How Do You Apply for a Certificate of Clearance?

Last updated on October 22, 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.

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 authorised 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.

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:
    • In PDF format not more than 2MB in size
    • A letter from the embassy, overseas offer letter for employment/education, etc.
  3. Scanned biometric page of applicant’s valid passport
    • In PDF format not more than 2MB in size
    • Front page with photo and particulars only
  4. Scanned Identification Document (ID), front and back
    • In PDF format not more than 2MB in size
    • Your NRIC, Work Permit, etc
  5. Scanned or digital passport-sized photograph
    • In jpeg format not more than 60kb in size preferably with the dimension of 400 by 514 pixels
    • taken within the last 3 months
    • Formal facial expression on a white borderless background
    • 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 authorisation 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.

Arrest and Investigation
  1. Police Investigation Process in Singapore
  2. When Can the Police Arrest Someone?: Arrestable and Non-Arrestable Offences in Singapore
  3. Police Arrest Procedure in Singapore
  4. Can a Civilian Arrest a Criminal in Singapore?
  5. Is lying to the police or authorities a punishable offence in Singapore?
  6. Surrender of Passport to the Police and How to Get It Back
  7. What to Do If You’re Being Investigated for a Criminal Offence in Singapore
  8. Can You Say No to a Lie Detector Test in Singapore? And Other FAQs
  9. Do You Have a "Right to Remain Silent" to the Police in Singapore?
  10. The Extradition Act: What If You Commit a Crime and Flee Singapore?
  11. Warrant of Arrest: What to Do If It is Issued Against You in Singapore
Bail
  1. The Essential Guide to Bail and Personal Bonds in Singapore
Prosecution
  1. Magistrate’s Complaints, Private Summons and Private Prosecutions in Singapore
  2. Prosecutorial Discretion in Singapore
  3. What is Private Prosecution?
  4. Compounding or Composition of Offences in Singapore
  5. Criminal Records in Singapore
  6. Plea Bargaining in Singapore: All You Need to Know
Criminal Proceedings
  1. Criminal Compensation in Singapore
  2. What Can I Do to Protect Myself in Self-Defence in Singapore?
  3. Claiming Trial as an Accused
  4. Mitigation Plea
  5. Pleading Guilty
  6. Criminal Appeals in Singapore
  7. Presidential Clemency in Singapore
  8. Probation in Singapore: Are You Eligible? Will You Have a Criminal Record?
  9. What Should You Do If You Witness a Crime in Singapore?
  10. Reformative Training in Singapore: When will it be Ordered?
  11. Visiting a Loved One in Prison (And on Death Row) in Singapore
  12. 7 Detention Orders in Singapore and When Will They be Ordered?
  13. Consequences of Receiving a Stern Warning in Singapore
  14. Are You Eligible for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO)?
  15. Can I Represent Myself in a Criminal Court Case in Singapore and How?
  16. Caning in Singapore: Judicial, School & Parental Corporal Punishment
Sexual Offences
  1. Legal Age for Sex in Singapore and Common Sexual Offences
  2. Accused of Molest: Outrage of Modesty in Singapore
  3. What Can Victims of Sexual Harassment in Singapore Do?
  4. What is the Law on Sexting in Singapore?
Vice-Related Offences
  1. Is it illegal to visit prostitutes in Singapore?
  2. Is Watching, Downloading or Filming Porn Illegal in Singapore?
  3. Singapore's Drug Laws: Possession, Consumption and Trafficking
  4. When is Gambling Illegal in Singapore?
  5. Is Vaping Illegal in Singapore?
  6. DUI: Here are the Penalties for Drink-Driving in Singapore
  7. Legal Drinking Age in Singapore and Other Drinking-Related Laws
  8. Smoking in Singapore: Legal Age and Penalties for Illegal Smoking
Cybercrime
  1. Is it illegal to cheat someone of an in-game item in MMORPGs?
  2. What to Do If Someone Impersonates Me Online
White-Collar Crimes
  1. Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) in Singapore: Elements and Penalties
  2. Dishonest assistance and knowing receipt - The case of David Rasif
  3. Anti-Money Laundering Laws and You
  4. All You Need to Know About Corruption in Singapore
  5. 5 Things You Need to Know about Insider Trading
Other Criminal Offences
  1. The Difference Between Murder and Culpable Homicide in Singapore
  2. Is it illegal to commit suicide in Singapore? Will I be punished if my attempt at suicide fails?
  3. Is it illegal to feed stray animals in Singapore?
  4. Criminal Intimidation: Penalties for Making Threats in Singapore
  5. What are Sham Marriages and are They Illegal in Singapore?
  6. Public Assemblies and Processions in Singapore: Police Permits and the Public Order Act
  7. What is the Offence of Rioting?
  8. Penalties for Voluntarily Causing Hurt in Singapore (Non-Arrestable)
  9. Misbehaving in Public: 5 Things You Need to Know
  10. Is it Legal for Drivers to Carpool in Singapore?
  11. Complete Guide to E-Scooter and PMD Laws for Singapore Riders
  12. Is Joining a Gang Illegal in Singapore?: Being Recruited and Penalties
  13. What Happens If You’re Caught Speeding in Singapore?
  14. Charged with a Traffic Offence in Singapore: What to Do
  15. Committing Theft in Singapore: What are the Penalties?
  16. Road Rage: What is It and How are Offenders Sentenced in Singapore
  17. Singapore Fake News Laws: Guide to POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act)
  18. Laws and Penalties for Doxxing in Singapore (With Examples)
  19. Littering and Killer Litter Offences: Here are the Penalties in Singapore
  20. Organised Crimes: Penalties/Orders Syndicates Face in Singapore
  21. Animal Abuse/Cruelty in Singapore: Here are the Offences & Penalties
Certificate of Clearance
  1. How Do You Apply for a Certificate of Clearance?