Since you are going to the United States for work, you need to apply for an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). Every OFW is required to get the OEC as this is a requirement under the rules and regulations of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
Its purpose is to ensure that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are documented and protected. There are several requirements before you can get the OEC such as the contract. Ideally, this requirement will protect Filipinos from being duped by illegal recruiters.
We can consider the OEC as our exit pass. If you have an OEC, you will not pay the travel tax (which is about P1,620) and the terminal fee (which is PhP 750).
How to Apply for the OEC
1. Visit http://BMOnline.ph to schedule an appointment.
You can choose your location. I would advise against going to the main office of POEA in Mandaluyong. Try their satellite offices instead:
- Duty Free Philippines in Parañaque City
- SM City Manila, located behind Manila City Hall; or
- Trinoma Mall in Quezon City.
If you’re going back to the Philippines for a quick vacation, you can get your OEC at the Labor Assistance Counter in the airport. Ask around to know where that is.
2. Prepare the requirements for the OEC. Get your documents ready:
- Visa, Work Permit, or Residence Permit
- Any of the following items:
- Employment Contract
- Employment Certificate
- Labor Card
- Company Payslip
- Health Card
- Insurance Card; OR
- Latest Issued OEC (if you have been issued one before)
When I first applied, I presented my offer letter in lieu of a contract. I did not apply through any agency. So in the terminologies of POEA, I was a “direct hire.”
3. Pay for Government-mandated services and membership.
When I first applied for my OEC in 2015, I had to pay a little over PhP100. But in 2016, the POEA decided to stop charging anything for the OEC. So it is free now! Perhaps with all the billions of remittance that OFWs send back to the Philippines, this is a small token of appreciation.
I applied for my OEC at the POEA satellite office at the Trinoma Mall. It is not really inside the mall. It is near the entrance to the mall facing the intersection of North Avenue and Mindanao Avenue. Ask the security guard if you can’t find it.
I also paid for OWWA membership and contribution to my PAGIBIG Fund. I cannot remember how much the membership fee was. But I paid P3,500 for my PAGIBIG Fund. But you can choose a different amount when you talk to their employee there.
4. Once you are issued your OEC, print 3 copies of it for your reference.
As far as I know, a printed copy is no longer needed, but it doesn’t hurt to have it in your possession. In the past, a copy will be given to the airline, another copy to the immigration officer who will stamp your passport, and the last copy is yours.
The last time I needed it in 2016, I was caught in the transition between the paid and free OEC. There were no clear guidelines yet for how the free OEC was to be implemented. It was crazy. This is what the old OEC looked like.
Thankfully, today, you can just logon to BMOnline.ph and secure your OEC Exemption. You can see below what the website will show you after you secure your OEC exemption.
If you don’t secure your OEC, you may end up paying for the travel tax and terminal fee. It’s easy to secure the OEC. Go get it and enjoy your status as an OFW.
Hi! when you presented your offer letter and contract from the employer, they didnt ask for an authenticated employment contract? I am bound to USA and I am about to secure OEC but i read a lot of forum and threads that POEA requires the employment to be authenticated by the Phil Embassy on the country of your destination. Mine was signed thru DOCUSIGN so I just need to print it online. Thanks
Hi Everlyn, my offer letter was not authenticated when I presented it to the POEA satellite office. They accepted it.
Which State are you going to? Blessings!
What is offer letter? Was it from your employer or you’re the one who made it? Thank you
Hi Aivy, the offer letter came from my employer. They sent it to me via email. It’s in PDF. It contains the amount of my salary and the duration of the contract.
Is it alright if after I applied for an OEC, i renewed my passport? Thanks!
I want to if OEC is free ?
Hi Sir. Currently working po dito sa saudi as clinic nurse, by october pa end na po 2yrs contract ko. Found an employer from USA for a direct hire. From here po balak ko pa sana diretso na sa US with travel documents from employer pero wala ang OEC, Paano po ako makakakuha nun online? Pa help po. Thank you sa response sir.
Hello Leah, Hindi ako sigurado kung paano makakuha ng online lang eh. Kasi nag-apply ako in person for OEC nung nasa Pilipinas pa ako right before nagpunta sa US. Siguro kung didiretso ka na from Saudi, hintayin mo na lang na magbakasyon ka sa Pinas then kuha ka ng OEC bago bumalik sa US. Good luck sa paglipat sa US. 🙂
Thanks for a great information.
I am already working here in Pennsylvania but haven’t been able to secure OEC yet. Two questions for you:
1. Have you tried securing an OEC through POLO-Washington?
2. My employer just sent the contract by mail. Was wondering if I would have to wait for the the employment doc verification since its a “pre-requisite req’t” or can I just send the OEC and OWWA in parallel.
I have given a offer letter by a company but they said I pay for OEC which is stamping fee if not they will canceled the process
As far as I remember it is free. Or if there’s a fee, it’s minimal.