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SOUTH AFRICA – Radiological Report and Police Record Waivers
April 21, 2023
The South African Department of Home Affairs has issued a new directive providing relief to visa and permit applicants from April 11, 2023. It does not apply to those with applications which have already been filed and are currently under adjudication.
Previously, applicants for long-term temporary residence visas (“TRVs”) and permanent residence permits (“PRPs”) had to submit police clearance certificates (“PCCs”) from all countries resided in for 12 months or more since their 18th birthday, they are now only required to submit PCCs from all countries they resided in for 12 months or more, since having attained the age of 18, in the five years immediately preceding the date of submission of their application. This provides considerable relief to applicants who have resided in many countries, particularly those who did so many years ago. It can be time-consuming, difficult and in some instances, impossible, to obtain police clearance certificates from certain countries, particularly, but not only, when the foreign national lived there a long time ago and they do not have any official records.
Where it was not possible to obtain a PCC from a particular country, prior to the implementation of the directive, it was necessary to apply to the Minister of the Department of Home Affairs to waive (exempt) the applicant from the requirement to provide the document before they could apply. This process could take from 6 to 12 months, if not longer, due to waiver processing delays. This would significantly delay the foreign national’s ability to apply, and it also created a considerable amount of extra work for the Department processing the waiver requests in an already overburdened system.
Also, whereas before – except for pregnant women and children under the age of 12 years – applicants for long-term TRVs and PRPs were required to submit a radiological report completed and signed by a Radiologist, pursuant to the examination of chest X-rays, confirming that they displayed no signs of active Pulmonary Tuberculosis, the new directive exempts them from the requirement to do so. The Department’s rationale for dropping this requirement is not clear; however, applicants are already required to provide a medical report completed and signed by a medical doctor confirming that they are in a good state of health and noting any medical condition(s) from which they might suffer. It is also possible to accurately test for TB using the Mantoux tuberculin skin test, which does not require the individual to be exposed to radiation as is the case with chest X-rays. Thus, the additional radiological report was largely unnecessary.