What Is Police Clearance

What is Police Clearance?

Police clearance, also known as a police certificate or a police check, is an official document issued by the South African Police Service (SAPS) that certifies whether or not a person has a criminal record. This document is often required for various purposes, such as employment, visa applications, adoption processes, and more.

Why is Police Clearance Required?

Many organizations and government agencies require individuals to provide police clearance as a way to ensure the safety and security of their employees, customers, or clients. By conducting a background check through police clearance, employers and authorities can verify if an individual has been involved in any criminal activities that may pose a risk to others.

How to Obtain Police Clearance in South Africa

In South Africa, individuals can apply for police clearance through the SAPS website or by visiting their nearest police station. The application process typically requires providing personal information, such as full name, date of birth, and fingerprints, as well as a processing fee.

What Is Police Clearance

Once the application is submitted, the SAPS will conduct a thorough background check to verify if the applicant has any criminal record. If the check comes back clear, a police clearance certificate will be issued to the individual either digitally or in hard copy.

Uses of Police Clearance

Police clearance is commonly required for the following purposes:

Employment: Many employers, especially in industries that involve working with vulnerable groups such as children or the elderly, require candidates to submit a police clearance certificate as part of their pre-employment screening process.

Visa applications: Some countries require individuals to provide a police clearance certificate as part of their visa application to ensure that the applicant does not have a criminal record that could pose a threat to national security.

Adoption processes: Prospective adoptive parents may be asked to provide police clearance to demonstrate their suitability and eligibility to adopt a child.

Validity of Police Clearance

The validity of a police clearance certificate varies depending on the issuing authority and the purpose for which it is required. In South Africa, a police clearance certificate is typically valid for a period of six months to one year, after which it may need to be renewed.


Police clearance is an important document that verifies whether or not an individual has a criminal record. It is often required for employment, visa applications, adoption processes, and other purposes to ensure the safety and security of individuals and the community at large. By obtaining a police clearance certificate, individuals can demonstrate their trustworthiness and eligibility for various opportunities.