What is a Police Clearance Certificate?
A South African Police Clearance Certificate is a vital document for individuals that want to move out of South Africa, and often for those moving in. It is an official document that is used to verify the current criminal status of an applicant for immigration purposes or for securing employment and long-time residence visas abroad. This post has been created to help you understand the validity of a Police Clearance Certificate and how you use our services to apply for this official document.
A Police Clearance Certificate is often abbreviated as a PCC.
Who can apply for a police clearance certificate?
A PCC is required for a variety of immigration and emigration applications. The official document is used to prove that the applicant is of sound character, and is not deemed to be an undesirable person regarding the law of the host country.
According to the South African Police Service, the definition of a PCC looks like this:
“Regulation 1 provides that a “police clearance certificate”, means a certificate issued by the police or security authority in each country where the relevant applicant resided for 12 months or longer after attaining the age of 18 years, in respect of criminal records or the character of that applicant, which certificate shall not be older than six months at the time of its submission: Provided that the certificate shall not be required from a foreign country in the case of a renewal or extension of a visa but from the Republic.”
So just what is the validity of a Police Clearance Certificate?
South African Police Clearance Certificates are generally valid for 6 months, but it is the prerogative of the institution who requests the certificate to state the required age of the certificate. In general, police clearance certificates can be used for six (6) months from issuance.
Keep in mind that a police clearance certificate does not contain details pertaining to validity; it is only issued with a date stamp. However, different countries place different validities on such documents. This means that even though there is no set validity, an individual might not be able to submit the document for official use after 6 months from issuance.
Depending on the length of your travels, you may wish to contact the relevant embassy, high commission, consulate, or other organization to see whether your certificate will still be valid when you intend to use it. The validity of a Police Clearance Certificate is, as mentioned, not stated on the certificate itself.
Some countries, such as Spain, do not accept police clearance certificates that are older than 3 months. Should you need to use your police clearance certificate in countries that have a 3-month validity period on official documents, your certificate will also probably have to be legalised either by means of apostille or a certificate of authentication before it can be submitted for official use.
What is the validity of a police clearance for apostilling or authentication?
It is very important to note that after 6 months, a PCC cannot be apostilled or authenticated in any manner. However, DIRCO takes the 6 months into account as “full months or part thereof“, meaning that after 5 months and one day, a police clearance is already not valid for an apostille or authentication.
What is the validity of fingerprints for a police clearance?
Lastly, what about applying for a South African police clearance – how old can your fingerprints be? The answer is 12 months, so right up until the last day of a full year. If you took fingerprints on the 26th of September 2019, they will be useable until the 25th of September 2020.
Get in touch with questions and for advice
Apostil.co.za can help you obtain your South African Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) and assist you with a wide range of legal documentation needs. For more details, feel free to get in touch with us today.