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

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.

Is it Legal?

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.

Step 1. Send a Letter of Intent to OMB

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 the OMB. For the content of the letter of intent, the template is below and is available for download. 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]

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

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

Lead Reviewer
  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.

  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?

  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

  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?

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