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Defence Member and Family Support

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608


In order to commence a career within the ADF, you must satisfy mandatory medical clearances, immigration and security requirements.

Medical clearance

As a part of the application process, you will be required to submit a completed medical pack, which includes:

  • service medical records
  • medical history questionnaire
  • entry level medical examination form completed by a Service or private general practitioner, and
  • pathology reports.

Once the medical pack is completed and submitted, it will be reviewed by an ADF Medical Officer. They will determine if the medical entry standards for the Service and employment category that you have applied for have been met.

If you are deemed suitable for a position in a specialist area such as aviation, submarines, or diving, for example, you will be required to undergo a further specialist review.

Important: Medical clearance can be undertaken at the same time as security clearance processes. However, you must pass the required entry medical standards before starting the immigration process.


Appointment/enlistment of overseas applicants to the ADF is managed under a Labour Agreement between the Australian Department of Defence and the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Important: The Overseas Lateral Recruitment Scheme is not applicable to Australian citizens, including holders of dual citizenship. 

The Labour Agreement applies strict guidelines with which Defence must comply in the selection process. It provides the basis for sponsorship for an Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) permanent residence visa.

On receiving your acceptance of the offer, the sponsoring Service will apply for immigration sponsorship on your behalf. The Service will nominate you (and any dependant family members included in your application) for a permanent residence visa. This must be done before you lodge your visa paperwork.

You will be required to complete and pay for the visa application and fund the associated costs. You and your family will also be required to undergo a separate medical process for your visa application at your own cost. In addition, you will need to provide documentation and police checks for each country you have lived in (also at your own cost).

This part of the immigration sponsorship process can take up to three months. On approval, the recruitment team will email you the confirmation and supporting documentation to enable you to start your visa application.

Important: If you, or any of your dependants nominated on your visa application, do not meet immigration requirements, you will not be granted an Australian visa.

Visa application

Once you receive confirmation from the ADF Service sponsor that your visa nomination has been submitted and you have received a copy of the Employer Nomination, you may start your visa application. You will be applying for a Permanent Residency visa under subclass 186 of the Labour Agreement.

The ADF has limited ability to assist you with this stage as your visa is managed and granted solely by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. However, it is recommended that you identify ADF staff as the authorised point of contact on your visa application. This will allow ADF staff to request information about your application and to submit details on your behalf.

Further details will be provided to you at this stage of your application.

Important: It is recommended that you do not resign from your current position until your visa application has been officially approved.

Security clearance

You will be required to complete an Australian Government security clearance. The security clearance process may be undertaken at the same time as your visa application.

Important: Any costs incurred for your security clearance will be reimbursed only if you are enlisted/appointed into the ADF and provide the relevant receipts.

It is strongly recommended that you carefully prepare all documentation and provide them to the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) or the process will be delayed. Failure to successfully complete this stage may result in your application being withdrawn.

Australian security arrangements require that applicants must have a checkable background of at least 10 years which can be verified by AGSVA. Any security sensitivities and anomalies are considered early in the application process.

Military cooperation arrangements necessarily reflect the government‑to‑government arrangements that enable AGSVA to conduct a thorough background check with the vigour required to grant a suitable security clearance.

For foreign security clearance to be recognised, all of the following conditions must be met:

  • The clearance held is current or has lapsed or was cancelled for administrative reasons (such as leaving the service of that foreign government) within the six months prior to enlistment in the ADF.
  • AGSVA can properly confirm the details of foreign clearances in advance of enlistment, in cooperation with its allied security agencies.
  • No issues of a security nature exist or have been identified by either the foreign government or by AGSVA investigations.
  • AGSVA administrative requirements are met by both the applicant and the recruiting service.

At all times, AGSVA reserves the right not to recognise or accept a foreign security clearance or to withdraw any clearance granted on security grounds. If AGSVA is unable to adequately confirm the foreign security clearance to its satisfaction, then recognition cannot occur.

Up-front costs

You are responsible for the costs incurred in completing your application and undertaking the assessment process, including any relevant medical tests or appointments, visa, English language proficiency testing (including any English language assessments undertaken) and other immigration matters.

A breakdown of visa costs using an estimator can be found online on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website. The costs of medical tests vary.

If your application is successful, the following costs incurred will be refunded:

  • Visa lodgement fee - for you, your partner and recognised dependants under 18 years (if applicable)
  • Health examinations - for you, your partner and any recognised dependants under 18 years (if applicable)
  • Radiological report -for chest x-rays for you, your partner and any recognised dependants under 18 years of age.

You can claim reimbursement for some costs once in Australia. Evidence such as receipts will be required so ensure you keep receipts for all of the costs associated with your application. When you arrive at your new unit, you must provide these receipts to the Overseas Admin and Civilian Relocation Team for reimbursement.

Related: Arrival in Australia