The fastest way to obtain a police clearance

Many South Africans are well aware of the fact that it can take weeks, and even months, to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate from SAPS. In the first half of 2022, SAPS also experienced various backlogs due to the closure of their head office, which further delayed the processing time of these certificates at the Criminal Records Centre in Pretoria.

In this post, we take a look at the fastest way to obtain a police clearance from SAPS.

Obtaining a SAPS Police Clearance Certificate

Any individual can request a South African police clearance (PCC), regardless of whether or not they are a SA citizen. When you apply for a SAPS365 (another name for the Police Clearance Certificate), officials perform a database check on your credentials and fingerprints to determine if you have an official criminal record on the SAPS database. These background checks are performed at the Criminal Records Centre (CRC) in Pretoria. All Police Clearances are also issued at the CRC.

Applying for an urgent Police Clearance Certificate

If you need to obtain a SAPS365 in the shortest time possible, you must submit a completed application form along with proof of your identity and a complete set of ink fingerprints. If you apply for the certificate at your nearest Police Station, a police officer will assist you with taking your fingerprints. However, you can have your fingerprints taken anywhere as long as the form is stamped and signed by a lawyer or a commissioner of oaths to attest that the fingerprints are authentic.
You can also apply for an expedited PCC by using the services of Apostil.co.za. As a registered courier with the CRC, Apostil.co.za is able to deal directly with the SAPS CRC and cut out intermediaries. They apply for and collect your documents directly from the source, which significantly reduces the lead time for obtaining a police clearance certificate.

Lead time for urgent Police Clearance Certificates

When you apply for a police clearance in person, the processing time may stretch up to three months if you apply from within South Africa. It is not uncommon to see PCC applications taking anywhere between three and six months for individuals applying from outside of the country.
When you apply through Apostil.co.za, the lead time for a PCC is anywhere between 5 and 7 working days. In some cases, the timeframe can be reduced even more to merely three working days. This is what is referred to as an extreme urgent police clearance. Although Apostil.co.za prides itself on offering one of the fastest turnaround times for police clearances, delays are always possible due to loadshedding and COVID cases. Naturally, in the event that you do have a criminal record, the timeline can increase by up to a month.

Final thoughts

It is possible to obtain an expedited Police Clearance Certificate from SAPS in as little as 7 days if you work through service providers such as Apostil.co.za. Anyone that wants to apply for a South African Police Clearance Certificate must submit the following:

  • A complete set of ink fingerprints submitted on the SAPS 91(a) Form
  • A completed expedited SAPS Police Clearance Certificate Application Form
  • Clear copies of their South African ID or Passport
  • Clear copies of their marriage certificate if they are married
  • Written confirmation of why you need the process to be expedited