How to Apply for NBI Clearance From Overseas | NBI Clearance in NZ

As mentioned in our earlier posts, we came here in New Zealand with a work visa. After settling here for a few months, we realized that we want to stay here longer and decided to apply for Resident Visa. One of  the requirements for resident visa application is Police Certificate. In the Philippines, this is issued by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Immigration New Zealand (INZ) requires police certificates to be less than 6 months old at the time application was lodged. Unfortunately, my NBI clearance is already 9 months old, so even if it is not expired (NBI clearance expires after a yar) I still have to get a new one. Here’s a guide on how to apply for NBI Clearance if you are in New Zealand. The procedures are similar if you are getting NBI Clearance anywhere overseas.

Step 1:  Secure NBI Fingerprint Form Card (NBI Form No. 5) from the PH embassy/consulate by sending the following:

  • A request letter with signature
  • Photocopy of valid passport
  • Self-addressed prepaid courier bag – You can buy the bag from NZ Post. You need to include this bag in your mail so they can send back the form to you.

Here is the address of Philippine Embassy in Wellington.

                 50 Hobson Street, Thorndon
                Wellington, New Zealand 6011

When you receive the form, below is what it looks like. It should have the unique serial number on the upper right corner and embassy seal on the bottom right corner of the form.

NBI Form No. 5
NBI Form No. 5

Step 2.  Fill out the NBI Fingerprint Card on both sides;

Step 3. Have your fingerprints impressed rolled impression on the appropriate space in the form.  Bring your form and a 2″x 2″ photo (white background taken within three months) with you, and go to the nearest police station or embassy/consulate to assist you in capturing your fingerprints. Note that in Auckland area, fingerprint capture is now being pushed to be electronic thru NZ Post which means you have no choice but to ask help from PH consulate in Auckland to assist you with fingerprinting. Anyway, I still recommend you to go to the consulate/embassy to prevent wrong or incomplete impression/signature.  The witness (police or embassy/consulate officer) should sign his/her name and state his official designation in the space for “IMPRESSIONS TAKEN BY”.

Notes for married woman application: Name should be written in the following order

  1. a)    Your maiden name (family or surname of your father);
  2. b)    Your first name or given name;
  3. c)    Your maternal surname (maiden surname of your mother); and
  4. d)    Your husband’s surname or family name ( space provided, No. 2);

Step 4: Send the accomplished form and payment to NBI. You have two options – you can either

  • Send the accomplished form and payment to your representative, and have him/her process the NBI for you. Your representative will submit the requirements to NBI and then pick up your NBI Clearance once available. You need to provide an authorization letter to your representative. or
  • Send the form and payment directly to NBI. Once available, they will send the clearance to your address abroad. The catch is they will send it via regular snail mail without a tracking number. 🙁

Below is the contact information of NBI for overseas applicants

  • MS. SANDRA P. SOBIDA
    Mailed Clearance Section
    NBI Taft Ave., Ermita, Manila
    Tel Number 5238231 loc 5465

Cost of application is 200 pesos.

In my case, I asked my brother to process our NBI Clearance. He paid 200 pesos in cash for each clearance.

Step 5: Wait for your NBI Clearance result. If you have a representative, he/she will pick up your clearance and send it back to you via your preferred courier. My brother got my clearance after 5 days. It took another 5 days for my clearance to be sent here in Auckland. It will definitely take more time if you let NBI send your clearance to you via regular mail, and again they don’t provide a tracking number which will make you go crazy if you’ve been waiting for so long.

Please note that if you are living near the embassy/consulate, you can go straight to the embassy/consulate with your passport to obtain NBI Clearance Form and have your fingerprints taken (Steps 1 to 3).

Double check for any wrong info on the clearance. Check for the dry seal. Ensure that the signatures are complete.

 

Challenge Encountered – A note to DOST Scholars

I was a scholar of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) when I was in college. Part of my obligation to serve my country  is to work in the Philippines for the same duration I was under the scholarship. My name was in the PH immigration and NBI watch list, which simply means I cannot live or work abroad without completing my service obligation.

Before applying for NZ work visa, I already had this worked out: I completed my service obligation and was cleared by DOST. To do this, I submitted a copy of a letter from DOST to NBI stating that I am already cleared of my obligation. I was granted an NBI clearance with no derogatory records.

Considering this, I was surprised when my brother had issues with my clearance as the officer told him that I  actually still need to settle my DOST obligation again. My brother even submitted my NBI clearance along with the application. So what he did was he went back the next day and brought a copy of my DOST service clearance and another copy of my old NBI clearance. Luckily, I have saved copies or I will have to get a new one (DOST clearance)!

For me this is really a disappointment on the NBI process and a flaw on the integrity of their records.

So if you have any clearance/documents/letters that you think might affect the release of your NBI Clearance in the future, better keep them, you might need them in the future.

NBI-Clearance
NBI Clearance

Note: Notice the dry seal embossed on the left side of the clearance just above the bar code which can slightly be seen in the photo.

 

New NZ Visa Application Centers (VAC) | VFS Global to Take Over from PIASI

Just recently, the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has pulled out Philippine Interactive Audio Services, Inc. (PIASI) as their visa application service provider. The job was given to VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments. VFS Global currently serves 50 client governments and has Visa Application Centres (VACs) that cater visa applications to popular destinations like United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. New Zealand is their newest addition to the list.

When we applied for visa last year, we went to the old NZ VAC in Visa Information and Application (VIA) Center Magallanes (which was operated by PIASI).

Starting May 1 2016, visa applicants are advised to get in touch with VFS Global’s VACs in the Philippines for processing.

 

Source: www.vfsglobal.com

New Zealand Visa Application Center – Manila

VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc.,
Mezzanine Floor Unit M01, Ecoplaza Building,
2305 Chino Roces Avenue Extension Makati City, Metro Manila 1231

New Zealand  Visa Application Center – Cebu

VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc.,
9th Floor, Keppel Center, Unit 905, Samar Loop
cor. Cardinal Rosales Avenue,
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City 6000

Contact Number

632 790 4905

 

Here is an excerpt from Immigration New Zealand’s announcement

On 30 April 2016, the existing Visa Information and Application Centres (VIAs) in Manila and Cebu, which are operated by PIASI, will cease the provision of services on behalf of Immigration New Zealand (INZ).

From 1 May 2016, VFS Global’s Visa Application Centres (VACs) in Manila and Cebu will take over the provision of application submission, and general enquiry services for INZ in the Philippines. VFS Global’s VACs will operate from new premises.

How to Apply for POEA Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) | Direct Hire Requirements

Your application for NZ Work Visa was successful – you are very glad to have received your passport with your visa attached to it. Maybe you are already thinking of buying your plane ticket. But hold your horses! You still need to get your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) from POEA, and believe me it might not be that easy!

POEA launched a system to get your OEC online (Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System), but as the name suggests, you can only use it if you are an OFW who came back to the Philippines for vacation. All first-time OEC applicants must go to POEA to register their work and obtain their OEC. You also need to do the same if your employer changed while abroad.

 

What is OEC?

In simple terms, it is your “exit pass” which you need to present to the immigration officer at the airport. This is a requirement if you are leaving the country on a work/employment visa. You will need a new OEC every time you leave the country – even if you stayed in PH for a short time. Permanent resident visa and open work visa (a visa which does not require you to have a job offer –  your partner can apply for this) holders  are not required to obtain an OEC.

 

POEA Classification of OFWs Applying for OEC

  1. Hired through Employment Agencies – you applied and were hired yhrough one of POEA registered recruitment agencies. Usually, the agency will do all the processing for you for a fee charged from you or your employer.
  2. Direct or Name Hire – you were hired directly by an employer abroad.

If you go thru an agency, then they can help you with the processing of your OEC. If you are under direct hire just like me, then you have to apply for OEC by yourself. Based from my experience, it is easier to apply for your NZ work visa than to obtain an OEC. 🙁

I would like to share my experience on obtaining OEC through Name-Hire process.

 

Requirements for OEC Application : Name (Direct) Hire

Here are the things that you need to prepare before you go to POEA:

  1. Passport
  2. Work Visa
  3. Employment Contract/Agreement – must be verified and authenticated by Philippine Embassy. You can actually skip authentication – will mention how later.

Note that the medical exam is not required for OFW’s bound to NZ as you already had it in your NZ work visa application.

 

Applying for Overseas Employment Certificate (A Horror Story)

For the official steps in OEC application for Name Hires, you can refer to POEA website, but don’t take the word for it. I’d still advice you to contact them for requirements/steps.

I applied in POEA main branch (Ortigas). I had my passport, visa, and employment agreement with me. I heard about horrors stories of POEA exit clearance application, so I went early. I asked the guard at the entrance where should I pass my application, and the polite guard told me to proceed to Name Hire Division on 2nd floor (Tip: elevators are usually full, it might save you time to use the stairs). I went straight, and asked the guard on duty for queue number. He asked me to show my work visa first as proof that I need to apply for OEC. He gave me a number, and took a seat. When my number was called, I went to my designated window and presented the requirements to the officer. It only took a few minutes for him to tell me that I am missing a requirement  – My employment contract should be authenticated by Philippine embassy/consulate in New Zealand! That means I need to ask my employer to bring the employment contract to embassy for authentication and send it to me in the Philippines.

I got the job online. My employment agreement was signed online thru Docusign. I even applied for work visa online. So I didn’t expect the hassle of manual authentication/verification of my contract. I know that POEA is just doing their job to make OFWs “protected”. But have they thought about the cost of having the contract verified and authenticated (shipping the contract to AU then to NZ then back to PH + notarial fees + verification fees)? And more importantly, the time it will take to have it verified – I was afraid that my employer would just give up on me and offer the position to another applicant from another country which doesn’t need this bureaucracy.

Fortunately, there is another option. The officer said we could ask approvals from Name-Hire director and POEA Administrator. This will bypass the verification of my contract. He said many are doing this option, but it might take time, and approval is absolutely on the hands of their director and administrator. I opted for this option. The officer told me that he will submit my papers to their director for approval. But before I left, I asked them if there are other requirements. Good thing I asked! They wanted me to ask my employer to sign an addendum to the contract:

  1. Add the clause which requires my employer to provide the plane ticket back to the Philippines (even if I told them that I don’t need my employer to provide the return ticket because I am a permanent hire)
  2. Add the clause which requires my employer to repatriate my remains if anything happened to me while in NZ (even if I told them that my family can pay for my repatriation).

I had no choice, so I asked my employer to sign the addendum to provide the plane ticket, though between us, I would not ask for it. For the repatriation, the officer said that I could waive it by getting an insurance. Yes, there is an insurance specifically for OFWs and if anything happened to you while abroad – this includes repatriation. I paid US $42 for one year of coverage. I was also required to provide a company information/summary and a copy of certificate of incorporation or business registration of my employer. Good thing business registration details in NZ are available online.

So I came back for another day to give the additional requirements. I presented my documents to the officer, but he said that my application is still for director’s approval. So I asked if I can talk to the director, he was kind and asked me to talk to the guard to set up an appointment. I waited patiently to meet the director, and when I had the chance she interviewed me and asked me a couple of questions. She politely explained to me that they needed to be stricter because of the recent OFW woes in NZ. But she assured me that she will back me up to get the next approval from POEA Administrator.

I handed my papers back to the officer. Before I left, I asked him if I could get his number so I won’t waste days going back in POEA office while waiting for approval. He was hesitant at first, but since nakulitan na sya sakin, he asked for my number instead and said that he will send me a text message once everything is ok.

After a few days, I received a text message from him, so I went back to POEA. But that was just the start. It only meant that I have satisfied all the requirements and that I may proceed to the next step which is to attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar or PDOS.

 

PDOS

I went to the next room to attend to the PDOS, and they checked if I had a PDOS referral. They asked me to fill out a form and provide a copy of my passport (Tip: Bring a few copies of your passport with you). There were several topics discussed in the seminar and some of the most important ones are: what to expect in the airport, documents that you need to bring to the officer, which I think will benefit our kababayans who leave our country for the first time, and yes, I also remember he advised to not be mayabang. He mentioned an example story about a Filipino in the US.

There were also some people from Landbank, Philhealth and SSS who gave lectures about saving and preparing for the future.

After the seminar, the PDOS certificates were given to the attendees. Then,  I went back to the Name Hire window to present the certificate.

PDOS Certificate of Attendance
PDOS Certificate of Attendance

 

Lastly, the OEC

The last steps are, of course, payment. I paid P4,700.72 (or US $100 equivalent) for POEA processing fee, P1,175.18 (or US $25 equivalent)  for OWWA membership. Philhealth and PAGIBIG are optional – I paid P600 for 3 month PAGIBIG contribution. After payment, they finally gave me my OEC.

POEA Overseas Exit Clearance (OEC)
POEA Overseas Exit Clearance (OEC)

Processing Time:

It took me two weeks to get the OEC. I had a total of 4 days of visit to POEA. So it is advisable to get a clearance as early as possible.

Declaring Health Issues on Your NZ Visa Application

Medical Exam was the most worrying part of our visa application for me. I am pretty fit but I couldn’t help but think that they might find something wrong with me. Another thing that troubled me was that I have hypothyroidism (under active thyroid which requires me to take hormone supplement for life).

So here’s what I did first. I googled for anyone who have the same condition and checked if they declared it or if it was a cause for visa rejection. In several forums, there are people with the same condition that say it should not be a cause for concern. As long as it is controlled, then absolutely no problem whatsoever.  They just declared everything and submitted a doctor’s certificate. Besides, it says in the Visa Health Requirement that acceptable standard is that you are

  • unlikely to be a danger to public health
  • unlikely to impose significant costs or demands on New Zealand’s health services or special education services
  • able to perform the functions for which you have been granted.

What they are looking for actually are those terminal illness like Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, HIV, kidney problems, etc. In any case, I declared in the questionnaire that I am taking levothyroxine for my thyroid.

It is important to make sure that you bring the following:

  1. Detailed medical certificate from your endocrinologist. The one that I had in hand was handwritten and does not have some of the details required so I had to go back to my endocrinologist to ask for a new one.
Medical Certificate Template
Medical Certificate Template from St. Lukes Extension Clinic

2. Recent thyroid ultrasound

3. Recent thyroid tests (FT3, FT4, TSH)

I was given 7 days to email the above list to capanel@slec.ph. After 11 days, I received an automated email from eMedical which says that the health results has been completed and submitted to INZ.

 

* We had our medical exam in St. Luke’s Extension Clinic in Global City.

If you had the same experience, please feel free to share! 🙂

 

Finding a Job in New Zealand

It is every migrant’s dream to be able to find a job in their country of choice. I’d like to share how I was able to find mine in New Zealand.

I was one of the typical people you find driving along EDSA who suffered the daily traffic. One normal day, while driving home, my wife and I thought that there should be a better way. It wasn’t just the traffic.  It was the situation in the PH at the time that was only getting worse in every aspect that we care about. So we thought of trying to look for a job abroad. We tried our luck first in Canada. Sadly, our application was returned as the cap of our National Occupational Classification (NOC) has been reached by the time it was received. The following year, the Express Entry Program, which I believe has stricter criteria, was implemented.  I thought it was impossible for us to be selected unless we had a job offer. They have this so-called Job Bank where we submitted several online job applications hoping that one would notice us. But months have passed and nothing has progressed.

Then, I thought of trying our luck in New Zealand. I created accounts on some of NZ’s biggest job sites, and sent applications for job posts that suit me. Here are some of the job sites:

Finally, one employer contacted me, and the rest is history!

You may want to check our posts about some tips on writing CV that fits New Zealand job applicants, and how to apply for a work visa.