Life and Lemons

Tale of Two Clearances: Getting your Police and NBI Clearance


Nothing rains over the parade of a brand new spanking job more than the curse of getting government clearances. In my case (and I think with almost everyone else’s nowadays), my new employer is requiring two – police clearance and NBI clearance. Now in this day and age of free information (GMG everything), I wasn’t going to visit my neighborhood government offices unprepared. At least I would like to know how many books I need to bring to bear the wait, and I assume you would too. Below are things you need to know, gathered from a lot of Googling and from my own recent experience: Police Clearance This you have to get from your city of residence, as you would understand from the requirements below:

  1. photocopy of government issued ID showing your address in said city (in my case, QC). Bring the original ID just in case.
  2. black ballpen
  3. wet wipes or hand sanitizer and tissue, for wiping ink off your fingers
  4. P250, preferrably in exact change

I went to the QC City Hall, braving a Monday morning even though everyone told me not to since it is an assumed peak day. Coming from Banawe, I took an FX going to SM Fairview and got off a few meters past the main entrance of City Hall. Apparently, they don’t allow PUVs to load/unload there anymore. It turned out perfect because I was facing the Kalayaan Ave side of the complex, which is exactly where I needed to go. I crossed Kalayaan to the QC City Hall complex. First gate I saw was Gate 7. That is not my gate. I walked a few more meters on until Gate 5, entered and a few more steps in, huzzah! ‘Police Clearance’, the sign said. I entered, took in the view, read the step-by-step on the tarpaulin, wiped the sweat off my face, and clocked the time. 10:15 on my watch. Let’s do this.

  1. Step 1 – line up at the counter and get your application form. They take your ID copy, check the QC address, and staple it with the application form. Go find a space in the makeshift long tables and fill in the form. Very basic information, very quick to do. Ignore the boxes for the fingerprints. Those are for later. (Note: ballpens, photocopier machines and later, wet wipes are all sold in the area for ridiculous prices just in case you forgot to bring your own. Snacks abound too, but I did not stop to buy.)
  2. Step 2 – line up at the corresponding counter (next to Step 1). They take your form, check that it is properly filled out and give you a payment order receipt. Check if your complete name is written for you on the form. If not, fill it out yourself. Will save you a lot of hurt come Step 3.
  3. Step 3 – payment happens at the City Treasurer Office (CTO). No one will tell you where it is, so you have to ask. Walk out of the Police Clearance area, turn right and start walking straight. It’s 5-10 minutes of leisurely walking. The CTO is just behind Land Bank and is where everyone in City Hall makes payments. So this is where the queue can screw you. Fortunately for me, that was not the case. There are a lot of counters open, about 5-7, and the line was not bad so it wasn’t a long wait. The collector gets your form, checks for your name and amount, demands exact payment of P100 for the clearance, and issues you a receipt, stapled to your form.
  4. Step 4 – Walk back from whence you came. Somewhere in front of counters 1 and 2, you’ll see the sign that stays Step 4. This is fingerprinting. The guys on the pedestal takes your form, takes each finger and does the job thanks to a metal plate slathered with ink. Once your done, the wet wipe should come in handy.
  5. Step 5 – Turn left and follow the queue facing a door. The guard would let people in batches of 5 or so, and you’ll see why once you get through. It’s quite a cramped space. Here you present your form and pay the remaining P150, this time for the Police Clearance Data Card which is not optional.  After which, you get your picture taken (try to smile), you do your digital signature and your digital thumb print. Last step!
  6. Step 6 – Go through the next door and follow the queue on the benches. Once you’re called, you will be asked to look at the big monitor and provide your information (which is already in your form and also in your ID copy, but bear with it). After that, you will be instructed to go through another door (the last one, I swear).
  7. Step 7 – This is where you wait. By this point you have exited the building. Take your seat among the benches. Someone will soon be opening the door, calling out names of the finished clearances. This shouldn’t take too long either. Once your name is called, claim your police clearance and ID card. Congratulations!

I clocked out at about 1120am. Not bad for government service, though that’s not really saying much if we’re talking about absolute efficiency. In any case, I’m glad to not have spent 2-3 hours of my day there as some had to do.

Credits to the Geeky Guide, without which I would have felt lost in this task. Photo credits to owner.


NBI Clearance. This is what I was dreading the most, and for good reason. So many horror stories abound about people’s attempts to get their NBI Clearance. Thankfully, I needed to get mine at a time when NBI already had an online application system. Things you need to bring:

  1. Online application form print out
  2. Copy of 2 valid government issued ID (bring the original IDs)
  3. P115, if your purpose is only local employment
  4. Snacks, if you have the metabolism of a 19-year old like I do

I got a tip to go to NBI’s main office in UN Avenue, Manila. Apparently, they have a separate line for online applicants there which cuts considerably on the processing time. Though Manila scares me (batang QC e), I took the long FX ride (Buendia/Vito Cruz) from Fairview and got off at UN Avenue. Follow the crowd and you’ll get there for sure. The NBI building is right next to the WHO building. I clocked in at 9:00 am.

  1. Step 1 – Before you head off to the Clearance Center, go to the NBI website and fill out the online form. Make sure all the details are correct. Print and attach to the copy of your IDs.
  2. Step 2 – Once you get to NBI UN, the officers there will tell you that your online print out gives you the right to skip Steps 1 and 2 of their process and go straight to Step 3, which is payment. There is a line to get to the line for the payment (get it?), but it moves pretty fast.
  3. Step 3 – After payment, online applicants also are delegated a different floor for the next step, which is Biometrics. Read the sign at the payment counter to make sure you get to the right one, but in my case it was the 3rd floor. This is where I spent the longest. Again, there is a long line to get inside the room, after which an officer will distribute you to the different cubicles. You will wait your turn in front of your cubicle, sitting now with about 8 other applicants. Once called, you will be asked to verify your details on the screen, then your picture and digital prints will be taken. There are two possible outcomes: a. you get a hit (if so, you will get a receipt marked by the date for you to come back and get your clearance), b. NO HIT (proceed to Step 4).
  4. Step 4 – Wait for your printed NBI Clearance. This takes 5 minutes max. Huzzah!!

Took me about one and half hour, which again wasn’t entirely terrible given that others would queue as early as 3am and not finish until late in the afternoon. I did not need to take out the Hobbit after all.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

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  • Bodz
    November 20, 2014 at 2:15 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I am going to acquire one myself. I hope my experience will go smoothly as yours.

    • thisismyfireexit
      December 4, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      I hope it went well!! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • rey marzon
    April 23, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Ung police clearance data card pwd po ba as valid ID?kse po hinanap sakin sa dfa. Sss.voters I’ driver licensed..

    • thisismyfireexit
      April 24, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      Hi Rey! According to the card, it is a valid ID. But from experience as a bank officer, the police clearance is considered a secondary ID. Usually you would still need to present a primary ID, i.e. passport, driver’s license, SSS, etc.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

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