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Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4020

This is commonly referred to as the “genuineness” criteria to avoid visa fraud and must be satisfied by the Department of Home Affairs in almost all types of visa applications to Australia.

This criterion is used to identify if a visa applicant or a member of their family have provided bogus documents or provided false or misleading information to the Department of Home Affairs.

What is PIC4020?

Public Interest Criterion 4020(1) states:

There is no evidence … that the applicant has given, or caused to be given … a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in a material particular….”

False and Misleading Information

A visa refusal on the basis of PIC4020 can occur if false or misleading information is provided in relation to:

  1. the current application being processed; or

  2. a visa which has been held by the applicant within the last 12 months

False and misleading is information any information that is:

  1. false or misleading at the time it is given, and

  2. relevant to any of the criteria considered when making a decision on an application.

Examples include:

  • a false or inaccurate statement or information in a document

  • a false or misleading employment reference in support of work experience claim.

Bogus Documents

Bogus document is defined as:

  • purported to have been, but was not, issued to that person; or

  • counterfeit or has been altered by a person who does not have authority; or

  • was obtained because of a false or misleading statement, whether or not made knowingly.

Examples include:

  • digitally altered photos to support claims of relationship or identity, passports or identity cards that have been altered

  • submitting a false English Language test certificate.


Failure to provide adequate documentation or information to prove your identity can result in the Department not being satisfied as to your identity. The Department takes this matter very seriously. Failure to meet this requirement would mean a 10 year ban with no waiver available.

Consequences of breaching PIC 4020

If your visa application has been refused based on PIC 4020, you may be banned from applying for another visa for a minimum of three years (or up to 10 years where identity is concerned), unless a waiver has been granted.

Your family members, including those that are not migrating will similarly be barred for no less than 3 years from Australia.

It is important that you ensure that your visa application remains truthful and consistent and all subsequent visa applications remain consistent with your previous applications if you have made one in the past.


A waiver is available but only on limited and specified grounds.

A waiver will only be granted where one of the follow circumstances is satisfied:

  • compelling circumstances that affect the interests of Australia; or

  • compassionate or compelling circumstances that affect the interests of an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand Citizen;

A waiver is not available if you have failed to satisfy PIC 4020 on the basis of identity.

Do you require further assistance

If you have further questions about the above, or have any other immigration related query, please get in touch with our experienced team. Contact us by email at or by phone at +614517572873.

This article does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an immigration professional for up to date information.


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