What is the Meaning of NBI – National Bureau of Investigation

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is owned and operated by the Philippine government under the Department of Justice (DOJ). It’s mandated to enforce the Philippine laws, protect its people, and solve high-profile cases. In addition, NBI works with the police in preventing crimes and apprehending criminals, ensuring Filipinos’ safety for almost a century. To learn more about this government agency, read on as we share everything to know about the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), from its purpose, functions, responsibilities, and services.

Designed after the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) provides forensic, legal, and investigative services. Founded in 1936, this agency is where Filipinos can obtain their NBI Clearance, which is a required certificate when working nationwide. Aside from that, the agency works with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) when screening applicants for overseas employment. DFA will require an NBI Certificate and present it to prospective employers, boosting the applicant’s credibility for the job.

nbi national bureau of investigation philippines

What is NBI

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is responsible for detecting and investigating crimes and other cases that violate Philippine laws. This agency is attached to the Department of Justice (DOJ), coordinating with the national and local police to maintain peace and order throughout the country. NBI is a national clearinghouse of criminal and other details, accessible to all prosecuting and law enforcement organizations.


Furthermore, NBI is responsible for managing, detecting, investigating, and resolving various critical cases in the country. It includes crimes against public order, national security, terrorism, economic sabotage, cybercrime, white-collar crime, graft and corruption, and other serious offenses. When the local police can’t arrest the criminals or enforce the law, NBI is authorized to investigate crimes, specifically involving illegal drugs.

Apart from that, the agency provides technical assistance during the detection and investigation of crimes. NBI helps connect the national and local police and provides services, including law enforcement, prosecution, individual identification, national clearing, testing fired bullets, and identification of possession/ownership of firearms.


Established on November 13, 1936, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) was the idea of late President Manuel L. Quezon and Jose Yulo. The agency was supposed to establish the Division of Investigation (DI) in the country. In 1947, it transformed into the Bureau of Investigation. Then, in 1949, it reorganized into the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that we knew today.

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NBI Departments

The President of the Philippines will appoint the NBI executive director, who will also choose other bureau officials to manage the following departments:

1. Internal Affairs Division (IAD)

This department is one of the most vital components in NBI operations. With this department, NBI officers will conduct investigations and charges against staff members involved in illegal or unethical activities, like bribery or extortion.

2. Planning and Management Division (PMD)

NBI has a department designed for personnel management, budgetary, and planning called PMD. This department is responsible for formulating the annual budget proposal for the agency and submitting it to the Office of the President once completed. Also, PMD provides the Central Intelligence Group (CIG) guidance regarding the issues on NBI’s workforce requirements.

3. Automated Case Management Office (ACMO)

The ACMO serves as NBI’s principal repository of all details concerning pending criminal incidents and cases they handled. It’s a vital department that gives access to NBI and its partner agencies real-time information, allowing them to make knowledgeable decisions during operations and investigations.

Functions & Responsibilities

The primary function of NBI is to support all currently effective laws and stop and uncover criminal activities. It will also propose precautionary steps to help bring peace and order, especially in times of emergency. NBI will help protect the people and sovereignty of the state and perform the following duties:

  • The agency will collect and process data related to crimes, criminals, and their organizations to speed up prosecution.
  • Any government agency may call NBI to assist them in investigating, solving, and prosecuting crimes.
  • Since the primary mission of NBI is to protect the Philippines, the agency is responsible for investigating crimes and offenses that threaten national security, including terrorism, sabotage, espionage, sedition, subversive, and sedition activities. Also, NBI will handle grave crimes, such as kidnap for ransom and unlawful possession of firearms and explosives.
  • NBI will investigate all criminal cases before entrusting them to the National Prosecution Service. It will conduct operations against organized crimes, such as the trafficking of illegal drugs, illicit gaming activities, and extortion.
  • The agency will conduct background investigations about companies and individuals who require valid documents. NBI will investigate illegal recruitment, human trafficking, and counterfeit documents, like social security numbers and fake identification cards.
  • If the law requires, NBI will present their finding in court based on their investigations. The agency will also provide preventive security for foreign government officials and dignitaries visiting the state whose lives are at risk from criminal or terrorist groups. In addition, NBI will protect informants and witnesses, arrest high-ranking officials, provide technical support to state agencies, and partake in peacekeeping operations.
  • Considering NBI has jurisdiction throughout the Philippines, the agency must protect its people against security threats.

NBI Services & Programs

NBI is authorized to enforce immigration laws, investigate crimes, collect evidence, and arrest criminals. The agency will investigate crimes involving faking government documents, immigration fraud, fake credit cards, alien smuggling, illegal drugs, and other prohibited substances. Also, NBI provides the following services:

  • Administrative Services – provides services to all NBI offices in the Philippines, ensuring the agency’s staff are capable, trained, and prepared to perform their tasks. It also handles purchasing, accounting, and human resources.
  • Financial Services – manages NBI’s budget and finances, ensuring every spending is considered and collected revenues are deposited based on the applicable rules and regulations.
  • Forensic Investigation Services – pertains to performing forensic examinations on evidence and other materials collected during the investigations. It offers prosecutors expert testimonies and opinions to support their claims during criminal trials.
  • Information and Communication Technology Services – support the agency’s information, networking, and communication technology. In addition, it process and analyze data utilizing different electronic technologies.
  • Intelligence Services – collects and examines data about terrorist and criminal activities and other threats to national security. Moreover, it assists by gathering intelligence from different law enforcement agencies nationwide.
  • Investigation Services – investigates potentially alarming criminal activities that put the nation’s security in peril. It serves as the NBI intelligence arm by collecting data from various sources and examining it to determine developing patterns of criminal acts.
  • Legal Services – provides law enforcement organizations with legal assistance and counsel and supervises the court prosecution process.
  • Regional Operations Services – support local law enforcement authorities to fight crimes. Also, NBI will help investigate crimes involving various regional offices and connect with Interpol Manila and international organizations.

Here are some services NBI offers:

  • Anti-Fraud and Action
  • Anti-Graft and Corruption
  • Anti-Human Trafficking
  • Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime
  • Anti-Violence Against Women and Children
  • Complaints and Records
  • Cybercrime
  • Digital Forensic
  • Death Investigation
  • Environmental Crime
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • International Operations

NBI Online Services

  • Certificate of Non-Record (CNR) Search – enables you to identify if a person has a criminal history. To check if an individual has a criminal record, enter their full name, date of birth, and birthplace.
  • e-Customs Clearance – allows you to secure clearance for imported goods from the Bureau of Customs. You can get an e-Customs Clearance by providing your cargo details, such as type of item, weight, and value.
  • NBI Clearance Appointment Slots Checker – this online service allows you to check the availability of appointment slots for the NBI Clearance application by entering your preferred date, time, and location.
  • Notice of Alias (NOA) Search – allows you to determine if a person uses an alias or has other names. To check if an individual has another name, provide their full name and date of birth.
  • Online Scheduling for NBI Application – enables you to set an appointment at the nearest NBI Clearance Center. To proceed with the application, provide essential documents that contain your details, such as your passport. This service is also for foreign students in the Philippines who wish to extend their visa for another year by providing the current status of NBI Clearance.
  • Verification of Records and Fingerprints of Arrestees and Criminal Offenders – allows you to check if you have a criminal case on the NBI database. To check if you have a criminal record, provide your full name, date of birth, and nature of offense you were convicted or apprehended.

How to Contact NBI

If someone is about to commit or already committed a crime, contact NBI for assistance in apprehending the perpetrator. For those in Manila, visit the NBI Complaints and Recording Division (CRD). But if you’re in the province, you can contact NBI by visiting their field offices to file a complaint. Meanwhile, if you can’t come in person, you can send a letter to the NBI Director with your complaint. Also, you can ask for assistance from NBI if you’re dissatisfied with the local police handling the case.


As the primary agency overseeing investigation and law enforcement in the country, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has a vital role in protecting the people and sovereignty of the Philippines. This agency leads the investigation and prosecution of crimes, ensuring the safety of the public and national security. Furthermore, NBI provides legal assistance to victims and protection to witnesses and informants.

With the agency’s online services, anyone can check if someone has criminal records and an alias, which helps prevent crimes and apprehend criminals. Job seekers applying for NBI Clearance will also benefit from the agency’s online appointment system. Therefore, the programs and services NBI offers prioritize the Philippines and its people’s safety.

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