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What is a Police Clearance Certificate?

A Police Clearance Certificate, Criminal Record Certificate, and Criminal Background Check are one in the same thing. Names will vary depending on the destination requiring the certificate.

It is time-consuming to attain a police clearance certificate (PCC). However, if you know what the process entails and how to go about it. Then it makes things much easier. The information on this page will help you better understand what a police clearance certificate is. And also how you can go about applying for it yourself or through us.

A Police Clearance Certificate enumerates any criminal records that a person might have. If the person has no criminal record whatsoever, the certificate will state exactly that, as seen in the image below:

No Criminal Record

If, however, the person does have a criminal record. Then the certificate will display such on the second page of the document. Even if the person has a record, the document is still valid and legal. Therefore, you can use it in applications requiring it. The authority (e.g. a country’s government/consulate) viewing the police clearance certificate will decide if it is eligible or not.

Period of Validity

When using the document to apply for something. Then the date stamp and authenticity of the document are usually the main things in question. The police clearance is valid for differing time periods depending on the country or authority you are using it with. The authenticity is verified by an apostille on the document. Or an authentication and embassy attestation, depending on where you will use the document.

Again, the date on the SAPS stamp on the Police Clearance Certificate is vital, since some countries only hold the document valid for 3 months (e.g. Spain and Portugal). This means you often have no chance of reliably getting an outcome in time.

The signature of the police (SAPS) official (usually a sergeant or commander) is also very important. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) will require it.

Authentication of Police Clearance Certificate

Firstly, when your PCC arrives in your hands. You will notice that it is a special document, stamped and signed on special paper which cannot easily be forged. It is one page long unless you have had prior convictions that are recorded on a second (or more) page.

It contains various numbers, all of which are important only to SAPS. Such as an inquiry number, transaction number, and SAPS number. The yellow-gold and blue SAPS logo and heading are centered at the top, and the person’s details are below. There is no South African ID number or passport number on any SA police clearance. As soon as you have received your PCC or seen a scan thereof, check all the details carefully.

Scan the code