After you stayed in a particular country whether as a citizen or as a foreign business owner and you want to immigrate to another country, you will be required to obtain a police clearance check as evidence that you aren’t a criminal who is trying to evade prosecution.
It is called different names around the world, whatever the name is called in your country of residence, they serve the same of objective:
to certify that the holder or applicant have a clean criminal record.
The cost of obtaining this record varies from country to country. However, it is more expensive to get in a corrupt country where you have to bribe officials or you’re frustrated or unnecessarily delayed for failing to rub palms.
It is also very important to note that this clearance is majorly issued by the police or any authority that carries out criminal record check on residents.
What is Police Clearance Certificate (PCC)?
The Criminal History Record Check or Police character certificate is an official document issued by the Police as a criminal background check on those who are immigrating or changing country of residence.
It is demanded globally so that the host country doesn’t have to carry the security threat of another country through travel.
It is proof that you’re a law-abiding person and of good character
Who needs PCC?
As a student or skilled worker who just landed an opportunity in the United Kingdom, the United States or any other country around the World, you will be required to obtain Police Clearance Certificate from your country of residence (e.g Nigeria) before allowed entry to another country.
For instance, if you’re sponsored by a UK companies to come work as a foreign worker, you will definitely need this document to for verification so that your employer doesn’t take a criminal liability as staff.
A U.S citizen who has been managing his business in Nigeria for several years (e.g five years) and wants to immigrate to Germany to further his business extension needs police clearance.
When is it necessary?
The scope varies, depending on each country’s law, applicants may be required to submit police certificates from the countries in which they have stayed beyond certain periods.
It could be weeks, months, and years as clearly stipulated by the country’s immigration law:
Nigeria: A foreigner who has live-in Nigeria for more than 30 days
Canada: Countries where applicants have resided for 6 months or more.
New Zealand: Countries where applicants have resided for 12 months or more.
Australia: For citizenship applications, countries where applicants have resided for 3 months or more if the applicants have been outside Australia for more than 12 months since acquiring permanent residency; for visa applications, countries where applicants have resided for 12 months or more.
Ecuador: Country where applicants have principally resided during the last 5 years.
United States: Countries where applicants have resided for 6 months or more.
An escapee from prison can’t obtain it, it isn’t issued to 419 or any other person who has been found guilty of criminal offences and serving a jail term.
The Same Document, Different Names
As earlier noted, it is called different names by countries around the world.
Check some of them below:
- Criminal History Record Check
- Police Clearance Certificate (Nigeria)
- Police extracts
- Good citizen certificate (Hong Kong)
- Police Check
- Judicial Record Extracts (UK, Australia)
- Good conduct certificate (Nigeria)
- Identity History Summary Check
- National Police History Check (Australia)
- NPF Character Clearance (Nigeria)
- Criminal Record Check
Who issues it?
It varies from country to country, but it’s majorly issued by the Police or a security agency saddled with the responsibility of feting and checking the criminal record of its citizens or residents.
For instance, Police Check is undertaken and issued in the United States of America by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In Ethiopia, it is issued by Ethiopian Federal Police Commission Forensic Investigation Department.
In South Africa, it is issued by the South African Police Service, while the payment is made to the South Africa Police Service’s account in favour of the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service.
6 Significance Police Criminal Record Check
You may want to ask, “Why do I need to obtain a police clearance certificate?”
1) To ensure that those who committed an offence face the consequences of their action.
2) In Nigeria, it is mandated for someone who wants to occupy a sensitive position to obtain it e.g to be a member of the Armed Force, you need a police check which is called police attestation.
3) It is mandatory for if you are invited by the Canadian Immigration office to complete your application for a temporary or permanent residence (as a worker).
4) You will also need to upload a Police character certificate if you want to proceed on a post-graduate programme in United Arab Emirates, UK, Canada, Russia or any foreign institutions.
5) An employer may also request you to provide a police clearance report before you are fully employed (this is very rare).
6) Even as a tourist to another country, you will need a police character cert. to show that you don’t have an “outstanding” criminal record back home, and ensure that you won’t be a threat to your host country.
3 Major Ways To Obtain Nigeria Police Clearance Form
There are three major ways through which you can get cleared by the Nigeria Police Force through the Central Criminal Registry Force C.I.D. Annex, Lagos.
- Physical application at the force CID headquarters (see address below)
- Application through Nigeria Police Force website (the most ineffective ways)
- Application within and outside Nigeria through a third-party service (the most effective but costlier)
Here are the requirements you will need to present at application and collection locations (in Nigeria):
- Ten digit fingerprint on Nigeria prescribed format:
- Passport copy (front and back):
- Application form:
- PCC processing fee:
- 5 passport size photos (if you’re applying through a third party).
- Valid international passport
- Application fees: minimum of (N10,500-N50, 000) it varies.
If you have been added to the pool of International Experience Canada (IEC) or through Express Entry (which has been considered the simplest way to relocate to Canada), then you might need to start processing the required document-police certificate-so that your application will not be late when it is needed.
How much is Nigeria Police Clearance Certificate?
The Nigeria Police Force is silent about how much it costs to get a criminal record check.
When we visited the Facebook page of Nigerian Police where it publishes a guide on how to obtain it, the manager of the page was silent on the cost. Several inquiries sent to the admin were ignored.
However, we’ve received reports from applicants that the price varies, most especially when you’re using the physical application method.
The PCC physical application price varies as follows:
- NGN10, 500 (If you’re close to police authority)
- NGN15, 500 (If you’re referred by a junior police officer)
- NGN20, 000 (If you’re a complete “stranger” )
- NGN23, 000 (If you are using an intermediary)
- NGN30,000-NGN50, 000 (If you look too foreign and rich)
We’ve heard stories of those who claimed to have spent NGN60,000 to get PCC in Nigeria.
However, passing through an intermediary at the Nigerian Police Command in your state or at the CID Registry Office, Alagbon, Lagos, could make you pay more.
If you flaunt your wealth then you could be charged NGN100,000 or more at the issuing office.
The cost of Nigeria Police Clearance Certificate is marred with corruption, as such the price ranges between NGN10,000 to NGN50,000.
Sometimes, you may have to negotiate with the issuing officer if you’re using physical application to get a moderate price.
Third-Party Application Price:
There are several third-party services you could use to get your police clearance check, but it comes with a price. If they must take the stress off you, then you must be ready to pay for their service.
Using third-party service to obtain PCC costs between NGN50,000 to NGN240,000, according to our check. And you must include the above prescribed documents.
If you’re using the official police portal, you can only download the form, you’ll be mandated to pass through the physical method, which creates room for corruption
You know what you should be budgeting for, it’s time to take the three application methods one after the other:
PCC Physical Application at Force CID, Lagos
- Step 1: Ask for the criminal registry office, Alagbon, Lagos.
- Step 2: Pay the charge fee
- Step 3: Collect and fill application form and attach your passport photograph.
- Step 4: Proceed to the forensic desk. It could take some minutes here, depending on the number of applicants ahead of you.
- Step 5: Wait for your record to be processed and collect your certificate.
Physical application can be done at:
Central Criminal Registry Force C.I.D. Annex
Alagbon Close Ikoyi
Alagbon, Lagos State
How To Get to Criminal Registry Office, Alagbon, Lagos:
The Criminal registry office isn’t far from Obalende motor park. Ask for directions when you get to the park, it’s a popular area in Ikoyi
For someone who is coming from Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo or anyone from the Soutsouth or Southeast or North and would like to get it done in Lagos,, here is the direction. From Berger bus stop to Obalende and ask for further direction if you’re driving.
How long does it take?
If you are applying at the Criminal registry office in Lagos, you can get it within a day, depending on the number of applications before you.
If you are applying from your state command, you may it may take between 7days to 14 days since the State Command only collate applicants’ record and forward to the Criminal registry office in Lagos.
PPC Application via Nigeria Police Force website at npf.gov.ng
Wherever you are in Nigeria, you can download the Criminal record check form on the official portal of the Nigeria Police Force.
At the time of updating this post as of Thursday, October 28, 2021, police authority have deactivated the link to make an online application.
In 2018, the online application was available on npf.gov.ng/character/index.php but it has been removed.
The guide on its Facebook page has also been deleted. But there’s still a guide on the portal which directs prospective applicants to make physical applications at their offices.
This may create an avenue for bribery and corruption and makes it more tedious for applicants. Police form is record that should be done with high integrity, when bribery is involved, the form may be comprised and it could be issued to criminals
We’ll update the process when the police make available the online form.
Police Clearance Application Via Third-Party Service
This process could be done through two ways: 1) Via Nigerian Embassy, 2) Via Third-party service
Through Nigeria’s embassy:
Application for police clearance check isn’t restricted to those who are based in Nigeria, those who reside in any part of the world can also submit their application for the clearance form.
For instance, if you are applying in Canada, the application can be submitted by mail to:
The Commissioner of Police
Central Criminal Registry Force C.I.D. Annex,
Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
Or send to the official email address of the Police email@example.com
- A pre-paid return courier envelope
- Three photocopies of your international passport bio-data page with necessary visa stamps
- Three copies of a properly filled application form
- A set of fingerprints taken and certified by a recognized police authority or the Nigerian embassy or consulate
- An international money order payable to the Nigerian Police Force, CID.
Your email may never get response.
If you’ve received ITA or Invited to Apply email as a result of your application for Canadian Express Entry Immigration, you will need to upload it in your Electronic Application for Permanent Residence (e-APR). Canadian Immigration Office doesn’t accept police clearance check by email.
Via Third Party Service:
Below are the requirements you may be asked by an agent:
- Phone Number
- Place of Birth
- Passport data page
- Year of Birth
- Passport photo
- Fingerprint in corresponding boxes
Fill in your name as it appears on your passport data page
Where to download Police report form
The clearance form was available on the portal of NPF as of 2019, at the time of this report, it has been removed for a reason best known to them.
If you are applying through a third-party service, see the sample of police clearance report form you may be asked to fill
Is it a must to travel to the Criminal Registry in Lagos to get it?
No. It has been simplified. You can obtain the form at the Command office of the Nigeria Police Force in your state of residence.
Does Police clearance document expire?
Every document relating to criminal record check expires and this depends on the issuer’s immigration legislative (it depends from country to country):
Here is the validity:
- Nigeria: It lasts for three months in Nigeria (90 days)
- Australia: In Australia, a police certificate is valid for 12 months from the date of issuance (365 days)
- Ecuador: Ecuador authority recognises police certificates for three months just like Nigeria (as of 2 March 2012).
Can it be done by proxy?
No other person’s fingerprints match your own, as such, it can’t be done by proxy.
Even the third party agency would ask for your fingerprints, they would only process and send to the appropriate unit for issuance
8 Reasons Your Application for Police Clearance May Be Rejected
There are several reasons your application for a police clearance certificate may be rejected at the point of application in Nigeria and elsewhere around the World.
The known rejection reasons are:
1) If you are a drug trafficker, your application may be rejected. Even in a situation whereby you found your way out of Nigeria, the host country may dig into your past, and if you are found to have involved yourself in hard drugs, you may be prosecuted.
2) If you are found to have escaped immigration detention in another country.
3) If you are not of good character. Definition of good character may be different in your host country.
We have seen Nigerians who were deported from another country because the host country do not see them as being of good character.
5) If you escaped justice in another country, you may not be allowed into another country.
If you found your way in and you are caught you will be deported to the country where the offence was committed or you are sent back to your country to face prosecution.
6) Your police clearance certificate may be rejected if there are conflicts between your data on the police portal and what you tendered at the certificate processing unit.
7) If you belong to an association or group that has been outlawed in your country e.g Boko Haram.
8) Finally, your police clearance application may be rejected if “You have been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, or multiple sentences that add up to more than 12 months in prison.”
Police character check isn’t limited to students or tourists, businessmen and women need it if they have stayed in a country for more than a stipulated time by the law.
If you submitted your application outside Nigeria, you will still need to authenticate the document upon arrival at the Nigerian embassy or consulate in your host country.
A police clearance certificate is the same as a police criminal record check. It is called different names across the world.