The Department of Home Affairs has postponed the introduction of an automated biometric criminal records check system without announcing a new launch date.

The automated system, originally due to launch on October 1, 2016, was to replace hard-copy police clearance certificates. These are 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 several months and delay application processing severely. The postponed system would significantly reduce application processing times.

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

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Angela Volz: