OFWs with OEC exemption are not required to get an OEC and pay the POEA processing fee. If you get this exemption, the processing of your OFW documents at the airport before your departure will be faster. This guide will teach you how to obtain it.
Table of Contents
- Acquire OEC or Exemption: Who Can Get OEC Exemption?
- How To Get an OEC Exemption Number Through BM Online.
- Tips and Warnings.
- Frequently Asked Questions.
- 1. Should I get an OEC or BM exemption each time I return to the Philippines?
- 2. I can’t access my account due to an incorrect password. How can I reset my password?
- 3. I can’t log in to BM Online or POPS-BaM because I’ve forgotten my email address and password. What should I do?
- 4. How do I avail of the travel tax and terminal fee exemption?
- 5. I forgot to get an exemption number through BM Online, and I’m already at the airport. What should I do?
- 6. Do I need to print my OEC exemption number?
- 7. I am returning to the same employer and job site and have previous OEC but the System still re-directs me to Appointment page. What’s wrong?
- 8. How long is the validity of the OEC Exemption Number?
- 9. Can I go home to Philippines without OEC?
Acquire OEC or Exemption: Who Can Get OEC Exemption?
Only balik-manggagawas who meet ALL the following requirements can be exempted from securing an OEC:
- Has a valid work visa/work permit
- Returning to the same employer and job site
- Has a record in the POEA database (has been issued an OEC before at any POEA offices/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 are also qualified to get OEC exemption if they fall under the above categories.
If you don’t meet any of the qualification requirements listed above, it means you’re not qualified for OEC exemption, in which case you need to set an online appointment for regular OEC processing.
How To Get an OEC Exemption Number Through BM Online.
UPDATE: As of June 30, 20211, OFWs without an existing BM online account can no longer register under the old BM online system. You will be redirected to the new POPS-BaM system instead. For a step-by-step guide on how to use the POPS-BaM System to get an OEC exemption, go here. The new system uses the same process to get an OEC or OEC Exemption.
To avoid inconvenience at the airport during departure, exempted balik-manggagawas are still required to get an exemption number from BM Online. This allows the POEA to validate if the OFW is really exempted from getting an OEC.
If you’re qualified for OEC exemption, here are the steps to get a Balik-Manggagawa Exemption Number.
1. Log in to the BM Online System.
On the Already Registered box, enter your email address and password. If you are not registered yet, click here for the instructions on creating a BM Online account.
After logging in, enter your last issued OEC number. If the system finds no record in the POEA database (which means you’re not exempted), you’ll have to set an online appointment for regular OEC processing. Click here for the steps to set an OEC appointment.
2. Update your profile.
If your record is found, you’ll be directed to the My Profile page. Update your personal data, job contract information, and beneficiaries.
You can edit almost every field except some specific information under Personal Data such as your name (first, middle, surname), birthday, and your mother’s full maiden name. You can’t also edit some data under Contract Particulars specifically your employer’s name, job site, position, and salary.
If you want to change or update the information in any of these non-editable fields, you will need to secure an appointment with POEA at your preferred date and time.
Lastly, you need to make sure that you still look like the photo in your profile. The profile photos in the system are used by the Bureau of Immigration for identification purposes, especially during the final departure.
If your appearance has changed, you need to update your profile photo by uploading your most recent photo that doesn’t exceed one (1) MB. This recent photo must show your full face clearly similar to the passport picture.
Once you’re done filling up/updating all the required fields, don’t forget to click SAVE. Otherwise, you’ll not be able to proceed to the next step.
The BM Online system will transmit your records to the Bureau of Immigration, which the Immigration officer will refer to when validating your OEC exemption during your departure.
Enter your flight date (in MM/DD/YYYY format) and confirm if you’re returning to the same employer and job site.
4. View your BM Exemption Number.
A message confirming your OEC exemption with a BM Exemption Number will appear. Your exemption number is transmitted to the Bureau of Immigration, proving that you’re exempted from getting an OEC.
On your departure date, just go directly to the airline counter at the airport to check-in.
After checking in, proceed to the Immigration counter and present the following:
- Passport valid at least 6 months from the date of departure
- Valid work visa/work permit indicating your employer and job site
If your work visa doesn’t have your employer’s name, you can present any of the following instead (provided that it states your employer’s name):
- For company-hired: Valid employment contract, current employment certificate, valid employment/company ID, or latest/most recent payslip
- For domestic workers: Valid POLO Verified Employment Contract
No need to go to the POEA Labor Assistance Center at the airport for revalidation of your OEC exemption.
On the other hand, if you don’t receive the pop-up confirmation message shown above, it only means that the system is unable to retrieve the data proving you’re returning to the same employer and job site, in which case you’ll be redirected to the appointment page so you can set an appointment for OEC issuance at any POEA office/center at your preferred date and time.
Go back to the main article: An OFW’s Complete Guide to Getting an OEC Through BM Online or POPS-BaM
Tips and Warnings.
1. There’s no need to print the BM Exemption Number.
OFWs qualified for OEC exemption don’t have to print the confirmation message containing the BM Exemption Number since it’s electronically transmitted by the system to the link used by the Immigration Officer.
On the day of your departure, all you need to do is check-in and proceed to the Immigration counter to present your passport and work permit/work visa.
2. Update your profile picture.
Since it’s been a while since you uploaded the picture, your appearance may have already changed. Hence, it’s important to update it by uploading your most recent passport picture with a file size not exceeding one (1) MB.
It’s important to update your photo because it’s used by the Bureau of Immigration for identification purposes and final departure formalities.
3. You need to log in to the BM Online System every time you return to the Philippines in order to avail of the OEC exemption.
All returning OFWs are required to register to the BM Online or POPS-BaM System.
If you already have an account and have been issued an OEC before, all you need to do is log in to the system.
Without logging in each time you go on vacation in the Philippines, you can’t obtain an OEC exemption. This is because logging in and updating your information online is the only way BM Online or POPS-BaM System can determine whether you’re exempted from securing the OEC or not.
If you’ve been proven to be qualified, the data will then be transmitted to the Bureau of Immigration who will then clear your name of departure formalities.
4. Get your OEC exemption number less than 60 days before your departure date.
Just like regular OEC, an OEC exemption number is only valid for 60 days and can only be used for a single exit.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you take into consideration your flight schedule before obtaining an OEC exemption. For example, if you are in the Philippines for a vacation for 3 months then you shouldn’t get your OEC immediately. Wait for a month or two first before getting your OEC.
Get it too early (i.e., more than 2 months or 60 days before your departure) and the OEC exemption will already be expired by the time you’re scheduled to leave the country.
Frequently Asked Questions.
3. I can’t log in to BM Online or POPS-BaM because I’ve forgotten my email address and password. What should I do?
5. I forgot to get an exemption number through BM Online, and I’m already at the airport. What should I do?
7. I am returning to the same employer and job site and have previous OEC but the System still re-directs me to Appointment page. What’s wrong?
- Philippine Overseas Employment Certificate (POEA). (2021). POEA Advisory No. 77 (Launch of the New BM Online System & Procedures to Transfer Current BM Accounts to the New System). Mandaluyong City.