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(UPDATED) Step-By-Step: How To Apply For An NBI Clearance

The appointment process, fees, required documents, and other important details.
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(UPDATED: October 22, 2020)

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).

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What used to be a tedious process is now a more streamlined and efficient government service. You just need a few minutes to complete 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. We spoke to two Cosmo girls, Karla and Hanna, who applied to get their NBI Clearance during quarantine.

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Here's what you need to know. 

How to apply for an NBI clearance: Set an appointment.

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. The next step requires you to select the branch where you’re planning to apply and picking an a.m. or p.m. slot. 

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How to apply for an NBI clearance: 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. You can now pay for this on the same day of your appointment. Hanna shares that she paid with a debit card after clicking "Online Bank." She also shares that you'll have 15 days to pay for your application.  

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,

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How to apply for an NBI clearance: 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

Take note that they don’t accept company IDs, barangay clearance, and other non-government issued documents.

How to apply for an NBI clearance: Show up in proper attire.

Perhaps the biggest change in this entire process is the safety measures at every branch. According to Karla, these were the standard "physical distancing, temperature checks before entering the branch, and mandatory safety accessories [like face masks]." 

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.

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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).

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.

How to apply for an NBI clearance: 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!

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What if your name is pretty common and you have a “hit”? Hanna experienced this and she was asked to come back after 10 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. After the 10 days, you have the option to get your clearance personally or ask someone else to pick it up as long as they submit a letter and IDs for both of you.

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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:

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