Whether you’re applying for the civil service exam or completing requirements for your new job, odds are you’ll be asked to apply for police clearance.
This definitive guide provides everything you need to know to get a police clearance in the Philippines in the quickest and most efficient way.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Police Clearance?
- Types of Police Clearance in the Philippines
- What Is the Difference Between Police Clearance and NBI Clearance?
- How Long Is the Validity of Police Clearance?
- Police Clearance Requirements
- Is Personal Appearance Required?
- How Much Does a Police Clearance Cost?
- Are Barangay Clearance and Cedula Needed for Police Clearance?
- Can I Get Police Clearance Through a Walk-In Application?
- Where To Get Police Clearance in the Philippines
How To Apply for a Police Clearance Online in the Philippines: 11 Steps
- 1. Access the NPCS website to register
- 2. Fill out the “New Applicant Registration” form
- 3. Log in to your account
- 4. Click on “Edit Profile”
- 5. Fill out the “Applicant Information” form
- 6. Click the “Clearance Application” button
- 7. Set an appointment
- 8. Select payment option
- 9. Review the notes/reminders and pay the police clearance fee
- 10. Proceed to your chosen police station for photo capture and biometrics
- 11. Wait for your police clearance to be released
Tips and Warnings
- 1. A missed appointment doesn’t automatically cancel your police clearance application
- 2. You can no longer edit or change erroneous personal data on your police clearance once it’s already printed
- 3. You can verify the authenticity of your police clearance online
- 4. Police clearance applications are only accommodated during weekdays
- 5. Police clearance can’t be renewed once it expires
Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. I’m applying for work/immigration abroad. How can I authenticate my police clearance with DFA red ribbon?
- 2. What is the difference between NBI clearance and police clearance?
- 3. I’m a Filipino/foreigner who lived in the Philippines but is now based in another country. How can I apply for a police clearance or certificate while abroad?
- 4. How can I pay the police clearance via 7-Eleven?
What Is a Police Clearance?
Police clearance is one of the essential documents requested by a government agency or an employer to ensure that the applicant has no criminal record.
Just like the NBI, the Philippine National Police (PNP) now has a national database or a “centralized” system1. Known as the National Police Clearance System (NPCS), this merges all records from different towns and cities into one unified database so checking/verifying criminal records is now easier than ever. This recent development eliminates the need to choose between police clearance from place of work or residence since the applicant’s records can easily be retrieved in any police station.
Aside from employment, you may also need to get a police clearance whenever you’re applying for the annual civil service exam, registering your firearms, applying for a credit card, or applying for various government-issued documents like your birth certificate.
For the policemen, however, the clearance has a higher purpose.
Fugitives who have been hiding for years sometimes resurface to get a job. Thinking that the police have forgotten about their crimes, they apply for police clearance not realizing that they’re turning themselves in by doing so. Since the rollout of the online police clearance application system, some 36 wanted personalities have been arrested2 according to the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM).
Types of Police Clearance in the Philippines
Although the data in the National Police Clearance System is much more comprehensive, online appointments to obtain police clearance remain limited to select police stations in the country. This is because not all employers require an all-encompassing criminal records check that can be completed with NBI clearance anyway.
Therefore, ensure that you check with your employer or requesting authority which one of these two types of police clearance they actually need:
- National Police Clearance (NPC) – as described earlier, this police clearance is similar to NBI clearance in terms of scope. It uses a national database to verify if the individual has an existing record not just in the city or municipality where he lives but also anywhere in the Philippines. Although comprehensive, this police clearance requires an online appointment to be obtained, and the police stations issuing it are only limited to a select few.
- Local Police Clearance (LPC) – is the police clearance we’re all familiar with and probably applied for several times before the launch of the online appointment system. Obtaining this clearance requires you to personally go to your municipal hall with your Barangay Clearance and apply for it the traditional way. Compared to NPC, the coverage of the LPC is more limited. It only checks if the applicant has a criminal history in his/her municipality, making it a standard requirement for people who are seeking employment within the same area.
What Is the Difference Between Police Clearance and NBI Clearance?
The Philippine National Police (PNP), which is responsible for issuing police clearances, launched the National Police Clearance System (NPCS) in 2018. Similar to the one used by the NBI, the NPCS is a centralized database containing all records/cases from different towns and cities all over the country.
Now that the two clearances have nationwide coverage, their main difference lies in how they deal with a “HIT” on an applicant’s records and the type of information they keep in their respective databases. For more information, read this: What is the difference between NBI clearance and police clearance?
Take note that the “cases” we’re talking about here only refer to criminal cases. Both the NBI clearance and police clearance don’t cover civil cases or private disputes between individuals and organizations.
How Long Is the Validity of Police Clearance?
The new National Police Clearance is now issued as a single certificate only. It has a validity of 6 months and has a QR code that you can use to verify its authenticity.
Police Clearance Requirements
You need to present at least two valid IDs to the police station on the day of your appointment. The IDs are for verification purposes so they must be original (not photocopied), not expired, and have your photo, complete name, and signature.
The following valid IDs are honored by PNP:
- AFP ID
- BFP ID
- GSIS UMID
- LTO Driver’s License
- PRC ID/License
- School ID with the registration form
- IBP ID
- PCG ID
- BJMP ID
- Marina ID
- Pag-IBIG ID
- OFW ID
- Alien Certificate of Registration
- Birth certificate
- SSS ID/UMID
- TIN ID
- PWD ID
- Voter’s ID
- PhilHealth ID
- PNP ID
- Postal ID
- Senior citizen ID
In case you only have one of the valid IDs above, you can bring it along with a certified true copy of your birth certificate from PSA (with the original official receipt attached).
If you’ve indicated in your online registration form (more on this later) that you’re a PWD, please bring your PWD ID on the day of your appointment for verification purposes.
If you’re a fresh graduate who wants to avail of free police clearance, please also bring and present your First Time Job Seeker Barangay Certificate.
Is Personal Appearance Required?
Yes, personal appearance is required whether you’re applying for a National or Local Police Clearance.
While the police may have digitized records of the applicants, personal information and appearance change over time. Hence, you need to show up to update these records with your recent photo and biometrics AFTER securing an appointment online via the National Police Clearance System (more on this later). If you’re applying for a Local Police Clearance, you can proceed to the municipal hall without the need to secure an online appointment.
Note: The PNP also requires personal appearance partly to lure wanted criminals who are stupid enough to apply.
How Much Does a Police Clearance Cost?
If you’re applying for the new National Police Clearance via the NPCS website (see the succeeding steps), you’ll be paying a total of PHP 160 (PHP 150 police clearance fee + PHP 10 transaction fee) through Landbank or Bancnet.
This fee is waived for fresh graduates who are looking for their first job, provided that they present a Barangay Certificate proving that they’re qualified to avail of this benefit under the First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act.
Are Barangay Clearance and Cedula Needed for Police Clearance?
For those applying for the National Police Clearance, barangay clearance and cedula are no longer needed. Under the new guidelines, the only valid IDs honored by the PNP for police clearance applications are the ones listed here.
However, if you’re applying for the Local Police Clearance which doesn’t require an online appointment, you will still need to secure a barangay clearance and cedula.
In addition, if you’re a first-time job seeker who wants to avail of the police clearance for free (courtesy of the First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act4), you need to obtain a Barangay Certification stating that you’re a first-time job seeker and has been a resident of your barangay for at least six months. You also need to accomplish an Oath of Undertaking executed before the Barangay Chairman. For more information about this benefit and the specific templates you need to follow, please check out this related guide.
You may avail of the free police clearance only once. This benefit will be valid for up to one year from the date of issuance of the Barangay Certification.
Can I Get Police Clearance Through a Walk-In Application?
Yes, you can go straight to the municipal hall of the municipality where you live and apply for a Local Police Clearance without the need for an online appointment. However, this type of police clearance only checks for any criminal record within the same municipality.
If your employer requires a National Police Clearance with nationwide coverage, then you need to secure an online appointment first before going to your preferred police station. The problem, however, is that not all police stations are included in the online appointment system. If you try to do the online appointment system (as discussed in detail in the next section) and you can’t find your nearest municipal/city/provincial police station on the list, chances are they are issuing Local Police Clearances only.
Where To Get Police Clearance in the Philippines
The Local Police Clearance can be easily obtained from the municipal/city hall with jurisdiction over your place of residence. No online appointment is required.
On the other hand, if you’ll be using the NPCS website to set an appointment for your National Police Clearance application, your choices will be limited to the police stations/police camps available in the system. You’ll most likely choose the one nearest to you.
As part of the PNP’s strategy to decongest police camps across the country and to make police services more accessible to people, it was recently announced that PNP National Police Clearance booths will soon be available in SM malls nationwide5. This means police clearances will now be easier to obtain as the application, processing, and release can now be completed at a more convenient venue.
How To Apply for a Police Clearance Online in the Philippines: 11 Steps
The National Police Clearance System (NPCS) was launched in 2018 to help PNP streamline the process of checking criminal records. Through this innovation, applicants can now apply online for a National Police Clearance anytime and anywhere.
What used to take an average of 30 minutes in police stations can now be completed in less than 10 minutes, thanks to the bulk of the application procedure that can now be completed online.
Personal appearance is still required as the PNP needs to update its database with the applicants’ photos and fingerprints.
Are you ready to give the NPCS a try? Follow the steps/procedures as follows:
1. Access the NPCS website to register
First-time applicants are required to register with the National Police Clearance System website.
On the NPCS home page, click “Register”
A pop-up box will show up on your screen.
Select your preferred language (i.e., English, Filipino, or Cebuano).
Finally, click “I Agree” to continue.
2. Fill out the “New Applicant Registration” form
To create an account, you must first need to fill out the “New Applicant Registration” form with your email address and password, complete name, gender, and birth date.
Tick the box for “Terms and Conditions” and then click “Register”.
A warning box will then appear to remind you to check the information you’ve provided before proceeding. If you’re sure about it, click “Save”. Otherwise, click “Cancel”.
3. Log in to your account
Sign in using the same email address and password you’ve just provided during registration.
4. Click on “Edit Profile”
Inside your NPCS account, click on “Edit Profile”.
5. Fill out the “Applicant Information” form
Supply information to all the required sections in your Applicant Profile that haven’t been filled out yet like Nationality, Birth Place, Civil Status, Address, Mobile/Telephone Number, Height, Weight, Complexion, Educational Attainment, and Family Background.
For PWD applicants, mark the checkbox that says “Please check if you are a PWD” and provide your PWD ID number.
If you’re a fresh graduate looking for your first job, mark the checkbox that says “Please check if you are a First Time Job Seeker (RA 11261 – First Time Job Seeker Assistance Act)”. Doing so will waive the police clearance fee as the law now enables first-time jobseekers to avail of government-issued documents for free provided that they can present a Barangay Certificate as proof of their qualification6.
Take note, however, that qualified applicants can only avail of free police clearance ONCE.
Review all the information you’ve provided and check for any missing data or spelling mistakes. Whatever information you provide at this point will be shown on the printed police clearance so any erroneous entry will be due to the applicant’s fault and not the PNP’s.
Once you’re done, click “Save Profile”.
6. Click the “Clearance Application” button
You need to select this in order to set an appointment with the nearest police station online.
7. Set an appointment
Select your preferred Police Station from the drop-down list provided.
Choose your preferred date and either AM or PM schedule from the list of available dates.
8. Select payment option
Select “LandBank of the Phils.” under Payment Options. It will then show the police clearance fee of Php 150 that you need to pay to secure your appointment. For first-time jobseekers, the fee will be waived at the police station on the day of your appointment.
9. Review the notes/reminders and pay the police clearance fee
The next page contains a summary of your transaction including your chosen police station, schedule of appointment, payment option, and instructions on what to do next.
After reviewing the information, click “Save Appointment”.
Save or note the reference number that will be displayed on the page.
Pay the police clearance fee by clicking the “Click here to Pay” button on the bottom right corner of the page. Take note that over-the-counter payment at the police station is not allowed.
You’ll be directed to the LandBank of the Philippines ePayment portal. Select either LandBank or Bancnet (for those with non-LandBank accounts) as your preferred payment option. Enter your account number and PIN to complete the transaction.
If you don’t have a bank account, you can also pay the police clearance fee over the counter at the nearest 7-Eleven convenience store. Click here to learn how.
You can also pay the fee via GCash. To pay the police clearance fee using your GCash account, enter your GCash number on the LandBank of the Philippines ePayment portal. The transaction details and payment summary will be subsequently shown.
Make sure to complete the payment at least two banking days before your appointment date or else your transaction will be canceled.
For first-time job seekers, no need to proceed with the payment. Just go directly to the police station on the day of your appointment and present your First Time Job Seeker Barangay Certificate.
10. Proceed to your chosen police station for photo capture and biometrics
Show the Official Receipt, your 2 valid IDs, and a copy of your payment Reference Number to the Clearance Police Non-Commissioned Officer (PNCO).
You will be guided to the designated area where your photo, fingerprints, and digital signature will be taken.
Afterward, your application will go through a verification process.
Since all police stations are now connected to a centralized PNP database, the process should not take long. If it does, it only means you have a “HIT” (most probably due to a namesake) on your police clearance.
Unlike NBI clearance “HIT”, however, a “HIT” on a police clearance can be resolved within a few minutes as long as you’re not involved in any crime and don’t have an active arrest warrant.
11. Wait for your police clearance to be released
Unlike other government-issued documents, police clearances are released on the same day of application. Depending on the police station, the entire process of getting a police clearance may take 15 minutes or more.
Once the verification process is complete, you can simply wait for your name to be called for the release of your police clearance.
The process is quite simple and fast so there’s no reason for anyone to go to lengths just to falsify it.
Anyone who is caught using a falsified document will be facing a “penalty of prison correctional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than Php 5,000”7.
Tips and Warnings
1. A missed appointment doesn’t automatically cancel your police clearance application
In case you failed to show up on your appointment date, you will be given another 15 days to go to your chosen Police Station to claim your police clearance. Beyond this 15-day grace period, your payment will be forfeited and you’ll be required to re-apply.
Update (October 2, 2021): One of our readers recently shared her experience of not being able to show up at her scheduled appointment due to lockdown restrictions. Surprisingly, she logged in to her account and simply moved the appointment date to a new one without paying any extra fee.
2. You can no longer edit or change erroneous personal data on your police clearance once it’s already printed
To correct or update any information on your printed police clearance, you need to re-apply again online, make the necessary changes, secure another appointment, pay the fee, and go back to the same police station for biometrics capturing.
3. You can verify the authenticity of your police clearance online
To verify whether your police clearance is legit or not, go to the NPCS website and choose “Verify Clearance” from the main menu.
Enter your surname and police clearance number. Tick the box for the captcha to prove you’re human and then click “Verify.”
4. Police clearance applications are only accommodated during weekdays
As the online appointment system will show you, there are no slots available for either Saturday or Sunday. Applicants can choose from either AM or PM schedules on a weekday, Monday to Friday.
Therefore, it’s better to set up an appointment in advance so you can choose a schedule that falls on a weekday, preferably during your rest day.
5. Police clearance can’t be renewed once it expires
Unlike NBI clearance, police clearance can’t be renewed so you have to apply for a new one after it expires. Police clearances in the Philippines are only valid for 6 months from the time of release.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. I’m applying for work/immigration abroad. How can I authenticate my police clearance with DFA red ribbon?
3. I’m a Filipino/foreigner who lived in the Philippines but is now based in another country. How can I apply for a police clearance or certificate while abroad?
- Cigaral, i. (2019). The PNP will have a National Police Clearance System in October. Here’s what you need to know. | Philstar.com. Retrieved 4 October 2019, from https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/09/26/1955155/pnp-will-have-national-police-clearance-system-october-heres-what-you-need-know
- DILG: Faster processing of police clearance now possible in some 186 PNP stations nationwide. (2020). Retrieved 20 August 2021, from https://www.dilg.gov.ph/news/DILG-Faster-processing-of-police-clearance-now-possible-in-some-186-PNP-stations-nationwide/NC-2020-1324
- Talabong, R. (2019). How the PNP plans to replace the NBI clearance with their own. Retrieved 4 October 2019, from https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/226009-how-pnp-plans-replace-nbi-clearance-with-own
- Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act (2018).
- Recuenco, A. (2020). Police clearance application available in SM malls soon. Retrieved 15 October 2020, from https://mb.com.ph/2020/09/28/police-clearance-application-available-in-sm-malls-soon/
- DOLE issues rules on free documentary requirements for first time jobseekers. (2019). Retrieved 20 July 2020, from https://www.dole.gov.ph/dole-issues-rules-on-free-documentary-requirements-for-first-time-jobseekers/
- Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, Article 172