IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? South Africa is in the midst of switching to a biometric background check system for applications that require South African police clearance certificates.
What does the change mean? Foreign nationals submitting in-country applications that require South African police clearance can do so through a new service that checks their fingerprints against the South African police database. This option costs 175 rand (about US$13.85) and has been available since Nov. 1. Beginning Jan. 1, however, visa application centers in South Africa will stop accepting hardcopy police clearance certificates and will move exclusively to the automated system.
Background: South African police clearance certificates are required for foreign nationals who are submitting immigration applications and have resided in South Africa for 12 months or more since turning 18 years old. Visa application centers are now able to check an applicant’s fingerprints against the appropriate police database, eliminating the need for hardcopy police clearance certificates.
BAL Analysis: The new system will save significant time in the application process for most applicants. Those who suspect they might have a criminal conviction in South Africa, however, should disclose this to BAL in order to leave time to apply for the appropriate records to provide information to authorities about the nature of the conviction.
This alert has been provided by the BAL South Africa office. For additional information, please contact email@example.com.
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