Note: The information written in this guide has been verified by our team with the help of NBI’s Mailed Clearance Section. We will continue to 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.
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.
Table of Contents
- Who Can Get a Philippine NBI Clearance Abroad?
Requirements To Obtain NBI Clearance if You’re Outside the Philippines
- 1. For New Applicants
- 2. For Renewal Applicants (Note: Scanned copies are accepted)
- 3. Other Requirements
- How To Get NBI Clearance in the Philippines While Abroad: 2 Ways
- Tips and Warnings
Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. I still have a copy of my old NBI clearance. Should I still get NBI Form No. 5 (fingerprint form)?
- 2. I will be applying through an authorized representative. Do I need to authenticate the Letter of Authorization?
- 3. I will be applying for NBI clearance via mail. Is there a particular courier service I should use?
- 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?
- 5. Can I send scanned copies of the requirement/s instead of the original?
- 6. I have already sent the documents to the NBI Mailed Clearance section. How can I check the status of my application?
- 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 in U.N. Avenue?
- 8. I’m applying without any representative (i.e., Option 2). How will I be able to receive the new NBI clearance once it’s ready?
- 9. When filling out the NBI Form No. 5, should I input my current address abroad or my address in the Philippines?
- 10. Do I need to affix my thumbprint on my new NBI clearance?
- 11. How long does it take to process NBI clearances of applicants from abroad?
- 12. Do I need to send a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) for my representative in the Philippines?
- 13. I’m a foreigner who used to live in the Philippines. How can I apply for an NBI clearance?
- 14. I already paid for NBI Form No. 5. Do I still need to pay for the NBI clearance fee?
- Your Turn
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 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 fingerprint form, you can get this for free at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. Take note that the NBI Form No. 5 is not the clearance itself but only an application form that 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’s issued in 2013 or earlier;
- You have a copy of the NBI clearance but need to update your personal information like your last name.
For a complete list of requirements in obtaining NBI Form No. 5, please check out the official website of the Philippine Consulate in your country of residence. Here’s one tip: Simply 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 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.
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.
b. One 2×2 photo
According to the Mailed Clearance Section of the NBI Clearance Building, the photo must meet the following requirements:
- Must show 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 opt to enclose an additional copy if you want.
c. Photocopy of passport data page
The passport biodata or bio page is at the front of your passport and located 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
Take note that 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 there are no changes that have been made to your personal 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 details.
Note: As mentioned earlier, renewal applicants are allowed to send scanned copies of their requirements, including the 2×2 photo, to save time and money. However, it’s important 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, simply 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 a 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 to NEVER declare the said money you have enclosed to the courier. In the event that the courier discovers the money, then enclose a note instead indicating the name of your representative in the Philippines and his/her contact number. If you end up doing the latter, the NBI Clearance office will reach out to your representative upon receiving your documents to give instructions on how to pay for and claim your newly issued NBI clearance.
c. Self-addressed envelope (optional, if applying without a representative)
Applicants who will be 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 of your choice, instead of PHLPost which may take up to two months to deliver documents to their intended receivers abroad. Since you don’t have anyone in the Philippines to pick up your NBI clearance, it’s important 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 then personally contact the courier (e.g., DHL or FedEx) and arrange a pick-up schedule. It’s your responsibility, not of the Mailed Clearance Section, to request a pick-up schedule to 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 along with the other requirements.
- Without an authorized representative – Only choose this route if you really don’t have anyone in the Philippines who 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
- 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 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 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 purposes. Applicants abroad don’t have to wait for their schedule just like regular 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 very next day or any day that is 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 in 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 then send it back to you via airmail.
- 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
- Complete all the requirements as listed earlier.
- 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.
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 then arrange a pick-up schedule with the courier who will then eventually ship the document to you.
3. As also 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.
By default, PHLPost will deliver the NBI clearance to each applicant’s respective country. Depending on the country where you currently live, it may take up to 2 months before you receive the document from PHLPost. However, if you want to receive your clearance faster, a self-addressed envelope, as well as 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 the clearance will be picked up from the Mailed Clearance Section and shipped to you via airmail.
In case you weren’t able to enclose cash, the Mailed Clearance Section will look for a note containing the name and contact number of your representative 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 just have your representative receive it on your behalf and then send it to you through your preferred courier.
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 October 2021, the following are Ms. Sandra Sobida’s phone numbers:
- +639156893113 (preferred)
The Mailed Clearance Section is available to answer your calls every weekday, Monday to Friday, from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. (Philippine Standard Time).
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
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 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 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 simply 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 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 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 have your scanned photo retouched and printed 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 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, or any of the updated numbers listed above, 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 with a representative (i.e., Option 1). Does the representative need to secure an online appointment before going to the NBI Clearance Center in U.N. Avenue?
It depends. As mentioned earlier, if you’re for renewal (i.e., you have an old NBI clearance issued from 2014 onwards), your representative doesn’t need an appointment and can go to the NBI Clearance Center to submit your requirements and pay the clearance fee anytime.
However, new applicants who will be submitting their NBI Form No. 5 are required to secure an appointment. You can do it yourself or have your representative secure an online appointment on your behalf. Make sure though that the contact number you enter is that of your representative in the Philippines.
The online appointment is only for formality purposes. You can pick any schedule you want 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 be able to 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 and a note containing your email address as well as 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.
In case you weren’t able to 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 then forward it to your address abroad using your preferred courier.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. How long does it take to process NBI clearances of applicants from abroad?
Upon receiving your complete requirements, it will take the Mailed Clearance Section an average of five (5) working days to process your application. This doesn’t include the time it takes for the courier (i.e., PHLPost) 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’re applying through an authorized representative in the Philippines. According to the Mailed Clearance Section, representatives can proceed to the main NBI Clearance office in U.N. Avenue to submit the requirements and then 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 list of requirements above are the same regardless of your country and nationality. Therefore, follow the steps for new applicants if you don’t have an old copy of 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 for 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 itself.
We have tried our best to compile the most updated information about NBI clearance application and renewal for Filipinos or foreigners based abroad. If you still have questions or clarifications, leave a comment below and we’ll try to answer it the best way we can. For questions that we don’t have answers to, rest assured we’ll forward them to the Mailed Clearance Section and update the guide above as soon as we get the answers.