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Thursday, June 22, 2017

OFW Returning To Work From Vacation? Check Your Documents Before Leaving To Avoid Offloading

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning to their work abroad are advised to check and bring all required documents before going to the airport for their departure back to countries where they are working to avoid offloading in the airport.  Also, OFWs are advised to bring necessary documents with them, when traveling anywhere.  This is after Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking of the Department of Justice (DOJ) issues a “Revised Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International-Bound Passengers” which aims to combat human trafficking.  According to Philippine Ambassador Alan L. Timbayan in a circular sent to Filipino Community, “The revised guidelines are in keeping with the Philippines’ ongoing efforts to stamp out human trafficking by establishing primary and secondary tiers of inspection procedures in the ports.”




Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning to their work abroad are advised to check and bring all required documents before going to the airport for their departure back to countries where they are working to avoid offloading in the airport.

Also, OFWs are advised to bring necessary documents with them, when traveling anywhere.

This is after Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking of the Department of Justice (DOJ) issues a “Revised Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International-Bound Passengers” which aims to combat human trafficking.

According to Philippine Ambassador Alan L. Timbayan in a circular sent to Filipino Community, “The revised guidelines are in keeping with the Philippines’ ongoing efforts to stamp out human trafficking by establishing primary and secondary tiers of inspection procedures in the ports.” 



Under the revised guidelines passengers shall not be cleared for departure if they are observed with the following;
  • doubtful purpose of travel
  • passengers that carry fraudulent, falsified, or tampered travel documents
  • passengers that are identified as trafficked person 
Immigration officers can also defer a passenger’s departure until “further documents are submitted and/or clarifications are made”.

The new guidelines also direct Philippine immigration officers to establish each passenger’s travel purpose, including Filipino tourist passengers, “on a case-to-case basis” before giving any clearance, according to the embassy circular.






Under the new guidelines, departing OFW must present the following;
1. For Newly Hired OFWs

  • valid passport
  • original/valid visa, in accordance with country-specific advisory from the Philippine Employment Administration (POEA); 
  • airline/sea craft travel tickets;
  • e-receipt or Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) duly issued by the Pre-Employment Services Office of POEA as appearing in the database.

2. For Returning Filipino Expatriate (Balik-Manggagawa)

  • a valid passport
  • a valid visa, airline/sea craft travel ticket
  • OEC issued on-site by the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) or POEA must be presented before an immigration officer for clearance. 
Note: A worker-on-leave, rehire, or a POLO-registered worker falls under the Balik-Manggagawa OFW category.

In the case of incomplete or questionable documents, the OFW shall be referred to the POEA-Labour Assistance Centre for further validation and clearance, the guidelines said.

It added that a Balik-Manggagawa OFW with a valid visa and an existing work contract with his/her current employer, who intends to go to other countries while on vacation, is considered a tourist.

The guidelines said, “Hence, he/she need not secure an OEC for such travel but shall be allowed to travel in accordance with the guidelines for tourist passengers,”

3. A tourist passenger

  • valid passport
  • visa whenever applicable is required
  • round trip or return ticket as part of the primary inspection
The guideline noted that a tourist passenger will be referred for secondary inspection if:
  • he or she has no capacity to travel and escorted or accompanied by a foreign national who is not a relative by consanguinity or affinity
  • a minor traveling alone or unaccompanied by either parent or legal guardian without the required travel clearance from authorities
  • and traveling to countries with existing deployment bans, among others.

Here is the copy of “Revised Guidelines on Departure Formalities for International-Bound Passengers” 

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