Maritime Security Identification Card Scheme

Fact sheet: Maritime Security Identification Cards: discretionary cards

What is a discretionary MSIC?

A discretionary MSIC may be issued to applicants who were unsuccessful in their initial MSIC application. This card can only be approved by the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department), who takes into account the applicant's individual circumstances.

A discretionary MSIC may be subject to conditions, such as a reduced validity period.

How does an unsuccessful MSIC applicant apply for a discretionary card?

Either the applicant or their Issuing Body (IB) can write a letter to the Secretary of the Department requesting a discretionary MSIC.

What is an issuing body?

An IB is the company or organisation that processes MSIC applications.

How much does the process of applying for a discretionary card cost?

An application for a discretionary MSIC is free of charge.

How long does the process take?

The Secretary of the Department will decide within 30 days to either:

  • seek additional information from an applicant or their IB regarding their circumstances, or
  • approve or refuse their application

If the Secretary decides to seek additional information, the Secretary has an additional 30 days to make a decision from the day the information is received.

A letter will be sent to the applicant advising of the Secretary's final decision.

What does the secretary consider when making a decision?

In making the decision, the Secretary of the Department will take into consideration the following factors:

  • the nature of the offence(s) the applicant was convicted of
  • the term of imprisonment, if any, that was imposed (including a suspended sentence)
  • the length of time actually served and the reason(s) for this
  • the applicant's history since the offence(s), such as their general conduct, employment history, rehabilitation etc
  • whether previously the applicant was an MSIC holder
  • anything else relevant that the Secretary knows about

What should an applicant for a discretionary card provide?

Although not compulsory, an applicant may wish to provide some or all of the following information to strengthen their case and enable the Secretary of the Department to make a more informed decision:

  • a letter from the applicant outlining the circumstances of their conviction and any other information which may be relevant to their case
  • a written reference from their employer outlining their operational need for an MSIC (one that confirms the employer is aware of the conviction(s) that made the applicant ineligible for an MSIC is preferable)
  • written personal and/or professional references (those that acknowledge the applicant's conviction(s) and subsequent rehabilitation are encouraged)
  • any other supporting material the applicant wishes to provide which may be relevant to their application (e.g. sentencing remarks)

What are the other options available to MSIC applicants?

If an applicant is dissatisfied with the Secretary of the Department's decision, they may lodge a second request to the Department for further consideration free of charge.

If an applicant is still dissatisfied with the decision, they may appeal to the Australian Government's Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Who does an applicant contact?

Applications for discretionary cards can be mailed through an applicant's IB or directly to:

The Secretary
Attention: Identity Security Section
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594
Or emailed to:

If you require further information, please contact the Identity Security Section on:

Phone: (02) 6274 7748
Fax: (02) 6274 7097

If you decide to lodge an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal:

Phone: (02) 6243 4611
Fax: (02) 6243 4600


  • Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC)—Discretionary Cards PDF: 267 KB ReadSpeaker
  • Maritime Security identification Card (MSIC)—Reinstatement of Cancelled MSICs PDF: 358 KB ReadSpeaker

Where can further information be obtained?

The legislation relating to the MSIC scheme is the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulations 2003, the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003, the AusCheck Regulations 2007 and the AusCheck Act 2007.

For further information please contact the Identity Security Section within the Office of Transport Security at

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Disclaimer: The information in this website is provided as a guide for general purposes only. While all care has been taken to ensure that the information accurately reflects the requirements of the Act and the Regulations, you should not rely on the information for the purpose of any particular action or decision.


Last Updated: 20 August, 2014