This guide runs through all you need to know about renewing your Philippine passport here in Hong Kong.
If you’re an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) you should know about the OEC - the Overseas Employment Certificate which allows you to more easily leave the Philippines while working abroad. Your OEC - or an OEC exemption if you’re entitled to one - makes immigration procedures when leaving the Philippines much easier, and proves your work abroad is properly documented and regulated.
This guide covers how to apply for your OEC Balik Manggagawa online - we’ll also highlight how you can save when sending money abroad, with Wise.
The OEC is issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and is shown to immigration authorities when you leave the Philippines to travel to - or return to - your international employment.
In essence the OEC is an exit pass, a permit to show that you work legally in another country in a role which is regulated, and that you fulfil all your legal obligations within the Philippines. You’ll need an OEC when you leave the Philippines for the first time to work abroad - you can apply for this locally. Then when you want to return to the Philippines for a vacation you’ll also need to apply for a new OEC which can be done in your country of employment. Depending on your situation you might be able to apply for your OEC online.¹
Your OEC is issued with a 60 day validity and is intended to be used once only.² You can subsequently reapply for a new OEC or an OEC exemption if you need one. More on the OEC exemptions available in just a moment.
If you can apply for your overseas employment certificate online you’re likely to be able to do so in just a few minutes. If it’s not possible to apply online you’ll need to make an appointment to arrange your OEC in person via the POEA or the Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO) depending on where in the world you are. Applying in person is likely to take a little longer to process.
The fees you pay may vary slightly based on the situation. However, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) highlights these key costs:³
|POEA processing fee
|OWWA membership fee
|At least 100 PHP/month
In some cases the recruitment agency which arranged your position will charge some fees to the employer; and in some countries the agency can also require a payment from the OFW.
If you’re eligible to get an OEC online you’ll need to create an online account and apply following the on screen prompts by taking the following steps:
- Log into your account, or create a new account by entering your personal details and clicking Sign me up
- Enter your last issued OEC number - if there is no record of an issued OEC or if your situation has changed recently, you’ll be prompted to make an in person appointment at this stage
- If you’re able to proceed online you’ll be invited to check and update your personal information
- Click Acquire OEC or Exemption
- You’ll be asked to confirm your flight number and whether your employer/jobsite remains the same
- If your employer and jobsite will remain the same you may be entitled to an OEC exemption, which will now be shown on screen
- If you’re not able to complete the process online you’ll be invited to create an appointment for an in person meeting at this point
Let’s take a look at the Balik Manggagawa requirements. It’s important to note that the documents you need depend on factors like whether you’re applying online or in person, the country you work in and whether your role or employer has changed recently. Check out the full details for what you’ll need for your situation before you start your application.
If you’re eligible to get your OEC or OEC exemption online you’ll be guided through the process by on screen prompts.
If you’re applying for an OEC in person you’re likely to need:⁴
- Printed copy of your appointment
- Employment contract which has already been verified by POLO
- Passport with at least 6 months validity
If your employment contract is not verified already double check the requirements - it’s likely you’ll need additional documents such as
- Your employment contract
- Photocopy of your legal right to work such as visa, passport and work permit
- Employer’s profile and a copy of their ID
- Affidavit of Undertaking
- Sworn statement (Sinumpaang Salaysay)
You may be able to get an OEC exemption if:⁵
- You’re returning to the same employer
- You’re returning to the same jobsite
- You already have a record in the POEA database - this means you have already been issued an OEC for this job role and location before
If you’re working abroad and sending money home to support friends and loved ones, or to grow your savings in the Philippines, you need Wise.
With Wise you can make international payments which use the real mid-market exchange rate, with low transparent fees and no hidden costs to worry about. That means you get to keep more of your hard earned cash, and hand over less in costs and charges. Just head to the Wise website or app, model your payment, and see right away what your recipient will get and what the fees are.
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If you’re thinking of becoming an OFW you’ll need to know about the OEC and how to apply - and with the new OEC online registration system you could find it’s easier than ever to get your OEC the next time you come back home for a break. Check out all the details online so you know exactly what’s required for your specific situation.
Sources last checked on 08-Sep-2021
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