If you recall, the whole point of our trip to South Africa was to secure one document, a South African Police Report, so that my wife could immigrate to the USA.
While this can be requested via mail, the South African postal system strikes often (the current strike has persisted for several months) and even sending info via FedEx or DHL can be risky for the reasons I will share below.
In hindsight, a courier service may have obviated the need to travel to South Africa personally, but we had a great month in Africa and I have no regrets doing it myself…at least for the first portion.
The first part of the process is fingerprinting…with ink and paper. This can be completed at any local South African police station during normal business hours. You must fill out a form and also bring along a copy of your passport with the real one, allowing the police to certify the copy with a stamp.
All fingers are fingerprinted, both individually and together, and the fingerprint sheet will also be stamped to show it authentic.
With those documents in hand, you must also send 59 Rands to the South African Police Records Service as an administrative fee for the search and document showing either a clean or criminal record.
I made the mistake of doing a wire transfer through my Deustche Bank account. I was floored to see that a 40EUR charge was levied for a transfer of less than four Euros. You cannot pay in cash at the Police Records Office, but you can pay at a bank and then submit the receipt from that.
Or just Photoshop it.
One hand doesn’t know what the other is doing and I highly doubt that payments are ever actually checked based on my observations and interaction with the office. Nevertheless, I don’t recommend this.
I had envisioned a large stand-alone business with uninformed police officers handling the requests, but the Police Records Office is located in a depressing Apartheid-era office building in the heart of Pretoria.
Inside the office is an L-sharp counter with files…thousands of them…behind the counter. The office was packed when we were there, but after queuing for several minutes, the drop-off process was painless.
A clerk reviewed the documents, verified all the necessary information was present, and then handed us a receipt, telling us to hold on to it in order to claim the completed police report.
It is helpful to have a South African cell phone number listed, as you will be updated via text message twice: once to verify that the documents have been received and the police check is in progress and a second to notify of completion.
Why write this particular post on a travel blog? Because I sure could have used a post like this before I started my trip!
Read More of My Month in Africa Trip Report
Introduction: A Month in Africa
Review: Houston to Lagos in United Airlines 787 Business
Transit in Lagos: Bribing My Way Out
Review: Oasis Lounge Lagos (LOS)
Review: Gabfol Lounge Lagos (LOS)
Lagos to Johannesburg in South African Airways Economy Class
Setting Up Shop in Pretoria