Your criminal record is essential when seeking employment, applying for a visa, applying for loans, and other purposes. The South African Police Service (SAPS) is the primary authority responsible for maintaining criminal records and providing access to this information. You can do a criminal record check online in South Africa.
SAPS does not release your criminal record without your consent, but there are exceptions, including requests from other police forces and courts. You might need a copy of your criminal record when applying for a job or working as a volunteer, especially with children, or even when applying for insurance, a loan, or a visa.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is a document detailing one's criminal offenses per the police records of the country you are in or have been to. The report only indicates crimes you were found guilty of or pleaded guilty to. Offenses you were not found guilty of or never pleaded guilty are not included in your criminal record.
How to do a criminal record check online in South Africa?
People in South Africa obtain their criminal records through authorized platforms like AFISwitch. You need a Certificate of Conduct (a SAPS Police Clearance Certificate (CPP)). If you have a CPP, here is how to check a criminal record online in South Africa through AFISwitch:
- Visit the AFISwitch website or app.
- Create an account and provide the necessary personal information, such as your full name, ID number, and contact details.
- Read and accept the terms and conditions.
- Pay the required fees for the criminal record check. Since prices and available options may vary, refer to the AFISwitch website for accurate information.
- AFISwitch will provide your criminal record check results after investigating your background from the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management (CR & CSM) in Pretoria. It is important to interpret these results correctly.
Interpreting AFISwitch criminal record results in South Africa
The AFISwitch criminal record check app or website will give you either of these three criminal record check results:
- Clear record - means you do not have criminal convictions or pending cases.
- Criminal convictions - means you have previous convictions that can influence various aspects of your personal or professional life.
- Pending cases - suggests you have some ongoing legal cases and should seek legal advice to understand the implications of such cases.
How to request a SAPS Police Clearance Certificate
A Police Clearance Certificate (also known as a Certificate of Conduct) is an official document with a record of one's criminal convictions, pending cases, or lack thereof. You can obtain this certificate through the following steps:
- Provide your fingerprints, a copy of your identification document (ID) or passport, and any additional documents requested by SAPS at the nearest South African police station or embassy.
- Fill out an application form at the police station or embassy.
- Provide proof of payment. The prescribed fee is R170,00 per application, and the banking details are ABSA cheque account number 4054522787 (branch code 632005; Swift code ABSAZAJJXXX). In the case of an electronic payment, indicate the letters "PCC" followed by the initials and surname of the applicant as reference.
- If you live outside the country, you can forward the application, required documents, and proof of payment directly to the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management (CR & CSM) in Pretoria for processing.
- You can collect your Police Clearance Certificate approximately 15 working days from when your documents and application form reach CR & CSM. This time frame excludes postal time.
A Police Clearance Certificate can be issued by any Local Criminal Record Centre (LCRC) but is only processed by the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management (CR & CSM) in Pretoria. Only applicants identified as “Wanted” by the South African Police Service cannot be issued a Police Clearance Certificate.
What is a Certificate of Conduct?
A Certificate of Conduct or a Police Clearance Certificate is a legal document confirming that an individual is a law-abiding citizen of desirable character. The document is essential when seeking employment, travel permits, residency permits, and other circumstances.
How can I apply for a Certificate of Conduct?
Provide your fingerprints, a copy of your identification document (ID) or passport, and any additional documents requested by SAPS at the nearest South African police station or embassy. They will give you an application form to complete and request proof of payment (R170,00 per application). You can pick your Certificate of Conduct or Police Clearance Certificate approximately 15 working days from the date the CR & CSM receives your document and application form. This time frame excludes postal time.
How much does a criminal check cost?
Prices and available payment options may vary. Therefore, always refer to the AFISwitch website for accurate information.
How much does a Certificate of Conduct cost?
The stipulated fee is R170,00 per application. You should provide proof of payment at the South African police station or embassy where you applied for the Certificate of Conduct (Police Clearance Certificate).
How long does it take to get a Police Clearance Certificate in South Africa?
Once your CPP application reaches the Pretoria Criminal Record Center, you might wait almost 14 working days to collect the certificate. When the certificate is ready for collection, SAPS will send you a message on the phone number. Bring your national ID/passport with you to the same police station or embassy you applied for the PCC to collect it.
Can I check my criminal record online in South Africa?
You can check your criminal record online in South Africa through AFISwitch and other authorized platforms.
What is AFISwitch?
AFISwitch is an automated fingerprint identification service for criminal background checking. The company has a contract with the South African Police Service to render the service on its behalf.
Can you do a free criminal record check with ID number in South Africa?
Authorized platforms like AFISwitch will charge you for their services and require you to create an account to access their systems and check your criminal record.
How to check if you have a criminal record using ID number in South Africa?
Create an account with authorized platforms like AFISwitch to check criminal records online using your ID number. You must also provide personal information, like your full name and contact details. You must have a Certificate of Conduct (Police Clearance Certificate) to do a criminal record check on these platforms.
How long does a criminal record check take in South Africa?
Authorized platforms like AFISwitch will immediately provide your criminal record report if you do not have a past or pending criminal case. If you have a past or pending criminal case, you will get your criminal record report within three to four weeks.
You can do criminal record checks online in South Africa through authorized platforms like AFISwitch. If you disagree with the results, you can file a complaint to the platform you used or report to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
DISCLAIMER: This article is not sponsored by any third party. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
Briefly.co.za also explained how foreigners can apply for birth certificates in South Africa. The parents' citizenship will determine a child's citizenship, and if both parents are foreign nationals, the child may be eligible for dual citizenship.
Moreover, undocumented foreign nationals born in South Africa are issued with a certificate free of charge on registration of their births.
Source: Briefly News