Overseas Employment Certificate: What is it and How to Acquire OEC

For aspiring Overseas Filipino Workers, it’s important to understand how to obtain an Overseas Employment Certificate. This is a prerequisite when applying for an overseas job as required by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. You will need to present this document before you leave the country for your job abroad.

At the airport, the Bureau of Immigration will ask you for your OEC in order to ensure that you’re a legal OFW. It also comes with some privileges such as getting exempted from paying travel tax and terminal fees. If you’re planning to apply for a loan, your OEC can increase your chances of getting approved. But what does OEC really do and how to acquire this essential document for OFWs?

how to get an overseas employment certificate oec for ofws

What is an Overseas Employment Certificate?

An Overseas Employment Certificate refers to an exit clearance that OFWs are required to present before leaving the Philippines to work abroad. After you get issued with an OEC, it is valid for 60 days. However, if you obtain it from the Labor Assistance Counter at Cebu-Mactan International Airport, Davao International Airport, or the NAIA, it is only valid for one day.

It’s important to note that the OEC is for single use only. Once you have presented it to the immigration upon departure abroad, it’s no longer valid. This is why it’s important to know how to acquire this document when you’re here in the Philippines for vacation or before you leave as a first-time OFW.

Benefits of OEC

There are a few benefits of obtaining an OEC from POEA before departing to another country as an OFW. For instance, you don’t need to pay for the terminal fee or any travel tax when traveling abroad to work. Moreover, this validates your legality as a Filipino migrant worker and that you are a registered OFW. This document can also help you when applying for loans in the Philippines.

Requirements for Acquiring an OEC

Before you apply for an OEC, you need to secure all the required documents. Remember that this is a separate process from your visa application, so you need to prepare another set of requirements for the OEC application. There are two types of document requirements for an OEC, the basic and the comprehensive requirements.

For the basic requirements, make sure to secure the following documents:

  • A printed copy of the Balik-Manggagawa Information Sheet or the Online Appointment Information Sheet
  • Valid passport with six months validity period from the scheduled departure time
  • Valid Employment Contract or any similar proof of employment
  • Valid work permit, work visa, or similar document

The requirements for household service workers, low-skilled workers, and professional or skilled workers vary, therefore you need to secure these comprehensive requirements to get your OEC. If you’re going to the United States or Canada, there are some additional documents you need to submit.

Now, there are two parts to this application that require comprehensive documents from OFWs. The first part is where you need to submit requirements based on your qualification. If you’re a skilled and professional OFW, you should prepare these documents:

  • Commercial Registration, Business License, or Company Profile of your employer
  • An endorsement Letter issued by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office which is directed to the Administrator asks for a ban on direct hiring

Moreover, you also need to provide additional requirements that are specific to the country of destination. Depending on where and what you’re applying for, here are some additional documents that may be asked from you to obtain an OEC:


  • Labor Market Impact Assessment
  • Labor Market Opinion
  • Certificate of Registration of the Employer issued by the ECON or Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program approval and Canadian Letter

United States of America

  • Employer’s Contingency Plan
  • Notice of Action and Labor Condition Application
  • The African and Middle East countries

In order to support your job application abroad, you also need to prepare the following additional documents:

  • Business Permit or Certificate of Employment
  • NC II or PRC License
  • Transcript of Records and Diploma
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of insurance coverage that includes the benefits mentioned in Section 37-A of RA 8042, and a notarized statement regarding how the OFW secured the employment
  • Photocopy of ID or passport of the employer with contact details

In the second part, you need to comply with local labor laws so you need to prepare labor-related documents such as:

  • Medical exam certificate issued by any medical clinic accredited by DOH
  • E-registration account
  • POEA clearance
  • Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar Certificate
  • Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar Certificate
  • Proof of Insurance Coverage Certificate

How to Acquire an OEC

Step 1: Register an account on the Balik Manggagawa Online Processing System https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph/OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx or log in if you already have an account. This portal is designed to help OFWs get new OECs prior to their departure date. You need to settle the processing fee and show up on your appointment to obtain the OEC.

Step 2: Set an online appointment on the portal. Select the time and date as well as your preferred location to visit. You may schedule your appointment before returning to the Philippines at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, or after at the nearest POEA office in your area.

Step 3: Go to your scheduled appointment to obtain your new OEC. Make sure to bring your valid work visa, appointment sheet, notarized Employment Contract, Philippine passport, and OWWA membership contribution receipt.

The processing fee may vary depending on the country from where you are obtaining your OEC. For those who will apply for their OECs in the POEA office in the Philippines, the fee is only Php 100.

If you have already registered, you will need to provide your recent OEC number. Then the Record Found pop-up will appear on the screen. Do the following steps to proceed with the processing:

  • Update information
  • Choose Acquire OEC or Exemption
  • Type in the departure date
  • Applicants who are returning to the same job site or employer will get a notification that OEC isn’t needed
  • Print a copy of the exemption message which will be presented at the airport

You are exempted to set an appointment at POEA or POLO if you’re already registered on the portal, have a recent OEC number, and will return to the same job place and employer. Just print the confirmation message after submitting your application online, no need to pay the processing fee.

Video: How to Get OEC Exemption Online 2023

In this video, you will understand how to be exempted from OEC online. There’s a new update that OFWs must be aware of when obtaining OEC exemption through the online portal. There are so many helpful tips provided in this video so make sure to watch until the end to uncover them.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to acquire an OEC for new users of the online portal?

Go to E-Registration and click on Let’s Go, then tap on the Register button. Complete the form with your personal details.

2. How to obtain an OEC for existing users of the online portal?

Go to the POPS-BaM online portal here – https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph/OnlineServices/POEAOnline.aspx and log in with your details. Update your information including your beneficiaries and contact details. Then choose Balik Manggagawa for the assessment online. Type in your departure date and confirm that you’re returning to the same job site and employer abroad.

3. How to set an OEC appointment online?

Whether you’re a returning or departing OFW, you can now enjoy hassle-free online booking for your OEC application. Just go to the Balik Manggagawa Online Appointment System www.bmonline.poea.gov.ph and select your preferred venue and schedule for OEC processing.

4. Does POEA accept walk-in applicants for OEC?

Yes, you may proceed to the main office of POEA in the Philippines if you’re a departing OFW, or at your preferred regional office.

5. Who can acquire the Overseas Employment Contract?

OFWs who need to apply or obtain an OEC are those who are direct hires of an employer abroad, OFWs hired with the help of a local recruitment agency, and OFWs who are hired by the POEA’s Government Placement Branch.


Now you know how to obtain an Overseas Employment Contract for returning OFWs. This is an important document that you need to present to the immigration officer at the airport before you leave the Philippines. Knowing how to obtain this exit clearance can help OFWs enjoy a hassle-free application experience, especially for first-timers.

There are different sets of requirements for obtaining an OEC depending on what country you are bound to work in and the type of work you have. Use the official POEA website if you have questions regarding country-specific OEC applications. Make sure you qualify and meet the requirements, or follow the steps if you’re exempted to get an OEC.

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