Bogus Documents: A Guide To Surviving Allegations That You’ve Provided Home Affairs With Bogus Documents

What is PIC 4020?

Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4020 is a requirement for the grant of most visas. It is a rule which directly addresses what should happen if a visa applicant has provided Immigration with a bogus document.

The rule is found in a schedule to the migration regulations. The regulations are made pursuant to the Migration Act. The Migration Act is the main piece of legislation regulating the granting of visas for entry into Australia and for remaining in Australia.

When you have provided a bogus document to the Department, you can expect to receive a letter inviting you to comment on this. If the Department is yet to make a decision, then it may be possible to withdraw the adverse application, as a positive step you may consider taking straightaway. 

My clients fail to realise that even if a document has in fact been issued by a competent authority (issued document) the reason why you received the issued document was that you provided some other documents to the authority, the result is that the issued document is, in fact, a bogus document even though it might be perfect to look at and issued with the appropriate seals and stamps etcetera by the appropriate organ of government.

This means that if you used a bogus document to get another document then the other document is also tainted by the bogus nature of the initial document and takes on the character of being bogus itself.

What is important to understand is that false or misleading information can be provided in relation to an application that is still pending, or false and misleading information could have been provided in relation to an application that you held in the previous 12 months before you made the application that is pending.


The purpose of PIC 4020 is to punish people who have provided false or misleading information to the Department of Immigration in respect of the present applications for certain recent applications.

A “bogus document” means you have provided fake documents to the Department. 

Consequences of PIC 4020

Have you provided a bogus document to the Department, to an assessing authority, or a medical officer of the Commonwealth? And have you been challenged as being “guilty” by Immigration?

If the document relates to your identity, then you may suffer a 10-year Australian ban or a 10-year exclusion period from getting an Australian visa. Or if the document relates to something other than identity then you may be subjected to a 3-year ban. 

It can also affect your future visa applications as follows:

Family Members Affected?

PIC 4020 will also affect the future applications of members of the same family unit. Don’t put their application at risk as well. A child under 18 at the time of parents making an application and providing a pages document might have some relief in relation to the harsh consequences of PIC 4020. 

One Fails All Fail

The general rule is that if one member of the family unit provides a bogus document, then the PIC 4020 punishment is such that it affects every member of the family unit. 

The consequence is that the offending party and their family members will be excluded from being considered for the grant of a visa for a 3-year period and in cases where the bogus document relates to one’s identity, the exclusion may extend for a 10-year period.

How to fix PIC 4020 Bogus Document problem?

If you have been asked by Home Affairs to comment on a bogus document issue, then there are usually two different responses.

The first response is that you have evidence that you did not provide any bogus documents. In this case, speak to me today, I can help you put the best response to an Invitation To Comment Letter. You only have a specified time to do so if you have received a letter from Immigration.

If you did fact provide a bogus document then you need to make sure that you consider withdrawing the application straight away unless there are good reasons why you could argue that the exclusion period resulting from your offending, should not result in an exclusion period…Do you have compelling or compassionate circumstances that refusing your visa may affect the interests of an Australian citizen, an Australian PR or eligible NZ citizen? Book in a consultation with me today cust whether visa withdrawal or further submissions is the best course of action for you.

Refused based on PIC 4020?

If you are in Australia when you lodged your visa application and it was refused based on a PIC 4020 issue then you are likely to have the right to have the decision reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. You should immediately consult an Immigration expert for legal advice on how to appeal and get help preparing for your hearing. Should you wish to discuss this matter with me, then please consider booking a consultation or contact my office.

Your Experience?

Please share your comments with me.

I’d love to know more about your experience with PIC 4020 issues!

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