Step-By-Step: How To Apply For An NBI Clearance

The appointment process, fees, required documents, and other important details.
PHOTO: istockphoto

If you’re applying for a job or a visa, one of the main requirements is the NBI Clearance. Issued by the National Bureau of Investigation, the document ensures your employer or the embassy that you don’t have any criminal record. Valid for one year, it can also be used as a supporting document for other ID applications or updates (such as when you’re updating your maiden name to your married name).

What used to be a tedious process is now a more streamlined and efficient government service. You just need a few minutes to do the online requirements and payment. Then, you’ll spend around an hour or two for the actual application in the NBI Clearance Centers nationwide. So if you need a government-issued valid ID STAT, this could be one of your options (unless you have a name that’s popular in the Philippines, but more on this later). Here are the steps of applying for an NBI Clearance process as of 2019.

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Set an appointment online using the NBI Clearance website.

Whether you’re applying for an NBI Clearance for the first time or you’re going to renew your document, the first step is to secure an appointment online via their official website. They don’t allow walk-ins, FYI. When you Google “NBI Clearance Online,” you might get confused with all the “NBI websites” that turn up. This is the correct one.

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For first-timers, you’ll have to sign up for a new account. You’ll be needing to enter basic personal information. Remember your login details or store the information securely, since you’ll need to use the same account for renewals.

Once you log in the website, you can update your information if needed (be sure to correct typos!). Otherwise, you can proceed to picking an appointment date. Just click the “Apply for Clearance” box, select the main ID you’re bringing to the appointment (more on this later), and enter the ID number. (Note: We tried the system recently, and the “Passport” option is not on the list of ID types on the website. If you’re planning to use it, you can skip selecting a “Type of ID” and then just input the word “Passport” plus your Passport Number on the “ID Presented” field.)

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The next step requires you to select the branch where you’re planning to apply and picking an a.m. or p.m. slot. Most NBI Clearance Centers in Manila would allow same-day appointments. Here’s a tip: Locations like Robinsons Otis are less busier than the more crowded branches on the metro like those in U.N. Avenue and Robinsons Place - Ermita. And FYI: If you’re eyeing the clearance center in Ali Mall Araneta Center, Cubao, you might have to make an appointment two weeks ahead of time.

Pay for your NBI Clearance.

The multi-purpose NBI Clearance document costs P130. You can pay for it in cash through various payment channels. There are over-the-counter options at major banks, online banking, Bayad Center outlets, and 7-Eleven branches. All of them impose a service fee, which costs P25 or more. (Note: For some payment channels, there’s an additional service fee. Example: it’s P15 for the 7-Eleven option, so bring a total of P170). Be sure to pay ahead of your appointment time!

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Take a screenshot or write down the reference number that will be provided after you select and confirm your payment option. Along with your receipt, it would serve as your gate pass when you enter the NBI Clearance Centers.

If, at this point, you made a mistake like failing to correct information before setting your appointment, you can just repeat the entire process. But it’s best to do it right the first time and try to avoid repeated appointments, so others won’t run out of slots,

Bring valid IDs or documents.

Like with all ID application processes in Philippines, you’ll need to present documents to prove your identity for your NBI Clearance. Bring two valid government-issued IDs, such as the following outlined on the website:

  • UMID (Unified Multi-Purpose ID or the SSS ID)
  • Passport
  • Driver’s License
  • Birth Certificate authenticated by the PSA (Original Copy)
  • Voter’s ID or Certificate of Registration
  • Postal ID
  • PhilHealth ID
  • BIR ID
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Take note that they don’t accept company IDs, barangay clearance, and other non-government issued documents.

Show up in proper attire.

Okay, there isn’t a black-and-white dress code set for NBI Clearance application. But it’s always a good idea to wear decent and not-overly-casual clothing to government ID applications like this. That said, you can stick to a smart casual outfit. You can wear collarless tees and jeans, too, but don’t be too chill by wearing a tank top, shorts, and flip-flops.

You’ll have your photo taken for the ID, so you may be asked to remove earrings, necklaces, and other face piercings if you’re wearing them. Obviously, you can’t wear colored contact lenses, too. Feel free to neatly fix your hair and wear some light makeup. Practice smizing, as some centers might discourage smiling for the headshot (although smiling without showing your teeth may be acceptable).

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Once you’re there, the steps and where to go are clearly labelled. You’ll be lining up for document verification, image capturing, and biometrics (or fingerprint) updates. The guards stationed at the NBI Clearance Centers are usually the ones that assist applicants.

Don’t forget to claim your NBI Clearance!

The great thing about NBI Clearance application is that you can get the ID right away. Well, okay, not right away, since the whole in-office process can take about one to two hours (more if you’re applying in a busy Clearance Center). The staff at the last step of the application will call your name once your document is ready to claim. Once you get it, be sure to check again for any typos or printing errors!

What if your name is pretty common and you have a “hit”? Sorry, but you’ll have to come back after five to ten working days. It sucks to have a namesake in this case, but the waiting period allows the NBI to thoroughly investigate their records and clear your identity.

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The Alternative: Opt for the no-hassle “NBI Clearance Quick Renewal” process online.

If it’s not your first time applying and if you’d like to skip the queues, there’s already an option to renew your NBI Clearance online and have it delivered to your doorstep. One downside is you’ll have to wait around five to ten working days for delivery (this could take shorter or longer, depending on your location and the courier). But at least you won’t have to line up for biometrics update, photo-taking, and claiming, right?

To qualify for this option, take note that your previous NBI Clearance must have been issued in 2014 onwards AND your NBI Clearance ID Number has to be verifiable in the website. The process costs an extra P200 or more for delivery charges. That means you’ll need to pay a total of P355 (or more depending on the payment channel).

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If you have time and you’re near an NBI Clearance Center anyway (or if the website is acting up and not allowing you to proceed with the Quick Renewal option), just go for the traditional process!

If you run into any trouble or need to ask something about the process, feel free to call the NBI Clearance Help Desk (open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) at the following numbers:

  • 0917-999-9421 (Globe)
  • 0920-412-9999 (Smart)
  • 0927-047-5871 (For Delivery)

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