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OEC 2024: How to Get Philippines’ Exit Clearance for OFWs

Last updated: January 11, 2024
Written by: Digido Financial Writers Team | Reviewed by: Alyssa Divina

Key takeaways:

  • The Overseas Employment Certificate is a proof that an individual is a legitimate Overseas Filipino Worker
  • The OEC is valid for a single exit and its validity period is 60 days from issuance.
  • You can secure your OEC through walk-in applications at POEA’s main office, regional offices, or Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in the country of employment, or through online systems like the Balik-Manggagawa Online System.
  • You can get your OEC at the airport, but it is better to take care of getting an OEC in advance
  • With an OEC, OFWs can avail government assistance and protection services, and access social and economic benefits.

There are many questions about the overseas employment certificate. As such, we deemed it best to provide you with accurate and factual data about it. In this article, you will learn the following:

  • OEC meaning
  • OEC requirements
  • OEC validity

oec meaning

What is the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)

The OEC certificate, or Overseas Employment Certificate, is an exit clearance pass. It is a document proving that you are a legitimate Overseas Filipino Worker, and that you have submitted all your requirements to the Philippine Overseas Employment Authority or POEA (1). This document is proof of your registration to indicate that you are legally allowed to work abroad as per Philippine laws.

Benefits of the OEC for OFWs

👉 Exemption from Travel Tax and Terminal Fee

OEC holders are exempt from the payment of travel tax and airport terminal fee, which can be a substantial saving depending on the frequency of their travel.

👉 Proof of Legal Employment

The OEC serves as proof that the OFW is legally employed, thus protecting them from being victimized by illegal recruitment and trafficking.

👉 Government Assistance and Protection

OEC holders can avail of government assistance and protection services when faced with employment-related issues or concerns while they are abroad.

👉 Social and Economic Benefits

The OEC, through the POEA, links the OFW to various government services and programs that they or their families in the Philippines can avail of, such as the Pag-IBIG Fund, Social Security System, and PhilHealth, among others.

👉 The OEC can help in loan applications

Being an OFW can potentially make it easier to secure a loan as it serves as proof of legal employment abroad, and banks typically require proof of employment and income when evaluating loan applications.

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Who are Balik Manggagawa Workers

There is a specific group of people who belong to what we call Balik Manggagawa Workers (BMW). There is no single description for them. Below are the ones that we can call BMW.

  • OFWs who are coming back from work overseas
  • Overseas who moved from one employer to another but in the same country
  • Both documented and undocumented Filipino workers who moved from one job site to another in another country
  • Those who work in the same country and the same company but are now taking over a different position

There are also undocumented workers who are now returning to the country. These are people whose visa to another country shows “tourists.” However, instead of being tourists, they worked in the country they visited. They have no registration or document with the POEA as workers, but they are still considered balik manggagawa.

What are the OEC Requirements

How do you get your OEC certificate? If you want to work abroad legally and enjoy the benefits of OFWs, you certainly have to get an OEC. First, you must meet the qualifications.

Here are the things that you need:

  • Printed appointment slip
  • Printed Balik-Manggagawa information sheet
  • Your passport with at least 6 months validity from departure date and a copy of it
  • Proof of employment or contract with your employer. This could be a copy of your employment contract, company ID, pay slip, certificate of employment, or other proof that you are currently employed abroad.
  • A valid visa to the destination country or work permit. If the country you are traveling to does not need a visa from the Philippines, you must secure a work permit from them
  • Proof of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (2). Membership – As an Overseas Filipino Worker, you need to be a member of OWWA. A receipt of your OWWA contribution or other proof of OWWA membership may be required.
  • Proof of Pag-IBIG Membership – A receipt of your Pag-IBIG contribution or other proof of Pag-IBIG membership may also be required.

Note: As an OFW, you are typically required to be a member of OWWA, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth. If you are not yet a member of these agencies, you may be required to register and pay the necessary contributions before you can be issued an OEC.

Here’s a simplified table of the fees associated with getting an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC):

Fee Type Amount
🟣 POEA Processing Fee PHP 100 (per e-receipt/OEC)
🟣 OWWA Membership Fee USD 25 (or its PHP equivalent)
🟣 PhilHealth Premium PHP 2,400 annually (or varies depends on the membership category)
🟣 Pag-IBIG Contribution Minimum of PHP 100 monthly

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The OEC Validity Period

The OEC is valid for a single exit. What it means is that it is only valid for one time, and that is the time that you leave the country. The OEC expiration or OEC validity period is 60 days from issuance only. Some OECs are only valid for one day.

Take a look at this:

ISSUER VALIDITY
🟣 Normal OEC 60 Days
🟣 Labor Assistance Counter NAIA 1 Day
🟣 Labor Assistance Counter Cebu-Mactan 1 Day
🟣 Labor Assistance Counter Davao 1 Day

If you’re at the airport and you’ve forgotten to secure an OEC, there is typically a POEA Labor Assistance Center (LAC) at the international airports in the Philippines where you may be able to secure an OEC, though it’s highly recommended to secure one prior to your departure date to avoid delays.

It is possible to get your OEC on the day of your flight. However, this is too risky. It is better to visit your POEA office a month before your scheduled flight than risk not getting one when you already have an airplane ticket.

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Where to Get an OEC Directly

If you’ve been hired directly by a foreign employer, it’s necessary to obtain an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) either by walking into a processing center or using the Balik-Manggagawa (BM) Online System.

You can secure your OEC through walk-in applications at:

  • POEA’s main office in Mandaluyong City. Address: Brgy, Blas F. Ople Building, EDSA, corner Ortigas Ave, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
  • POEA regional, extension, and satellite offices.
  • Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (3) (POLO) in your country of employment.
  • Labor Assistance Counters at airports in Manila, Cebu, and Mindanao (only applicable for OFWs in the Philippines for five days or less).

Walk-in applications may take several days, but you can streamline the process by making an appointment online via the BM Online System. After scheduling, bring your documents and two copies of the BM Information Sheet on your appointment day.

oec requirements

Appointment for POEA Online Processing System for Balik-Manggagawa (POPS-BAM)

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) could secure an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) through the Balik Manggagawa  Online system, which is an online platform set up by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to provide a quick and convenient way for OFWs to get their OEC.

There is a long line in the POEA office for this type of registration. To get the best of your time and experience, the online channel is the best option.

Before applying online, make sure you have the following:

  • POPS-BaM Account: You need to register for an account on the POPS-BaM platform. For this, you’ll need a valid email address and your personal information.
  • Work Visa or Permit: You should have a valid work visa or permit for the country you are employed in.
  • Previous OEC: If you’ve previously worked abroad under the same employer, you should have a previously issued OEC.
  • Employment Record: An existing record of your employment in the POEA database is required.

A valid employment contract is essential. This serves as proof of your current employment status overseas. The details of your contract, including information about your employer and your job, will be required when you apply for the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) through the POPS-BaM platform. This contract also needs to be registered and recorded in the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) database.

Now, you are ready to move on to the next step.

How to Register for a POPS-BaM Account (For new-register)

overseas employment certificate

If you do not have an account yet, follow thiis simlpe steps to register:

  1. Visit the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Online Services e-Registration Portal: https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph/OnlineServices (4)
  2. Click on the blue Let’s Go button and agree to the terms of use and privacy statement.
  3. Complete the online form with your personal details and register. A temporary password will be sent to your email.
  4. Login to your POPS-BaM account using the temporary password and change it.
  5. Update your profile in the “My Profile” section.

After confirming your account via e-mail, you can now log in. The system will ask you for your OEC number. Enter that and click on submit.

After submitting your OEC number, you must upload a picture. The picture must be passport-size with no background (white). After that, you need to fill in the application details. It includes your address, name, etc.

Submit that, and you will see a calendar where you can choose when to schedule an appointment. You will also choose which office you will visit.

Finally, you must scan your documents. Send the scanned copy to the registrar. The system will provide you with the email address and the appropriate subject line.

Now, you can pay the fee – 100 Philippine Pesos. Your options for payment are Bayad Center, online banking, and virtual wallets like Gcash.

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OEC Online Appointment for Balik Manggagawa (if not qualified for online processing)

During your registration, you can now go the calendar section. In this area, you must choose the date yu want to process your OEC. You will also select the place or POEA office that you will visit.

Follow these steps:

Step 1: Register/Login to your POPS-BaM account.

Step 2: Click on “Balik Manggagawa,” provide necessary data and enter your flight schedule. Schedule an appointment online. Select from a calendar of available schedules.

Step 3: Update your contract details, select a processing location, and choose your appointment date and time.

Step 4: Review and print your appointment details

Step 5: Go to the appointment and get OEC. Once your appointment is due, you can now go and visit your POEA office

what is oec

Quick and Easy Steps for Online OEC Processing

Navigating the process of acquiring your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) online doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with the POPS-BaM platform, the procedure is quite straightforward. Here’s the simplest way to get your OEC online:

To process your OEC online, follow these steps:

  1. Login to your POPS-BaM account, dashboard
  2. Click on “Balik Manggagawa,” provide necessary data and enter your flight schedule, then click NEXT
  3. Review your contract details, answer the confirmation questions, and view your OEC.
  4. You wil now see your OEC. Save and print your OEC.

You should have a work visa or permit, an existing record in the POEA database, and a previously issued OEC while under the same employer for online OEC processing.

overseas employment certificate validity

How to get number OEC?

The steps to get OEC number are above. However, you must print it yourself. If you do not have a printer at home, save the file and then take it to a computer shop

How to Transfer Old BM Online Credentials to POPS-BaM?

oec expiration

  1. Visit DMW’s Online Services Portal and click on the POEA Helpdesk.
  2. Select “Transfer Old BM Records.”
  3. Fill out the form and enter your e-Registration number found on your POPS-BaM account.
  4. Click “Transfer Records.”

Remember that the POPS-BaM platform is essential for obtaining an OEC and is designed to make the process easier and more convenient for OFWs. If you encounter issues, visit the DMW Helpdesk for assistance.

How to get an OEC Exemption through BM Online?

You will see a green button during the application process. If you want to apply for an exemption, click this button, and you will see a different prompt.

How to Process OEC in DMW Office in the Philippines?

To process the OEC manually, you must bring your documents and copies of them in person to your nearest POEA office.

Once there, you should have your BM information sheet signed up and submit it to the service area. You will be given a number. Wait for your number to be called.

How to Process OEC in POLO-OWWA and DMW Office in the Philippines?

The process is the same – you have to go to the physical office and submit the required documents.

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How to Applying for an OEC exemption

You can also apply for OEC exemption at the POEA office. This document is only for people who want to be exempted from a certain OEC exemption.

All existing and new users will go through the same process. If you are an existing user, you do not need to create an account anymore. Just log in and apply for the OEC.

This is a green button that you click online if you want to apply for an exemption

FAQ

  • Can OFW travel without OEC?
    No, you cannot. You must have OEC to prove that you have an exit clearance. Immigration will stop you if you do not have it.
  • Can I leave the Philippines without OEC?
    If you are not an OFW, yes, you can. But if you are, you must get your OEC.
  • Are OFWs covered in the PSA Labor Force Survey?
    No, they are not included because they are not part of the labor force of the country. Only people working in the Philippines are part of the survey for counting the workforce.
  • What is the OFW classification?
    It is a classification that indicates a Filipino working abroad.
  • Are overseas Filipino workers global servants or modern-day heroes?
    They are both. Some people just love to romanticize things. Being an OFW is a tough job, that is for sure.
  • Is OWWA part of Dole?
    Yes, OWWA is a branch or agency under the Department of Labor and Employment.
  • How can I get OEC in the Philippines?
    You can get it online, as a walk-in to POEA, or at the airport. There is a booth in airports where you can get it. You can only get it from an international airport.
  • How can I get OEC online without an appointment?
    You can go as a walk-in applicant. However, you will wait hours for your turn. It is best to set an appointment to reduce your wait time.
  • How to apply for a new OEC online?
    Go to the link we provided earlier. Sign up for an account if you do not have one yet, and follow the prompts.
  • Can I still get OEC online?
    Yes, you can. It is the best way to get OEC.
  • What is the overseas employment certificate validity?
    The OEC is Valid for 60 days after issuance or for 1 day if issued at the Labor Assistance Office or LAC at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Cebu Mactan or Davao International Airport.
  • Is the OEC valid for 1 year?
    No, the validity of the OEC is 60 days from the date of issue
  • What are requirements for the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)?
    Te requirements center around proof of legal and valid employment overseas, along with evidence of membership in relevant Filipino government agencies like OWWA, Pag-IBIG Fund, and PhilHealth.

can ofw travel without oec

Summary

The OEC is a document proving that you are registered OFW and that you are coming back to the Philippines. If you do not need it, you can apply for an exemption. The typical validity is 60 days, but you can get some at the airport, which is valid for one day only.

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Authors

Digido Financial Writers Team is a team of experts in the field of finance and credit, specializing in writing articles for Digido blogs.
Alyssa Divina
Author pages:
Alyssa Divina pens blog articles about a wide range of topics, such as money matters and government transactions in the Philippines. Prior to joining Digido Finance Corp., she served as a journalist for Charlton Media Group, a business news magazine, for two years. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman.
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