SOUTH AFRICA: Automated Biometric Criminal Records Checks Introduced

Hard copy South African Police Clearance Certificates are no longer required for in-country applications. 

Previously, any expat over the age of 18 who has resided in South Africa for 12 months or more requires a hard copy South African Police Clearance Certificate to support various immigration application processes. The collation for hard copy South African Police Clearance Certificates can take up to eight weeks to process.

Delays in the acquisition of the South African Police Clearance Certificate have resulted in expats missing the required submission times. These times are the standard no less than 60 days prior to the expiry of the expat”s existing South Africa visas, as required by law for in-country processes only.  

With effect from 1st October 2016, the Department of Home Affairs will automate the police certificate process. Biometric fingerprints which are recorded digitally at the Visa Application Centre at the time of application submissions will be utilised. The results of the criminal records check will then be sent directly to the Department of Home Affairs for processing.

The Department of Home Affairs will continue to accept hard copy South Africa police certificates until 31st October 2016. After this point, the automated verification will become mandatory.

Please note that, since this article was written, the Department of Home Affairs has postponed the introduction of an automated biometric criminal records check system, without announcing a new launch date. We will provide updates as and when they become available.

If you require any additional information regarding the above please contact us at enquiries@newlandchase.com

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