As a vital document required for anyone wanting to immigrate, study or work abroad, a South African Police Clearance Certificate is used to verify whether or not you have a criminal record, and there are a few important points you need to keep in mind, when planning to travel from overseas.
Knowing how to plan for your application, when to apply and knowing for how long is your Police Clearance Certificate valid is essential, as well as knowing how to apply for a PCC.
Planning is important at this stage in South Africa, due to backlogs being experienced at the SAPS Criminal Record Centre in Pretoria, which has been exacerbated even further by the unrelenting load shedding we’re all experiencing.
For how long is your Police Clearance Certificate valid
We’re going to take you through the basics involved in applying for a police clearance certificate here, simplifying it as much as possible so that you aren’t too overwhelmed by what you may be facing in obtaining a PCC:
When do you need to apply for a police clearance certificate?
The bottom line is that a police clearance certificate is used to prove that you don’t have a criminal record against your name, since the country you’re going to wants to be certain that you aren’t an undesirable person, especially when it comes to the laws of the host country.
This is why, when you apply for a police clearance certificate, you need to supply details about which country you’ll be using the PCC in.
For how long is your police clearance certificate valid
In general, a South African Police Clearance Certificate is valid for 6 months from the date on which it’s issued.
However, it’s important that you find out about how long the PCC is considered valid in the country you are planning to visit, since the validity of your PCC may differ from this, perhaps only considering your certificate valid for 3 months, for instance.
Planning well in advance of your application for a PCC!
One of the most asked questions regarding applying for a police clearance certificate in South Africa is, why does it take so long! There’s a good reason for the fact that the SAPS Criminal Record Centre takes time with each application, especially when you consider the system of checks and cross-checks that have to be carried out, to make sure you don’t have a criminal record.
Your application has to be prepared, making sure that all the documents required have been submitted, after which it is registered on the SAPS system. Your fingerprints have to be scanned and checked against all criminal databases, after which, if you’re in the clear, the certificate is printed, reviewed by an authorized SAPS official, stamped and signed off.
There’s a lot more involved in the process than most of us realize, and with the current backlog as it is at the CRC, hampered further by load shedding, more time has been tacked onto the process.
Taking this into account, you can see that planning as far in advance to apply for a South African PCC is vital. There are certain instances in which you can be issued with an expedited police clearance certificate.
Getting the right information from the right people!
It’s easy to get confused and feel overwhelmed by much of the information available out there, with regard to how long it takes to obtain a PCC, when to apply, how to apply and how long the PCC will be valid for, which is when the team at Doc Assist should be your first stop.
Doc Assist clarifies all the information you need in a streamlined process that takes all the confusion and frustration out of applying for a PCC.