Yesterday, I took a leave from the office in the afternoon to meet my husband at Robinson’s Big R at junction, to get our NBI clearances. I was clueless how the NBI operates now nor do I know the location of their office at Rob Big R (the mall is actually very small you could see the whole place in 15 minutes, but just the same, the unfamiliarity made me anxious) so I inquired with the security guard at the entrance. He was accommodating enough. He gave me a queue number which says 396. Then I saw my husband coming down from second floor. He was already there 15 minutes ahead of me, but because he used another entrance, he wasn’t given a queue number. Apparently, he had inquired at the NBI office already and was asked if he has a “number” already but wasn’t given more information as to what number and where to get it.
You see, we had an ugly experience in the past with a supposed to be Customer Service Counter (Express Service, their station says) wherein the staffs kept saying we have to get the “number” first. I was like, what number? There are so many kinds of number you know, reference number (which we know we’d be getting after paying), mobile number, queue number, code number. I wish they could be more particular. But they were too busy chatting to even entertain customers. Anyway, I’m getting out of the topic. I just can’t help getting carried away every time I remember that ugly incident. Back to BigR though, it was lucky that my husband didn’t have to figure out too long what the “number” was because he had seen the guard giving me a slip of paper. His queue number was 397.
It was lunch time and since the staffs were out eating lunch, we decided to eat first as well. We were informed that NBI accommodates only 400 applicants in a day. It turned out we were practically at the end so there’s really no point waiting in line. Besides, they were serving like the 300th or so person that time. At that rate, the guard said we’d be through by around 6pm. Great, now what do we do with the 6 hours in between?
After lunch, I took my time filling out the NBI forms and checking and re-checking if the information were correct to pass time. It was just 1:30pm and I’m getting bored sitting down so we decided to try other tricks. To kill time we did groceries, stroll a little, then purchased school supplies for my brother, stroll again. We left our packages at the deposit counter while I took the chance to look for a bag for my brother but the mall was so small there weren’t many options. Soon afterwards, walking around got tiring until I felt cramps starting in my toes. We have no choice but to sit at the food court and eat again even though the last food we’ve eaten was still undigested.
In a way, the incident became an unplanned date hehe. Killing time wasn’t so bad after all. By around 4:30pm, we finally fell in line to wait for our turn.
The new NBI clearance system for Robinsons BigR (I’m not sure if it’s uniform for all NBI kiosks) was down to 3 steps (so you fall in line thrice also).
Step 1: Payment
You may or may have not have filled out the forms before paying. I think you may also pay and request for the form at the same time. Just show the NBI forms to the counter and ready the payment. The charges for different purposes are as follows:
Local employment or travel abroad: Php115
POEA, SEC, Business requirement or change of name: Php165
Naturalization or repatriation: Php415
* For a complete list of the fees, visit the NBI website for clearance application.
Don’t forget to secure the official receipt (OR). It will be required from you during the next step.
Step 2: Encoding
Present the filled out forms together with the OR and a valid ID. The staff at the counter will encode the necessary information in the system. At Robinsons BigR, the monitors were facing the applicants so they could check the spelling and details simultaneously. You may want to check out the form first to set the information at hand. This is how the form looks like:
The form is downloaded from the NBI website (the pdf file is located at the left bottom corner or you may click here)
At present, all applications for clearance are new and could be really time-consuming. The renewal is temporarily removed because the NBI shifted to a new clearance system after its contract with the previous service provider expired last year in June. The new system, which is now owned by the NBI, is called the Biometric Clearance System. The good news is, everything had been digitized so say goodbye to the paper transactions AND the ink-stained fingers. :)
Step 3: Biometrics
The fingerprinting and picture taking are both computerized. You just give your form to the staff in charge and he will assist you with the finger markings and “photo shoot” (sounds glamorous? hehe). I have to commend the biometrics in Big R yesterday. It was really quick!
Finally, you wait for your clearance to be released. This is immediately after the biometrics has been done. The person in step 3 just transferred the form to the releasing area (who was right beside him in Big R’s case) and then the clearance was printed.
I was expecting mine to be hit again (hit means you have someone with the same first and last name as yours). I was always hit ever since I started applying for NBI clearances in which cases I had to wait for a week until my clearance got released. But last night, it was released right away, no hassles, no hits! I was so happy. Even the person printing our NBI clearances sounded happy for us when she said “Ang swerte nyo naman hindi kayo na-hit” (You’re both so lucky your clearances are released right away.) Maybe it’s the feeling of relief after all those cranky waiting. I was really surprised and then I realized it must be because of the zero database. The other Jennifer Tapao must not have applied yet hehehe. Oh I almost forgot. You have to pay Php5 at the releasing area for the small brown envelope they issue with the clearance itself.
By 6pm, before leaving the place, we bought cheese rolls for the kids, picked up the packages then headed home tired but happy and contented. This NBI clearance is the last requirement asked of us from the latest update on our dream. And though I had to wait again after this requirement, for now I just have to say, thank God, mission accomplished!