Last updated on September 18th, 2020
I was not asked to provide PCC while filing my citizenship application. However, my wife was asked to provide one. So here is her account of how she got the Indian PCC for Australian citizenship application.
Once I prepared Australian citizenship application, I was asked to provide a list of supporting documents. Police Clearance Certificate a.k.a. PCC was one of them. If you were out of Australia for 12 months or more and if you stayed in any country for 90 days or more, you need to provide PCC for each such country.
Please note that this has nothing to do with whether you are the primary or secondary applicant. Since I was in India for more than 6 months after I got my visa and stayed in India for 6 more months after my validation trip, I had to provide PCC.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to manually calculate PCC eligibility. Once you file your citizenship application, the system will tell you whether you need to provide one.
PCC Online Application
One important thing to know before applying for PCC is that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of the PCC application.
Indian PCC can only be applied through VFS Global in Australia. Getting Indian PCC is a two-step process. First, you need to complete an online application form on the Indian embassy site – https://embassy.passportindia.gov.in/. You need to register on the site first before you can fill the application form.
The online application is divided into 7 sections:
1. Passport details. One tricky detail here is File number. Don’t worry, you will find it on the last page of your passport, below the address and starts with PN.
2. Applicant details
3. Family details such as the name of your parents and/or spouse
4. Your permanent address in India and current residential address in Australia with contact details. If you don’t have Indian phone number active, provide a number of your parents or sibling. You also need to select relevant police station for your address in India.
5. A simple yes/no about your criminal background
6. A Review of Details which will be printed on your PCC letter
7. Review of the entire application form
Use the address mentioned on your Indian Passport as the permanent address in the application unless it is changed. This will avoid any unnecessary queries and delays in processing your PCC.
At any point during application, you can save the application and resume later. Once you submit the application, you need to download the form, print and sign it. Along with the application, you need to manually fill and sign below 2 documents:
1. PCC Checklist – This is simply a checklist of documents that you need to submit along with the PCC application. Just tick the ones which are relevant to you and sign at the end.
2. Personal Particulars form – You need to provide your name, address, permanent India address and current Australian address. You also need to provide the name of the police station near your permanent address in India. This is same as what you chose in the online application form.
You also need to give name, address and contact details of two references who can vouch for your addresses. I provided one reference for each address – one for Indian address and one for Australian address. It’s a good idea to let both references know that you provided their contact details in the PCC form, though usually they won’t be contacted.
Apart from the documents, you need to provide two passport size photographs. You can try to take photos as per VFS guidelines but I prefer Australia post. It costs a little but I prefer the peace of mind over money.
How To Submit Documents
Once I had these two documents ready along with the application form, I had two options:
1) send them via Australia Post or courier or,
2) submit them in person
Though VFS recommends sending them via express post or courier, I didn’t do so for two reasons:
1) It adds an unnecessary delay in the process and,
2) If there is any query about any of the document, there might be a delay in going back and forth with VFS. In the worst-case scenario, your application might be rejected altogether.
Maybe I am paranoid, but I like to play safe. So I chose to visit the VFS office in person.
Visiting VFS Facility
To visit the VFS office, you need to book an appointment. So once I had everything ready, I went to VFS Online Booking system to book an appointment.
Booking an appointment is simple. All you need is a passport number and your contact details. Once the booking is confirmed, I downloaded and printed the appointment letter.
I carried below documents for my appointment to the VFS Melbourne centre:
1. Latest Indian passport
2. Signed application form
3. Signed PCC checklist
4. Personal particulars form
5. Two photographs (I carried the photographs separately without pasting them on the form)
6. Appointment letter
Depending on your VFS centre, you might be asked to submit the passport. So keep in mind that if you have a citizenship interview scheduled, you might not have a passport for the interview. In such a case, it is better to reschedule the interview. Since you must carry all the documents in original and passport is one of the important documents, you will be asked to reschedule your interview if you don’t have the passport with you. In my case, I had just submitted the citizenship application so I had plenty of time to submit PCC.
If you submitted the passport for PCC and have citizenship interview scheduled in the near future, either reschedule the interview or call DIBP explaining your circumstances. This will help you avoid problems during the citizenship interview.
Cost of Indian PCC
Indian PCC cost varies slightly depending on many factors:
1) How are you going to submit an application – in person or by courier?
2) How are you going to collect documents – in person or by courier?
3) How do you pay – cash, credit card, debit card or postal order?
4) Do you need SMS notification?
5) Which state do you live in?
In my case, I opted to submit in person and collect by courier. Also, I opted for SMS notifications. Since I paid with a debit card, it cost me approximately 67$ AUD (66.82 AUD to be exact). You can find out how much it will cost using the online calculator.
Indian PCC Processing Time
You may receive PCC within 5 – 45 working days according to VFS website. One of my friend’s wife got her PCC in just 2 days as her Indian passport was renewed from Australia. In my case, it took a little more than a month to get my PCC.
To conclude, PCC is a time-consuming process. But the good thing is that you don’t need PCC before submitting citizenship application. That way you can save time and have PCC ready by the time case officer asks for it.
Freqently Asked Questions
Since I received so many questions on this article, I could see that a lot of people are not clear about certain aspects of this process. Hence I decided to get in touch with various VFS offices to clarify some of these questions. Below are some of the answers I received from them.
The permanent address should be your Indian address and the residential address should be your current Australian address.
There seem to be different interpretations by different VFS offices. So I will mention their responses as is.
Adelaide VFS: If you have not lived at the current address in Australia for more than a year, please fill your previous address in 9A (you will need 3 photos and two personal particulars form).
If in the 9A address you have not lived for more than a year, please fill the previous address in 9B (you will need 4 photos and 3 personal particulars form). (This is by far the most logical answer!)
Melbourne VFS: Form says you need to fill the additional form but a single form would suffice. Please do not fill additional forms. (My most favourite answer – no fuss!)
Sydney VFS: Keep Q9 blank. (WTF! Didn’t expect this. I guess they don’t want any hassle)
Melbourne VFS: No need to paste the photos. We will paste it for you.
Sydney VFS: You can either paste the photos or send them with the application. Either way is fine.
You must send the original passport. Photocopy or prints are not acceptable, even if they are attested by the notary. On the other hand, all the centres except VFS Melbourne are accepting in-person applications at the moment. So if you are not comfortable sending via post, book an appointment and visit in person.
You need to provide two references from India who are not your parents or siblings. References can be your uncle/aunt, neighbours or friends.
So that was my experience of getting Indian PCC and it was relatively smooth compared to the other stories I heard. What was your experience? Did you face any delays or multiple round-trips for PCC? Let me know in the comments below.
Read other articles in this series:
- My Journey To Australian Citizenship : Getting Eligible
- My Journey To Australian Citizenship : Gathering Documents
- My Journey To Australian Citizenship: Citizenship Application
- My Journey To Australian Citizenship : Citizenship Test Preparation