The process for acquiring an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) should be understood by any Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Puerto Rico. The OEC will verify that the employment contracts for the OFWs are in line with the most recent employment laws, norms, and customs in both the Philippines and the host country.
However, there is NO POLO office and Philippine Embassy in Puerto Rico, but there are Philippine Consulate General offices across Puerto Rico. Keep reading the article to know how to process OEC in Puerto Rico.
- What Should I do Before Applying for an OEC in Puerto Rico?
- How to Schedule OEC Online Appointment in Puerto Rico
- How to Get an OEC in Puerto Rico
- Important Reminders
- Video: OEC Processing / Online Appointment Step by Step / Change Employer
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. Who can get OEC exemption?
- 2. Are OFWs allowed to travel without an OEC?
- 3. How long is an OEC or OEC Exemption Number valid?
- 4. Is my OEC valid for many uses?
- 5. Why does the system want my most recent OEC number? What does it mean?
- 6. What happens if I forget my OEC number?
- 7. What should I do if I lose my OEC?
- 8. Where can I settle my OEC fee?
- 9. What is Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s hotline number?
- 10. What Philippine Overseas Employment Administration address?
- 11. What is the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s email address?
The following individuals are qualified to process the OEC.
- Directly employed Filipino workers by an international employer
- Individuals who are employed by a recruitment agency
- OFWs employed by POEA’s Government Placement Branch (GPB)
Each document should be submitted in two (2) copies: an original and a duplicate or photocopy.
Basic Document Requirements
- Printed Online Appointment (POPS-BAM)
- Printed Balik-Manggagawa Information Sheet
- Sworn Statement (For OFWs who have never had a POEA record or who are applying for OEC for the first time)
- Passport (valid for at least six months) from departure date
- Verified Employment Contract
- Certificate of Employment, Company ID, latest pay slip, or other documents as proof of employment
- Valid Work Visa, Work Permit, or any equivalent document
- Confirmed Airline Ticket
- OEC fees
- OWWA membership payment receipt
Note: Puerto Rico does not currently have a POLO office or a Philippine Embassy, however, there are Philippine Consulate Offices all across the country. To find out which Consulate office is closest to you, click on the link below.
On the other hand, you can process your OEC at the nearest POEA office before leaving the Philippines; just make sure you have all the necessary documents.
What Should I do Before Applying for an OEC in Puerto Rico?
You must prepare yourself before going to POLO/POEA Office; otherwise, you will only waste your time. Here’s what you should consider:
1. Philippine labor laws and regulations prohibit foreign employers from directly recruiting Filipino workers, so you should determine if you qualify for an exemption from the restriction on direct employment.
The employer must hire you through a POEA-accredited recruitment agency. However, some firms are exempt from the restriction on the direct hiring of OFWs. These include:
- Employers of Professional and Skilled Workers with Verified or Authenticated Employment Contracts that Comply with POEA Standards
- Foreign Diplomats
- Heads of State and High-ranking Government Officials
- International Organizations
- Lower-ranking officials from the first three items who are approved by the POLO
- Residents of the host nation who are permanent residents and who hire their family members, excluding domestic workers
2. Prepare all the required documents. As soon as you have confirmed that your employer is exempt from the direct hiring restriction, get everything ready right away.
How to Schedule OEC Online Appointment in Puerto Rico
Follow these instructions to quickly make an appointment. Keep in mind that having an online appointment simplifies things because government workers can immediately verify your information.
Step 1: Visit the POEA Online Service Website here – https://onlineservices.dmw.gov.ph//onlineservices/poeaonline.aspx
Step 2: Click the “Let’s go” button on e-Registration
Step 4: Fill in the required information and then click register (a message will display indicating that your registration was “Successful”)
Step 5: Log in to the email address you provided when you registered (there is a message containing your “temporary password”)
Step 6: Return to the link provided in Step 1 and log in using the registered email address, then click “next.”
Step 7: Use the temporary password sent to your email, then click “log in.”
Step 8: Set your preferred password.
Step 9: Update your profile by clicking “My Profile,” after completing your profile, click “Update Profile” on the upper right side of the page
Step 10: Input your identification data (passport) and beneficiary on your profile
Step 11: Click the “Balik-Manggagawa” on your dashboard then click the “Next” button
Step 12: Enter your return flight date then click the “Next” button
Step 13: You will be asked whether you are returning to the same employer, job site, and position if you are a returning BM.
If so, you can print your OEC exemption immediately.
If not, go to step 9 instead (change employer or new BM)
Step 14: Input all your contract details then click the “Submit” button
Step 15: Select the nearest Consulate/POEA office as the processing site then click the “Next” button
Step 16: Choose and select your preferred appointment date
Step 17: Take a screenshot and print your scheduled appointment date
How to Get an OEC in Puerto Rico
Step 1: Gather all of the necessary requirements.
Step 2: Go to the Consulate/POEA office on your scheduled appointment day. Show your approved appointment letter, valid ID, and full-dose vaccination card/certificate to the assigned security personnel.
Step 3: The assigned security personnel will check your name on the list of approved appointments for the day. To avoid long lines, bring the complete set of requirements.
Step 4: Get a token number from the assigned personnel.
Step 5: Go to the processing window and submit your documents.
Step 6: Pay for OEC fees.
Step 7: Wait for the OEC processor’s advice before printing your OEC in POPS-BAM System
Make sure that all the information and details in your OEC are correct and in line with your credentials.
Step 8: Sign in to your POPS-BAM account and select “Print OEC” from the “My Transaction Tab” menu.
- Avoid using non-English characters, such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or Arabic, when filling out online forms. This will delay the processing of your OEC. Therefore, make sure you enter only English characters.
- You are only permitted to acquire an OEC once every time you visit the Philippines. Getting more than one OEC simultaneously is not allowed.
- Just remember to bring three copies of your OEC to the airport on the day of your departure.
- Please keep in mind that the OEC can only be used for sixty (60) days beginning on the day it was issued.
- If a worker leaves the Philippines without an OEC, they might not be able to finish their check-in or they might be stopped by an immigration official before they leave. Prior to departing, you must make sure that you have this document with you at all times.
- Balik-Manggagawa OFWs must also present a copy of the contract they have with their company, along with their plane ticket and any other necessary travel documents.
- Once the OFW has all the proper documents, they can head to the airport and show the OEC to the immigration official there. OFWs that have an OEC can travel without issue and know that they are complying with all legal obligations related to their employment.
- Feel free to call the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration office at 8-722-11-44 / 8-722-11-55, (Closed on Philippines public holidays).
Video: OEC Processing / Online Appointment Step by Step / Change Employer
YouTuber Ayashane TV, an OFW, tells his experience scheduling an online appointment to acquire OEC. You should follow the step-by-step procedure of Ayashane TV’s on how to schedule an online appointment to acquire an OEC in Consulate/POEA and are unsure of how to do so.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any further questions regarding “How to Process OEC in Puerto Rico”, see the list of frequently asked questions and answers below.
1. Who can get OEC exemption?
The following requirements must all be met in order for a Balik-Manggagawas to be exempt from acquiring an OEC:
- Has a valid work visa or work permit
- Returning to the same employer and workplace
- Has a record in the POEA database
(Has previously received an OEC at any POEA offices or facilities, including the POEA main office, extension units, regional offices, POLO offices abroad, and BM mall processing centers)
2. Are OFWs allowed to travel without an OEC?
No. All OFWs leaving the Philippines, whether they are returning employees or new workers, must acquire an OEC.
The OEC serves as an exit clearance; therefore if you try to leave the country without it, Immigration will stop you. Additionally, you are excused from paying the terminal fee and travel tax thanks to this certificate.
3. How long is an OEC or OEC Exemption Number valid?
From the date of issuance, the OEC or OEC Exemption Number is valid for 60 days. You are required by POEA to obtain this as a Balik-Manggagawa before returning to your employer.
4. Is my OEC valid for many uses?
OEC or OEC Exemption Number is only intended for one use. Once you have given it to Immigration, it cannot be used again.
5. Why does the system want my most recent OEC number? What does it mean?
The most recent transaction record you have with POEA is your most recent OEC number. This information is required by the system in order to get your record and most recent employment information.
6. What happens if I forget my OEC number?
You will be redirected by the system to the APPOINTMENT page, where you must manually visit POEA to process your OEC.
7. What should I do if I lose my OEC?
Log in to your POPS-BAM account and reprint your OEC.
8. Where can I settle my OEC fee?
- You can pay your fees in a number of ways, including:
- Globe G-cash
- Over-the-counter thru Banks
- Over-the-counter thru Bayad Centers
- Online Banking
- Consulate/POEA office
Instructions on how to complete the payment process will be sent to you through email.
9. What is Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s hotline number?
You can reach Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s office at 8-722-11-44 / 8-722-11-55.
10. What Philippine Overseas Employment Administration address?
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s address is Blas F. Ople Building Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA Mandaluyong City.
11. What is the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s email address?
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
OEC is a requirement for OFWs in Puerto Rico who plan to go back overseas. You might be exempt from the requirement and just need to print an OEC exemption if you’re returning to the same employer and job site. In any case, the new POEA online system requires all OFWs in Puerto Rico to register.
Although Puerto Rico does not currently have a POLO or Philippine Embassy, your OEC can still be completed at the nearest POEA office before leaving the Philippines. Just make sure you have all the necessary documentation.