well as a panel interview.  

The RAVC is undertaken in a virtual/online environment with candidates based in their home location using their own ICT equipment and assessed by AFP Police Officers/Protective Service Officers. 

Applicants who meet all requirements of the RAVC will be notified of their outcome by the Recruitment Team.  

Applicants who have been found suitable across all gateways will be placed in a talent pool. Those selected for a recruit program will be contacted by a member of Recruitment with a formal offer of engagement. The formal offer will include details of salary, band level, deployment location and conditions of engagement.

Gateway 5a: Medical Assessment - meeting physical standards

The AFP’s contracted health service providers, Aspen and Sonic Health Plus, will assess you to see if you meet the AFP Medical and Psychological Standards.

The following standards must be met:

Vision

  • Monocular visual acuity of 6/9 or better in each eye (glasses or contact lenses can be worn)
  • Binocular visual acuity of 6/9 or better (glasses or contact lenses can be worn)
  • Unaided (no glasses or contact lenses) binocular visual acuity of 6/36 or better.
  • Near vision N8, aided or unaided. 

Hearing

  • Hearing level averaging 25dB or less between 0.5KHz and 3KHzin both the left and right ear without a hearing aid
  • Hearing level of 40dB or less at 4.0Khz in either ear without a hearing aid.

Gateway 5b: Medical Assessment - evaluating medical conditions

There are medical conditions that may result in a person not being able to meet the inherent requirements of recruit training and an operational policing role. Advice on whether an applicant will meet these inherent requirements cannot be provided until the applicant has undergone an individual medical assessment. There may be a requirement for specialist reports to be provided – this will be at the expense of the applicant. All information will be reviewed. Final determination is made by the AFP Chief Medical Officer. 

Medical conditions considered on a case-by-case basis

Vision

  • Colour deficiency
  • History of retinal detachment, glaucoma, radical keratotomy, full thickness corneal transplant or acute keratotomy.

Musculoskeletal conditions

  • Shoulder subluxation (an MRI may be required)
  • Clinically evident osteoarthritis of the knee (x-ray changes and effusion)
  • Shin splints or compartment syndrome
  • Clinical signs of a lumbar nerve root (straight leg raise limitation less than 40 degrees)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Chondromalacia, patella dislocation or tracking disorder, cruciate ligament repair or meniscectomy
  • Prior joint surgery or joint replacement surgery
  • Back pain and/or injury
  • Lumbar spine fusion
  • Poor muscular development, abnormal gait and limitation of movement of a joint.

Respiratory

  • Asthma (supporting reports will be required)
  • Chronic obstructive airways disease, chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Recurrent pneumothorax.

Neurological

  • Migraines and cluster headaches
  • Organic disease of the nervous system.

Endocrine

  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Thyroid disorders.

Cardiovascular

  • Systolic blood pressure over140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure over 90 mmHg
  • Organic disease of the heart or arteries
  • A history of deep vein thrombosis.

Gastroenterological

  • Liver disease
  • Hernia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome; Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Other

  • Organic disease of the bladder or kidney
  • Current chronic fatigue
  • Leukemia, polycythaemia and myelofibrosis
  • Bleeding disorders, clotting disorders and current treatment with anti-coagulants
  • HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
  • Some chronic skin conditions
  • Narcolepsy and sleep apnoea
  • BMI greater than 33 or lower than 18.5
  • Tinnitus
  • Cancer
  • Any condition that results in a 'conditional' driver's licence under Assessing Fitness to Drive for commercial and private motor vehicle drivers – medical standards for licensing and clinical management guidelines March 2012 (as amended up to 16 March, 2013).

Medical conditions that are unlikely to meet medical standards due to high risk of re-injury

  • Unreconstructed shoulder following dislocation (an MRI or MRA scan is likely to be required)
  • Unreconstructed Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears.

Medical conditions that are unlikely to meet medical standards for operational policing role

  • Epilepsy (applicant must meet requirements for unrestricted commercial driver's license)
  • Bleeding disorders, clotting disorders and current treatment with anti-coagulants.

Gateway 5c: Medical Assessment - meeting psychological standards

As part of the medical assessment gateway, applicants need to demonstrate are psychological resilience.This is done through written tests and a face-to-face interview with a registered psychologist. The results are valid for 12 months, assuming there are no changes to personal circumstances in that period.

Particular strengths must be demonstrated in the following areas:

  • Teamwork
  • Emotional self-control
  • Conflict resolution
  • Decision making under stress
  • Ability to understand other people's behaviour.

Candidates with a history or prior diagnosis of a psychological or psychiatric condition, or who have been treated with medication or therapy for such conditions, will be asked to provide relevant information.

Learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder may require additional testing and review of relevant medical information.

Candidates with a current condition such as bipolar disorder, major depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and other diagnoses leading to a psychiatric hospitalisation or requiring treatment will not meet the AFP’s psychological standards.

Use of psychotropic medication

If you’re currently taking any form of psychotropic medication (prescription medication that is affecting the mind, emotions or behaviour), you will not clear the AFP medical gateway. Examples of psychotropic medication include Zoloft, Cipramil, Prozac, Cymbalta, Mirtazapine, Effexor, and Valium.

You will need to have successfully withdrawn from psychotropic medication (under supervision from the relevant registered medical practitioner) and have been symptom free for a period of time equal to the amount of time you have been on the medication. In other words, if you were taking medication for six months, you need to demonstrate symptom-free functioning for six months after ceasing medication.

There is a cap of two years on the period you must demonstrate symptom-free functioning. For example, if you were taking medication for a period of two years, you need to demonstrate symptom-free functioning for a period of two years after ceasing medication. If however you were taking medication for a period of more than two years, you still only need to demonstrate symptom-free functioning for a period of two years after ceasing the medication.

It is very important to note that if you are currently taking psychotropic medication and are considering withdrawing from the medication in the future, this decision must be made in consultation with a registered medical practitioner. Your withdrawal must be managed and supervised by the relevant registered medical practitioner. You will then need to produce written evidence to the AFP from the same medical practitioner that you have successfully withdrawn from medication and have been functioning in a symptom-free state for a period of time equal to the period of time you took that medication.

Successful withdrawal from psychotropic medication does not guarantee that you will clear either Medical or Psychological gateway. An absence of a current or past psychological or psychiatric condition does not guarantee that the AFP's psychological standards will be met.

Gateway 6: Security Assessment

Given the nature of police and protective service work, applicants must be assessed for security-clearance suitability in order to protect official and classified resources.  

The AFP Personal Security Vetting Team will need to look at your past (going back at least 10 years) to assess your employment, residential, financial and personal history. They will see whether you have a history of disregarding the law, and you will also be required to account for any significant periods spent living in foreign countries, or regular travel abroad to regions of interest. 

If you have a partner, the security assessment will also extend to them and their background. 

A security clearance assessment is required to establish, to the appropriate degree of satisfaction, that you possess and demonstrate an appropriate level of integrity (soundness of character and moral principle) and character traits in order for the AFP to have confidence in your ability to protect Australian Government resources. Some risk factor areas of your life, including personal relationships, employment history, behaviour and financial habits, will contribute to the assessment of your integrity to establish confidence that you possess a sound and stable character and that you are not unduly vulnerable to influence or coercion.  

As part of the AFP recruitment security vetting process, all applicants will be required to provide finger and palm print biometric data which will be compared to existing biometric records managed by the Australian Crime and Intelligence Commission (ACIC) within the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS). 

Each person is assessed on their own merits, and the final determination of your suitability rests with the authorised vetting delegate. Any doubt concerning your suitability to hold an AFP security clearance must be resolved in favour of the national interest. 

Gateway 7: Fitness Assessment

The AFP Fitness Assessment (Entry Physical Competency Assessment) tests your baseline level of fitness and assesses you are at the level required to be a police officer or protective service officer.  

Fitness testing is held at various times and locations around Australia. Invitations to complete this assessment will be sent to your nominated email address.  

To learn more and access our fitness training program, visit our Health and Fitness page.

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