How Long Does It Take To Get A Police Clearance Certificate In South Africa?

A police clearance certificate is a vital piece of documentation that attests to the bearer’s good behavior, and that the bearer has a recent clean criminal record. This official document is used to verify your current criminal status for immigration purposes, especially when it comes to working abroad. 

The South African police clearance certificate (PCC) is necessary to help the person who is intending to travel out, and sometimes, this document is necessary for those who have already travelled out, maybe to process their work permits, or renew certain documentation. Of course, there are arraignments made by the South African government to enable citizens who are away from the country to enable them to get this document regardless of wherever they are.

The Police Clearance Certificate is obtainable at the nearest police station, or at delegated PCC agents. South African nationals who are resident in other countries can do this at the South African embassies in their countries of residence. 

How Long Does It Take To Get A Police Clearance Certificate In South Africa?

Time is an important fact when it comes to getting this Police Clearance; many people find themselves frustrated by the long wait, especially when they do not apply for the PCC in a timely manner. In order to avoid such frustration, it is a good idea to know exactly how long it takes to process a Police Clearance Certificate. 

The time it takes to receive your police clearance certificate can vary according to individual circumstances:

20 Days: you can get your Police Clearance Certificate within 20 days if you apply at a police station. This is if you do not have any criminal record.

30 Days: you can get your Police Clearance Certificate within 30 days if you have a previous criminal record. The extra wait is because there are more extensive background checks for those who have existing criminal records. 

7 Days: you can get your Police Clearance Certificate within 7 days if you apply for an urgent (Express) Police Clearance Certificate. This can be obtained at any PCC agency.

7-9 Days: Those who have already travelled out of South Africa, but find themselves in need of a Police Clearance Certificate in order to process work-related documents can get their PCCs within 7-9 days. They need to visit the Embassy in their country of residence for their fingerprints, but send the documentation to the SAP through courier. 

How Long Does a Police Clearance Certificate Last?

The Police Clearance Certificate is not designed to be a long-term document. It is only valid for 6 months. This is because 6 months is enough time for someone to change his mind and willingly get involved in a crime. Therefore any Police Clearance Certificate issued more than 6 months ago is invalid as a legal document.

This is why you should start processing your Police Clearance Certificate just before you are ready to travel. Let us quickly tell you what you need to get it.


When Applying From Within South Africa

If you are applying for the Police Clearance Certificate from within South Africa, you are required to do so from any police station close to you. These are what you will need:

A full set of fingerprints (preferably taken at the Police Station). 

A completed application form stating: Your Full Name, Surname, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Identity Number, Identity Document or Passport, and the application fee: R96.00. 

When Applying From Outside South Africa

If you are applying for the police clearance certificate from abroad, you can do so from the South African embassy in your country of residence or the nearest police station. You will need the following:

Your full set of fingerprints on the official fingerprint form of that country, signed by the individual who took the prints. 

A completed application form (you can download it at the SAP website) stating your Full Name, Surname, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Identity Number, and a copy of your Identity Document. You will also need to pay the R96.00 application fee. You may then send the completed form, your id documents, and fingerprints, along with proof of payments to: 

The Head of the South African Criminal Record Centre

(For attention: Police Clearance Certificates)

Private Bag X308



South Africa




It may take up to 6 weeks to receive your Police Clearance Certificate by post from abroad. You can cut down that time considerably by mailing your application by courier, nominating someone back home to receive it on your behalf, and then having that person send it to you in your country of residence by courier. 

The information contained in this post may not be good for everyone in every individual circumstance. Please visit the government website to get more information on the Police Clearance Certificate, and how best to get it in your own peculiar circumstances.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *