All Pinoys leaving the country to work overseas (Overseas Filipino Workers) have to go through the POEA to register as an OFW and get an Overseas Exit Clearance (OEC) Certificate. I’ve been dreading this since forever.
If you look at their website and read about the process they say they it takes 3 hours processing. They didnt account for the houuuuuuuuuuurrrs of waiting, the seminar and the medical exam. Give yourself 3 days. 2 if you like pain.
Caveat: I am working in the US, other countries may have other requirements.
- They accept 40 Name Hire OFWs for the 8am slot and 40 more for the 1pm slot. Go to POEA as early as you can. The morning slots can be filled up as early as 5am.
- Bring 2 copies of all your documents (bring everything you have) and make 2 copies of all the papers you receive (including receipts)
- In case you need to photocopy a document go to the stalls along EDSA. The queue at the POEA copier (lobby) is crazy.
- Have your TIN, SSS, and Philhealth numbers ready.
- Bring at least 4 2×2 photos.
- Bring a long folder.
- Make sure your contract states that your employer will pay for the repatriation of your remains in case you die while working overseas (or you’ll have to send a fax to him to get his signature on this item so save yourself the time)
- Bring water, a snack, and some tissue paper (the restrooms expectedly don’t have any)
Arrive at the POEA Building (EDSA cor Ortigas) early. Sign up for a pre-evaluation slot at the guard’s desk (lobby). The squat female guard is a bit bitchy and gave me a “Inglis ka ng inglis nasa Pilipinas ka naman” so don’t speak english if you don’t want to annoy her 😛 However, if you DO want to annoy her, then speak to her in english. She’s a bitchy self-important minion who will have no effect on your application anyway.
Be near the main entry doors at least 20 minutes before your assigned time.
Wait for the guard to call you by name and give you a number.
Use the stairs to get to the 2nd floor. You will be assigned to windows 6-8 based on your numbers.
Get your documents pre evaluated. Place the original and 1 copy of the following in a long folder (1) passport (2) visa (3) employment contract, and (4) for me who will be working in the US – a copy of the LCA related to your work permit.
They will tell you what documents you lack and will give you a medical exam referral form and a PDOS seminar referral form.
You may need to send a fax to your employer asking him to sign a conforme for POEA required conditions not shown in your contract. She will also give you a Name-Hire Declaration Form / Sworn Statement that you need to sign and have countersigned by a lady inside the 2F office.
The person at the counter will staple a small piece of paper showing the requirements for the OEC at the front of your folder.
Go to the OWWA desk (right side corridor if you are facing Windows 6-10) and sign in the logbook then enter the Welfare Office and wait until the person at the desk asks for your slips. Stay in the front seats because you need to rush to the desk. She will assign you a PDOS seminar schedule.
Pick a POEA accredited clinic for your medical exam. The list is posted on boards across windows 6-8 on the 2nd Floor.
Go to a clinic for your Medical Exam. I went to Biomedix in Robinson’s Galleria. I suggest you bring a stool sample (max 1 hour old when you hand it over, according to them) and drink a lot of water so you can pee and submit a urine sample.
The tests will probably take about 5 hours or so (more if your dental exam shows you need work done — my story: I had had 2 prophylaxis in the week before my medical exam, and the dentist at the clinic across Biomedix I went to inspected my teeth. The dental “examiner” told me I needed my teeth cleaned and that 5 of my fillings were old and should be replaced, and then said they could do the work so things will go fast. I told them that I had been to 2 dentists the last one just a day before, and she consulted the main dentist and he told the dental “examiner” to “just mark 3 fillings to be replaced instead!!! duh!!! and then when I insisted I would have things done elsewhere gave me my slip. So I went to the Biomedix receptionist and ranted and raved about “what the hell moneygrubber dentist I just went to 2 dentists this week and HE tells me I need to replace my fillings????” So she sent me to another dentist who inspected my teeth, told me I would need work on one molar soon, and signed my clearance. I found out afterward that a man getting his POEA medical clearance was told by the moneygrubbing dentist that he needed to have his teeth cleaned to get clearance. And it cost 700 bucks. Mga sakim!!!)
Get your medical results and make 2 copies.
Be on time. Latecomers are usually not allowed in and they may just decide that you will be the person who will have to attend a later seminar. Pay attention. It’s really interesting and helpful (and thankfully is in an airconditioned room). You get 1 pack of skyflakes and unlimited coffee for free. Bring a notepad and take note of the airport departure process. Get your certificate of attendance and make 2 copies.
Name Hire Affirmation Form
Sign and have the lady inside the office countersign. (Her name will be on a small sheet of paper stapled on the form. Make 2 copies.
Review of Documents / OFW Information Sheet
Go to window 9 and stab that small piece of paper with the OEC requirements stapled on your folder on the pointy stick in front of window 9. The lady at window 9 will call you and you need to present your folder as well as the medical certificate (and a copy) and the PDOS certificate of attendance (and a copy), and copies of whatever other documents you were required to submit.
She will give you your Workers Information Sheet (WIS). Fill it up and wait for her to call your name again.
When you are called she will take the WIS detach the duplicate sheets and give these to you and instruct you on payment.
Now this goes 2 ways:
If the servers are up and everything is dandy:
Get assessed at window 4 and pay at window 5. You need to pay $100 (POEA), $25 (OWWA) and PhP900 (Philhealth). Peso equivalents of the dollar fees are ok, the current rate is posted on window 5. Get your e-receipt.
Kung kinantot ka ng malas and the servers are down (which is what happened to me):
Go to window 5 and pay the $100 POEA fee. Get receipt.
Go to the ground floor Balik Manggagawa Area (behind elevators) and pay the $25 OWWA fee. The OWWA counter is just inside the door. There is a helpful man in a white polo barong who will tell you where to line up. Get a receipt.
Go to window 20 – Philhealth (also at the Balik Manggagawa area) and get a Philhealth form. Fill it up and submit at window 20 so they can check and encode the information and stamp the form. Pay PhP900 at the Philhealth Payment Counter which is diagonally across the room. Get a receipt.
Make copies of all 3 receipts.
Bring your receipts and copies to Window 10 at the 2nd Floor and show them to the lady. She will issue your OEC and return your original documents to you.
Go to the ID / e-Card Booth which is at the entrance lobby (beside the nescafe vendo machines and the photocopier). Fall in line, brush your hair and try to erase all signs of harassment, annoyance, rage, and exhaustion from your face. Give the guy inside the room a copy of your passport (he will also ask for the original) and the OFW ID Form (this was part of the OFW Information Sheet set). Fall in line, get picture taken, do the digital signature thingy. Wait for ID.
The ID can be used as an ATM / Debit card and you can sign up for an account at the Equitable PCI Bank booth just beside the ID Booth. If you’re as sick and tired of the process as I am, then skip it. You can sign up at any EPCI branch anyway.
Leave. Take a long bath. You’ll need it.