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Updated November 2022

The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is an important document for any Filipino looking to exit the Philippines and work overseas as mandated by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). 

Here, we take a closer look at the OEC, including its application process, requirements, exemption, and more.

What is OEC?

To put it simply, the OEC is an exit clearance document required by OFWs to legally exit the country and seek employment overseas. The OEC serves as an attestation that the holder has been properly documented and is under the protection of the Philippine government.   

Additionally, holders of the OEC are exempted from paying certain fees and taxes at the airport. This allows OFWs to lower the total costs associated with securing employment opportunities overseas.  

Validity of OEC

All issued OECs are valid for a single exit only. This means that a new OEC must be applied every time an OFW exits the Philippines.  

The validity period of the OEC is 60 days after the date of issuance. However, if the OEC is issued by the Labor Assistance Counter (LAC) at the NAIA, Cebu-Mactan, or Davao International Airport, the validity will only be for one day.

What are the requirements of OEC?

The basic OEC document requirements are as follows:

  • printed online appointment information sheet/Balik-Manggagawa
  • information sheet
  • passport (valid for at least six months) from departure date
  • valid proof of employment or employment contract
  • valid work visa, work permit, or any equivalent document

Note that there may be additional required documents depending on the destination country. 

How do I apply for the OEC?

OFWs including domestic workers, medical workers, construction workers and so on, will need to obtain an OEC every time they exit the Philippines. The application process is as follows: 

Step 1: Register for the Balik Manggagawa

All OFWs must first register themselves for the Balik Manggagawa (BM) processing system at the POEA online portal. You will have to provide various details about yourself including your personal details, experience, education and your latest resume/CV.

Whether this is your first or subsequent OEC application, the POEA online portal is your starting point. Note that there will be processing fees you’d need to settle to complete your application. 

Step 2: Schedule your OEC online appointment

After successfully creating your BM account, you will be directed to the nearest POEA/POLO BM-OEC service office. You may select from the available appointment schedule. 

Step 3: Attend the appointment

On the day of your appointment, make sure to gather the required documents as follows:

  • appointment sheet (2 copies)
  • employment contract (notarized)
  • work visa (the original plus 2 copies)
  • Philippine passport (the original plus 2 copies)
  • OWWA membership fee receipt

How do I apply for an OEC in Dubai?

The OEC is also required should an OFW travels home to the Philippines with plans on returning to their employment after a short period. If you’re an OFW based in Dubai, you need to gather the required documents before setting up an appointment.

OEC in Dubai document requirements

  • your passport
  • BM online appointment sheet (3 copies)
  • your flight details
  • POLO verified contract. This applies to those who have yet to register with POEA and plan to return to the same employer in the UAE
  • a copy of your past OEC and visa. This applies to those planning to return to the same employer

Once all the required documents have been gathered, proceed to apply for your OEC in Dubai as follows:

  • log in to your existing account on POEA online portal
  • select ‘Acquire OEC’ and schedule an appointment 
  • gather all the required documents and attend your appointment

Who is eligible for an OEC exemption?

OEC exemption refers to certain categories of OFW that are exempted from having to obtain an OEC. The exemption applies to OFWs who: 

  1. have an employment visa or work permit
  2. have served or are serving their employment contract 
  3. are returning to the same employer, returning to the same job site, and are recorded in the POEA database

Applying for an OEC exemption

If you’re eligible, you can apply for an exemption by following the steps below:

For new users 

  • visit the POEA online portal
  • select ‘Let’s Go’ under e-Registration 
  • click ‘Register’
  • fill out the form 

For existing users:

  • log in to POEA online portal
  • update your personal data, contract particulars, and beneficiaries, then select Balik Manggagawa for online assessment 
  • Provide your flight date and confirm if you are returning to the same employer and job site

If everything is in order, you will be prompted a confirmation message stating that you are exempted from having to obtain an OEC as well as payment and processing fee.


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