A Police Clearance Certificate, also known as certificate of good conduct means that a particular person has been searched in the criminal records of Kenya. The certificate is still issued to an individual even when the applicant has a criminal record. In case an applicant’s search does not find an existing criminal record, a ‘nil’ record is indicated on the certificate.

What does having a certificate of good conduct mean?

A certificate of good conduct means that the particular holder has been searched in the criminal records of Kenya and their status known. The validity of a certificate of good conduct is based on the information provided as from the date of issuance of the certificate.

Some employers in Kenya will require you to provide a valid certificate of good conduct or one that was taken at least three years ago. The certificate of good conduct in Kenya shows that a job candidate is of good morals, behaviors and obeys the law.

When is a certificate of good conduct required?

These are the most common procedures in Kenya that require a refugee or asylum seeker to have a certificate of good conduct.

  • Resettlement: During the processing of one’s resettlement case the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will require a certificate of good conduct to facilitate the issuance of the Exit Permit.  The Exit permit is issued by the Immigration Department to refugees who meet the resettlement requirements and allows them to leave Kenya if they are resettled to another country.
  • Employment: Some employers require a valid certificate of good conduct or one that was taken at least three years before the date of submission to complete the hiring process. In Kenya, a certificate of good conduct demonstrates that a job candidate has good behaviors and follows the law. 

Who issues the certificate of good conduct?

 The certificate of good conduct is issued by the National Police Service’s Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI). This certificate may be given to:

  • Kenyans residing in the country
  • Kenyans residing in foreign countries
  • Foreign citizens who are not aliens or refugees in Kenya
  • Foreign citizens who are aliens in Kenya
  • Refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya

How can Refugees and asylum seekers apply?

The application process for refugees and asylum seekers seeking a certificate of good conduct begins at the offices of the Department of Refugee Services (DRS).
The first step is to go to the nearest DRS office and inform the officers that you want to obtain a certificate of good conduct. At the DRS offices, the refugee or asylum seeker will be asked to present their identification documents mentioned below. 

What are the requirements for refugees and asylum seekers?

DRS officers will capture the applicant's fingerprints. This service is offered free of charge to refugees. Kenyans have to pay Ksh1,000 for the service.

DRS will take the fingerprints and application documents to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation in Nairobi once the application documents are submitted.

  • Applicants aged 18 and above: Present an original and copy of their Refugee ID or Manifest as proof that they are legally in Kenya. Children or persons aged below 18 years: Have an original birth certificate and a clear copy of the birth certificate. You will need at least Ksh10 to photocopy each of your documents before visiting the DRS office.

What will happen after submitting the documents? 

DCI will conduct a search to determine your criminal records in Kenya and DRS will provide feedback on the results.

After submitting the application, applicants must wait between two weeks and one month to receive the document if their application is successful. DRS will contact you through the phone number you will provide and inform you to pick the certificate from their offices as soon as it is available.

What should I do if I lost/damaged my identification documents? 

Have you lost your documents such as your refugee ID, rationcard or birthcertificate? Read here  how you can get a replacement for lost or damaged identification documents.As an applicant who lost or damaged the identification documents needed, youcan use a waiting card/document to apply for police clearance.

Can someone get a certificate of good conduct if they have  been in court over a crime??

If one has a criminal court case, it is important to note that once the matter has been resolved and an applicant is acquitted or released by the court of law, the criminal record is removed from the criminal database. A certificate of good conduct can then be issued.

If a person is found guilty by  the court, the criminal record is kept for 20 years before being removed from the DCI records. If the offense is one of the permanent criminal record offenses, then it will never be removed from DCI records. Permanent criminal record offenses include :

  • Robbery with violence
  • Murder 
  • Treason 
  • Rape
  • Offenses related to drugs.

Image - A sample certificate of good conduct. Source: DCI Kenya

How to update a previous record of an offense appearing on a certificate of good conduct 

If your certificate of good conduct appears with an erroneous criminal record, you’ll need to follow the following steps to have it updated by the DCI. This service is offered free of charge.

  1. Visit the police station where the said matter is recorded to have been handled.
  2. Ask for a letter clearing you or amending the criminal record appearing on the certificate of good conduct in your possession. The officer in charge of the police station will give you a letter if your request is valid.
  3. Visit the crimes registry at the DCI headquarters along Kiambu Road in Nairobi and deliver the letter obtained from the police station in step (ii) above.
  4. DCI officials at the crime registry will check their records and make and advise or effect the changes. You may directly engage the DCI through their toll-free number 0800 722 203.

Where to find DRS Offices in Nairobi, Kakuma and Dadaab

DRS has offices in the following locations:

If you have any questions, please write to us via the Julisha.Info Facebook page, or chat with us on WhatsApp(+254110601820) Monday to Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.