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How To Apply for NBI Clearance 2024: Complete Guide

How To Apply for NBI Clearance 2024: Complete Guide

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 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 the 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 2022 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 stands for the National Bureau of Investigation. It’s the local counterpart of the 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.

NBI clearance is also a critical document required whenever you apply for a job (here or overseas), study abroad, take the civil service exam, or start a business.

Perhaps you’re wondering what the difference is between NBI and police clearance.

Both government-issued documents have the same purpose (i.e., to check whether criminal cases have been 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 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. Fortunately, things took a turn for the better.

In fact, in 2015, NBI announced that it no longer accepts walk-in registrations1. Hence, everyone must 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.


How Long Is the Validity Period of NBI Clearance in the Philippines?

The NBI clearance has a validity period of only one year from the date of issuance.


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:

1. Any Two (2) Valid Government-Issued IDs

Here’s a list of acceptable valid IDs for the NBI clearance application3:

  • UMID (SSS and GSIS)
  • Passport
  • Philhealth ID
  • Voter’s ID or Certificate of Registration
  • PRC License
  • Driver’s License
  • Pag-IBIG ID (not the Loyalty Card)
  • PSA-Authenticated Birth Certificate
  • Postal ID
  • Police Clearance issued by the police station with jurisdiction over the applicant’s residence. Note: One of our readers warned about presenting police clearance as a valid ID. Although it’s still included in the official list of valid IDs accepted for NBI clearance, the reader was told they don’t accept police clearance anymore. You can bring valid primary IDs or birth certificates to avoid wasting time.
  • Certification from the Local Civil Registrar
  • Certification from Malacanang in connection with indigenous groups, tribal membership, foundling
  • Solo Parent ID
  • Seaman’s Book and SIRV
  • Senior Citizen ID
  • Company ID (for government employees only)
  • School ID together with current registration card

Note: According to one of our readers who recently availed of the free NBI clearance at the main office on U.N. Avenue, first-time job seekers must present two valid IDs. The first one can either be PSA Birth Certificate or a Philippine passport, while the other one can be any of those listed above, so long as it bears your photo and signature. You can’t present both passport and birth certificate as they’re technically considered the same by the NBI Clearance office.

2. Barangay Certification and Oath of Undertaking (for First-Time Job Seekers Only)

Barangay Certificate is only required for first-time job seekers who want free NBI clearance per the First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act4. This document is proof that you’ve been living in your place of residence for at least six months and that you’re a first-time job seeker. It should come with an Oath of Undertaking duly accomplished by the applicant and executed before the Barangay Captain/Chairman.

If you have chosen to obtain the free NBI clearance at the main branch on U.N. Avenue (or at any branch), please be reminded that the office strictly requires applicants to use specific templates of both the Barangay Certification and Oath of Undertaking. Failure to follow the templates will result in the rejection of your application. To know more about these requirements and their templates, please check out this guide: How to Avail of the Free NBI Clearance for Fresh Graduates.

3. Reminders/Additional Information

  • 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) that you’ll bring for verification purposes.
  • According to the NBI Clearance Help Desk, Company ID (unless you’re a government employee), 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 from 2014 onwards should bring one valid government-issued ID and a copy of their previous clearance.

How To Get NBI Clearance Online in the Philippines: 13 Steps

Getting your NBI clearance through the new online application system is pretty straightforward. It’s like applying for your Philippine passport but relatively more straightforward.

Let’s go through all the steps one by one:

1. Go to The NBI Clearance Online Services Website

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Read the Data Privacy Statement and click I Agree.

Read the additional reminders and then click Close.

2. Register To Create an Account

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(If you’re a first-time job seeker who wants free NBI clearance, click the yellow box that says First Time Jobseekers to proceed with your application. Read more about it here. Otherwise, proceed with the regular application as discussed in the succeeding steps in this article)

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 DO YOU HAVE AN OLD NBI CLEARANCE ISSUED FROM 2014 TO PRESENT?

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. 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.

Tick the box that says Read and Accept Terms of Services. Then mark the box that says I’m not a robot to verify your identity.

Finally, click Sign Up.

3. Enter the One-Time Password Sent to Your Registered Mobile Number

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This One-time Password or OTP has been placed as an added layer of security for your online NBI clearance transactions. If you haven’t received one, click RE-SEND ONE-TIME PASSWORD (OTP) to generate another.

Aside from your mobile number, you can also check your registered email address for the OTP.

After entering the numbers, click Submit.

4. Log In to Your Account

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After the initial registration, sign in using the email and password you entered during registration.

5. Fill Out the Applicant Information Form

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After signing in, you will be directed to the Applicant Information page, where you’ll be asked to enter additional personal details such as middle name, civil status, birthplace, address, etc. Those with a red asterisk are required information, so don’t leave them blank.

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.

A box will then pop up asking you to review all the information you’ve just provided. If you’re sure about their accuracy and completeness, click Submit.

6. Select Apply for Clearance

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After saving your details, click the Apply for Clearance button at the top of the screen (if you’re using a mobile phone) or the upper right corner of the page (for desktop or laptop users).

7. Provide the Type of ID (and Its ID Number) That You’ll Bring On the Day of Your Appointment for Verification

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A pop-up box will appear asking you for the type of valid ID (and its ID number) 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.

8. Choose Your Preferred NBI Branch

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You can select the main branch at UN Avenue, Manila, or any NBI nearby. Fortunately, numerous branches are located in Manila and throughout the country, so you’ll never run out of choices.

If you already paid the fee and want to process your NBI clearance in another branch different from what you initially chose here, you must call the original branch and request your records to be transferred to your new NBI clearance branch. You can’t proceed to any branch to process your application without a proper endorsement.

9. Select Your Preferred Appointment Schedule

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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 have paid the NBI clearance fee. If you’ve 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.

10. Choose a Payment Option

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In summary, here are the available payment methods you can choose from:

  • Bank Over The Counter: Pay over the counter to any bank like BDO, Metrobank, Chinabank, Landbank, RCBC, Eastwest Bank, Union Bank, Security Bank, PNB, etc.
  • Online Bank: Pay the fees through online banking partners such as BDO Internet Banking, BPI Express Online, Unionbank EON, etc.
  • Cash Payments: Pay to any Bayad Center outlets or partner outlets like Cebuana Lhullier, LBC, Villarica Pawnshop, Waltermart, Robinsons, SM Savemore, etc.
  • ECPay: Includes all ECPay partners like RD Pawnshop, Petron Corporation, wExpress, and many others.
  • 7-Eleven: Make the payment by going to any 7-Eleven branch near you.
  • Visa/Mastercard: A new payment method that enables applicants to pay the NBI clearance fee using their debit/credit card powered by Visa or Mastercard.
  • GCash: Another newly introduced payment channel, GCash is a mobile wallet that you can install on your phone to easily complete payment transactions with just a few clicks. Learn how to create your GCash account here.
  • PayMaya: An alternative to GCash, PayMaya is a mobile wallet app you can download via Google Playstore or Appstore.
  • Others: You can also pay the NBI clearance fee using your Shopee Pay credits and the DragonPay app.

Select the payment option you prefer on the same page.

As soon as you choose a payment method, a pop-up box will appear to provide instructions on how to pay the fee through the selected payment channel.

Click Proceed to go to the next step.

11. Pay the NBI Clearance Fee

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After the previous step, you will be shown a transaction summary, including the NBI clearance fee. As of this writing, a multi-purpose NBI clearance costs PHP 130.  An additional PHP 25 is added for the use of the e-payment service.

Depending on your chosen payment channel, clicking the Proceed to Payment button will direct you to an online banking portal or another pop-up box showing a set of alphanumeric characters that 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 be 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.

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 phone screen size.

Take note that printing the form is not mandatory.

If you don’t have a printer at home, write 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 valid IDs on the appointment day. You’re now ready to have your photo and fingerprint biometrics captured.

12. Proceed to the NBI Clearance Center To Have Your Photo and Fingerprint Biometrics Captured

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Go to your chosen NBI clearance center on the day of the appointment.

Don’t forget to bring the requirements and 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.

13. Claim Your NBI Clearance

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If there’s no “hit” (meaning you don’t have a namesake involved in some suspicious activity), your NBI clearance will be released 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


Tips and Warnings

  • 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.
  • You can’t get an NBI clearance in the Philippines without a personal appearance unless you’re applying from abroad. NBI can’t also process your application through an authorized representative as your latest picture and biometrics are required for their database.
  • 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.
  • The NBI clearance is not a valid ID for the Philippine passport application. It only serves as a supporting document you can present to the consular officer for further verification. Please refer to this guide for a list of valid government-issued IDs for the Philippine passport application.
  • Since the new NBI clearance is now “multi-purpose,” the green NBI clearance for overseas employment or travel abroad no longer exists. The one issued can be used for all purposes, whether locally or abroad.
  • There is no age requirement for the NBI clearance application. This means all Filipinos or foreigners can apply for it regardless of age.
  • Fresh graduates, specifically 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. The NBI Clearance website has been updated recently to accommodate fresh graduates or first-time job seekers who want free NBI clearance. Please read our new and updated guide to learn how to apply. 
  • 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) revealed that the names of jaywalkers who disregard their tickets would be submitted to the NBI alarm list.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I get an NBI clearance in the Philippines if I’m a foreigner?

NBI clearance in the Philippines can also be issued to foreigners.
It’s a primary requirement for a lot of immigration-related transactions, including the following:

a. Application for a resident visa in the Philippines.
b. Renewal of 13a immigrant visa issued to foreigners married to a Filipino.
c. Application for immigration/citizenship in another country after living in the Philippines for at least six months.

NBI clearance for foreigners has the same purpose: to show that the applicant is in good standing and has never committed any crime in the Philippines.
If you want to know how to get NBI clearance for foreigners in the Philippines, follow this step-by-step guide.

Note: The following instructions are for foreigners who currently live/stay in the Philippines. If you’re already outside the Philippines or back to your home country, read this guide instead: How to Get or Renew NBI Clearance If You Are Abroad

Step 1: Register Online

how to get nbi clearance for foreigners online registration
The process is almost the same whether you apply as a Filipino citizen or a foreigner. Go to the NBI Clearance Online Services website and complete the registration form for first-time applicants. If you have registered already, sign in with your e-mail address and password.

Step 2: Secure Online Appointment

Fill out the “Applicant Information” form. Provide all the personal details requested, such as your birthplace and address. When you’re done, click “Save Information.”

Next, click the “Apply for Clearance” button either on the top of the screen if you’re using a mobile phone or upper right corner of the page for desktop or laptop users.

nbi clearance form

It will then ask for the valid ID/s you’ll present on the day of your appointment.

For foreigners, acceptable IDs include the following: Passport; or
ACR I-Card or “Alien Certificate of Registration.”
what are the requirements to get nbi clearance
After clicking “I Agree” in the pop-up window, you will be taken to a page where you can select the time and place (NBI branch) to apply.

It must be noted that foreigners in the National Capital Region (NCR) can ONLY apply at the NBI Main Clearance Processing Center located at U.N. (United Nations) Avenue in Ermita, Manila. 

For those outside NCR, you can apply at the NBI branch in your respective provinces but expect a longer waiting time (10-15 days) because you need to mail your application to the Manila office.

The NBI website doesn’t provide this vital information, so you should keep it in mind when securing an appointment.
nbi clearance branches

In the old system, foreigners were required to indicate the purpose of their application. However, since the NBI clearance is now a multi-purpose ID, this step has been removed from the procedure.

Go straight to the side of the page and select your preferred payment method. You can pay the NBI clearance fee online or through over-the-counter transactions in select banks.

As of this writing, a multi-purpose NBI clearance costs Php 130 plus an additional Php 25 for using the e-payment service. 

Don’t forget to keep the receipt as proof of payment.

After making the payment, check your email for the confirmation or return to your NBI clearance online account and click “Confirm Payment” on the “Transactions” page.

Print the application form and bring this together with the official receipt on the day of your appointment.
Step 3: Show Up at Your Appointment

Go to the NBI Clearance Main Office in Manila on your appointment date and time. The NBI Clearance Building is located on U.N. Avenue, Manila, across from the Manila Doctors Hospital.

Wear the proper attire (shorts and slippers aren’t allowed), and don’t forget to bring the following:

a. Original and photocopy of your passport (bio page up to the visa implementation page) OR Original and photocopy of your ACR I-Card or “Alien Certificate of Registration” (front and back).
b. Print-out of your application form.
c. Official Receipt.

There’s no need to bring passport-sized pictures since your image will be captured during encoding.

Upon arrival, go to the Alien Registration Office on the second floor, where you will fill out Alien Registration Form No. 5.

Submit the form and then move to the next station for the biometrics (picture taking, digitized signature, and electronic fingerprints).

Next, go to the last station, where you will present your documentary requirements and provide your manual fingerprints and signature.

The NBI personnel will stamp or write the claim date on the back of your receipt.
Unlike Filipino citizens, who can claim their NBI clearance on the same day, foreigners must wait approximately 3 to 5 days for their clearances to be issued. 
Step 4: Claim your NBI Clearance

Return to the NBI Clearance Building on the date indicated on the payment slip.
Suppose you cannot claim your NBI clearance personally. In that case, a representative can do it on your behalf, provided that he/she brings an authorization letter with your signatures and a copy of your passport.

2. I got a “hit” on my NBI clearance. What should I do?

If your NBI clearance application has a “hit” status, it means you or your namesake (i.e., a person who shares the same name as you) is linked to criminal records or information.
How does the NBI clearance “hit” work?

Whenever someone applies for an NBI clearance, an NBI personnel combs through their criminal database to check for any criminal record–also known as “derogatory records”–associated with the applicant’s name.

A “hit” happens when the search returns a suspicious result. At this point, one can get a “hit,” regardless if the criminal case belongs to you or a namesake. The verification process will take place later on.

Note that the NBI clearance doesn’t cover civil cases like annulments, ejectments, and money claims and, therefore, not included in the database.
The NBI Criminal Database is a collection of criminal records taken from the following:

a. Courts (MTC, MTCC, MCTC, and RTC).
b. Prosecution Service (City and Provincial Prosecution Offices).
c. Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan.
d. Police and AFP records.
e. Others.

Needless to say, it’s nearly impossible for any fugitive with pending criminal cases to escape the watchful eyes of the NBI.

The “hit” status has been instrumental in helping the NBI catch criminals who have long been hiding.

Of course, not all applications with “hit” status end up in jail.
To verify whether the criminal case is under you or your namesake’s, NBI delays the issuance of the clearance.
How many days does it take to get NBI clearance if you have a hit?

Applicants with a “hit” status are given a five- to a ten-day waiting period, during which NBI researchers meticulously check if the “derogatory records” belong to you or a namesake. 

If the “hit” returns nothing incriminating, the applicant can return to the NBI office after the waiting period and claim the clearance without any additional fee.

However, note that the NBI has the final say when determining which applicants can be issued their clearances after the waiting period and which should be referred to the Quality Control division for the interview (see next section).
What happens if a criminal case causes the “hit”?

If the “derogatory records” have been proven to belong to you or a namesake, the NBI will require you to attend an “NBI Clearance Quality Control Interview.”

The interview aims to allow the NBI Agents to examine your identity closely. You don’t have to worry unless you’re a fugitive, especially if you have been absolved of your past criminal case/s or committed no crimes.

Before you attend the interview, take note of the following requirements:

a. At least two valid IDs or documents that prove your identity.
b. NBI Clearance Official Receipt and print-out of your online registration/application form.
c. If the derogatory records belong to you, the Original and photocopy of the Court Decision/Certification from the Court showing that the criminal case has already been dismissed.
d. If the derogatory records belong to a namesake, Affidavit of Denial (to be provided by the NBI Agent) where you can attest that you only share the same name as the one involved in a criminal case/s, but you’re not the same person. By executing this affidavit, you declare under oath that you have nothing to do with any criminal case/s filed against your namesake, clearing your name and preventing another “hit” from occurring.

The interview is held at the Quality Control Section of the NBI main office at UN Avenue. It’s open from 7 AM to 5 PM and accepts applicants on a first come, first served basis.

However, if you initially applied at the NBI offices listed below, you don’t have to go to the main office and proceed to the designated interview room in these offices:

a. NBI Quezon City Satellite Office (8 AM to 5 PM).
b. NBI Muntinlupa Satellite Office (8 AM to 5 PM).
c. NBI Las Piñas Satellite Office (8 AM to 5 PM).

After proving that the case was dismissed, your NBI clearance will be issued immediately.

On the other hand, applicants with pending cases in Courts will also be issued a clearance, but the cases will be reflected in their clearances upon release.

3. How can I get my NBI clearance if I’m abroad?

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

a. 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.

b. 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.

Click here to read the complete guide.

4. How can I verify if my NBI clearance is fake or valid?

NBI clearance online verification can be performed using the tool provided on the NBI Clearance website.

There’s no need to download an app to do it.

Go to the NBI Clearance Online Services website and scroll down toward the NBI Clearance eServices section. From the NBI Clearance eServices provided, choose and click NBI Clearance Online Verification.
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Upon clicking NBI Clearance Online Verification, a pop-up box should appear asking for your NBI ID number. This is a set of alpha-numeric characters you can find on your current NBI clearance.
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Alternatively, you can scan the QR code on your NBI clearance (next to your thumbprint) through your mobile phone (with a camera). To do this, click the “Scan QR Code” button and take a snapshot of the QR code on your NBI clearance using your mobile phone camera.

If the system can retrieve your NBI ID number from its database, it will return a positive result, as shown below, indicating that your NBI clearance is valid and authentic.
nbi clearance online verification 3
Otherwise, you’ll get feedback like “The system cannot find the given NBI ID number,” which means that the NBI clearance you’re holding is fake and wasn’t issued by the National Bureau of Investigation.

5. I’ve already used/submitted both copies of my NBI clearance. Can I request additional copies?

According to NBI Clearance Help Desk, those who want additional copies of NBI clearance should go back to the NBI clearance website, sign in, and apply as they would for the first time.

NBI clearance centers only accommodate applicants who have secured an appointment online. Hence, it will be futile to go there personally without an online appointment even if the NBI clearances issued to you haven’t expired yet.

In other words, to get additional copies of NBI clearance, follow the same procedure intended for NEW APPLICANTS.

6. How long does it take to get NBI clearance?

Regarding NBI clearance application and renewal in the Philippines, it depends on which branch and time you choose for the appointment.

But regardless of the NBI clearance branch, choosing a morning schedule for your appointment is highly recommended. The earlier, the better.

If you’re lucky enough to pick the earliest schedule and attend your appointment at least 30 minutes in advance, you may not encounter a long queue. As a result, you can get your NBI clearance as early as 15 to 30 minutes upon arrival. 

A morning appointment is also preferred to get your NBI clearance on the same day. On the other hand, choosing an afternoon schedule runs the risk of having the release of your NBI clearance scheduled the following day, especially if there’s a high volume of applicants.

As for NBI Clearance Quick Renewal, you can expect to receive your NBI clearance at your doorsteps approximately 3-5 working days from the time of payment.
Those who are abroad, meanwhile, should expect the whole process to take 20 to 30 days.

This is because the NBI clearance application and renewal require the applicant to mail the requirements to the Philippines, where an authorized representative will process the application on his/her behalf.

Afterward, the NBI clearance will be mailed back to the applicant, who must return it to the Consulate to have it stamped.

The time frame varies depending on the applicant’s host country and whether or not he/she opts to use express mail for quicker delivery.

7. There’s a typographical error/misspelling/wrong information on my NBI clearance. How can I correct it and get a new one?

According to NBI Clearance Help Desk, applicants who want to correct wrong or misspelled information on their newly issued NBI clearance must re-apply for a new one.

After signing in to the NBI clearance website, you will be taken to the “Applicant Information” page, where you can edit the information you want to update or modify.
nbi clearance typographical error
Upon making the necessary changes, you must apply for the new NBI clearance like you would for the first time.

8. I have a pending case. Can I still get an NBI clearance?

All applicants, whether with a pending case or not, can be issued an NBI clearance.

For those with a pending case, however, getting a “hit” status depends on where the case currently sits. If the case is still under review by the fiscal’s office and hasn’t reached the Courts yet, you can rest assured that you’ll get NBI clearance without any hassle. This is because NBI clearance only considers criminal cases that have already reached the Court’s database.

If your NBI clearance doesn’t show the existence of your pending case, the said case is most likely still in the hands of the fiscal, who may or may not find a ground for dismissal before deciding to continue with the case.

Meanwhile, suppose the pending case has already reached the Courts. In that case, it will reflect on your NBI clearance, giving you a “hit” status and requiring you to attend a Quality Control interview to explain your side. 

9. A blotter report was filed against me. Will it cause any problems if I apply for an NBI clearance?

Again, only criminal cases that have already moved through the Court system will be reflected on the NBI clearance.

A blotter report is just that–a report. It’s a paper document made at either a local police station or barangay hall to prove that a crime or an incident took place in the area. For example, you can file a blotter report against a violent neighbor threatening to kill you.

However, a blotter report isn’t a formal complaint. Instead, it’s a document you can use as evidence to take the case to court. It can serve as direct evidence pointing to the person/s who committed the crime or as circumstantial evidence supporting other pieces of evidence collected by the police.

According to Section 1, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure of the Philippines, a criminal case can be filed with the public prosecutor who will conduct a preliminary investigation or directly with the Municipal Trial Court in cases where a preliminary investigation isn’t required.

In other words, unless it’s used as evidence for a criminal case that has already reached the Court, a blotter report won’t reflect on your NBI clearance. 

10. I don’t have a middle name. How can I apply for an NBI clearance online?

According to the NBI representative we talked to, applicants with no middle name can put MNU (capital letters with no spaces) in the field. 
This way, the application portal will let you proceed with the process and schedule an appointment with the NBI.

Just don’t forget to bring your birth certificate (showing that you lack a middle name) as a supporting document on the day of your appointment.

11. I’ve heard that the NBI Clearance Center observes a specific dress code. What should I wear on the day of my appointment?

When going to your appointment at the NBI Clearance Center, there’s no need to observe strict dress codes like formal attire, etc.

However, always remember that all government offices/buildings in the Philippines require applicants to wear decent and proper attire. NBI never released an official list of ideal attire, but it states that they may deny entry to applicants wearing sleeveless clothes, slippers, and short pants.

Make sure you look presentable before picture-taking and fingerprinting. Most importantly, don’t forget to bring the NBI Clearance requirements to avoid delay in your application.

12. How can I get an NBI clearance with a ‘red ribbon’ from DFA?

Starting June 17, 2019, DFA has officially stopped issuing “red ribbons,” which have been replaced by “Apostille” certificates following the Philippines’ accession to the Apostille Convention. Read our official guide to learn how to “Apostillize” your NBI clearance.

13. I couldn’t claim my NBI clearance on the date I was told to return. Can I still claim it?

An unclaimed NBI clearance remains valid for one year from the date of issuance. Hence, you can claim it anytime within that time frame without any problem. 

To claim your unclaimed NBI clearance, return to the NBI Clearance branch where you originally applied and present the reference number (which you can obtain from the email confirmation sent to you or by logging in to your NBI Clearance account and selecting “Transactions” on the menu).

Once the reference number has been verified, your NBI clearance will be printed on the spot.

14. I couldn’t go to the NBI on my scheduled appointment date. What should I do?

A missed NBI clearance appointment doesn’t always end up with the cancellation of your slot. It depends on whether you’ve already paid the NBI clearance fee.

Securing an online appointment without paying the fee means you haven’t reserved the slot yet. Therefore, your appointment will be automatically canceled after failing to pay on time, and you will be required to choose another available date.

On the other hand, if you can secure an online appointment and pay the NBI clearance fee on time, your slot will not be canceled immediately in case you miss your appointment.

According to the NBI Clearance Help Desk, you have 15 days from your original appointment date to appear at your chosen NBI Clearance branch and process your application. Just don’t forget to bring the requirements, including the Official Receipt.

Failure to go to the NBI Clearance Center within this 15-day grace period will nullify your payment and application.

15. How can I make an authorization letter for claiming NBI clearance?

An authorization letter is a document that permits the representative to process the application for and claim your NBI clearance on your behalf. Go to this article to learn how to write an authorization letter for claiming NBI clearance (including a free sample template you can download).

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?

Unfortunately, you can’t include any special character during online registration. Hence, you can’t use your hyphenated surname or first name.

To continue the registration, you must type in your name/s WITHOUT the dash or hyphen. Then, on the day of your appointment, inform the NBI personnel who verify applicant information about the special character in your name.

This way, the hyphen or dash will be inserted before your NBI clearance gets printed.

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?

The “OTP field is required” is an error message usually encountered by NBI clearance applicants upon choosing their preferred mode of payment. Since they cannot pay the NBI clearance fee, the transaction can’t push through.

However, no need to panic. This is a technical error that can be fixed in a few clicks.

“OTP” means “one-time password,” required during registration. Since you already registered, creating a new one is unnecessary.

According to the NBI Clearance Helpdesk, the applicant must do the following in case this error message pops up:

Step 1: Close the pop-up box with the error message “OTP field is required.”
Step 2: Click the drop-down menu with your name (if you’re using a laptop/desktop) or the profile icon (if you’re on mobile) on the upper right corner of your page. Select “Logout.”
Step 3: Refresh the page and sign in with your email address and password.

The error should be fixed as soon as you log back in. If you still get the same error message after the troubleshooting steps above, please immediately call the NBI Clearance Helpdesk.

18. Can I reschedule my NBI clearance appointment?

It depends. If you haven’t paid the NBI clearance fee yet, then you can move the appointment date to either earlier or later than what you initially selected.
Unfortunately, you can no longer change the date of your NBI clearance appointment if you have already paid the fee.

If you’re in a hurry and want to move your appointment to an earlier date, you can only make another appointment and pay the fee again. On the other hand, if you can’t make it on your original appointment date, NBI offers a 15-day grace period to proceed to the NBI clearance branch of your choice to obtain your NBI clearance. Beyond this, your payment and application will be automatically forfeited.

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?

It depends on the branch you initially selected during the online appointment.

According to the NBI Clearance Helpdesk, some branches won’t process your application without the approval of the branch you initially selected.
Hence, before you proceed to a different branch, call the branch you selected the first time. Inform the latter that you can’t make it on your appointment and request that your records be transferred to the new NBI clearance branch of your choice.

By coordinating with both branches, you can rest assured that your records will be moved to the NBI clearance branch of your choice and that your clearance will be issued without any hassle.

20. What is the difference between NBI clearance and police clearance?

The NBI clearance and National Police Clearance used to differ in scope. While the former uses a national database to identify criminal cases filed in courts anywhere in the country, the latter could only identify cases filed in the specific town or city where it’s issued.

However, with the launch of the National Police Clearance System (NPCS) in 2018, the line between the two clearances has been blurred. The NPCS has enabled the Philippine National Police (PNP) to merge all records from different towns and cities into one database.

This centralized database, similar to the one used by the NBI, has streamlined the process of checking/verifying criminal records in any police station in the Philippines. The NPCS database will also be integrated into the National ID System.

Nonetheless, the PNP has clarified that the National Police Clearance System will NOT replace the NBI Clearance System. But with both of them having nationwide coverage, what makes them different?

The difference lies in how the two agencies process a “HIT” on an applicant’s records. As you may already know, a “HIT” is when an applicant’s records return a suspicious result. In most cases, a “HIT” is caused by a namesake.

Whereas a “HIT” in NBI clearance usually takes up to 10 days to be verified and resolved, the same can be cleared immediately when applying for a police clearance. This is because local databases are now stored in one cloud so the police can quickly confirm whether the “HIT” comes from a namesake who was involved in a crime and has an active arrest warrant.

The NBI and PNP also differ in the types of information they gather and keep in their databases.

NBI is mandated by law to store more official records, which include the following:
a. Civilian identification records (e.g., identifying marks and characteristics)
b. Derogatory and criminal records
c. Facial photo
d. Fingerprint scan
e. Dental records (obtained with the help of the Philippine Dental Association)

PNP, meanwhile, keeps the following information about citizens included in its database:
a. Blotter records
b. Derogatory and criminal records
c. Facial photo
d. Fingerprint scan

21. I’m a fresh graduate currently applying for my first job. How can I get an NBI clearance for free?

To get a free NBI clearance for first-time jobseekers, you must secure an online appointment and present two valid IDs and a Barangay Certificate and Oath of Undertaking (original and photocopies). Please refer to this article for a complete guide to getting 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. DOLE issues rules on free documentary requirements for first-time job seekers. (2019). Retrieved 20 July 2020, from https://www.dole.gov.ph/dole-issues-rules-on-free-documentary-requirements-for-first-time-jobseekers/

Written by Luisito Batongbakal Jr.

in Government Services, Juander How, NBI/PNP

Last Updated

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.

Browse all articles written by Luisito Batongbakal Jr.

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