How To Be An OFW (2023)

Written by Marc Adrian

Contrary to what you may think, securing employment overseas and being lucky enough to get an employment visa is just the beginning. The road to becoming a legit Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and be accounted for your contribution to the country’s economic activity will require some paperwork to accomplish ahead!

Due to the country’s interest in protecting Filipinos from abusive or undercompensating employers, policies around employers overseas are quite stringent. They’ll have to tick certain criteria’s set by the government to prove that they’re good and competent employers for OFWs.

Overseas employment is categorized into two by the Philippine government – direct hiring and agencies. Each path has its own pros and cons and may be more suited for one profession over the others. Either way, if you’re planning to work overseas, it pays to be familiar with the entire process.

If you are planning to go down this path, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it!

Direct hire

As the name suggests, it is employment given to you directly by an employer overseas. The registration process will be more hands-on when no employment agency will be involved, you’ll be running the employer’s papers by yourself. While the overseas employer will process your employment visa, papers officiating your departure from the country as a worker not will have to be accomplished in the Philippines.

Most direct hires are skilled professionals, and employment usually subjected to this process doesn’t have a massive base of Filipino workers. Majority of OFWs who go through a direct hire process are skilled professionals that aren’t hired in volumes overseas.


How to get a direct hire employment overseas?

Referrals from your friends and family overseas and online job applications are the most common way to find a job overseas. While it is possible to find direct employment overseas by personally applying for a job in your destination country, it is highly discouraged by the government and can be considered as an illegal process.

The job hunting process is all on you, there is no need to meet certain deadlines or personally attend interviews set by overseas employment agencies, which are common on industries looking to mass hire professionals in the country.

Unlike agencies, you don’t have to worry about placement fees anymore and you can proceed with less financial resources than you are usually required to have when dealing with agencies.

Direct hire opportunities are for people who are willing to wait for the right opportunity to come and are willing to do the whole registration process themselves.

The direct hire process is as follows:

  1. Visa stamping

If you’ve found an employer, the first step is to comply with the visa requirements of the country of work destination. Once your work visa is approved, head to the nearest embassy of the country of employment for the visa stamping of your passport. The process will take 3 to 5 business days and will come with certain requirements and fees. Before proceeding, make sure to call the embassy and ask for the requirements.

  1. Accomplish and submit the following documents to POEA (phase 1)

For starters, download thechecklist from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) website. The checklist is split into two parts: phase 1 and phase 2. To proceed to phase two, compile the following documents and submit them to POEA.

  • Passport with validity period of not less than six (6) months.
  • Valid Work Visa, Entry/Work Permit (whichever is applicable per country).
  • If visa assurance or guarantee is issued by employer, the same should be noted/acknowledged by the Government or Immigration Office in the jobsite.
  • Employment Contract:
  • Original copy of Employment Contract or Offer of Employment.
  • Verified by the Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO) Authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate for countries with no POLO.
  • Company Profile, Business license/commercial registration of the employer .
  • POLO Endorsement Letter addressed to the Administrator seeking exemption from the ban on direct-hiring.

How To Be An OFW (1)

Additional country-specific requirements:


  • Canada– Labor Market Opinion (LMO), Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) forand Canadian Letter and Employer’s Certificate of Registration from ECON (Province of Saskatchewan Executive Council) or Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program (SINP) approval are required from workers to Saskatchewan in lieu of LMO
  • USA– Labor Condition Application and Notice of Action
  • Middle East and African countries– Contingency plan issued by the employer

Additional documents to support job application:

  • Certificate of employment or Business Permit (if self-employed)
  • Diploma and Transcript of Records (TOR)
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Proof of certificate of insurance coverage covering at least the benefits provided.

Once the documents above are submitted to POEA, the verification process will take 3 to 5 business days. Once all the documents are fully verified, you will be allowed to proceed with phase 2.

Phase 2 procedure:

  • E-Registration Account
  • Compliance Form (if necessary)
  • Valid Medical Certificate from DOH-accredited medical clinic authorized to conduct medical exam for OFWs
  • Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar Certificate (PEOS)
  • Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) Certificate issued by OWWA
  • POEA Clearance (for employers under Section 124d of the POEA Revised Rules & Regulations)
  1. E-Registration

After the verification of your phase 1 documents, you can now register for an account in This website will also allow you to access the next step.

  1. Pre overseas-employment Seminar (PEOS)

This seminar will grant you a certificate once you’re able to go through all the module and pass the tests in every last chapter of each module. The entire process can be done straight from the comfort of your home where there is internet access.

Once you’ve passed the online seminar, a certificate will be sent to your email address which you can print and later submit to POEA.

You can take the PEOS here:

  1. Medical certificate

Obtain a Medical Certificate from DOH-accredited medical clinic authorized to conduct medical exam for OFWs. POEA will advise on which clinic is accredited in your region.

  1. POEA documents verification

Proceed to POEA again and submit your PEOS and medical certificate together, then choose a schedule for your pre-departure overseas seminar.


  1. Pre-departure overseas seminar (PDOS)

This is a 1-day peer counseling session conducted at every POEA regional office. It is a Country-specific seminar conducted to Filipino emigrants to address their adjustment concerns in their destination countries. In these seminars, various topics are discussed such as travel regulations, immigration procedures, cultural differences, settlement concerns, employment and social security concerns and rights and obligations of Filipino migrants.

A certificate will be given to OFWs who complete PDOS.

For your information

PDOS can be scheduled right after your phase 1 documents are verified

After completing PDOS and obtaining your certificate, produce at least 1 photocopy of the PDOS certificate before proceeding to the re-verification of your documents.

  1. Overseas employment certificate (OEC)

This is the last step of the process and prepare a good sum of money because there will be some fees involved.

  • 100 USD for POEA Processing
  • 25 USD for OWWA Membership
  • ₱1,200.00 for Medicare
  • ₱100.00 for Pag-IBIG Fund

After paying for the above items, your OEC receipt will be released to you right then and there. 3 copies will be given to you, all of which you will be to provide at the immigration in any airport in the Philippines to grant you legal exit as an OFW.

Agency hire

(Video) How to be an OFW

If you’re hired through an agency, there will be less paperwork for you to run because it takes away the need to authenticate your employer’s papers – it’s handled by the agency. However, the job application will be challenging as you will have to go through hoops to outmatch other candidates for the employment that you’re vying for. Since agencies do massive hirings, expect to go through a lengthy and more tedious process to secure that employment overseas.

The tedious process is the recruitment because you’ll have to go through a series of scheduled interviews. Some may take just a few days, but others will take a few weeks to months. So, not only is it nerve-wracking because of the number of people that you have to outwit, but also because of how dragging it can get.

How To Be An OFW (2)

You will only submit the following documents and the rest will either be accomplished by the agency or assist you in complying the needed documents.

  • Passport (6 months validity or more)
  • Certificate of employment from previous employers
  • Diploma and Transcript of Records (TOR)
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Board certificates
  • Training certificates
  • Additional certificates related to the line of work may be required by other countries or employers.
  • 2×2 picture

Agencies are known to make the process a lot easier for aspiring OFWs, however, not all may have your interest in mind. Before you pursue a job offer from an employment agency, make sure that you verify their legitimacy first beforehand.

Expect placement fees and other related charges when dealing with agencies. Some agencies may also include airfare and accommodation in the fees, as you’re less likely able to bargain about these things with the employer when you’re hired through one.

You can search for an employment agency’s name in POEA’s website.

The government also collaborate with legitimate agencies to extend overseas employment opportunities to Filipinos who aspire to work abroad. You can visit the classified page of POEA’s website to check the current job openings overseas for Filipinos.

(Video) How to be an OFW Millionaire (1) | Jing Castaneda

While the verification process of the documents in POEA, medical exam, PEOS, PDOS, and etc will be accomplished per individual, some agencies might submit them by batch. Each agency has their own recruitment process and it’s best to talk about it with them.


What are the requirements to work abroad from Philippines? ›

These are some of the requirements needed to apply to be an OFW.
  • 2 x 2 picture Passport (valid for at least 6 months)
  • PSA-issued Birth certificate.
  • High School/College diploma.
  • Transcript of Records.
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Employment contract / Job contract.
  • NBI clearance.
  • Marriage contract (if applicable)

How do I register as an overseas Filipino worker? ›

Step by Step Process for Becoming an OWWA Member
  1. OWWA OFW Information Sheet – download and print the information sheet from the agency's website (
  2. Copy of Passport (emphasis on the data page with photo)
  3. Employment Pass/Work Permit Card.
  4. Employment Contract.

How can I work abroad? ›

How to Apply for Jobs Abroad
  1. Use international job boards to search for positions abroad. ...
  2. Send an application tailored to your destination country. ...
  3. Apply for a visa. ...
  4. Pack your bags and hit the road.
Aug 11, 2022

Why do foreigners hire Filipino workers? ›

Filipinos are known to be proficient in English. They can communicate well with anyone instantly. Because they are trainable and fast-learners, Filipinos are quick to learn other foreign languages as well. This is one of the reasons why you can always see a Filipino in almost every country in the world.

Can you work in the Philippines as a US citizen? ›

Foreign nationals who want to work in the Philippines have to obtain not just the appropriate visa, but a work permit as well. Working without a permitcould result in heavy fines for both the employee and the employer. Not all foreigners who come to the Philippines to work need a permit.

Are Filipinos eligible to work in the US? ›

If you want to work in the U.S. temporarily as a nonimmigrant, under U.S. immigration law, you need a specific visa based on the type of work you will be doing.

How much does OWWA cost? ›

How can I be a member of OWWA? The OWWA is a membership institution. For a US$25.00 membership contribution, an OWWA member is entitled to various benefits and services.

How much is the membership fee for OWWA Philippines? ›

OWWA membership fee

The membership fee depends on the foreign currency equivalent of the destination country, ranging from Php 1,000 to Php 1,500.

Is OWWA membership mandatory? ›

Membership in Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is mandatory for all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). All OWWA members are covered by life insurance and other social benefits implemented by OWWA.

What is the easiest job to get abroad? ›

10 overseas jobs that require no experience
  1. Hotel breakfast attendant. National average salary: $24,477 per year. ...
  2. Tour guide. National average salary: $28,873 per year. ...
  3. Event planning intern. National average salary: $33,121 per year. ...
  4. Landscape laborer. ...
  5. Hotel housekeeper. ...
  6. Server. ...
  7. Hotel front desk clerk. ...
  8. Nanny.
Mar 10, 2023

How can I work abroad immediately? ›

How to get a job in another country
  1. Determine the type of job you want. ...
  2. Decide what country you want to work in. ...
  3. Find a job you're interested in. ...
  4. Apply for a visa or work permit. ...
  5. Localize your resume. ...
  6. Apply for the job. ...
  7. Different languages. ...
  8. Unconventional interviews.
Feb 20, 2023

How can I live abroad and make money? ›

How to Make Money While Living Abroad: 18 Job Ideas
  • Switch to Remote Work. Photo via @digitalnomadistas. ...
  • Work for a Travel Company. Photo via @advwomen. ...
  • Be a Free Tour Guide. Photo via @elisabethappy. ...
  • Consider Becoming an Au Pair. ...
  • Teach English. ...
  • Work as a Digital Translator. ...
  • Monetize Your Gap Year. ...
  • Do Freelance Work.
Apr 12, 2023

What is the minimum wage in the Philippines in US dollars? ›

What is minimum wage in Philippines? Minimum Wages in Philippines increased to 570 PHP/Day (11970 USD/Month) in 2022.

What country has the most Filipino workers? ›

Countries with the Most OFWs from the Philippines
  • United States of America: 3,353,891.
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: 938,490.
  • Canada: 676,775.
  • Malaysia: 620,043.
  • United Arab Emirates: 541,593.
  • Japan: 313,588.
  • Australia: 304,093.
  • Italy: 299,787.
Mar 10, 2022

What country has a lot of Filipino workers? ›

Saudi Arabia: As of 2020, there were 865,121 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia. Serbia: As of 2018 there are 76 Filipinos living in Serbia. Singapore: As of 2014, there were 200,000 Filipinos in Singapore. South Korea: As of 2014, there were 52,379 Filipinos in South Korea.

How long can a US citizen live in the Philippines? ›

As a US citizen, you can stay in the Philippines for up to 30 days without needing a visa. However, if you wish to stay for more than 30 days, you will need to obtain a visa from a Philippine embassy or consulate in the USA before going to the Philippines.

How long can you stay in the Philippines if you are a US immigrant? ›

U.S. passport holders are covered under this rule. If the intended stay in the Philippines is beyond 30 days, an application for a temporary visa must be filed at the Consulate. There are nationals of other countries who are classified as Restricted Nationals by the Philippine Government.

What is the penalty for US citizen overstaying in the Philippines? ›

If a US citizen overstays their tourist visa in the Philippines, they will be charged approximately 4,000 PHP per month. In addition, they may also be subject to additional fines of 500 PHP per month, as well as a motion for reconsideration of 500 PHP.

How can I get my Filipino girlfriend to the US? ›

A Filipino fiancé(e) needs an approved I-129F petition to apply for a "K-1" visa. Only a U.S. citizen may file a fiancé(e) petition. This is done at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that has jurisdiction over the place where the U.S. citizen resides.

How long does it take for a Filipino to get a US work visa? ›

Remember, apply early! Though visa processing time is typically one week, processing time for specific cases may vary due to individual circumstances and other special requirements. Nonimmigrant visa applicants are encouraged to apply at least three (3) months in advance of the intended date of travel.

How hard is it for a Filipino to get a US visa? ›

As a Filipino, you are neither visa-exempt nor in the Visa Waiver Program, so your only choice is to pay a visit to the nearest US embassy or simply apply for a visa with the help of iVisa (which is a lot easier than doing it by yourself).

How do I get an OWWA card? ›

OWWA OFW e-Card applications can be submitted online at by Balik-Manggagawa who is still working abroad. The OFW e-Card pick-up location in the Philippines is currently registered with the OWWA Regional Welfare Offices. When the OFW arrives in the country, he can pick up his OWWA OFW e-Card.

Can I pay my OWWA membership in the Philippines? ›

You can pay via M'Lhuillier, Land Bank of the Philippines, Bancnet Member ATM account, OWWA App, and BCRemit App.

How many days to take OWWA? ›

It is conducted for three (3) to six (6) days and focuses on language training, culture familiarization and stress management to prepare them for life overseas.

What is the benefits of OWWA Philippines? ›

The OWWA's Social Benefits are disability and dismemberment, death & burial, Supplementary Medical Assistance, and Welfare Assistance Program.

How can I get money from OWWA Philippines? ›

Visit the OWWA Regional Welfare Office that covers the permanent address of the OFW.
  1. At least two (2) valid I.D.s of OFW or Claimant.
  2. Authorization Letter with I.D. of OFW, if claimant is not the OFW.
  3. Proof of Displacement e.g. Termination of Contract, Working Visa, etc.
  4. Certification from OWWA-POLO of OFW's job sites.

How do I know if I am an OWWA member? ›

You can check your OWWA status by clicking to the “Information” option after signing in to your OWWA Mobile App. Your membership is still valid until the stated validity date if the status is “Active.” If your membership status is “inactive,” you can renew it.

Can I walk in to OWWA? ›

If you are in the Philippines, you can visit the nearest Regional Welfare Office, if you are abroad, you can visit the nearest POLO-OWWA office. Some OWWA offices in other countries may not require an appointment beforehand as there are no appointment procedures set up yet.

What is the OWWA 20k benefit? ›

There will be cash assistance given to approved applicants depending on the status of your OWWA membership. Be advised that the money is to be used for livelihood. ACTIVE OWWA members can get a maximum of PHP 20,000. For INACTIVE OWWA Members, but MORE THAN 1 contribution, you can get a maximum of PHP 10,000.

Can I pay OWWA in the airport? ›

He said that OWWA officers are assigned round-the-clock at the airport with authority to collect the membership renewal of $25 ( P1,100), which covers life insurance and repatriation services for OFWs on a per-contract basis. "We're intensifying our drive for bona-fide OFWs to renew their membership.

Can Americans work abroad? ›

An overseas job for an American is when you decide to move away from the United States and live in a foreign country. You may be referred to as an American expat. You can either work for a U.S.-based company or you can work for a company located in the country you want to live in.

How can I live abroad without a job? ›

How to Move to Another Country with No Job: 5 Steps for Success
  1. Choose an Affordable Country. ...
  2. Improve Your Finances Before You Move. ...
  3. Learn the Local Language. ...
  4. Volunteer While Abroad. ...
  5. Find a Job After You Move Abroad.
Apr 9, 2023

Which job is best to travel the world? ›

In summary, here are 25 of the best travel jobs to make money while traveling the world:
  • Au pair.
  • Foreign service travel jobs.
  • Peace Corps/NGO work.
  • Hostel worker.
  • Bartender.
  • WWOOF.
  • Yoga/fitness instructor.
  • Ski instructor.
Oct 24, 2022

How do I start over in another country with no money? ›

10 steps to move overseas with no money
  1. Get on board with finding work abroad. ...
  2. Find the right work abroad program. ...
  3. Make the decision. ...
  4. Tell friends and family you're moving abroad. ...
  5. Begin the visa process & figure out housing. ...
  6. Learn about the logistics of life as a foreigner. ...
  7. Prepare yourself financially.
Jan 4, 2023

What companies let you work abroad? ›

Start planning your great escape by checking out other great companies for working abroad!
  • MediaCom. View ProfileExplore Open Jobs. ...
  • BlackRock. View ProfileExplore Open Jobs. ...
  • Meta. View ProfileExplore Open Jobs. ...
  • Intel. View ProfileExplore Open Jobs. ...
  • Audible, Inc. View ProfileExplore Open Jobs. ...
  • Atlassian. ...
  • Udemy. ...
  • Hudson River Trading.
Jan 6, 2023

Which country has most job opportunities for foreigners? ›


It is considered a wealthy nation with a market-based economy that has a high gross domestic product and per capita income. The Australian economy is driven by the service sector and commodities. If you think Australia is the perfect place for you, apply for your visa today!

Can you work abroad from Philippines? ›

Filipinos are among the top 10 nations that have been deployed to work as OFWs because of their education, work ethics, and their language skills. The available work opportunities outside the Philippines can start from entry-level positions to highly specialized work.

What documents are needed for working abroad? ›

  • DOCUMENTATION FOR WORKING OVERSEAS. Anyone applying for a job abroad must comply with the rules and regulations of where employment is being sought. ...
  • Educational Credentials, Transcripts, and Credential Evaluation Report. ...
  • Background Check. ...
  • Work Experience. ...
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) ...
  • Valid Passport. ...
  • Apply for a Visa.

What is the safest country to work abroad as a Filipino? ›

10 Best Countries for Filipinos Wanting to Work Abroad
  • New Zealand. New Zealand is recognized as one of the most livable countries in the world because of its slow pace of life and high quality of living. ...
  • Australia. ...
  • Netherlands. ...
  • Denmark. ...
  • Canada. ...
  • South Korea. ...
  • Brazil. ...
  • Cambodia.
Dec 26, 2022

What are the requirements for US citizen to travel in the Philippines? ›

Entry and Exit Requirements
  • At least six (6) months of passport validity remaining at the time of entry.
  • Valid visa, if applicable (for those who are not entitled to a visa-free entry in the Philippines, as well as those with immigrant or non-immigrant status)
  • For temporary visitors: valid onward/return ticket.
Apr 27, 2023


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