In anticipation of a residence visa application, a friend had authorised me to renew her police clearance certificate (PCC) issued by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) when I visited the Philippines a few weeks ago. The Immigration New Zealand (INZ) requires residency applicants to submit police clearance certificates issued not more than six (6) months prior to application lodgement. I will share with you in this blog my experience of visiting Manila and going through the NBI clearance renewal of a Filipino living in NZ.
The NBI frequently changes its process for the application or renewal of NBI clearances. I was not surprised to know that even for an NBI clearance renewal of Filipinos abroad, an online appointment is required. They asked me ‘May online ka na ba?’ They referred to a reference number given when you had made an appointment on their website.
I did not have an appointment for my friend that day so I looked for an empty chair, sat down, turned my phone’s mobile data on, and set-up an appointment for her on the NBI Clearance Online Services website. I could have lined up in the online registration area but the line was so long!
This is the splash page when you go to the website:
I found out from the website that if the applicant’s most recent expired or current NBI clearance had been issued from 2014 to 2016, he or she could pull up data from the old NBI clearance and use this to register for an account.
I examined her old NBI clearance and fortunately, it was issued in 2016.
I inputted her details on the text box including the old clearance’s NBI ID number.
I did not know whether or not she had an existing account and she was not online so I could not confirm, so I just created a new account for her.
Otherwise, if I knew she had an account and if I had her log-in details, I would just log-in.
Once logged-in I could view her old NBI clearance’s details. The address listed was still her address in the Philippines so I clicked ‘Edit Information‘ (green arrow) updated the address to her address in New Zealand. I clicked ‘Apply for Clearance‘ (pink arrow) once I had made sure everything was correct.
I was asked to put an ID I would present. I put her old NBI number here then clicked ‘I Agree‘.
I was led to the appointment page.
A. I first selected an NBI branch which must be the ‘NBI Clearance Centre (Main Office)‘ which is located at UN Avenue, Manila. Only this branch processes NBI clearances of overseas Filipinos.
B. Then I selected the appointment date.
C. I selected the purpose of the NBI clearance.
D. Then I selected a payment method.
The amount of the NBI clearance is P115 and there is an added P25 if you pay using the listed payment options.
What if I wanted to pay at the branch in person? If you notice, there is no ‘NBI branch payment’ listed. So how do I pay? I was already at the NBI branch so I did not want to go outside anymore just to pay, and unfortunately I did not have access to my online banking at that time.
The solution was to just select any of the payment methods available and the system would assign you a reference number. Write this alphanumeric reference number down on a piece of paper for easy access.
Had I known before though that this was the process in the branch, I would have paid before I went so I could skip this step on the day of my visit.
Anyway, after I got a reference number, I proceeded to the third floor where the ‘Mailed Clearance‘ room was located. This is the section that processes NBI clearance applications or renewals of Filipinos abroad.
I handed the lady assigned to the first table from the door the fingerprint form, a copy of my friend’s passport’s bio page, and the authorisation letter. She set aside the authorisation letter (nope, it was not read), folded the passport bio page copy and stapled the passport bio page copy to the fingerprint form. She returned the documents and passed me to the lady in the next table. I then gave her the piece of paper containing the reference number and an exact payment of P115. She asked me to write the reference number on the receipt and at the front of the stapled documents.
Note: If you had paid online, please do not pay again. I had my mum get an NBI clearance for me the previous year—she was asked to pay again even if I had a ‘paid’ appointment set up for her. Crooks.
I should note though that since my friend’s NBI clearance was issued in 2016, I had the choice not to submit the fingerprint form since the bureau already has her biometrics, I already updated her information in the appointment website and I only needed to submit her new photo, taken not more than six months before the application. But since we had the form ready, I just submitted it.
I returned to the lady in the first table and handed her the documents again. She stamped the claim date at the back of the receipt. The date was after my departure date so I beseeched her to change the claim date to an earlier date. She told me that it was fine and to just try coming back the day before my flight. Seriously? Try?! I did not want to bribe her for the speedy release of the clearance so I went on.
I was also renewing my own NBI clearance and to expedite the release of my police clearance certificate, I had to go to the ICTD section on the fourth floor. I pleaded the woman representing this department to also change the claim date of my friend’s clearance. She agreed and changed the date on the receipt. She countersigned the change as well.
I brought this receipt back on the claim date and proceeded to the printing section on the third floor. There is also a releasing section on the first floor but there were fewer people on the third floor.
Do not mind the people seated on the chairs. They are doing biometrics. Just go straight to the printing section (directly below the Step 3: Printing sign; left of next counter please) as written on the sign “Please proceed to Printing Counter 1 or 2, no need to sit down”.
It is really easy to come as an authorised representative. No lining up needed. The only wait I had to do was waiting for the release of the clearance which was reasonable as they still have to manually scan the photo and put it on their system for printing. Then again, I knew nothing was impossible if I gave them bribes (from recent experiences of other people in forums) but I was not willing to do that.
In summary, the steps for NBI clearance renewal of overseas Filipinos by the authorised representatives are the following:
- Make an appointment online. This is now a requirement since December 2016.
- Pay the fee online, in person at payment centres, or in person at the NBI UN Avenue branch.
- Hand the documents to the mailed clearance section on the third floor, and get a claim date.
- Return on the claim date and directly proceed to printing section again on the third floor.
Please take note of the requirements for different situations:
Requirements for new NBI clearance application of overseas Filipinos
- NBI Form No. 5 or commonly known as the fingerprint form
- 2 x 2 or passport-sized photo
- Authorisation letter
- Passport bio-page and/or most recent departure stamp
Requirements for renewal of NBI clearances of overseas Filipinos issued from 2014 – 2016
- Personal copy of old NBI clearance (fingerprint form is not required!)
- 2 x 2 or passpord-sized photo
- Authorisation letter
- Passport bio-page and most recent departure stamp
I hope this had helped you in helping someone from overseas renew his or her NBI clearance. If you have any questions, please write them down below in the comments section.