South Africa – Launch of Automated Police Clearance Postponed

As previously reported, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa announced foreign nationals would no longer need to apply for a South African police clearance certificate at a police station, if applying in country.  However, the launch of the automated system has been postponed by the DHA until further notice.  A new launch date has not been released.

The automated system, originally due to be launched October 1, 2016, was meant to replace hard-copy police clearance certificates. These are currently required for temporary residence visa and permanent residence applications by foreign nationals over the age of 18 who have previously resided in South Africa for 12 months or more.

Obtaining a hard-copy South African police clearance certificate can take three to four months and severely delay application processing. The postponed system would significantly reduce application processing times.

The planned new system would use applicants’ fingerprints, recorded digitally at VFS visa application centers, to check against the South African police database.  The results are sent directly to the Department of Home Affairs for processing. It would not be available for applications submitted outside South Africa.

With the delay of the automated system, employers should allow plenty of time for temporary residence visa and permanent residence applications requiring a South African police clearance certificate.