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NBI clearance. Yup, that dreaded government-issued piece of paper we are all compelled to get for the sake of our careers.
The thought of getting this mandatory document used to throw me in a bad mood, what with the long queues I had to endure for at least 3 hours just to submit the application form.
Fortunately, someone from the government realized the hell we were going through and introduced an online appointment system (thanks, technology!).
With a deeply ingrained idea of NBI clearance application being a pain in the ass, I set out to prove whether this innovation could change my perception.
The result is a comprehensive guide to NBI clearance application and renewal for 2019 and beyond.
Renewing your old/expired NBI clearance? Read this: How to Renew NBI Clearance Online the Fastest and Easiest Way
Table of Contents
- What is an NBI clearance?
- NBI Clearance Requirements.
- How to Apply for NBI Clearance Online: 4 Steps.
- Tips and Warnings.
- 1. NBI only accommodates applicants with a valid online appointment.
- 2. Unless you’re applying from abroad, you can’t get an NBI clearance in the Philippines without a personal appearance.
- 3. Never go to the NBI Clearance Center on the day of your appointment without bringing valid ID/s.
- 4. The NBI clearance is not a valid ID for Philippine passport application.
- 5. Since the new NBI clearance is now “multi-purpose,” the green NBI clearance for the purpose of overseas employment or travel abroad no longer exists.
- 6. There is no age requirement for NBI clearance application.
- 7. Fresh graduates, specifically the first-time job applicants, can now apply for NBI clearance for free.
- 8. Jaywalkers who refuse to settle their penalties will get A “HIT” on their NBI clearance.
- Frequently Asked Questions.
- 1. How can I get an NBI clearance in the Philippines if I’m a foreigner?
- 2. I got a “hit” on my NBI clearance. What should I do?
- 3. How can I get my NBI clearance if I’m abroad?
- 4. How can I verify if my NBI clearance is fake or valid?
- 5. I’ve already used/submitted both copies of my NBI clearance. Can I request for additional copies?
- 6. How long does it take to get NBI clearance?
- 7. There’s a typographical error/misspelling/wrong information on my NBI clearance. How can I correct it and get a new one?
- 8. I have a pending case. Can I still get an NBI clearance?
- 9. A blotter report was filed against me. Will it cause any problem if I apply for an NBI clearance?
- 10. I don’t have a middle name. How can I apply for an NBI clearance online?
- 11. I heard that the NBI Clearance Center observes a certain dress code. What should I wear on the day of my appointment?
- 12. How can I get an NBI clearance with ‘red ribbon’ from DFA?
- 13. I wasn’t able to claim my NBI clearance on the date I was told to return. Can I still claim it?
- 14. I wasn’t able to go to the NBI on my scheduled appointment date. What should I do?
- 15. How can I make an authorization letter for claiming NBI clearance?
- 16. I have a dash/hyphen in my first name/last name and can’t register because the system recognizes it as a special character. What should I do?
- 17. When choosing the mode of payment, I get an error message that says “OTP field is required.” What does it mean and what should I do?
- 18. Can I reschedule my NBI clearance appointment?
- 19. I can’t make it to the original NBI clearance branch I selected during the online appointment. Can I proceed to any branch near me to process my application?
- 20. What is the difference between NBI clearance and police clearance?
- 21. I’m a fresh graduate currently applying for my first job. How can I get an NBI clearance for free?
- About the Author.
What is an NBI clearance?
NBI stands for National Bureau of Investigation. It’s the local counterpart of United States’ FBI.
The purpose of the NBI clearance is to prove you’re a citizen in good standing and that you never messed up with the law.
You’ll most likely get NBI clearance several times in your lifetime. This is because it has a validity period of only 1 year from the date of issuance.
NBI clearance is also a critical document required whenever you’re applying for a job (here or overseas), studying abroad, taking the civil service exam, or starting a business.
Perhaps you’re wondering what is the difference between NBI clearance and police clearance.
Both government-issued documents have the same purpose (i.e., to check whether there have been criminal cases filed against you). And with the introduction of the National Police Clearance System by the PNP, both now have nationwide coverage.
However, they differ in terms of how quickly they process a “HIT” on an applicant’s records and the content of the databases they’re using. For more information, read this: What is the difference between NBI clearance and police clearance?
Getting an NBI clearance used to be painstakingly slow. I remember when I was a teenager fresh out of college, it took me one day to apply for it and another to get the printed document.
Fortunately, things took a turn for the better.
In fact, in 2015, NBI announced that it no longer accepts walk-in registrations¹. Hence, everyone is now required to apply and make appointments online to get an NBI clearance.
Moreover, a 2017 memorandum has changed the format of the NBI clearance².
It’s now a multi-purpose ID bearing the statement “Issued for whatever legal purpose,” meaning you no longer have to specify the purpose (travel/employment; local/overseas) of using the NBI clearance.
NBI Clearance Requirements.
For first-time applicants, including those who are for renewal but whose NBI clearances were issued before 2014 or whose previous clearances have a correction/error/changes in any field (even if the correction only involves a single letter), the following is required:
Any two (2) valid government-issued IDs.
Here’s a list of acceptable valid IDs for NBI clearance application³:
- UMID (SSS and GSIS). Related: How to Get the New SSS ID: A Definitive Guide
- Philhealth ID
- Voter’s ID or Certificate of Registration
- BIR/TIN ID
- PRC License
- Driver’s License
- Pag-IBIG ID (not the Loyalty Card). Related: Pag IBIG Online Registration: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide
- NSO-/PSA-Authenticated Birth Certificate
- Postal ID
- Police Clearance issued by the police station with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence
- Certification from the Local Civil Registrar
- Certification from Malacanang in connection with indigenous groups, tribal membership, foundling
- Solo Parent ID
- Seaman’s Book
- Senior Citizen ID
- MARINA ID
- Security License ID (for security guards)
- When applying online, you’ll be asked to enter the name of the two valid IDs you’ll bring on the day of your appointment. In the first box, choose your primary ID from the drop-down list provided. The second box, meanwhile, is where you can indicate the other valid ID (whether included in the previous drop-down list or not) which you’ll bring for verification purposes.
- According to the NBI Clearance Help Desk, Company ID, Student ID, Barangay Clearance, and other non-government issued IDs are NOT accepted.
- An NBI personnel will check the validity and authenticity of valid IDs so make sure yours is government-issued, original (not photocopied), and in good condition (bearing legible texts and your recent, recognizable photo).
- Renewal applicants whose NBI clearances were issued in 2014 onwards should bring 1 valid government-issued ID and a copy of their previous clearance.
- If you’re a fresh graduate who is a first time job seeker, you need to present at least 1 valid ID as well as a Barangay Certificate showing that you’ve been living in your place of residence for at least 6 months and that you’re a a first time jobseeker. We’ve written a separate guide on how you can get an NBI clearance for FREE as a fresh graduate/first time job seeker.
How to Apply for NBI Clearance Online: 4 Steps.
Getting your NBI clearance through the new online application system is pretty straightforward. It’s like applying for your Philippine passport, but relatively easier.
Let’s go through all the steps one by one:
Step 1: NBI Clearance Online Account Registration.
- Go to the NBI Clearance Online Services website.
- Since you’re applying for a new NBI clearance and not renewing an old one, tick the box that corresponds to “NO” next to the question that asks “DO YOU HAVE AN OLD NBI CLEARANCE?”
- Fill out the registration form. Take note that the system doesn’t accept special characters. Hence, if you have a hyphenated first name or surname, leave out the hyphen during registration. Simply inform the personnel on the day of your appointment about the hyphen so it can be included before your NBI clearance is printed out. Moreover, NBI strictly follows its “one email = one user” policy. It means you can only use one email when creating a new account.
- Ensure that all personal details you’ve entered are complete and correct before signing up.
- After the initial registration, sign in using the email and password you entered during registration.
- You will be taken to the “Applicant Information” page where you’ll be asked to enter additional personal details such as middle name, civil status, birthplace, address, etc.
- Provide all the requested information. The system only recognizes letters and spaces. Therefore, avoid using commas and periods when filling out the form.
- Once you’re done, click the “Save Information” button at the bottom of the page.
Step 2: NBI Clearance Online Appointment.
- After saving your personal details, click the “Apply for Clearance” button at the top of the screen (if you’re using a mobile phone) or upper right corner of the page (for desktop or laptop users).
- A pop-up window will appear asking you for the valid IDs you’ll bring for verification. You must bring at least two valid IDs as supporting documents on the day of the appointment.
- Click “I Agree” to proceed to the next page.
- Choose your preferred NBI clearance center. You can select the main branch at UN Avenue, Manila or any NBI branch nearest to your home or office. Fortunately, there are numerous branches located in Manila and all over the country so you’ll never run out of choices. In case you already paid the fee and you want to process your NBI clearance in another branch different from what you’ve originally chosen here, you will be required to call the original branch and request for your records to be transferred to the new NBI clearance branch of your choice. Without a proper endorsement, you can’t proceed to any branch to process your application.
- After choosing your preferred NBI branch from the drop-down list provided, select your appointment date and time (AM or PM). Boxes shaded with blue indicate vacant slots. Please be careful when choosing your appointment date because you can no longer change or reschedule it once you already pay the NBI clearance fee. In case you’re already paid and won’t make it on your appointment date, NBI will still give you another 15 days to proceed to the NBI clearance branch of your choice and complete your application.
Step 3: NBI Clearance Fee Payment.
In summary, here are the available payment methods you can choose from:
- Bank Over The Counter: Pay cash over the counter in any bank like BDO, Chinabank, Landbank, RCBC, etc.
- Online Bank: Pay the fees through online banking partners such as BPI Express Online, Unionbank EON, etc.
- Mobile Payment: Payment is done mainly through GCASH.
- MultiPay: Pay the fee using the money in your MultiPay Wallet or by loading your account via MultiPay Payment Outlets.
- ECPay: Includes all ECPay partners like RD Pawnshop, Petron Corporation, Expresspay Inc., and many others.
- 7-Eleven: Make the payment by going to any 7-Eleven branch near you.
Here are the steps to pay the NBI clearance fee:
- On the same page (see the previous step), select the payment option you prefer.
- As soon as you choose a payment method, a pop-up window will appear to provide instructions on how to pay the fee through the payment channel you’ve selected.
- Click “Proceed” to go to the next step.
- You will then be shown a summary of your transaction, including the NBI clearance fee. As of this writing, a multi-purpose NBI clearance costs Php 130. An additional fee of Php 25 is added for the use of the e-payment service.
- Depending on the payment channel you’ve chosen, clicking the “Proceed to Payment” button will either direct you to an online banking portal or to another pop-up box showing a set of alphanumeric characters which will serve as your reference number.
- Don’t forget to write down or take a screenshot of this reference number. You need this reference number when paying the NBI clearance fee. It will also serve as your gate pass when entering the NBI clearance center.
- To check the status of your application, click on “Transactions” from the menu. It will lead you to a page showing your reference number and information on whether the payment has been successfully processed or not.
- After paying the fees, check your email for payment confirmation. You can also go back to the Transactions page of the NBI Clearance website to see if the status of your application has been changed from “Pending” to “Paid.”
- Print the application form. If you’re using a mobile phone, you won’t see the button to print the application form unless you resize the browser window to the size of the phone screen. Take note that printing the form is not mandatory. If you don’t have a printer at home, simply list down your reference number or take a screenshot of it using your mobile phone and present it to the NBI personnel on the day of your appointment.
- Bring the application form (or a copy of your reference number) and your valid IDs on the day of the appointment. You’re now ready to have your photo and fingerprint biometrics captured.
Step 4: NBI Clearance Application Processing.
- Go to your chosen NBI clearance center on the day of the appointment.
- Don’t forget to bring the requirements, most importantly the application form/reference number. A security guard or NBI personnel will be ready to assist you.
- Since you’re done with the application, you can go straight to the encoding station where your biometrics and photograph will be taken.
- As long as there’s no “hit” (meaning you don’t have a namesake who is involved in some suspicious activity), your NBI clearance will be ready for release in just a few minutes. Otherwise, you will be asked to return after a few days so they can clear any anomaly in your application.
Renewing your old/expired NBI clearance? Read this: How to Renew NBI Clearance Online the Fastest and Easiest Way
Tips and Warnings.
1. NBI only accommodates applicants with a valid online appointment.
Any person applying for an NBI clearance must secure an online appointment first or they won’t be accommodated.
Online appointment can also be done right inside the NBI main office in UN Avenue. If you don’t have an Internet connection, just got to this office, connect thru their public wi-fi, make an appointment, and get your clearance on the same day.
2. Unless you’re applying from abroad, you can’t get an NBI clearance in the Philippines without a personal appearance.
NBI can’t also process your application through an authorized representative as your latest picture and biometrics are required for their database.
3. Never go to the NBI Clearance Center on the day of your appointment without bringing valid ID/s.
NBI strictly implements a “No ID, No Clearance” policy.
4. The NBI clearance is not a valid ID for Philippine passport application.
It only serves as a supporting document which you can present to the consular officer for further verification. For a list of valid government-issued IDs for Philippine passport application, please refer to this guide.
5. Since the new NBI clearance is now “multi-purpose,” the green NBI clearance for the purpose of overseas employment or travel abroad no longer exists.
The one currently issued can be used for all purposes, whether locally or abroad.
6. There is no age requirement for NBI clearance application.
This means all Filipinos or foreigners, regardless of age, can apply for it.
7. Fresh graduates, specifically the first-time job applicants, can now apply for NBI clearance for free.
This is thanks to the Republic Act No. 11261 (First Time Job Seekers Assistance Act) signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on April 10, 2019.
However, the NBI office hasn’t received the official memo yet. Until it’s fully implemented and an official announcement from the NBI is released, first-time job seekers are still required to pay the regular NBI clearance fee.
Update: The NBI Clearance website has been updated recently to accommodate fresh graduates or first time jobseekers who want to avail of the NBI clearance for free. Read our new and updated guide to learn how to apply.
8. Jaywalkers who refuse to settle their penalties will get A “HIT” on their NBI clearance.
As part of their effort to prevent the increasing cases of jaywalking that often result in road accidents, the Metropolitan Manila Development Agency (MMDA) recently revealed that the names of jaywalkers who disregard their tickets will be submitted to the NBI alarm list4, resulting in a “HIT” which prolongs the release of their NBI clearances should they apply for one.
To avoid getting a “HIT,” jaywalkers who have been apprehended by MMDA should EITHER pay the fine of Php 500 or render community service.
Frequently Asked Questions.
5. I’ve already used/submitted both copies of my NBI clearance. Can I request for additional copies?
7. There’s a typographical error/misspelling/wrong information on my NBI clearance. How can I correct it and get a new one?
9. A blotter report was filed against me. Will it cause any problem if I apply for an NBI clearance?
11. I heard that the NBI Clearance Center observes a certain dress code. What should I wear on the day of my appointment?
16. I have a dash/hyphen in my first name/last name and can’t register because the system recognizes it as a special character. What should I do?
17. When choosing the mode of payment, I get an error message that says “OTP field is required.” What does it mean and what should I do?
19. I can’t make it to the original NBI clearance branch I selected during the online appointment. Can I proceed to any branch near me to process my application?
21. I’m a fresh graduate currently applying for my first job. How can I get an NBI clearance for free?
1. You can now apply for NBI clearance online. (2015). Retrieved 1 October 2019, from https://www.rappler.com/nation/88406-online-application-nbi-clearance
2. NBI to start issuing multi-purpose clearance on October 2. (2017). Retrieved 1 October 2019, from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/625989/nbi-to-start-issuing-multi-purpose-clearance-on-october-2/story/
3. Announcement. Retrieved 1 October 2019, from http://nbi.gov.ph/
4. Santos, J. (2019). MMDA to submit names of jaywalkers to NBI. Retrieved 1 October 2019, from https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/02/01/mmda-to-submit-names-of-jaywalkers-to-nbi/
About the Author.
Luisito E. Batongbakal Jr. is the founder 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 (nomination). Connect with him on Linkedin.