How Do You Apply for a Certificate of Clearance?

Last updated on June 28, 2018

You might have heard the term ‘Certificate Of Clearance’ (COC) while tuning into Crimewatch on Channel 5 and wondered what it meant. This article will give you an overview of all that you need to know about the COC in Singapore.

What is a Certificate of Clearance?

A COC is issued to Singaporeans by the Singapore Police Force to certify that the individual applying for it has no criminal record within a stipulated period of time in Singapore. One may need to apply for a COC for reasons such as migration, adoption, overseas employment, or further education. Applications may be done online or  by visiting the COC office in person to apply. The most convenient way to apply is through the online eService system which was launched in June 2016.

Eligibility Criteria for Obtaining a Certificate of Clearance

As a pre-requisite, applicants must be above the age of 16 and must be able to produce documentary proof which indicates that a COC or police clearance is required and for what purpose. For instance, for migration-related purposes, an official letter issued by the country’s immigration authority requesting for the police clearance from Singapore is needed. While for adoption, an official letter from the relevant adoption agency, indicating the requirement for a police clearance, is needed. Upon acceptance of the application, one will then receive an email/ SMS notification to book an appointment to have his fingerprint impressions taken at the Police Cantonment Complex. The COC will be issued after the verification of one’s fingerprint impressions.

Applicants residing overseas will be required to mail a hardcopy of your fingerprint impressions taken at an authorized institution in your country of residence (such as police stations or embassies), and enclose it with a copy of the eCOC Acknowledgement Slip. The Acknowledgement Slip will be generated when your online application has been completed. Upon verification of the fingerprint impression and eCOC Acknowledgement Slip, the COC will be mailed to your posting address indicated in the online application form.

On the other hand, non-Singapore Citizens such as Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs) may only apply for a COC after submitting an appeal. The outcome of your appeal will be sent to you within 5 working days. You may submit an appeal via the Electronic Police Centre.

Documents required

Applicants should prepare the following documents beforehand (with all documents translated in English, if written in any other language):

  1. SingPass and/or Foreign Identification Number (FIN)
  2. Scanned documentary proof indicating that a COC is required and for what purpose:
    1. in PDF format not more than 2MB in size
    2. a letter from the embassy, overseas offer letter for employment/education, etc.
  3. Scanned biometric page of applicant’s valid passport
    1. in PDF format not more than 2MB in size
    2. front page with photo and particulars only
  4. Scanned Identification Document (ID), front and back
    1. in PDF format not more than 2MB in size
    2. your NRIC, Work Permit, etc
  5. Scanned or digital passport-sized photograph
    1. in jpeg format not more than 60kb in size preferably with the dimension of 400 by 514 pixels
    2. taken within the last 3 months
    3. formal facial expression on a white borderless background
    4. displays full face without any obstructing headgear (headwear worn due to racial or religious customs are acceptable but must not hide facial features)
  6. Valid Credit/ Debit Card (VISA/MASTERCARD) or i-Banking account for online payment

For applicants residing overseas who are required to mail the hardcopy fingerprints with eCOC Acknowledgement Slip:

  1. Fingerprint impressions refer to fingerprints of right and left thumbs, and the 4 fingers of both the right and left hands

Important points to note:

  1. The processing fee for each application is $55.00 (an additional overseas postage fee of S$5.00 applies for applications via post from other countries).
  2. For applications by post, payment can be made with a bank draft made payable to ‘Head Criminal Records CID’ through a financial institution with a subsidiary bank based in Singapore for clearance.
  3. Payments received are non-refundable once the application is accepted.
  4. Processing time for each application is 10 working days for Singapore Citizens and 15 working days for appeal cases.
  5. Applicants may collect the certificate in person or through a proxy. An authorization letter is required for collection by proxy with a valid photo identification for verification.
  6. For overseas applications by post, the certificates will be posted to the forwarding address as indicated by the applicants in the application.

Besides a COC, applicants may choose to apply for a statutory declaration through a Commissioner for Oaths or a qualified legal practitioner.

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Certificate of Clearance
  1. How Do You Apply for a Certificate of Clearance?