Working with children clearance: before you apply


This is a guide for people applying for a working with children clearance in the Northern Territory (NT), also known as an Ochre Card.

You can apply online, in person or by post. Online applications are fast and easy to complete.

To apply for a clearance to work or volunteer with children, go to the working with children: apply and renew page.

Information checked

A working with children clearance is an assessment of the risk of harm or exploitation that you may pose to children. 

It involves a check of:

  • your police history
  • employment records 
  • character references 
  • or reports about your recent behaviour.

The check is conducted by the Northern Territory Screening Authority, appointed by the Minister for Children and Families.

The authority works with Screening Assessment for Employment in the Northern Territory (SAFE NT), a unit of the Northern Territory Police. 

The information you submit to SAFE NT will be kept private unless it is required by law to be disclosed.

How long your clearance is valid for

Your working with children clearance notice, the Ochre Card, is valid for two years. It is issued by the screening authority. 

You can use an Ochre Card issued for volunteering to do paid work with children if you start within the two-year period.

Renewing your clearance

A renewal involves new checks of your police history and employment records. It may take as long as a new application to process.

If you are doing paid work at that time you must pay the full fee to renew your clearance.

Changes to your clearance

You must tell SAFE NT if you are charged or convicted with a disqualifying offence or appear in court in relation to one.


You may be fined up to $76,500 for working or volunteering with children in the NT without a valid clearance.

ID requirements

You must prove your identity by submitting your original identity documents or certified copies to apply for a working with children clearance.

Your documents must be current and valid. Expired licences and passports will not be accepted.

Your documents must include at least one piece of photographic identification, also known as a primary document, to a total value of 100 points based on the list below.

Requirements for people aged under 18 years

You only need to submit one primary document.

If you do not have a primary document, you may submit a statutory declaration from your school or college principal that confirms your identify along with a photograph no more than three months old.

Identity document

Point value

Primary document

Birth certificate



Australian passport



Australian citizenship certificate


Australian driver licence40Yes

Licence or permit issued by the Commonwealth, or a state or territory government that has your date or birth and photo -  eg: firearms licence, MSIC or ASIC licence



Proof of Age Card issued by any Australian state or territory



Identity document issued by an Aboriginal Land Council that has your photograph



A statutory declaration confirming your identity written by someone you have known for at least a year. It must include all your previous names and a passport-sized photo of yourself. 



A current and valid working with children clearance notice or Ochre Card



Photo ID card showing you are a Commonwealth, state or territory government employee



Medicare, Centrelink or health care card



Credit card, debit card or passbook - one per bank



Council rates notice with your name and current residential address



Utilities notice with your current residential address



Foreign driver licence



Applying online or by post

You must provide copies of all your documents to a total of 100 points based on the table above.

Images in your documents must be clear and text must be easy to read. 

Your face must be seen in any photos provided.

SAFE NT will not return the copies of your documents. Do not mail original documents to SAFE NT.

Applying in person

You must bring all your identity documents with you when you apply.

Photograph requirements

You must submit a photo of yourself with your application for a working with children clearance.

Make sure you like the photo you submit. The photo will be used on your Ochre Card. 

Applying in person at SAFE NT

Your photo will be taken at the Darwin office. There is no cost for this service.

Other applications

You must submit a photo that meets all the following requirements:

  • is less than six months old
  • is 45mm to 50mm in height and 35mm to 40mm in width
  • shows a close-up of your head and the top of your shoulders
  • is centred and in focus
  • was taken against a pale background with no shadows
  • is a high quality image with no pixellation, ink marks or creases.

For online applications, your photo must be uploaded in JPG format.

For postal applications, or in-person applications to a Territory Business Centre or a Northern Territory police station, you must submit an original photo or a high-quality printed image.

SAFE NT will not accept photocopies of your image.

People who do not need clearance

You may not need a working with children clearance in some instances.

Short-term volunteers 

You do not need a clearance if all of the four following statements apply while you are volunteering in children’s services, a school, club, or association with significant child membership:

  • your work does not involve an overnight stay
  • you are a parent of one or more of the children you will have contact with
  • you will be under the direct supervision of someone who holds a clearance
  • your employer does not require you to hold a clearance.

You do not need a clearance if you are visiting the Northern Territory and volunteering with children for less than 14 days in a year in total.

You do not need a clearance to babysit or mind children as part of an agreement between family or friends. 

You do not need a clearance to have a child stay in your home for less than seven days in a row, for example for school billeting.

Young workers

You do not need a clearance if you are less than 15 years old. 

Entertainment services with no direct contact with children

You do not need a clearance to work or volunteer for a children’s entertainment or party service that provides food, equipment or a venue, if you have no contact with children.

This may include workers at a restaurant, performers on stage at a concert, or a catering company that delivers food.

Emergency care

You do not need a clearance to be an approved emergency carer under the Care and Protection of Children (Placement Arrangements) Regulations.

Limited exemption while your clearance is processed

Your employer can apply for limited exemption for you to start work while your application is being processed.

Read more on the for employers and volunteer coordinators page.

For employers or volunteer coordinators

You are responsible for making sure your relevant employees or volunteers in the Northern Territory (NT) have a valid working with children clearance.

Legal responsibility

You may be fined up to $76,500 for allowing someone to work or volunteer with children without a clearance.

Many employers keep records of when staff clearances expire. You should return your employee's original documentation once you have sighted it.

You can check a person's clearance online. You just need their full name and date of birth.

Go to the NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services website to check the validity of a working with children number.  

Make a group application

To coordinate applications for a group of employees and volunteers, contact SAFE NT by email or in person to make a group application and pay the fees. 

You can only submit group applications directly to SAFE NT. You can't submit them to a Territory Business Centre or police station.

See contact details for SAFE NT on the working with children clearance: apply or renew page.

Get an exemption for an employee to start work immediately

You can apply on behalf of an employee for a short-term exemption to start or continue working with children while their application is being processed by SAFE NT.

Submit a completed temporary exemption form (238.8 kb) to the working with children exemptions team.

Contact the working with children exemptions team

For information about exemptions, contact the team. 

Territory Families
PO Box 40596
Casuarina NT 0811
Phone: (08) 8999 2619