OEC Overseas Employment Certificate Application for OFW

The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), administered by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), is an important document to safeguard the welfare and legal documentation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). This certificate serves as an exit clearance, exempting OFWs from airport fees while verifying their legitimate overseas employment. With over 2 million Filipinos working abroad in 2022, the certificate is mandatory for all OFWs. It acts as a protective measure, ensuring their employment contracts comply with labor regulations and guarantee fair compensation, benefits, and safe working conditions.

While the Philippine government recently explored replacing the document with a digital OFW Pass, the OEC remains the current requirement. The program involves a streamlined process, allowing online applications for eligible Balik-Manggagawa (returning workers). Filipinos can verify their online eligibility, update their POEA accounts, upload documents, and potentially schedule appointments for in-person processing if needed. This not only simplifies administrative procedures for OFWs but also underscores the Philippine government’s unwavering commitment to protecting its overseas workforce.

OEC for OFWs
Credits: PNA

What is an OEC?

An OEC, also known as an exit clearance/pass, is required by the Philippine government for all OFWs to ensure they are legally documented and protected. It serves multiple purposes: it exempts the holder from travel tax and terminal fees at Philippine airports and acts as a clearance that the OFW has properly documented their employment overseas.

Significance of this Document

The Overseas Employment Contract provides protection for Filipino migrant workers, a significant portion of the Philippine workforce. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, in 2022, there were over 2 million deployed OFWs, contributing billions of pesos to the national economy. The POEA Memorandum Circular No. 03 series of 2001 mandates that all OFWs secure a certificate, ensuring the contract adheres to labor regulations and providing them with documented proof of employment. This protects their rights and entitlements overseas, including salary, benefits, and proper working conditions.

Legal Basis

The legal foundation of the Overseas Employment Contract rests on a three-pronged approach: Republic Act No. 8042, the cornerstone legislation, establishes the POEA and mandates standardized employment contracts for Filipino workers abroad. POEA further defines the document’s format, content, and processing procedures through its Rules and Regulations. Finally, POEA Memorandum Circulars provide specific directives and updates, such as the mandatory OEC requirement outlined in Circular No. 03 series of 2001. This combined legal framework ensures the certificate functions effectively in protecting Filipino migrant workers.


Obtaining an OEC comes with several key benefits, including:

  • Exemption from the Philippine travel tax (PHP 1,620).
  • Exemption from airport terminal fees (PHP 550).
  • A guarantee that the OFW’s employment is legal and documented.

Eligibility / Qualifications

Eligibility for an OEC requires that an OFW:

  • Possesses a valid work visa/permit.
  • Is returning to the same employer and job site.
  • Has a record in the POEA database.


Before proceeding with your application, prepare the following:

  • Printed BM Online or POPS-BaM appointment sheet.
  • Original and photocopy of your passport, valid for six months beyond your departure date.
  • Original and photocopy of your valid work visa, work permit, or equivalent.
  • Employment contract verified/authenticated by POLO/Philippine Embassy/Consulate.
  • Employer’s business registration and other relevant documents.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Get an OEC

1. Check Eligibility for Online Processing:

  • Visit the Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing to verify if you’re eligible for online OEC application through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Online System (DMW e-Registration portal). This typically applies to Balik-Manggagawa (returning workers).

2. Register or Update Account (if applicable):

  • If you haven’t registered before, create an account on the DMW e-Registration portal.
  • If you have an existing account, ensure all personal, educational, and professional details are accurate and updated.

3. Prepare Required Documents:

  • Collect necessary documents like your passport (valid for at least 6 months from your departure date), proof of employment (contract, company ID, etc.), valid work visa or permit, and OWWA membership fee receipt (for Balik-Manggagawa).
  • Upload these documents electronically if applying online.

4. Schedule Appointment (if not eligible for online processing):

  • Use the POEA Online Appointment System (POPS-BaM) or the Balik-Manggagawa Online (BM Online) system to schedule an appointment for in-person processing at a DMW or Migrant Workers Office (MWO).
  • Choose your preferred date, time, and location.

5. Attend Your Appointment (if applicable):

  • On your scheduled appointment date, bring all original required documents, a copy of your appointment confirmation, and the processing fee (around ₱100) to the chosen MWO.
  • The officer will verify your documents and process your OEC application.

6. Receive Your OEC:

  • After processing, you will receive your OEC.
  • If you applied online and were eligible for online processing, you can print your certificate directly from the POPS-BaM portal.

Additional Tips:

  • Double-check all your documents before submitting them to avoid delays.
  • Pay the processing fee only at designated counters within the POEA or POLO office.
  • Be sure to review your OEC for accuracy before leaving the office.

Recent Updates

The Philippine government initially planned to replace the Overseas Employment Certificate with a digital OFW Pass for smoother processing. Launched as a pilot program in July 2023, the OFW Pass offered potential advantages like a mobile app and contract-based validity. However, as of this writing, the OEC remains the mandatory exit clearance for Filipino migrant workers. The rollout of the OFW Pass is currently on hold while authorities assess the pilot program’s results.


In this video, the vlogger shares his experience and tips on how to obtain an Overseas Employment Certificate when he returned the last time. The video covers topics such as using the OEC Mobile app, Terminal fee refund, and travel tax refund. Watch now and get valuable insights for OFWs in the Middle East, Dubai, Saudi, Kuwait, and GCC.



Acquiring this document in 2024 remains significant for every OFW. By following the outlined steps and preparing the necessary documents ahead of time, you can ensure a smoother process. Remember, the OEC is not just a requirement; it’s a safeguard for your rights and well-being as an OFW. Stay informed, plan ahead, and safe travels on your employment journey abroad.

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