How to Apply BM Online OEC Exemption for Returning OFWs

OEC Exemption is a certificate created by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that allows OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) to be exempted from certain overseas employment requirements. This includes exemption from the exit clearance requirement when departing the Philippines, and exemption from obtaining an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) upon returning.

The program is administered online through the Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing System, or BM Online (now called POPS-BaM). Through this system, returning OFWs can apply for the OEC Exemption prior to leaving for their destination country. The OEC Exemption allows OFWs to avoid long queues at Immigration counters in airports and ports, saving time and allowing them to travel faster and more conveniently.

Getting your OEC is important if you’re a Filipino worker abroad visiting the Philippines on vacation, whether it’s for urgent matters or to spend time with your family.

OFWs who qualify for OEC exemption are exempted from acquiring an OEC and paying the POEA processing fee. Your OFW documents will be processed more quickly at the airport before your departure if you are granted this exemption. Continue reading the article to know how to get an OEC exemption.

how to apply for oec exemption for ofws

What is OEC Exemption?

The main document that OFWs must get before leaving the Philippines to work overseas is an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). This certificate serves as a departure clearance, verifying the holder’s identity as a legal worker.

When an OFW returns to the same employer and job site after a vacation in the Philippines, they should apply for OEC exemption online. Under the exemption, Balik-Manggagawa (BM) or returning OFWs are eligible for their OEC without visiting the POEA/ DMW or POLO offices abroad or in the Philippines.


Returning OFWs who are eligible for OEC exemption no longer need to go to POEA/DMW or POLO offices to acquire their OEC. Instead, they can use the POPS-BAM website previously known as BM online to submit an OEC. Also, they are not required to pay the OEC processing fee. You can print your OEC online and avoid paying travel taxes and terminal fees if you qualify. Also, returning OFWs’ dependents and spouses are eligible for reduced travel taxes when they accompany them.


OEC exemption is not applicable to all OFWs. The following BM are ONLY eligible for an exemption from acquiring an OEC:

  • Has a valid work visa/work permit
  • Has a record in the POEA database (previously received an OEC at any POEA offices or centers, including the POEA main office, extension units, regional offices, POLO offices abroad, and BM mall processing centers)
  • OFWs hired through the Government Placement Branch
  • Returning to the same company and job site

You must schedule an online appointment for regular OEC processing if you don’t meet any of the qualification requirements mentioned above. In this case, you are not eligible for OEC exemption.


Another perk of the OEC exemption is that it avoids the hassle of preparing numerous documented requirements, in addition to the convenience of acquiring the OEC online and being exempt from paying the OEC processing fee. The returning OFWs who are exempt just only the following to acquire their OEC online:

  • Valid email address to create an e-Registration account (for new users)
  • DMW e-Registration account with complete profile details, including:
  • Beneficiary Data
  • Passport Data
  • Personal Information
  • Pagibig (MID) Data
  • BM workers who are returning to the same employer but in a different job site or vice versa
  • Workers without existing POEA/DMW records

Take note that even if you return to the same employer and job site, you will not automatically be eligible for OEC exemption. Using the POEA/DMW database, the BM Online system will assess if the worker is eligible for the OEC exemption.

Note: The BM Online processing system is no longer in use because POPS-BAM replaced it on June 30, 2021.

oec exemption validation form

How to Apply for an OEC Exemption Online Using POPS-BAM

Using the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Online Services Portal (POPS-BAM), qualified BM or returning OFWs can apply for the OEC exemption online. POPS-BAM is the newly launched POEA/DMW portal that took the place of the previous BM Online website. You must first register for an account on POPS-BAM, though, before applying for an OEC exemption.

If you already have a DMW e-registration account and your old BM records have been transferred to the new POPS-BAM website, you can acquire an OEC Exemption through POPS-BAM by following these steps:

Step 1: Visit the POEA Online Service Website here –

Step 2: Click the “Let’s go” button on e-Registration

Step 3: Click on “Register” for new users (just log in if you already have an account) and click the “I accept the terms of use” button.

Step 4: Fill in the required information and then click register (a message will display indicating that your registration was “Successful”)

Provide all required details, such as your height and weight, as the system will not process if these fields are left blank.

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.

Step 14: If so, you can print your OEC exemption immediately.

overseas employment certificate with exemption stamp

Important Reminders

  • Only Balik Manggagawa (BM) or OFWs returning to the same employer and job site with previous records in the POEA/DMW database are eligible for the OEC exemption.
  • Returning workers have the opportunity to acquire their OEC online through POPS-BAM and may be exempt from paying the OEC processing fees.
  • By creating an e-Registration account, returning workers can apply for an OEC exemption online.
  • Users of POPS-BAM are advised to upload a current profile photo for the Bureau of Immigration’s use in identity inspections and departure procedures.
  • If the POPS-BAM account is not complete, qualified BM workers cannot move forward with the OEC exemption.
  • Based on the POEA/DMW database, the POPS-BAM website assesses who is eligible for OEC exemption.
  • The use of POPS-BAM will be restricted if a user creates more than one e-Registration account, so each user should only have one.
  • The BM exemption number is automatically saved to the system used by Immigration Officers, thus returning workers who acquired their OEC online do not need to print it.
  • The worker is not required to visit POEA/DMW or POLO offices if they are eligible for OEC exemption. Alternatively, the worker can head to the airport to complete departure procedures.

how to get oec exemption online


An OFW YouTuber, The Servant Explorers, shared a detailed video tutorial on how to acquire OEC (exemption) under the new system (POPS-BAM). To learn more about the procedure needed to acquire OEC (exemption), watch the video below.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any further questions regarding “BM Online OEC Exemption Guide for Returning OFWs”, 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/work permit
  • Has a record in the POEA database (previously received an OEC at any POEA offices or centers, including the POEA main office, extension units, regional offices, POLO offices abroad, and BM mall processing centers)
  • OFWs hired through the Government Placement Branch
  • Returning to the same company and job site

2. How long is an OEC Exemption Number valid?

From the date of issuance, the 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.

3. 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.

4. Is my OEC Exemption valid for many uses?

No. OEC Exemption number is only intended for one use. Once you have given it to Immigration, it cannot be used again.

5. What should I do if I lose my OEC?

Log in to your POPS-BAM account and reprint your OEC.

6. Where can I print an OEC exemption?

Your OEC exemption can be printed online via the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Online Services Portal (POPS-BAM) at


Returning OFWs no longer need to visit any POEA/DMW office or POLO offices in order to acquire their OEC thanks to POPS-BAM. POPS-BAM make it quicker for OFWs to acquire their exit clearance if they get an OEC exemption.

Also, it prevents them from waiting hours in line only to get their OEC. However, qualified Balik Manggagawa (BM) or OFWs returning to the same employer and job site are the only ones eligible for the OEC exemption.

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