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, getting NBI clearance is possible even without your physical presence in the Philippines. This article will teach you how.
Note: Our team has verified the information in this guide with the help of NBI’s Mailed Clearance Section. We will update this guide to ensure accurate information for all our readers. If you have a specific question, please call the Mailed Clearance Section using the mobile numbers listed in the latter part of this article. You can also send an email inquiry to [email protected]
Table of Contents
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 citizenship, immigration/permanent residency, school enrollment, or employment, to name a few.
Requirements To Obtain NBI Clearance if You’re Outside the Philippines
The list of requirements below is the same for all applicants regardless of their current country of residence or nationality.
1. For New Applicants
a. NBI Form No. 5
Also known as the fingerprint form, you can get this for free at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. Note that the NBI Form No. 5 is not the clearance itself but only an application form you will submit to the NBI Clearance office in the Philippines for processing.
You will need to get the NBI Form No. 5 if you’re one of the following:
- You’re a new applicant.
- You have lost the old copy of your NBI clearance;
- You still have a copy of the NBI clearance, but it was issued in 2013 or earlier;
- You have a copy of the NBI clearance but must update your personal information, like your last name.
For a complete list of requirements for obtaining NBI Form No. 5, please check out the official website of the Philippine Consulate in your country of residence. Here’s one tip: Enter the keyword “nbi form no. 5 requirements + your country of residence” (e.g., nbi form no. 5 requirements + australia) in Google to instantly get to the page you’re looking for.
Due to the pandemic, most embassies abroad now require NBI clearance applicants to secure an online appointment with them before coming to the Consular office.
This only applies 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, so you don’t have to go to the embassy personally.
Should you choose the walk-in application, the embassy may 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.
Alternatively, you can request 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. Note that the requirements for a mailed-in request may vary, so check with the Consular office in your host country for the latest details.
After receiving the envelope with the blank NBI Form No. 5, please complete it 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 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 return the authenticated NBI form within 2 to 3 days.
b. One 2×2 photo
Note: A photo is usually required while processing NBI Form No. 5. According to the Mailed Clearance Section of the NBI, you no longer need to provide a different picture if there’s already one attached to your NBI Form No. 5.
The photo must meet the following requirements:
- Must show the full front view of your face
- Must have a white background
- Must be a recent photo
- Must not show the applicant wearing eyeglasses or smiling
The Mailed Clearance Section only requires one, but you can enclose an additional copy.
c. Photocopy of the passport data page
The passport biodata or bio page is at the front of your passport and on page 2. It shows all the data that confirm your identity, like your complete name, date of birth, passport number, and your passport’s expiry date, as well as your signature and nationality.
Related Article: How to Authenticate Documents in DFA: New and Updated Guide
2. For Renewal Applicants (Note: Scanned copies are accepted)
a. Old NBI Clearance
If you still have the original copy of your old NBI clearance issued in 2014 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 no changes have been made to your data.
b. One 2×2 photo
Same as new applicants. Please see the previous section for more details.
c. Photocopy of the passport data page
Same as new applicants. Please see the previous section for more information.
Note: As mentioned earlier, renewal applicants can send scanned copies of their requirements, including the 2×2 photo, to save time and money. However, it’s essential to instruct your representative in the Philippines to print the 2×2 picture on photo paper; otherwise, it will be rejected. If your representative doesn’t know how to do it, send the scanned copy of your picture, then ask him/her to go to any store that offers rush I.D. pictures to have your photo printed on photo paper.
3. Other Requirements
a. Letter of Authorization (if applying through a representative)
You will need this to authorize your representative to file your NBI clearance application in the Philippines on your behalf.
b. Money amounting to PHP 200 (if applying without a representative)
According to the Mailed Clearance Section, applicants who will be sending their requirements directly to the main NBI Clearance office in Manila and don’t have any representative who can submit their documents on their behalf must enclose cash amounting to PHP 200 (PHP 130 for the NBI clearance + PHP 70 for the courier fee to send the NBI clearance back to the applicant).
Since most couriers don’t accept packages if there’s cash in them, the best thing you can do if you insist on sending the requirements directly to NBI is NEVER to declare the said money you have enclosed to the courier. If the courier discovers the money, enclose a note instead indicating the name of your representative in the Philippines and his/her contact number. If you do the latter, the NBI Clearance office will contact your representative upon receiving your documents to explain how to pay for and claim your newly issued NBI clearance.
c. Self-addressed envelope (optional, if applying without a representative)
Applicants applying without a representative may send the requirements with a self-addressed envelope. This way, you can receive your document faster through the express courier service, instead of PHLPost, which may take up to two months to deliver to their intended receivers abroad.
Since you don’t have anyone in the Philippines to pick up your NBI clearance, it’s essential to include a note containing your email address so the Mailed Clearance Section can notify you once your document is ready for release. Upon receiving the email notification, you will contact the courier (e.g., DHL or FedEx) and arrange a pick-up schedule. It’s your responsibility, not the Mailed Clearance Section, to request a pick-up schedule for the courier so your clearance can be shipped to you on time.
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 and the other requirements.
- Without an authorized representative – Only choose this route if you don’t have anyone in the Philippines you can trust to make the application/renewal. This option involves going to the Philippine Embassy in your host country, securing all the 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
- Complete all the requirements as listed earlier.
- Send all the requirements, including the authorization letter, to your chosen representative in the Philippines.
- For NEW applicants (i.e., with NBI Form No. 5): Secure an online appointment (or have your representative do it on your behalf). Choose the NBI Clearance Center, U.N. Avenue, Manila as the application venue. Only the NBI Clearance main office on 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 if they’re applying on behalf of NEW applicants abroad with NBI Form No. 5. When filling out the online registration form, the personal information of the applicant based abroad, not the authorized representative, must be entered. However, since the applicant is outside the Philippines, the contact number/mobile number that will be provided must be of the representative so he/she can receive the OTP (One-Time Password) needed to proceed with the online appointment. When choosing an appointment date and time, you or the representative can select a random schedule since the online appointment is only for formality. Applicants abroad don’t have to wait for their schedule like local applicants. In other words, once you (or your representative) have secured an online schedule and paid the NBI clearance fee, the representative can proceed to the Mailed Clearance Section at the NBI Clearance Center the next day or any day most convenient for him/her.
- For RENEWAL applicants (i.e., with old NBI clearance issued from 2014 onwards): If you’re only for renewal, there’s no need to secure an online appointment. This means your representative can go to the NBI Clearance Center on U.N. Avenue as soon as he/she receives your requirements via airmail or email (Again, scanned copies are allowed for renewal applicants).
- Have your representative submit your requirements and pay the NBI clearance fee (if for renewal). After receiving your NBI clearance, your representative will return it via airmail.
- Upon receipt of your NBI clearance from the Philippines, check it meticulously and ensure an embossed NBI dry seal at the lower left portion, proof of authenticity.
Option 2: Without an Authorized Representative/Direct to the NBI
- Complete all the requirements as listed earlier.
- Please mail all the requirements (except the authorization letter since you’re sending them directly). 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 applying for the NBI clearance via mail, please send the documents to the address above.
You can send all the requirements with a self-addressed envelope through express courier services like DHL or FedEx. As mentioned on the list of requirements, you need to include a note containing your email address so the Mailed Clearance Section can contact you once the NBI clearance is ready for pick-up. Upon receiving the email notification, you will arrange a pick-up schedule with the courier, who will eventually ship the document to you.
3. As indicated on the list of requirements, please enclose cash amounting to PHP 200 for the payment of the NBI clearance fee and the courier fee to send the processed NBI clearance back to you. After a processing period of 5 days, your NBI clearance should be ready for release.
PHLPost will deliver the NBI clearance to each applicant’s respective country by default. Depending on the country where you currently live, it may take up to 2 months to receive the document from PHLPost. However, if you want to receive your clearance faster, a self-addressed envelope and a note containing your email address must be included in your requirements. When the NBI clearance is ready for release, you will receive an email notification through the email account you have indicated. Upon receiving this email, arrange a pick-up schedule with an express courier service like DHL or FedEx so that the clearance will be picked up from the Mailed Clearance Section and shipped to you via airmail.
If you can’t enclose cash, the Mailed Clearance Section will look for a note containing your representative’s name and contact number here in the Philippines. They will then contact your representative to let him/her know how to pay the NBI Clearance fee and claim your newly issued clearance.
Depending on your preference, you can have your NBI clearance shipped to you via JRS Express (if your representative has the pouch) or have your representative receive it on your behalf and then send it to you through your preferred courier.
If you have other questions about your NBI clearance application via mail, you can call Ms. Sandra Sobida, the officer-in-charge, using one of her cellphone numbers.
As of July 2023, the following are Ms. Sandra Sobida’s phone numbers:
- +639156893113 (preferred)
The Mailed Clearance Section can answer your calls every weekday, Monday to Friday, from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. (Philippine Standard Time). Alternatively, you can also send an email inquiry to [email protected] (special thanks to Ms. Steph, one of our readers, for providing this official email address).
Once received, check the embossed NBI dry seal at the lower left portion to ensure you’re receiving a genuine NBI clearance.
Tips and Warnings
- Aside from not being required to obtain the NBI Form No. 5, renewal applicants also have another advantage. According to the Mailed Clearance Section of the NBI Clearance office, renewal applicants can also save time and money by sending scanned copies of their requirements via email (including the authorization letter) to their representatives in the Philippines instead of manually sending them via airmail. The Mailed Clearance Section currently accepts scanned copies of requirements, except NBI Form No. 5.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since we have repeatedly received the same questions, I’ve decided to answer them 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.
Many 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 whenever the application process changes.
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 2014 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 use your existing records for your new NBI clearance. However, if your NBI clearance was released in 2013 or earlier, or there’s a piece of information in your data that you need to update, you must 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, you 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 abroad. Can I 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 the 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 from 2016 onwards.
*The online renewal is only for applicants whose personal information hasn’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 the requirements, so long as the applicant is for renewal (i.e., with an old NBI clearance issued from 2014 onwards).
However, it should be noted that the Mailed Clearance Section doesn’t accept a scanned copy of the applicants’ 2×2 pictures. Therefore, after receiving the scanned copies of your requirements (including the photo), your representative must go to a photo studio or any establishment offering rush I.D. pictures to retouch and print your scanned photo on photo paper.
On the other hand, new applicants can’t send scanned copies of their requirements. The NBI Form No. 5 is a vital document the Embassy verifies 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, or any of the updated numbers listed above, personally or through your representative in the Philippines. Since they’re dealing with many 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 with a representative (i.e., Option 1). Does the representative need to secure an online appointment before going to the NBI Clearance Center on U.N. Avenue?
It depends. As mentioned, if you’re for renewal (i.e., you have an old NBI clearance issued from 2014 onwards), your representative doesn’t need an appointment. You can submit your requirements to the NBI Clearance Center and pay the clearance fee anytime.
However, new applicants submitting their NBI Form No. 5 must secure an appointment. You can do it yourself or have your representative confirm an online appointment. Ensure that the contact number you enter is your representative in the Philippines.
The online appointment is only for formality. You can pick any schedule since you won’t follow it anyway. Once you’re able to secure an appointment and pay the NBI clearance fee, your representative can proceed to the NBI Clearance Center anytime to submit your documents and claim your new NBI clearance.
8. I’m applying without any representative (i.e., Option 2). How will I receive the new NBI clearance once it’s ready?
If you successfully enclosed your payment to the documents sent directly to the Mailed Clearance Section of the NBI Clearance office, the latter will use the money to pay PHLPost, who will then send the processed NBI clearance back to you (waiting time can be up to 2 months depending on the country where you’re currently based).
Meanwhile, if you have also enclosed a self-addressed envelope, a note containing your email address, and a message that you prefer to receive the clearance via an express courier service like DHL or FedEx, wait for an email notification from the Mailed Clearance Section instead.
Once you’ve been informed via email that your NBI clearance is ready for release, contact the courier and arrange for a pick-up schedule. Again, it’s your responsibility, not of the Mailed Clearance Section, to contact the courier so you can receive your new NBI clearance on time.
If you can’t enclose cash, the NBI Clearance office will look for the note you’ve included and contact your representative in the Philippines. The same representative will receive the document on your behalf and forward it to your address abroad using your preferred courier.
9. When filling out 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, not your address in the Philippines.
10. Can I affix my thumbprint on my new NBI clearance?
No. The new NBI clearance doesn’t have space for a thumbprint, so you don’t have to affix one.
11. How long does it take to process NBI clearances of applicants abroad?
Upon receiving your complete requirements, the Mailed Clearance Section will take an average of five (5) working days to process your application. This doesn’t include the time the courier (i.e., PHLPost) takes to send the NBI clearance back to you. However, this is assuming that you’re applying without a representative.
The processing time is relatively faster if you apply through an authorized representative in the Philippines. According to the Mailed Clearance Section, representatives can proceed to the main NBI Clearance office on U.N. Avenue to submit the requirements and receive the new NBI clearance the next working day.
12. Do I need to send a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) for my representative in the Philippines?
No. An authorization letter is enough.
13. I’m a foreigner who used to live in the Philippines. How can I apply for an NBI clearance?
The procedures and requirements above are the same regardless of country and nationality. Therefore, follow the steps for new applicants if you don’t have an old copy of the NBI clearance issued from 2014 onwards, or the steps for renewal applicants if you still have a copy of your old NBI clearance.
14. I already paid for NBI Form No. 5. Do I still need to pay the NBI clearance fee?
Yes. The Consular Office and the NBI are two separate entities. Whereas the former is only tasked with obtaining your updated personal information and fingerprint through the NBI Form No. 5, the latter is the one that issues the actual NBI clearance based on the data indicated on the NBI Form No. 5. Therefore, new applicants will have to pay separate fees for the NBI Form No. 5 and the NBI clearance.
15. I have an old NBI clearance. It is still valid for renewal, but my address has already changed. Can I renew it, or should I apply as a new applicant?
According to the Mailed Clearance Section of the NBI, applicants abroad whose address in their current country of residence has changed may still apply for renewal if they can provide the required documents, especially a copy of their old NBI clearance (must be issued from 2014 onwards).
The authorization letter they will send to their representative in the Philippines must also specifically indicate their new address so the NBI can update their records accordingly.
16. I’m applying through a representative. However, the representative currently resides in the province and won’t be able to travel to Manila to process my documents. What should I do?
The Mailed Clearance Section can also accommodate representatives in far-away provinces who may not have the means or the time to travel to Manila. The representative must register online using the personal details of the applicant abroad. Secure an appointment and pay the NBI Clearance fee. Afterward, the representative will send the requirements via JRS Express to the Mailed Clearance Section (please see the article above for the exact mailing address).
Since the representative won’t be able to pick up the NBI clearance personally, he/she must also pay for a prepaid two-way/return pouch from JRS Express. This process applies to both new and renewal applicants. You or your representative may call the Mailed Clearance Section for more information.