One of the consular services in high demand at this time is the consularisation of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance applications. The obvious reason is the overwhelming volume of visa applications from Filipino tourists stranded in Victoria over the last several months, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian government requires visa applicants aged 17 or over to present, among others, a “police clearance” or “police certificate” from the applicant’s home country and other countries they have lived in for at least 12 months in the past 10 years. The police clearance or certificate is one of the required proofs of “good character.” As we understand it, the NBI Clearance is the acceptable Philippine equivalent of the police clearance or certificate required by Australia.
To answer numerous questions we receive on applying for an NBI Clearance, here are the basic things an applicant has to know.
Q. Where do I apply for an NBI Clearance while in Australia?
NBI Clearance applicants currently living or staying in Australia have to apply through the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate. If you are living in Victoria, you have to do this through the Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne, at its current address, Level 3, 257 Collins Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000.
Q. Is any person or agency authorised to accept and process NBI Clearance applications abroad?
No. NBI has authorised only Philippine Embassies and Consulates to accept and process NBI Clearance applications of persons living or staying abroad. Any other person, agency or entity claiming to have this authority is committing a misrepresentation or engaging in the crime of fixing, and must be reported immediately.
Q. Can I just walk in to apply?
No. Due to limited space at the present address of the Consulate, as well as the existing social distancing and density quotient requirements, we do not allow walk-in applicants to avoid overcrowding in the premises.
For the time being, applicants are strictly required to book an appointment for their NBI Clearance applications by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What are the requirements for NBI Clearance processing at the Consulate?
The requirements are the following:
1. NBI Form 5 (provided free of charge by the Embassy/Consulate) – blue for Filipino nationals and white for foreign nationals;
2. Two (2) recent 2”x2” photos of the applicant, with white background, and taken within the last three months;
3. Applicant’s valid Philippine passport, original and one photocopy;
4. Processing fee of AUD 45.00, in cash;
5. Self-addressed, stamped Express post envelope (for mailing of signed/stamped form to applicant’s address).
Q. What is the procedure for NBI processing at the Consulate?
Following is the step-by-step procedure:
1. Applicant books an appointment with Philippine Consulate by email;
2. On the date/time of appointment, applicant submits the requirements, then receives, fills out and signs the Form 5;
3. Consulate staff receives the requirements and issues an official receipt;
4. Consulate staff takes applicant’s fingerprint impressions and attaches photos to the Form;
5. Accomplished Form is consularised (stamped, and signed by Consular Officer), and mailed to applicant’s address.
6. After receipt of the consularised Form from the Consulate, the applicant shall follow the steps for submitting the application to NBI.
Q. I have obtained the NBI Form 5, but it will not be convenient for me to visit the Consulate. What is my option?
You may request assistance from local police stations in Victoria for taking your fingerprint impressions. Once this is done, you may submit the accomplished/fingerprinted Form 5 by mail to the Consulate, along with the other requirements. The consularised form will be returned to you by mail, using the Express post envelope provided.
Q. Who is responsible for submitting the NBI Clearance Form to NBI?
The applicant shall be responsible for submitting the consularised Form to the NBI, either by mailing directly it to NBI, or by sending the same through a relative or representative in the Philippines, who submits the same to the concerned NBI office/unit:
4th Floor, NBI Clearance Building
UN Avenue, Ermita 1000
Q. What are the requirements for submitting the application to NBI?
Aside from the consularised Form 5, the following requirements must be submitted:
1. Letter authorising a representative in the Philippines to apply for the clearance in Manila;
2. Photocopy of Philippine passport; and
3. Money order in the amount of P200.00 or bank draft negotiable in the Philippines, and payable to the Director of NBI.
Q. What happens next?
Assuming there are no “hits,” the Clearance is issued, and sent by NBI either directly to the applicant, or through the designated representative or relative.
More detailed procedures are found at the NBI official website, www.nbi.gov.ph.
Q. How long does it take for NBI to process and release the Clearance?
According to NBI, the processing time takes a maximum of five (5) days.
Q. I have an existing NBI Clearance issued less than a year ago. Is this still acceptable?
Yes. According to the DHA, police certificates are valid for 12 months from the issue date.
The Clearance should cover:
• the time you turned 16 up to the issue date
• the whole time you were in the country (which issued the Clearance),
Q. My NBI Clearance was issued in 2015. Should I apply for renewal or issuance of a new Clearance? What is the procedure for renewal?
According to NBI, those whose clearances were issued from 2014 onwards may apply for renewal. They do not need to accomplish a new NBI fingerprint card (Form 5), provided there are no changes in their personal data. They can directly apply with NBI by submitting the following requirements:
1. Old NBI Clearance
2. Letter authorising a representative in the Philippines to apply for the clearance in Manila;
3. Photocopy of Philippine passport; and
4. Money order in the amount of P200.00 or bank draft negotiable in the Philippines and payable to the Director of NBI.
Q. My NBI Clearance issued in 2016 bears my maiden name. I got married in 2017, and now want to secure an NBI Clearance under my married name. Should I apply for renewal or issuance of a new Clearance?
Despite the fact that your previous Clearance was issued after 2014, you will need to apply for a new Clearance, not renewal, since there has been a change in your personal data.
Q. I was given by the Department of Home Affairs only 28 days to submit my NBI Clearance. I will not have enough time to comply. What are my options?
Some clients have informed the Consulate that, pending receipt of their NBI Clearance, the Department of Home Affairs accepts proof that they have lodged an application, and grants them an extension. The Consulate can assist in providing such proof, which may consist of an approved appointment date or email stating that an application is under process.
For more information, contact the Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne
Feature image credit to:
NBI Clearance Online Processing Unit 2020 from Facebook
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