Urgent Police Clearance Certificate – How to Get it

The Police Clearance Certificate is an official document attesting to your good conduct. It is basically an endorsement from the South African State, specifically from the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management (CR & CSM) in Pretoria, South Africa. This document is required to show that you have a clean criminal record. Without this document, it is becoming increasingly difficult to travel out of South Africa because foreign governments are not likely to residence permits, and neither are foreign employers willing to take the risk of employing a person whose trustworthiness cannot be established. 

Are you a South African living abroad, and you urgently need to establish your clean criminal record? Yes, it is possible to get an urgent Police Clearance Certificate done and sent to your location. There are certain crucial documents you must possess so as to expedite the certification. It may also be necessary sometimes to get this police clearance certificate urgently done, even while you are still in South Africa. 

Express police clearance is the same as the normal police clearance and carries all the legal weight and substance of the regular ones. The only major difference being that this one is done in about half the normal time – which is why it is called express. This can also be shipped abroad.

How To Get An Urgent Police Clearance Certificate

Express Police Clearance Certificate applications are first made at the SAPS before going to Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management (CR & CSM) in Pretoria for processing.  In order to get this document, you need to apply at the nearest South African police station close to you. If you are a South African national resident in a foreign country you can make your application at the South African embassy. It is also possible to do this at any police station in your country of residence. Whether you are living in the country or outside you need the following to get your Police clearance certificate.

  1. A certified copy of your ID or passport as proof of your identity 
  2. A completed application form which you can download from the SAPS website 
  3. If you have been recently married, and your maiden name or another surname must be included on the PCC, please ensure that you check the ‘Yes’ box and attach a marriage certificate or other documentary proof of your marriage.
  4. The procedure requires your fingerprint samples to be taken. Usually, if you were in the country this could be easily taken on a SAPS 91(a) form, which is done by the South African Police Service. However, those living abroad can have their fingerprints taken at the South African embassy in their country of residence. The prints can be taken on the legal fingerprint forms of the country in question, or on SAPS 91(a) forms if available. Please go to the South African embassy, or go to any police station in your country of residence and request assistance in getting your thumbprints done.
  5. Make the payment. You are required to pay a non-refundable fee of R150 but ensure you confirm the prevailing rates as the cost is subject to change. If you are making the application from within South Africa you can pay in cash at the police station during the application. Otherwise, you can make the payment electronically to the SAPS’ account in reference to the National Commissioner of the SAPS. Through the following account details: 

Bank: ABSA Cheque account number: 4054522787, Branch code: 632005, Swift code: ABSAZAJJXXX please note that your reference should include PCC, then your initials and surname. 

If you are applying from South Africa, immediately the application is made, the documents will then be stamped and signed, and then forwarded directly by the police station to CR & CSM in Pretoria. The applicant does not incur any further costs.  Sometimes applicants may decide that they are in a hurry, and so they may send their applications directly to CR & CSM in Pretoria using a courier service.

South Africans living abroad can forward their applications directly to CR & CSM through a courier service to ensure that it gets processed in a timely manner. The processed document will be sent to you at the address you have nominated. This usually takes around 15 days to be received even if the applicant is living in a far away country.

When is a Police Clearance Certificate Required? 

Police clearance certificates will be required in the following instances: When you have plans to emigrate from South Africa. If you want to get permanent residence in a foreign country for the purposes of work, studies or business. Sometimes this is only necessary when you apply for particular types of visas, or when you apply for particular studies abroad. 

If you apply for an express police clearance certificate the process can take between five to seven working days. Those who have previous criminal records or convictions will get their Police Clearance Certificates after 30 working days or longer because there is a more thorough searching to be done. However, as long as the applicants are not currently wanted by the South African authorities, they will get their Police Clearance Certificates.

Police clearance certificate status Enquiry 

Once your application has been received, a confirmation of receipt message will be sent to you via SMS to the mobile number you provided in your application form. This message will include your allocated reference number. After the application process has been completed, you will receive another SMS. If your application is incomplete you will be notified through SMS, and advised on what to do.

You can then check the status of your Police Clearance Certificate by making an online enquiry on the SAPS website. You will need to input your allocated reference number on the SAPS website before you can view the status of your application.



An urgent police clearance certificate is becoming an increasingly important document needed – it is advisable not to wait until the last moment before applying to get it. The PCC is valid for six months. You will need to make another application if you wish to emigrate or work in another country. 

Disclaimer: This information is for general information only, and does not take into consideration any particular circumstances. Please seek further information at the nearest police station. 

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