Maritime Security Identification Card Scheme

What is an MSIC?

An MSIC is a nationally consistent identification card which is issued to identify a person who has been the subject of a background check. It shows that the holder has met the minimum security requirements and needs to work unescorted or unmonitored in a maritime security zone.

The MSIC is not an access card and the relevant authority at each port or facility still controls access to its maritime security zones. MSICs are valid for up to four years, with a background check required every two years. Those requiring an MSIC may apply for a four year or two year MSIC.

Who needs an MSIC?

A person has an operational need to hold an MSIC if his or her occupation or business interests require, or will require, him or her to have unmonitored access to a maritime security zone at least once a year.

This includes:

  • port, port facility and port service workers
  • stevedores
  • transport operators such as train and truck drivers
  • seafarers on Australian regulated ships
  • people who work on and/or supply offshore oil and gas facilities

The applicant will need to provide satisfactory evidence of the operational need to their issuing body. For example, this may be in the form of a letter of sponsorship from their employer or a port facility with whom they are engaged.

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What does the application process involve?

Once an applicant has lodged their application, the issuing body will confirm the applicant's identity, confirm the applicant's operational need for an MSIC, request a background check of the applicant by AusCheck, and if necessary, confirm the applicant's right to work in Australia. Those requiring an MSIC may apply for a four year or two year MSIC.

A particular feature of the 4 year MSIC is that the holder is the subject of a follow-up background check.

The follow-up background check is a second background check scheduled to occur on the second year anniversary of the issue of the MSIC. The follow-up background check assures that the holder continues to be eligible to hold a MSIC.

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How much does an MSIC cost?

The cost of an MSIC varies between issuing bodies. Applicants please contact issuing bodies for their current prices.

What is involved in a background check for an MSIC?

AusCheck, a Division within the Attorney-General's Department, is responsible for coordinating the background checks of MSIC applicants and people who are involved in the issue of MSICs.

The background checking process includes an assessment of:

  • A criminal records check undertaken by CrimTrac, which is used to determine if an applicant has an adverse criminal record
  • A security assessment conducted by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)
  • If the applicant is not an Australian citizen, confirmation that the applicant has a right to work in Australia

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What if an MSIC applicant has a criminal record?

Depending on the offences that a person has been convicted of, it may not be possible to obtain an MSIC. A person with an adverse criminal record is not eligible to be issued with an MSIC. However, in certain circumstances such individuals may undertake a discretionary card process. Please read the Maritime Security Identification Cards: discretionary cards fact sheet for further details.

What is the Definition of an Adverse Criminal Record?

A person has an adverse criminal record if he or she has been convicted of a maritime security relevant offence (MSRO) and sentenced to imprisonment for the offence (including a suspended sentence, periodic detention, home-based detention, and detention until the rising of the court).

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What is a Maritime Security Relevant Offence?

A maritime security relevant offence is an offence of a kind mentioned in the table below, or a similar offence against a law of a State or Territory, or of any other country or part of a country.

Schedule 1—Maritime security relevant offences (in the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulations 2003)

Part 1. Disqualifying offences: A person convicted of an offence mentioned in Part 1 is disqualified from holding an MSIC, but, under Regulation 6.08X, is entitled to seek reconsideration of the disqualification decision.

  • 1.1 terrorism
  • 1.2 treason, sedition, espionage or selling national secret
  • 1.3 weapon of mass destruction
  • 1.4 hijacking or destruction of an aircraft, vessel or offshore facility

Part 2. An issuing body must not issue an MSIC to a person who has been convicted of an offence mentioned in Part 2 and sentenced to imprisonment for that offence unless the Secretary, acting under Regulation 6.08F, decides that the person is unlikely to constitute a threat to security and approves the issue of an MSIC to the person.

If a person is refused approval by the Secretary under Regulation 6.08F, he or she may seek reconsideration of the decision under Regulation 6.08X.

  • 2.1 armed attack relating to aircraft, airport, vessel, port or offshore facility
  • 2.2 unlawful interference with maritime transport, offshore facility or aviation
  • 2.3 threat to endanger aircraft, airport, vessel or port
  • 2.4 theft of aircraft or vessel
  • 2.5 piracy
  • 2.6 assassination, murder, attempted murder or manslaughter
  • 2.7 threat to murder
  • 2.8 Aggravated assault including the following, whether or not the assault results in injury:
    • grievous bodily harm
    • actual bodily harm
    • torture
    • wounding
    • aggravated sexual assault
    • assault with use of weapon
    • assault in company
  • 2.9 kidnap
  • 2.10 hostage-taking, deprivation of liberty or false imprisonment
  • 2.11 people smuggling or people trafficking
  • 2.12 racial hatred or racial vilification
  • 2.13 affray or riot
  • 2.14 arson or sabotage
  • 2.15 threat to cause fire or explosion
  • 2.16 unlawful activity relating to weapons, firearms or explosives (not including weapons of mass destruction)
  • 2.17 armed robbery
  • 2.18 destruction of or damage to property belonging to the Commonwealth
  • 2.19 threat to destroy or damage property belonging to the Commonwealth
  • 2.20 hinder or resist government officer concerned with national security
  • 2.21 bribery or corruption
  • 2.22 extortion, blackmail or racketeering
  • 2.23 money laundering
  • 2.24 false testimony, perjury or subverting the course of justice
  • 2.25 forgery or fraud, including identity fraud
  • 2.26 supply false documentation to get a weapons, explosives or vehicle licence
  • 2.27 unlawful activity relating to passports or visas
  • 2.28 impersonate, misrepresent or falsely advertise a profession or professional status
  • 2.29 deceptive business practice
  • 2.30 import, export, supply, manufacture or cultivate illegal drug or controlled substance
  • 2.31 permit premises to be used for taking, selling or distributing illegal drugs or controlled substances
  • 2.32 conspiracy to commit an offence related to a matter mentioned in items1.1 to 1.4 and 2.1 to 2.31.

Please note that speeding fines, parking tickets, general driving offences and minor drug offences are not considered to be maritime security relevant offences.

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What if a Person's MSIC Application is Refused?

If someone's application for an MSIC is refused, they will be informed of the reason for that decision and their legal rights for a reconsideration or appeal. For more information, contact your issuing body, or email

If an applicant believes that their criminal history certificate has offences listed incorrectly, they should contact AusCheck to arrange a correction to their record.

What are My Responsibilities and Obligations as an MSIC Holder?

An MSIC holder must return their MSIC to the issuing body within one month after:

  • it expires
  • is cancelled
  • has been damaged, altered or defaced (permanently or temporarily)
  • the holder no longer has an operational need to enter a secure area at least once a year

An MSIC holder must notify their issuing body within 7 days, if their MSIC is lost, stolen or destroyed.

An MSIC issued to a person who changes his or her name ceases to be valid one month after the day on which the change is made.

Notification must usually be in the form of a statutory declaration or police report.

Obligations for four year MSIC holders

As part of undergoing the follow-up background check, a holder of a four year MSIC must notify their MSIC issuing body of all changes to their name and permanent residential address at least 2 years and 30 days prior to the MSIC expiry date printed on their MSIC. This must be done in the following ways:

  • Changes to your name:
    In person—provide to your MSIC issuing body an original certificate issued by a State or Territory authority that recognises the change of name (ie. Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages of that State or Territory).

    By post—send to your MSIC issuing body a signed and witnessed Statutory Declaration detailing your change of name (include full previous and new names).
  • Changes to permanent residential address
    You must report all changes to your permanent residential address in writing to your MSIC issuing body.

    As an example, this could be done by way of a letter, fax or email to your MSIC issuing body or by completing a form in person at your issuing body.

Please read the Maritime Security Identification Cards: New Obligations for 4 year MSIC holders fact sheet for further details.

  • Flyer: New obligations for 4 year MSIC holders PDF: 505 KB ReadSpeaker
  • Poster: New obligations for 4 year MSIC holders PDF: 2053 KB ReadSpeaker
  • Wall Banner: New obligations for 4 year MSIC holders PDF: 149 KB ReadSpeaker
  • Wallet Card: New obligations for 4 year MSIC holders PDF: 902 KB ReadSpeaker
  • Wallet Card: MSIC Holder Obligations—General Information PDF: 112 KB ReadSpeaker

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How Should an MSIC be Properly Displayed?

Unless exempted under a Notice by the Secretary of the Department, an MSIC must always be properly displayed when the holder is in a relevant secure area. An MSIC is properly displayed if it is attached to a person's outer clothing and:

  • at or above waist height
  • at the front or side of his or her body or on a band around the holder's upper arm
  • with the whole front of the MSIC clearly visible

A person is not properly displaying the MSIC if the whole of the front of the MSIC is not clearly visible at all times when it is being worn.

If someone has an invalid MSIC, incorrectly displays or misuses an MSIC, then they may be fined or prosecuted.

Where can an Applicant Obtain Further Information Regarding Their Application?

For information on where your background check is up to, please contact your MSIC issuing body.

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Possible scam alert involving Maritime Security Identification Cards (MSICs)

The Department has been made aware of possible scams originating from overseas where an individual is asked to pay money for a MSIC and Australian work visas to gain employment on cruise vessels. The scam may originate in the form of an email and often requests people to fill out an application form.

Note MSICs are only issued by organisations based in mainland Australia—there are no foreign based MSIC issuing authorities. Individuals should also note that MSICs are only required for workers who need unescorted access to maritime security zones:

  • on Australian regulated ships;
  • at Australian security regulated port facilities; or
  • Australian security regulated offshore oil and gas facilities.

Individuals who need an MSIC should only approach the MSIC issuing authorities listed at the following link:

Individuals should contact their local police authority if they suspect a fraud.

If further information or assistance is required in relation to Australian work visas, individuals should contact the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

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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

  • Additional information for Indigenous Australians PDF: 437 KB ReadSpeaker

Additional information on the MSIC Scheme can be found in the following fact sheets:

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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: 15 August, 2014