How to Get NBI Clearance Abroad: An Ultimate Guide

Last Updated on 09/18/2021 by FilipiKnow

Even if you secure an online appointment, there are instances when a personal appearance at the NBI clearance center is impossible.

We’re talking about OFWs or Filipinos who have left the Philippines to work or live permanently in another country.

Perhaps you need NBI clearance for your impending residence visa application. Or maybe you’re a foreign national who lived in the Philippines for a while and just returned to your home country.

Whatever your circumstances may be, it’s possible to get NBI clearance even without your physical presence in the Philippines. This article will teach you how.


Who can get a Philippine NBI clearance abroad?

An NBI clearance is tangible proof that a person has no criminal convictions in the Philippines. It can be obtained by any applicant, Filipino or foreigner, for the purpose of citizenship, immigration/permanent residency, school enrollment, or employment, just to name a few.


Requirements in processing NBI clearance abroad.

1. NBI Form No. 5.

Also known as fingerprint form, you can get this for free at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live.

You will need to get the NBI Form No. 5 if you’re one of the following:

  • You have lost the old copy of your NBI clearance;
  • You still have a copy of the NBI clearance but it’s issued in 2014 or earlier;
  • You have a copy of the NBI clearance but need to update your personal information like your last name.

To obtain the NBI Form No. 5, you will need the following:

a. Online appointment.

Due to the pandemic, most of the embassies abroad now require NBI clearance applicants to secure an online appointment with them before coming to the Consular office.

This is only applicable to you if you prefer to accomplish the NBI Form No. 5 and have your fingerprint impressions taken at the Consulate. Otherwise, you can opt to have the form mailed to you so you don’t have to personally go to the embassy.

Should you choose the walk-in application, the embassy may also require you to secure other requirements like a Health Declaration form for safety reasons. For more information, please also check the official website of the Philippine Consulate General in your host country.

b. Two 2×2 passport-sized photos.

The colored photos must show a clear full front view of your face, with a white background, and be taken within 3 months before the application.

In addition, the photos must not show you wearing sleeveless attire. Make sure the photos are high quality and not blurred otherwise they will be rejected.

Depending on the embassy you’re transacting with, you may or may not be required to write your name and signature at the back of the photos.

c. Photocopy of passport data page and another valid ID.

Most embassies require applicants to present a minimum of 2 valid IDs and their photocopies. Acceptable valid IDs include, but are not limited to, the following:

The advantage of personally applying at the Consular office is you can obtain the NBI form on the same day and at a lower cost.

Related Article: How to Authenticate Documents in DFA: New and Updated Guide

NBI Form Number 5 or fingerprint form

Alternatively, you can request to have a blank copy of the NBI Form No. 5 to be mailed to your address. All you need to do is send a letter of request and a self-addressed prepaid return envelope to the embassy. Take note that requirements for a mailed-in request may vary so make sure to check with the Consular office in your host country for the latest details.

After receiving the envelope containing the blank NBI Form No. 5, fill it out with the required details. If you’re a married woman, please write your name in the following order:

  • Maiden surname (father’s surname);
  • Husband’s surname;
  • First or given name;
  • Maternal surname (mother’s family name).

Next, proceed to the nearest police station to have rolled impressions of your fingerprint. The person who took your fingerprint impression must sign on the form.

You will then mail back to the Embassy the accomplished NBI form together with a photocopy of your passport data page, money order/bank draft payable to the Philippine Consulate General (the amount of which varies according to your host country), and self-addressed prepaid return envelope with a tracking number. Do not enclose cash.

Upon receiving your mailed-in application, the Consular office will process your document/s and have the authenticated NBI form sent back to you within 2 to 3 days.

2. Old NBI Clearance.

Take note that if you still have the original copy of your old NBI clearance issued in 2015 onwards, you no longer have to submit the fingerprint form (NBI Form No. 5).

The old clearance is enough to provide them with your biometrics, provided that there are no changes that have been made to your personal data.

3. Letter of Authorization, if applicable.

You will need this to authorize your representative to file your NBI clearance application in the Philippines on your behalf.


How to Get NBI Clearance in the Philippines While Abroad: 2 Ways.

There are two ways to apply for NBI clearance abroad without flying back to your home country:

  • With an authorized representative – Especially if you’re pressed for time, a relative or a friend in the Philippines can be the best person you can count on to do everything on your behalf. All you need to do is send that person a signed authorization letter along with the requirements.
  • Without an authorized representative – Only choose this route if you really don’t have anyone in the Philippines whom you can trust to do the application/renewal for you. Basically, this option involves going to the Philippine Embassy in your host country, securing all the needed requirements, and sending the documents to the main NBI clearance center at UN Avenue in Manila.

The succeeding sections provide a rundown of the procedures you’d expect for each of these two options.


Option 1: Through an Authorized Representative/Relative.

  1. Complete all the requirements as listed earlier.
  2. Send all the requirements, including the authorization letter, to your chosen representative in the Philippines.
  3. Secure an online appointment (or have your representative do it on your behalf) and choose the NBI Clearance Center, U.N. Avenue, Manila as the application venue. Only the NBI Clearance main office in U.N. Avenue processes applications from abroad. I repeat: secure an online appointment first before having your representative go to the NBI Clearance Center; walk-in applicants will not be entertained. When filling out the online registration form, the personal information of the applicant based abroad, not of the authorized representative, must be entered. Should you have any concerns, you or your representative in the Philippines may contact the NBI Helpdesk through any of these numbers: 09179999421 or 09204129999
  4. Have your representative submit your requirements on the day of the appointment. After receiving your NBI clearance, have your representative send it to you via airmail.
  5. Upon the receipt of your NBI clearance from the Philippines, check it meticulously and ensure that there’s an embossed NBI dry seal at the lower left portion which is proof of authenticity.

Option 2: Without an Authorized Representative/Direct to the NBI.

  1. Complete all the requirements as listed earlier.
  2. Send all the requirements (except the authorization letter since you’re sending them directly) by mail. It should be addressed to:

Ms. Sandra Sobida
Mailed Clearance Section
3/F NBI Clearance Building
United Nations Avenue, Ermita
Manila, Philippines 1000

Contrary to the comment by one of our readers, the address of the Mailed Clearance Section above hasn’t changed. The office address in Quezon City is only temporary. If you’re someone overseas who is applying for the NBI clearance via mail, please send the documents to the address above.

Mailed Clearance Section at NBI Clearance Bulding in UN Avenue Manila

3. Include a note containing the name and contact number of your representative here in the Philippines. Since you can’t send cash via courier, Ms. Sandra Sobida told us that they’ll contact your representative as soon as they receive your documents to let him/her know how to pay the NBI Clearance fee.

After processing your submitted documents, your new NBI clearance will be ready for delivery.

Depending on your preference, you can have your NBI clearance shipped to you via JRS Express (the only accepted courier as of this writing) or just have your representative receive it on your behalf and then send it to you through your preferred courier. Either way, you will need a representative to process the payment on your behalf.

If you have other questions related to your NBI clearance application via mail, you can call Ms. Sandra Sobida, the officer-in-charge, using one of her cellphone numbers.

As of September 2021, the following are Ms. Sandra Sobida’s phone numbers:

  • +639156893113 (preferred)
  • +639267152001

Once received, check the embossed NBI dry seal at the lower left portion to ensure you’re receiving a genuine NBI clearance.

Go back to the main article: How to Get NBI Clearance Online in the Philippines


Frequently Asked Questions.

Since we have received the same questions over and over again, I’ve decided to answer them all in a separate FAQ section.

Take note that all the information written here came from Ms. Sandra Sobida, the officer-in-charge of the Mailed Clearance section.

A lot of our readers are complaining about other online guides–some published by the Embassies themselves–being outdated so we’ll try our best to update this article every time there’s a change in the application process.

1. I still have a copy of my old NBI clearance. Should I still get NBI Form No. 5 (fingerprint form)?

If your old NBI clearance was issued from 2015 to the recent year, and your personal information hasn’t changed (i.e., you haven’t changed your surname due to marriage), you don’t have to secure the NBI Form No. 5. The NBI will simply use your existing records for your new NBI clearance. However, if your NBI clearance was released in 2014 or earlier, or there’s a piece of information in your personal data that you need to update, then you are required to get the NBI Form No. 5.

2. I will be applying through an authorized representative. Do I need to authenticate the Letter of Authorization?

No, you don’t need to authenticate/Apostillize the authorization letter. But if you’ve already authenticated it before reading this article, then might as well submit it.

3. I will be applying for NBI clearance via mail. Is there a particular courier service I should use?

The NBI’s Mailed Clearance section doesn’t prefer any courier service. Therefore, you can send your documents through any courier/parcel/shipping service provider (e.g., DHL, FedEx, etc.) near you.

4. I’m renewing my NBI clearance but I’m based abroad. Can I just use the NBI Online Quick Renewal with a door-to-door delivery service instead?

No, you can’t. Although convenient, the online quick renewal service is only available to Philippine residents. Applicants outside the Philippines can choose either one of two options discussed in the above article to obtain their new NBI clearances.

Even if you try to apply via online renewal, your application will most likely be rejected for the following reasons:

  • The online renewal is only for NBI clearances issued in 2016 onwards.
  • The online renewal is only for applicants whose personal information haven’t changed.
  • The NBI Mailed Clearance section is separate from the department processing online renewal in the Philippines.

5. Can I send scanned copies of the requirement/s instead of the original?

Yes. According to Ms. Sobida’s secretary, the NBI Mailed Clearance section accepts scanned copies of your old NBI clearance and authorization letter. However, the NBI Form No. 5 is a vital document that has been verified by the Embassy to contain your updated personal information. Hence, they will only accept the original copy of your NBI Form No. 5.

6. I have already sent the documents to the NBI Mailed Clearance section. How can I check the status of my application?

You can call +639156893113 personally or through your representative here in the Philippines. Since they’re dealing with a lot of applicants, it may take a while before your call is answered. Please be patient. Your call will be answered either by Ms. Sandra Sobida or her secretary.

7. I’m applying through Option 2. How will I be able to receive the new NBI clearance once it’s ready?

To receive your new NBI clearance, you can coordinate with the NBI Mailed Clearance Section so they can send it to you via JRS Express (the only accepted courier as of this writing). Or, you can have someone in the Philippines receive the document on your behalf. The same person will then forward it to your address abroad using your preferred courier.

8. When filling out the NBI Form No. 5, should I input my current address abroad or my address in the Philippines?

Since you’re currently living/residing abroad, you should put your present address abroad and not your address in the Philippines.

9. Do I need to affix my thumbprint on my new NBI clearance?

No. The new NBI clearance doesn’t have a space provided for thumbprint so you don’t have to affix one.

Luisito Batongbakal Jr.

Luisito E. Batongbakal Jr. is the founder, editor, and chief content strategist of FilipiKnow, a leading online portal for free educational, Filipino-centric content. His curiosity and passion for learning have helped millions of Filipinos around the world get access to free insightful and practical information at the touch of their fingertips. With him at the helm, FilipiKnow has won numerous awards including the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs 2013, the 2015 Globe Tatt Awards, and the 2015 Philippine Bloggys Awards.

272 thoughts on “How to Get NBI Clearance Abroad: An Ultimate Guide

  1. Thanks so much for this article. Just by reading it including the FAQs, all my questions have been answered. Great work Kabayan! Keep it up!

  2. Hello my wife is a filipina , we live in mexico ( I am mexican) , we are trying to inmigrate to Canada but for that they ask a police certificate ( NBI Clearance) , my wife has an old one which she got in 2018 while she was still living in the philiphines and while she was still single. We wonder if to get the renewal of her NBI we need to get a NBI Form No. 5 in the Philippine embassy in Mexico or we can use her old NBI to request the new one ? My wife hasn’t changed her name due to the marriage, but obviously her address change (since she lives in Mexico now) and also her status changed from single to married. I hope you can help me with this matter since we are very confused on what to do here.
    Thank you

  3. Thanks for this very detailed information!

    Based on the FAQ, Scanned copy of old NBI clearance and authorization letter will be accepted. Although, will they also accept scanned copy of the 2×2 picture?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. The 2×2 picture is for the NBI Form No. 5, correct? If that’s the case, then the answer is NO. They need to have the original copy of your NBI Form No.5.

      Did the Embassy tell you about other requirements aside from the ones listed above?

  4. Very useful and detailed article, thank you for sharing! When filling out the NBI Form 5, do you know which address we should put in? Is it the address abroad or the address where we used to reside in the Philippines?

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