How to Get an OMB Import Permit - OMB Import Permit

How to Get an OMB Import Permit

Its been in enforcement for a while now but the Optical Media Board of the Philippines (OMB) has, for over a year now, been going extra hard on the requirement of an OMB Import Permit for shipments arriving in the Philippines that include any of the following:

  • More than 6 pcs. optical discs (CD, DVD, Blu-ray format audio/video) – Multi-volume sets are treated as one (e.g. 10-disc Movie box set or 5 disc music artist anthology)
  • hard disk drives – any number
  • solid state drives – any number
  • flash drives – any number

UPDATE: 2020/11/23 – A recent importation by one of our readers required the buyer/importer to retrieve permits for a box set. The official they contacted argued that the rules have now changed and box set are not considered as 1 entity and thus will be treated as per disc.

How To Get An OMB Import Permit
How To Get An OMB Import Permit

If you’ve visited any of your post offices, you’ll probably see a notice about this. If you’re reading this because its your first time being asked for such a permit and you need to get one now, then look no further. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to get an OMB Import Permit for your package easily.

Disclaimer: This guide is based on personal experience and inquiries made to the concerned agencies and companies and as presented in their online publications.

Now you may be wondering why you’re being asked for an OMB Import Permit suddenly. You’re not a business not doing anything illegal, so why are you being asked for this? As of earlier last year, the OMB has been enforcing the requirement of an OMB Import Permit for all shipments that include the items listed above citing MC-2005-05 and MC-2016-001:

  • MC-2005-05: Importation of Optical Discs for Personal Use
  • MC-2016-001: REGULATION OF HARD DISK DRIVES and OPTICAL MEDIA WRITERS/DRIVES

So regardless of how you interpret it, the law requires it. So yes, it’s legal.

What if I don’t provide an OMB Import Permit?

Depends on your shipping method  on how you received your item. Big difference if its sent via postal service or courier. Standard claiming procedure applies for both and if your parcel and package is unclaimed, the shipping company can dispose of it as highlighted in their protocol. Some courier services may have it sent back but local post offices will either have them up for auction for disposal past a certain period of time.

How Do I get an OMB Import Permit?

OMB actually highlights the process very well in their website in their guide on how to secure an OMB Import Permit but the process is long-winded and requires you to submit forms in person. We don’t need this step. In this guide, I’ll walk you through how to apply for an OMB Import Permit and only claim it once available. But first, some requirements:

Requirements on how to Apply for an OMB Import Permit

  • Details about your shipment (kind of media, country of origin, quantity of content)
  • Shipment invoice
  • Shipment tracking number or airway bill
  • Valid government IDs
  • Php 150 processing fee

We’ll cover later how to proceed if you’re missing any of these.

Application Procedure to get an OMB Import Permit

A quick note first, this is for consumers. If you’re a business looking to apply for an Import Permit, you’ll need to apply via the NSW. Please consult with the OMB directly regarding this process.

Moving on to consumers and one-time clients, the process is quite simple. As we mentioned, we’ll discuss the fast method which will only require you to communicate with OMB online. The traditional route will require you to visit their main or satellite offices.

UPDATE 11/23/2020: Please address all request email to the new OMB chairman: former three-term mayor of Malolos City, lawyer Christian “Agila” Natividad.

Step 1. Send a Letter of Intent to OMB

How to Get an OMB Import Permit - OMB Import Permit
Letter of Intent to OMB – Example

The first step in how to get an OMB Import Permit is quite simple and only requires sending one email to OMB. All you need to do is replace the necessary information in the template similar to the example letter pictured above.

Send the email to OMB via the email address: [email protected]

UPDATE 2020/11/23: [email protected]

This is the new email to send to.

Attach a screenshot or scanned copy of your shipment invoice as well as a scanned copy of your valid ID. The name of the consignee/recipient must be the same person applying for the OMB Import Permit.

Step 2. Wait for Confirmation Email and Release

An OMB personnel will reply to confirm receipt of your application. They will respond with the following:

          This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter.

In this regard, please give us three (3) working days to process your request. If you did not receive notification from us after three (3) working days, please call 374-1393/3740237 to check status of your request.

You don’t need to reply to this email. Processing will usually take 3-5 business days (not counting weekends and holidays) but could be faster. Just wait for another email saying your request to get an OMB Import Permit has been approved and your permit is now available to claim:

Your requested OMB Certification/Permit is ready for pick up. Kindly bring/provide a copy of at least 1 valid government issued ID of the Signatory of the Letter of Intent together with an authorization letter (if someone will pick-up on your behalf) and Php 150.00 for the processing fee.

Our complete address is # 35 Scout Limbaga St., Brgy. LagingHanda, Quezon City.

Step 3. Claim Your OMB Import Permit

As instructed in the email, you will need to go to the OMB head office. Proceed to the registry unit and pay the necessary Php150 processing fee and claim your OMB Import Permit. If you are sending someone else on your behalf, please provide an authorization letter as well as a copy of your ID to the person claiming on your behalf.

And that’s it. You now have your OMB Import Permit.  You can present this to the clearance officer at your post office to claim your item. For couriers, scan your OMB Import Permit and send it to your customer care representative.

For DHL Shipments

How to Get an OMB Import Permit - OMB Import Permit

DHL can claim your OMB Permit, should they require it for clearance, on your behalf. If you have a DHL shipment that requires an OMB permit, proceed with step 1 and step 2. Once you receive the confirmation email that your OMB Import Permit has been released, email your DHL contact person as instructed through text, phone call or email with your authorization letter (example above) with a scanned copy of your ID. Download a copy of the Authorization Letter template below:

DHL will charge you Php100 pick-up fee for this service.

How about Fedex, UPS or TNT?

As per their customer service hotlines, they do not offer OMB Import Permit pickup service. You will need to claim your OMB Import Permit as highlighted in step 3 and scan it then send to your courier clearance officer.

I’m not located in Manila. How do I get an OMB Import Permit?

If you’re outside Manila, you’ll have to resort to the traditional route. You’ll need to visit your nearest OMB satellite office and apply for the permit personally. Once applied, they will send the application to Manila and you’ll to wait until they send it back. You can follow up on status via the contact information below:

Main Office

Address: No. 35 Scout Limbaga Street, Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City 1103 Philippines
Telephone: (+63 2) 410-2488 
Email: [email protected]

North Luzon Satellite Office

Address: One Stop Shop, Ground Floor, New Building, Baguio City Hall
Email: [email protected] 

Visayas Satellite Office

Address: DTI Negosyo Center, Causing-Lozada Building, Cor. Osmeña Blvd., & Lapu-lapu St., Cebu City, Cebu
Telephone: (032) 255-7082
301/304
Email: [email protected]

Mindanao Satellite Office

Address: DTI Negosyo Center, Door 7, Magsaysay Park Complex, Quezon Blvd., Poblacion District, Davao City
Telephone: (082) 227-2870
Email: [email protected]

How Do I know if I’ll Need an OMB Import Permit?

Despite how strict the OMB and the BOC are about enforcing this requirement, not all shipments get screened. As long as you’re shipping any HDD, SSD, CD, DVD, Bluray disc. or other storage media, you’ll end up needing one. You can preempt your shipment and apply for an OMB permit ahead of time as long as you know your tracking and shipment info but it’d be a waste of time if the customs officer ends up not asking for an OMB permit. For postal services though, you should probably go ahead and get one ahead of time as it saves you the trouble of visiting the post office twice.

The rule is one shipment, one permit. If you have multiple shipments with varying tracking numbers, you’ll have to apply for each.

And that’s pretty much all you need to know about how to get an OMB Import Permit. Its very straightforward and quite easy particularly for DHL shipments but otherwise, just one trip to their main office is a needed hassle if you want to get your shipment especially if you bought some great deals on SSDs and HDDs online during sale season. The info also comes in handy if you’re a music or movie enthusiast that get their fix from online retailers especially if you’re a Kpop or Jpop nut like me that buy CD albums online to support their idols.

If you have any questions above or have other experiences you’d like to share, hit the comments section below.

Related: How to Buy from Amazon and Newegg

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Show Comments (54)
  1. Thanks for this,

    I ordered a RAM stick from Newegg, and UPS is the courier.

    A UPS employee emailed me asking me to apply for an OMB Clearance before releasing.

    Hopefully I would not need to get one since my delivery method was “direct to my home address”.

    I hope this OMB Clearance thing only applies if you’re dealing with postal offices.

    Will try to update with a comment here on what will happen when my shipment arrives.

    Cheers.

    1. If its RAM, then argue that it is not a storage media and not subject to the coverage of this OMB memo. Let them know that RAM is different from SSD and is not considered a storage medium.

      I got hit by that twice so I send them a link to the official product page for clarity.

      1. That’s exactly what the ups guys told me to do, I now sent them a request to waive the OMB clearance. Will try to update my email to them with the actual links to the item so it’s clearer to them.

        Thanks for the advice.

        Cheers

        1. Good to hear the people at UPS are knowledgeable about it. My experience with DHL and Fedex really didnt go to well and I had to let them know the difference and ask their clearance officer to clarify with the customs officer the difference.

      2. hello..nagpurchase po kami ng flash drives 50pcs without any idea of this OMB permit until the FedEx called us asking for this permit..if wala daw just send an explanation letter.we did it however its for BOC approval pa daw po. What should we do kaya? please help po.thanks sir.

        1. first time ko po naka-rinig na nanghingi ng explanation letter si BOC bukod sa permit ah. I dont know ano gagawin for now, personally iwas na kasi talaga ako sa SSD, HDD, Flash drive and memory card importation dahil nga dito. Balitaan nyo na lang po kami dito, sana po gumana ung letter of explanation.

      3. I may have the same problem. Ordered ram sticks from Amazon and today I got a notification from Amazon that UPS may require additional infos from me. Upon checking sa tracking details ng item, “Customs Clearance delay”. Still waiting for the email from my UPS broker. Yung isang nabasa ko, pinapakuha sya ng “Letter of No Objection” ng OMB which is 3 days to process and kailangan dn ata kunin sa OMB office, so para na ring pinakuha ka ng permit. Hays. Sana hindi na umabot sa ganon.

        1. Kung RAM sticks yan no need to get OMB permit just show them yung product page kasi hindi nila need regular RAM. SSD, HDD. USB flash drive and SD cards as well discs lang regulated nila.

  2. Sorry for the rant. It has been more than 5 days since my request hanggang ngayon wla pa rin. i called them multiple times already the woman on the phone even told me to call tuesday since holiday ng monday sa QC. Tapos holiday nanaman tomorrow. I only ordered an sd card for my son’s switch and its even labeled as Nintendo SD card hanggang ngayon di ko prin makuha. Is there a way for me to expedite the process?

    1. Did you ever receive your card? I just realized I never replied this although I remember advising that there’s no way unless you’d visit them directly and ask for an answer.

  3. If I apply OMB clearance with 20 pcs of DVD at ung reason ko is Personal Used/ Group order, do you think they will acknowledge my request?

    1. You can probably justify it but still it may full under commercial volume so even if OMB clears you, customs will probably still charge you duties and taxes for it even if its under de minimis (non-taxable) value.

      The best way is to contact them directly via landline.

  4. FYI to everyone, the rules have not changed as of December 2019 so everything is still the same although they did advise that if you can prove to them that what you bought is personal, they may waive the limitation of only 1 permit per person.

    They did not clarify how but single items should easily qualify. This is only my assumption though.

  5. valid po ba yong paasport ng chinese person in getting the omb certification permit.Since yong reciever is a citezen of china and don’t have any philippine government id

      1. Hi,

        Does anyone know what to do, i have small store kasi that sells pc but na confiscate ng OMB and now I have subpoena. I dont know what to do. Small time lang ako at kakasimula palang sa business

        1. Kung nagbebenta ka ng storage devices like hard drives, memory cards, SSDs, you need to have a permit from the OMB po. Di ako makakabigay legal advice pero tawag ka sa landline nila sir para may guidance ka. Hindi naman sila basta basta naghahabol ng ganyan, so si OMB talaga pinaka-resource mo po jan for info.

  6. Hello, I just read your article and realized na nagorder pala ako ng 9 albums (Cd) kaya pala 2 weeks na wala parin sa post office namin yung items. Kaso ang status naman nya For 2 weeks na is “released from customs: import authorized”. Nag email ako sa post office and tried calling pero wala namang sumasagot kaya di ko alam if kukuha ba ko ng OMB clearance. Should i get one before going to phlpost pasay? thanks in advance

    1. Actually, import authorized means nakalusot na sa customs yung shipment. Pero if sa post office bagsak nya sa area nyo baka may 1 pang customs officer na magscreen. Phlpost Pasay po ba post office nyo?

  7. Hello. May friend ako sa japan na magsesend sakin ng about 40 albums na nabili sa yahoo auc, which is about 3000 yen only. regards with their conditions, taxes are only applied to packages with 10k up right? kung makakuha ako ng omb, would they charge me of that tax?

  8. Hello sir. My friend in japan is sending me 40+ albums na nakuha sa yahoo auc which is about 3000 yen only. they have this applied taxes for packages worth 10k above right? would they charge me with that even after getting an omb?

    1. Iba po yung customs taxes vs OMB. Fixed nanaman po bayad ni OMB, ang concern ko lang sobrang dami ng ipapasok nyong items. Best way to transport those talaga personally pero you can call OMB naman for guidance bago sya iship.

      For customs naman, sender should declare proper value naman. Lalo na if may proof of purchase from auction amounting to below deminimis value, you should be clear naman from customs.

  9. Covered din po ba nito if bitbit ng pinsan ko from Japan yung items via airplane? Like pag-uwe nya, ilalagay sa bagahe. Collection ko kasi na pabili yun, so more than 6 pieces ng CDs and DVD. 🙁

  10. HELLO PO BOSSMAC,
    ask lng po ako kasi requirements pinapapasa ni ups sa omb ay may kasama affidavit na notarize. pwede po ba yung step lng susundin ko kasi wala pa ako affidavit..letter of intent, id,invoice at waybill lang iemail ko sa omb?

  11. Hello Boss Mac, tanong ko sana since first time ko mag order ng multiple jmusic cd’s

    Since dalawang parcel ang ipapadala saakin coming from japan auction, in first parcel is 15 CD’s which I won around 4k yen bnew and 2nd is 13 cd’s worth 3k yen 2nd hand. Hiwalay po ba yung count ng OMB and Customs based sa experience niyo sir? Since my first parcel was arrived and it was held on customs and yung sa 2nd parcel ko is naka sched around 4th week for shipping to PH.

    Then yung sa requirements, only governement related ID’s and accepted nila dun? since upon checking ko sa site nila is only valid ID’s and hindi inindicate if governement related ID’s ang need nila which is worries me the most since Company ID and NBI Clearance ang tanging valid ID’s ko as of now, the rest is still processing.

    And after po na process yung sa OMB and napasa na po ung requirements, is any other process after this based on your experience sir?

    1. Yes sir, since per waybill ung checking ng customs considered as 2 separate shipments yun. In most cases, need mo 2 clearance. About sa ID, I remember isa lang pinrovide ko sa just provide siguro everything you have (company and NBI).

  12. I have a package in UPS Pampanga that has an HDD and SSD. What happens if I just leave it there because I don’t want to get an OMB Permit?

    1. If will be forfeited as per PH customs rules. Usually up to 90 days. I forfeited 2 SSDs before, I had to advice DHL to say that I am just forfeiting it because OMB refused to approve my request.

      1. Why did they refuse your request?

        Honestly, I’d like to forfeit my package as well because of the hassle of applying for the permit. I’m just worried there will be repercussions if I just leave it there. Meron ba? If the only penalty is forfeiting of my package then that’s fine. At least now I know never to buy storage devices online.

        Thanks also for your article and reply

        1. They refused because it was my second request for an OMB permit. The person from OMB said since its my 2nd license I need to secure a business permit but I ordered from Taiwan and its for personal use. I kept asking why they insist I get a business license when its a personal item and the person said that’s just the rules and I have to follow.

          I tried calling again after a few days and its the same person and they still said the same thing. So I went a head an asked how can I get a business permit and it required me to have an importers permit from Bureau of Customs. I called customs and told me I can’t get an importers permit since I’m not a business.

          After that I called DHL and they asked me to send an email with their clearing department to confirm that I am forfeiting the shipment. Nothing followed.

          I know that forfeited shipments will be deemed abandoned after 60 or 90 days and then auctioned off via Customs.

  13. Ung parcel ko po nahold due to excess of 2 albums…Nagsend na po ako ng email would like to know po if gnun ktgal ung response nila? Thanks po

  14. Hi! Would just like to ask – when you went to the OMB Office to have the permit paid for, did you get the permit the same day? Hoping to hear from you soon as i’m planning to go straight to CMEC/Philpost after OMB Office.

    Thanks!

    1. They have a different process right now so I’m not sure but my experience had me go there to apply then return after a 3 days or so. Best way to find out is to give them a call. Let us know what’s the process is right now during lockdown.

  15. Just a question, I have 2 incoming parcels which can be considered covered by OMB clearance. Parcel A contains 8 second-hand books (should have been 6 didn’t know) which is worth P3K+ and 9 CDs (should have been 6 too) which is P4k+ worth in total. Are all parcels subject to OMB or some get exemptions or don’t get inspected for OMB at all since the excess is only 2-3 pcs from max allowable quantity?

    And how do I know I am required with OMB? Should I prepare it prior to the arrival of the anticipated parcel or should I wait for a call for the issuance of OMB? If they will call me for issuance, should I just process it when needed or if I get a notice of provision of the permit or should I process it in my own anticipation even without the notice? My worry, if I prepare it after waiting for a notice, is it may also take too long to get processed and released and may have a problem with the package on hold.

    Thanks sir as it is my first time to experience this and your article eases my stress and worries about this matter.

    1. That would be up to the inspecting customs officer. From what I know books are not dutiable but the CD’s will definitely fall in the OMB’s jurisdiction. Good chance it might but try to wait for now. I honestly don’t know the current protocol under quarantine so I can’t comment on that.

  16. Hi BossMac! Nabother lang ako sa isang reply mo na you were refused to be given another OMB permit because it was your 2nd time. What if I am a frequent buyer lang talaga ng albums for myself and my friends (para tipid shipping) and I don’t have a business? Nakakaloka naman if I need to come up with a business pa just to buy multiple times. 2-3 times pa naman mag comeback ang NCT in a year jusko 🙁
    Have you ever tried to get another OMB permit after that time you were refused? Thank you!!!

    1. That was in 2019 pa naman and I’m looking to see if they changed the rules pero its so hard to get a hold of them on the phone to confirm ask some things. Pero its, true I just gave up dun sa drive sample I that was incoming becasue customs wouldnt relaase it because OMB refused to give another permit for it.

  17. Hi,

    I applied for OMB permit and was approved. Now when they delivered my package they still charged me 1800 for customs fee daw. was it the same for you? I thought wala na dapat bayaran sa customs since I was granted OMB Permit na nga. I only ordered 4 pcs trezor wallet btw

  18. Kelangann ba ng OMB permit kung kasama naman ng laptop yung HDD/SSD? We shipped a laptop and was asked for the permit and it was weird. Kumpleto naman na kami ng ibang permits like sa NTC.

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