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Catch-22 for police clearance certificate

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Hi all,

I have a decision to make about applying for a police clearance certificate that is a bit tricky. My wife (US citizen) and I have submitted a I-130 to the London Embassy to apply for a CR1 on September 2014. We have been charged the visa application fee, but have not received any correspondence from the Embassy. I have read through the very helpful DCF CR1 guide on VisaJourney, and became aware that I require a police clearance certificate for all countries that I lived in for more than 6 months after the age of 16.

The decision I need to make is: I am a South African citizen living in the UK, this means that I need to apply for a South African police clearance certificate remotely. Turn around times can vary a lot for obtaining the South Africa police clearance certificate, so I would like to apply for one ASAP (i.e. now). The problem is that we will be travelling to SA this December.

The London Embassy website states,

Note: UK police certificates are valid for one (1) year only. All other foreign police certificates are valid indefinitely, unless the applicant has traveled to the country in the last year. Bearing in mind this information, applicants must ensure that a valid police certificate is presented at the time of their appointment. (Nov 2014 http://london.usembassy.gov/document_checklist.html#police_certificate )

Does this mean that I should only apply for my South African Police Clearance certificate after I have left the country (I am worried that if I wait this might end up delaying our application down the line)? Or do you think that I can apply for a police clearance certificate now and that it will only be valid for 6 months?

Thanks!

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Having applied for a South African police clearance I would advise to apply early, but not too early as they are only valid for 6 months. The Police Clearance could end up holding up the entire process for you. If you are going to South Africa in December you could submit your application use DHL or Fedex to send it in to SAPS. And then when it's completed you could have a family member or friend mail it back to you in the U.K. OR you

can also use a service to help you obtain a Police Clearance if you feel like you need to get it in a hurry while you are in South Africa. http://www.bunnyhop.co.za/policeclearances.htm#and http://www.dontq.co.za/personalpoliceclearance.aspx

If you use one of these companies and the PCC is not ready when you leave it could be mailed to you in the UK.

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