Your guide to the police clearance application form
Many people, both South Africans and foreigners to the country, require from time to time a police clearance certificate application form to apply for the document. The reasons for needing a police clearance are numerous, from obtaining work, work visas, residence permits, citizenships, marriages abroad and a host of other possibilities.
A police clearance certificate is a statement issued by the government of South Africa, specifically from the SAPS (South African Police Services) department. The document shows whether there is any record against the person whose fingerprints were run through their system. The police clearance certificate is often abbreviated (in many countries) to just “PCC”.
The application form for a South African police clearance is numbered as SAPS 91 (a). For certain applications, also through our services (listed here on our Pricing page), one can also use forms from other countries. But, under no circumstances can one apply with a digital or scanned form. The fingerprints must be taken in ink and the document submitted as an original.
Where do I obtain the South African police clearance application form?
The good news is, you can download the form, for free, right here on this webpage!
Also, on various pages of this website and on the sidebar, you can download the form. Then, all you need to do is print it out and go and complete it to accompany your South African police clearance application.
Sections on the police clearance application form
The document is one page only and consists of many sections that are not entirely well-ordered, making the form a bit challenging at first.
Section 1 and 2:
- The first section is the area where your personal details are entered. These include your full name and surname, your ID number, your place of birth, date of birth, address, race and gender.
- The second section, to the right of this, is for the SAPS department to complete (official use only).
Section 3 and 4:
- The third section of the South African police clearance application form consists only of a declaration question asking if you have any prior convictions. You then sign the document and nothing else is done by you except for your fingerprints and reason for enquiry.
- The fourth section is where someone must confirm that the fingerprints on the form are yours. Typically, within South Africa, this is done at a police station and the policeman or policewoman doing this stamps and signs.
Section 5 and 6:
- This fifth block must contain only your reason for requiring the police clearance.
- The sixth and last section block simply contain the areas for your fingerprints to be taken correctly. This must be done right – see below for more details on how to complete the application form.
To read in detail on what exactly goes on the form, see the paragraphs underneath and take close notice of the finer points of how it has to be filled in and your fingerprints added.
How to complete the South African police clearance application form
While completing the document is quite simple, there are a number of landmines to watch out for!
It is clear that the top section can be completed easily by you, but what about the ID number (if you don’t have one), address (which address?) and other questions?
- First name and surname: It is best to try and fit in all your names, however many, on the application form, but don’t go overboard. Your ID or passport copy that accompanies the police clearance application form will show all your names too, hopefully. So just the first and last is also enough.
But hold on, what about those people with a maiden name needing to be displayed on the final police clearance?
Maiden names on South African police clearances
For a maiden name to appear on a South African police clearance, the person must submit a marriage certificate showing the name change. Usually, no other document is allowed as proof. In the final certificate, the maiden name will appear next to the same words and be under your current surname/s. You cannot obtain a police clearance certificate in an old surname, only a current surname/s and an old maiden surname/s. Therefore, please note that only one maiden name can be included on police clearance certificates and SAPS will not issue more maiden names if you have them.
- Identity number: Here you fill in your South African identity number, or your passport number, but if it is a passport number, you must submit the passport identification matching the number. Only South African passports also show a South African ID number.
- Town and country of birth: Any information here will be fine, but make sure that you fill in the country of birth correctly as this will appear on your final South Africa PCC.dd
- Date of birth: Enter your valid and true date or birth. This date is part of your South African ID number, or appears on your ID or passport copy, so it is clear.
- Race and gender: For a number of reasons, both historical and political, South Africa still records these data, do not be offended and simply enter them. They will not appear on your PCC and are not important.
- Office use only: Leave blank.
- Previous conviction/s: Here you can list any previous convictions. Do not list anything unless you know for sure that you have a conviction (Traffic fines are not convictions! Unless you were charged in front of a judge, it probably is not considered a criminal record.) If you do enter something here, SAPS knows to handle your application differently as it would also need to go to a different government department to verify the conviction (which appears on the final police clearance certificate.
- Signature: Time to sign!
- Confirmation by someone that the fingerprints are yours: Someone has to take your fingerprints, but that could even be yourself. However, more importantly, the application form needs a signature and stamp showing that the fingerprints are yours. In most countries, South African missions or consulates and foreign police stations can take these for you, but really anyone who can confirm this with a signature and stamp is sufficient. Post offices, lawyers, notaries, other authorities and many more have been deemed satisfactory by SAPS.
- Reason for enquiry: It does not matter what you write here. Simply “Criminal check”, “Visa” or “Work overseas” is totally fine.
- Fingerprints: Here, your fingerprints are captured as labelled. The form shows exactly where to take the fingerprint of each finger and then the combined fingers. It is best folded at the words marked “fold” in order to take the fingerprints without smudging the others. Make very sure that the fingerprints show clear lines and are not smudged! If you have one or more fingers missing, simply write “No finger” in the block in black pen.
What documents need to accompany the application form?
Before mentioning the accompanying documentation and information, please do not forget that your police clearance application form must be couriered (not posted) to us. You can either include the below in an email or within the courier package that you send.
- A plain South Africa ID copy or a copy of any current passport (of any country, including SA). Thus if you are South African and have an ID number, use that. If you are not South African, use your current passport. If you are South African and cannot remember your ID number for whatever reason, just use any current passport (this means a passport that is currently valid from any country).
The PDF scan or photocopy does not need to be certified or notarised, but it is better if it is (even though it is digital). It can be emailed to us or sent in the courier package. There must obviously be a copy of such identification for each person requiring the SA police clearance. If a PDF scan is sent, make sure it is clear and done on a flatbed scanner, not a phone scanner, and that it is in PDF format.
- A return address is also required, usually captured on our Information Sheet. Otherwise, simply include the address and your phone number in an email.
- A marriage certificate is obligatory if you need to show a maiden name or names on the document. You cannot send in any other proof for this purpose.
No other documentation is needed. No scan or copy of an old police clearance will speed up the new one. No letters to the government or documents explaining why or what you need. No proof of payment to any party, to us, or to SAPS. No extra photos, no proof of address, no travel documents. And please, do not send us any originals, except the actual fingerprinted police clearance application form.
If you send us something that isn’t needed, we might just use it for our next company braai (barbecue) day to start the fire! (Just joking!)
What is the process if I use Apostil.co.za’s police clearance service?
The process is very simple – first navigate to our Pricing page and choose which timing option option you would like. At the time of writing, we offer services from 5 working days up until 20 working days.
Once you have chosen your service, make sure whether you need an apostille or attestation service as well, and whether you require a return courier locally (within South Africa) or abroad (outside of South Africa). All pricing for these services is on our Pricing page as well.
Once we have sent you an invoice or quote, you will have our courier address. It cannot be stressed enough that you courier the documents and do not post them, as if they enter the South African postal system, you may never see them again. It is safe to courier South African documents! Then, when we have your documents, we make the application on your behalf and collect the completed police clearance. If necessary, we then complete an apostille or attestation service.
We then scan a copy of the documentation to you. Many people ask for this, and we always provide it, with all our services and instructions. Finally, we ship your police clearance to you at the specified return address.
How soon can I expect to obtain my police clearance?
When you choose the timing for the police clearance service as per the above process, you can be pretty much guaranteed the certificate will be ready in that timing. Bear in mind the timing is quoted in working days and public holidays and weekends are not included. We achieve the timing around 98% of the time.
Also, note that you have to courier us the application form, and we need to courier the resultant documents collected back to you. This can take 2-5 working days (with DHL).
Let’s get started!
Download the South African police clearance application form today and go and get it completed as soon as possible. Courier it off to us (email or call us for our address) and make sure to send us the correct supporting documentation. Ask us any questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org right now.
We are waiting for you to send us your South African police clearance application form and other documents, so that we can quickly and effortlessly handle your application in record time!