Who need to apply for a South African Police Clearance Certificate?
A South African Police Clearance Certificate is required if you are South African and planning to work or reside abroad. It also applies to purposes of court requirements and residency. The certificate is to confirm your criminal status in South Africa.
Some countries refer to a Police Clearance Certificate as a “Certificate of Character” or a “No Objection Certificate”.
What is the process of applying for a South African Police Clearance Certificate?
The process of applying for a Police Clearance Certificate can be tricky if you are not living in South Africa. Apparently the South African Embassy in Buenos Aires does not deal with this type of requests anymore and that I had to do it in person. After doing a little bit of research I found various companies that are willing to help you get a P.C.C. They will send you the form and you need to take your finger prints at the closest Police Station and courier the form back to them. It sounded easy.
I decided to get in contact with the Criminal Record Centre in Pretoria. They are the only people who issue this type of certificate. They do not accept forms if the fingerprints are older than 2 days. The ink must still be fresh. That ruled a courier service out because it was not possible to send a document so quick to South Africa.
I had no choice and decided to do it when I was in South Africa.
Annexure 23B is the form that you will need to apply for the certificate. You can download it from the official site. The next step is to have a full set of fingerprints taken. This is done at your nearest police station. It is important to show your South African ID book. The Police Station where you have taken your fingerprints will forward the document to the Criminal Record Centre. If you write your cellphone number on the application form, you will receive an sms with a reference number.
How I applied for my Police Clearance Certificate in person.
I did not take this route. The reason was that I had limited time and wanted to make sure that I submit the form as quick as possible. We took the fingerprints at the Police Station close to the office of the Criminal Record Centre in Pretoria. I made the payment at the Police Station and received a receipt. Once at the Criminal Record Centre, I was requested to stand in a line and present my ID with the completed form, receipt and fingerprints. They gave me a receipt and website address.
The report was ready within two days but it could take up to 21 days. My brother kindly collected the original certificate on my behalf.
If you are planning to use the Police Clearance Certificate abroad, remember it needs to be Apostilled and legalized. The Department of Foreign Affairs works with this and their office is close to the C.R.C.
I want to stress, this is the procedure that I followed. Others might do it different.