You might have heard that getting a Police Clearance Certificate from SAPS is a process that can take anywhere between a few weeks and a few months. To make matters worse, the Criminal Records Centre (CRC) in Pretoria, where all police clearances are issued, experienced huge backlogs at the start of 2022 when the SAPS head office closed down “until further notice” due to unpaid rent and electricity bills.
But is there a faster way to obtain a police clearance from SAPS?
The process of obtaining a SAPS Police Clearance Certificate
Any person can request a South African police clearance (PCC), regardless of whether or not they are a SA citizen. When you apply for Police Clearance Certificate, which is also known as a SAPS365, officials from SAPS perform a database check against your credentials and fingerprints to determine if you have an official criminal record on the SAPS database. The Criminal Records Centre (CRC) in Pretoria is responsible for these background checks, and they are also the only issuing authority of South African Police Clearance Certificates.
Applying for an urgent Police Clearance Certificate
Anyone that needs a SAPS365 as soon as possible must complete an application form and submit it to the CRC along with proof of their identity and a complete set of ink fingerprints. If you apply for the certificate at your nearest Police Station, a police officer will assist you with taking your fingerprints. However, you don’t necessarily have to head to the Police Station to have your fingerprints taken. You can have them taken anywhere as long as the form is stamped and signed by a lawyer or a commissioner of oaths to attest that the fingerprints are authentic. It is also important to note that the only accepted fingerprint forms are those with ink fingerprints. The CRC does not accept digital fingerprint forms as they digitize the ink prints on their system as part of the process of issuing a PCC.
Apostil.co.za can also assist you with obtaining an expedited police clearance certificate. Since this document service provider is registered as a courier with the CRC, they deal directly with SAPS, cutting out other intermediaries. They apply for and collect your documents directly from the source, which is why they offer one of the fastest ways to obtain a police clearance certificate.
Processing time for an urgent Police Clearance Certificate
When you apply for a police clearance in person, the processing time may stretch up to three months if you apply from within South Africa. It is not uncommon to see PCC applications taking anywhere between three and six months for individuals applying from outside of the country. In most cases, applications done at local Police Stations are not sent to the CRC right away as the station’s application bag must fill up before it can be sent to the CRC.
When you apply through Apostil.co.za, it takes anywhere between 5 and 7 working days to obtain your PCC. In some cases, the timeframe can be reduced even more to merely three working days. This is what is referred to as an extreme urgent police clearance. It is essential to keep in mind, however, that delays are always possible due to loadshedding and COVID cases. Naturally, in the event that you do have a criminal record, the timeline can increase by up to a month.
Getting an expedited Police Clearance Certificate from SAPS can be done in as little as 7 days if you work through service providers such as Apostil.co.za. Anyone that wants to apply for a South African Police Clearance Certificate must submit the following:
- A complete set of ink fingerprints submitted on the SAPS 91(a) Form
- A completed expedited SAPS Police Clearance Certificate Application Form
- Clear copies of their South African ID or Passport
- Clear copies of their marriage certificate if they are married
- Written confirmation of why you need the process to be expedited