What Is The Difference Between A Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) And A Criminal Record Check?

A clear criminal record is a great benefit. Whether you’re applying for a job, travelling, or moving to another country, a clean slate can open doors to countless opportunities. However, the process of obtaining the necessary documentation can be confusing. Do you need a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) or a Criminal record check? Let’s shed some light on the critical differences between a PCC and a Criminal record check and explore the different situations in which each will be applicable.

What Is a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC)?

The PCC is a document issued by the South African Police Service (SAPS). It attests to an individual’s criminal record status within South Africa and is required for various official purposes, including immigration, adoption, and emigration.   One of the significant advantages of a PCC is its international recognition. Foreign governments and organisations widely accept it as legitimate proof of a clean criminal record. This makes it an essential document for those planning to travel, work, or study abroad. The PCC specifies a comprehensive overview of an individual’s criminal history, including any pending cases or prior convictions. This detailed information is beneficial when an in-depth background check is required, such as for visa applications.

Obtaining a PCC involves a formal application process. You’d need to visit your nearest police station to submit your fingerprints, personal details, and a fee. The SAPS then conducts a comprehensive background check and, once cleared, issues the PCC. The PCC is a legal, certified document that adds credibility and trustworthiness to a person’s criminal record status. However, there are several drawbacks to this option. Firstly, the process can be time-consuming and may take several weeks to complete. Secondly, the certificate is only valid for six months, meaning you may need to apply for a new one when it’s less than ideal. Last but not least, you must submit a fresh set of fingerprints (in ink) each time you apply for a PCC.

What Is A Criminal Record Check?

A criminal record check, on the other hand, is a more simplified and informal process. It’s often the best option if you need to prove your criminal record status without the formality and international recognition associated with a PCC. The process is generally more straightforward and accessible with faster results, making it an attractive option for those who need immediate proof of their criminal record status.

Unlike PCCs, which are typically endorsed for a limited period, criminal record checks are often valid for a longer duration, making them suitable for situations where ongoing proof of a clean record is required without the need for frequent renewals. Criminal record checks are designed for conditions like job applications or applying for a rental property.

HURU provides a secure and reliable criminal record check platform for applicants. Getting a criminal record check done through HURU is a simple process that can be completed in just a few easy steps. Applicants can easily visit any of our nationwide partner locations at PostNet & Jetline, to capture their data. The onboarding process doesn’t require any prior booking, and fingerprinting is easy and clean. After applicants submit their ID number and fingerprints, the HURU system runs the information against the SAPS and Home Affairs databases to determine criminal and identity status. Once fingerprints have been uploaded, they stay on the system, and no more fingerprinting will be required for future enquiries. Depending on the level of service you select, you can receive your criminal record check in as little as 24 hours.

A Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) Or Criminal Record Check – Which One Should You Apply For?

While both the PCC and the criminal record check serve the common purpose of assessing a person’s criminal background, they cater to different needs and levels of detail. International travel or migration, government-related applications, adoptions, and emigrations usually require a PCC as part of the application process. However, a criminal record check is usually satisfactory if you need immediate proof of your criminal record status for employment or other time-sensitive matters. If you’re not sure which documentation or evidence is required, make sure to find out. If you don’t need a PCC but still have to provide proof of your background, a criminal record check is a straightforward and accessible process. Call on HURU as your background screening company of choice!

Why Should You Choose HURU as Your Criminal Record Check Agency?

HURU‘s verification system utilises various data points and biometric technology, providing reliable and correct results you can trust. Using advanced technology such as the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), HURU delivers fast and precise results. With HURU’s services, applicants can take control of their background information and ensure that potential employers, landlords or service providers receive accurate and up-to-date information about their criminal records. Contact us today or register an account to start a verification.


A Guide to Criminal Record Checks in South Africa

The Benefits of Criminal Record Checks in the South African Healthcare Industry

How Criminal Record Checks Benefit Employers and Candidates in South Africa

Register an account to start a verification