To become a member of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), you need to follow a few steps. First, you must complete a membership application form and provide proof of employment, as well as identification documents. If you are currently living overseas, you can apply for OWWA membership at the nearest Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in your host country.
Once your application has been approved, you will be required to pay an annual membership fee of $25 USD, which is valid for two years. This fee is relatively minimal considering the benefits you will receive in return. Becoming OWWA Membership Registration Guide for OFWs grants you access to a range of advantages and services provided by the government agency.
The primary objective of OWWA is to assist and protect Filipino workers who are employed abroad. The organization offers membership programs that include health insurance, death and burial benefits, and various forms of financial aid. These benefits are designed to address the unique challenges faced by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
As an OFW, you encounter numerous difficulties specific to your situation. You may work long hours in unfamiliar or hazardous conditions while being far away from your family and support network. Managing your finances can also be challenging, especially when it comes to sending money back home regularly. OWWA membership aims to alleviate some of these challenges by providing access to a wide range of benefits and services. By being a member, you can prioritize your safety, well-being, and connection with your loved ones.
Moreover, OWWA offers financial assistance and guidance, which can be crucial for OFWs who are saving for their eventual return home. In summary, OWWA membership equips OFWs with the necessary support to thrive despite the obstacles they face. Consequently, it is considered an essential investment for any overseas Filipino worker.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is a Philippine government executive agency and service arm tasked with safeguarding and advancing the rights and well-being of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). OWWA’s objective is to establish a globally competitive, responsive, and secure service system that benefits all Filipinos by implementing various programs and services for both migrant workers and their families in the country.
Initially established as the service arm of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), OWWA collaborates closely with other government departments such as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Together, they administer, design, implement, maintain, and evaluate a range of employment and welfare services for aspiring, in-service, outgoing, and returning Filipino migrant workers, as well as their beneficiaries. These services span across pre-departure, on-site, and arrival activities and are funded through membership contributions collected in a trust fund.
Since its establishment in 1977, OWWA has maintained a nationwide presence through its regional offices and has expanded its reach to encompass 31 overseas posts in over 27 territories. In 2021, OWWA, along with six other government agencies, was absorbed and will become part of the newly-formed Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) office.
All Filipinos working overseas are eligible to apply for OWWA membership. OFWs can simply renew their membership by applying at POLO-OWWA offices or online.
However, undocumented OFWs or those who obtained employment without legal documents must first secure legal documentation before applying for OWWA membership.
OFWs can apply for and confirm their OWWA membership through the following methods:
- Physical application at OWWA Regional Welfare Offices, for OFWs currently residing in the country, or at Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs), for OFWs residing abroad.
- Online application via the OWWA Mobile App.
- Applying via email (available at select POLO offices or Philippine Embassies/Consulates offering this service).
OFWs and their eligible dependents can apply for membership by providing the necessary documents to support their overseas employment
To proceed with the application, qualified OFWs and dependents must be able to secure the following documents:
An online appointment form is required to secure a confirmed appointment. Additionally, you need to complete the OWWA OFW Information sheet, which can be obtained from http://philcongen-toronto.com/consular/docs/ofwinformationsheet.pdf. You must provide a valid photo ID, such as your Passport (data page), company ID, driver’s license, PRC license, NBI clearance, etc. Additionally, you need to submit your employment pass or work permit, as well as your employment contract. The application process is conducted online
To avail the OWWA Mobile App, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or App Store, qualified dependents such as the spouse or unmarried minor child of a married OFW, or a parent or sibling of a single OFW, need to provide the following:
- Online form
- A valid government-issued ID
- A consent letter signed by the OFW, authorizing the release of their information record
- Proof of relationship to the OFW:
- For the spouse, a marriage certificate issued by the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority)
- For the child, a birth certificate of the child issued by the PSA
- For the parent, a birth certificate of the OFW issued by the PSA
For the sibling, birth certificates of both the OFW and the sibling issued by the PSA.
OWWA Membership Fee
OWWA membership requires a membership fee of USD 25 or an equivalent amount in foreign currency, depending on the destination country. Once activated, OWWA membership remains valid for a maximum of two (2) years. After that period, renewal is necessary
3 Ways to Renew OWWA Account and Become an OWWA Member
In light of the current situation, applicants are advised to submit their applications online, through a mobile app, or via courier. This recommendation is due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country and in some territories where POLOs (Philippine Overseas Labor Offices) are located. By opting for online submission, applicants can minimize the risk of exposure to the virus while ensuring their applications are processed.
To begin the application process, applicants must gather the necessary documentary requirements and pay the membership fee. Once these are secured, applicants can proceed with their application either online or in-person. However, it is highly recommended to choose the online option given the circumstances.
It is important to note that Regional Welfare Offices and POLOs have implemented a strict by-appointment system. Therefore, before visiting any OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) offices or engaging in any transaction, it is crucial to secure an appointment. This system helps manage the flow of visitors and ensures that social distancing measures can be upheld effectively.
By following these guidelines and opting for online or remote transactions whenever possible, applicants can prioritize their safety and the safety of others during these challenging times.
1. Renew OWWA via Physical on-site applications through OWWA Regional Welfare and Satellite Offices and POLOs
The on-site application is the common method for renewing OWWA membership. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can visit the nearest POLO-OWWA office in person to complete the renewal process. It’s important to note that some POLO offices may require you to book an appointment in advance. Therefore, it is necessary to follow the instructions provided on the official websites of these specific POLO offices overseas.
Here are the steps to renew your OWWA membership:
- Gather your documentary requirements and membership fee.
- Book an appointment at https://appointment.owwa.gov.ph to schedule your application. Remember that all OWWA offices strictly operate on an appointment basis.
- Once your preferred schedule is confirmed, go to your chosen OWWA Regional Welfare or Satellite Office, or POLO office to submit your application.
- Pay the membership fee at the counter and wait for your official receipt to be issued.
Use the official receipt and provide your contact details to verify your membership via the OWWA Mobile App. Once payment is made, your membership will be active for two (2) years.
2. Renew OWWA via Online Mobile App
You can also renew your OWWA account via the OWWA mobile App. The steps include the following:
- If you have an Android device, go to the Google Play Store.
- If you have an iOS device (iPhone), go to the App Store.
- Search for “OWWA Mobile App” in the respective store.
- Download and install the app on your device. .3 .Register your personal and employer details:
- Open the OWWA Mobile App on your device.
- Create a new account if you don’t have one or log in using your existing credentials.
- Provide the required personal details, such as your name, address, contact information, and other relevant information.
- Enter your employer details, including the company name, address, and contact information, if applicable.
- Choose the Renew OWWA Membership option:
- Once you have registered and logged into the app, navigate to the main menu or dashboard.
- Look for the option that says “Renew OWWA Membership” or something similar.
- Select that option to proceed with the membership renewal process.
- Choose the payment method and make the payment:
- On the renewal page, you will be presented with different payment methods.
- Select the payment method that is most convenient for you, such as credit card, online banking, or other available options.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the payment process.
- Check your membership status:
- After successfully renewing your OWWA membership, you can check your status on the OWWA Mobile App.
- Navigate to the membership or profile section within the app.
- Look for your membership status, which should now be displayed as “Active” or a similar indication.
By following these steps, you will be able to install the OWWA Mobile App, register your personal and employer details, renew your OWWA membership, and check your membership status at your convenience.
3. Renew OWWA via email application
- Check with the nearest POLO-OWWA (Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) office abroad to determine if they offer this service. Each office may have different procedures, so it’s important to verify with them.
- Gather your documentary requirements and membership fee. Make sure you have all the necessary documents and payment ready before proceeding.
- Visit the official website or social media page of the POLO office in your country of destination. Look for the email address to which you are required to submit your membership renewal application. Some POLO websites may also have virtual chat support or helpdesks that can assist you in finding the appropriate email address.
- When submitting your application via email, ensure you follow proper email etiquette. Use appropriate subjects, titles to address contact persons, and use polite language in your communication.
- Follow the instructions provided by the POLO office regarding payment. They may instruct you to make the membership fee payment through online payment and fund transfer platforms. Once you have made the payment, wait for the issuance of your official receipt, which will be sent to you via email.
- After receiving the official receipt, use it along with your contact details to verify your membership via the OWWA Mobile App. This step will activate your membership for a period of two (2) years.
Please note that the procedures for renewing OWWA membership may vary depending on the specific POLO-OWWA office you are dealing with. If you are currently located near a POLO labor office, it is advisable to check with them directly to understand the exact steps and requirements for on-site membership registration. You may need to book an appointment in advance or inquire about walk-in options. Once again, coordinate with the nearest POLO office for the actual procedures applicable to your situation.
How to Verify OWWA Membership Status Online
As previously mentioned, an OWWA membership is valid for a maximum of two (2) years. After this period, a renewal is required to continue enjoying the benefits of OWWA. Fortunately, the verification process is just as easy and hassle-free as the initial application.
To verify your membership, follow these steps:
- Download the OWWA Mobile App from the Google Play Store or the App Store for iOS.
- Log in to the app using your username and password. If you don’t have an account yet, you can easily sign up by providing the information you entered in your OWWA membership form.
- Once you’re logged in, click on the ‘Information’ tab.
- Check the status of your membership. All active and new applications should display an ‘active’ status to confirm the validity of their membership. Your membership becomes valid upon the approval of your application and the issuance of a receipt.
If your membership is inactive, you can still renew it by paying the membership fee and updating your information as necessary. Currently, the payment channel for this procedure is through the Mobile Online Payment System (MOPS) provided by Landbank – Bancnet.
Benefits of OWWA Membership
Upon activation of their Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) membership, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their qualified dependents are entitled to a wide range of benefits. These benefits include employment assistance, welfare programs, training, and seminars. Additionally, OWWA members have eligibility and priority for services and projects provided by the agency.
- Orientation and training seminars
- Employment application assistance
On-site and arrival
- Assistance in employee – employer concerns
Return to the country
- Reintegration programs
- Livelihood training and assistance
- Psychological debriefing and other benefits
OWWA Benefits to Members
Among the benefits include the ones mentioned above, but more importantly, some of OWWA’s flagship and collaboration programs–social benefit programs, scholarship, education, and training programs, as well as repatriation and reintegration programs
Frequently Asked Questions
Please check out the following details for FAQs about OWWA membership:
1. What does it mean to be an OWWA member?
Being a member of OWWA allows OFWs and their qualified dependents to enjoy a wide range of benefit programs and services provided by OWWA. These benefits include scholarships, educational, and livelihood programs, financial and welfare assistance, overseas employment assistance, grants, training, and seminars, among many others. OWWA members may also enjoy eligibility and priority to OWWA’s services.
2. Who are qualified to be OWWA members?
All Filipino citizens have the option to become members of OWWA, and it is important to note that documented Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are automatically considered OWWA members. They can simply verify their membership by applying at the nearest OWWA Regional Welfare or Satellite office or POLO. However, undocumented OFWs must first obtain proper and legal documentation before they become eligible to apply for OWWA membership.
3. Who are considered qualified dependents of OWWA OFW members?
Qualified dependents or beneficiaries of OWWA OFW members may include any one of the following:
- For married or single parent OFWs: a legal spouse
- For unmarried OFWs:
4. How much does it cost to apply for OWWA membership?
The OWWA membership fee is priced at USD 25 or the equivalent amount in foreign currency, which varies based on the applicant’s country of destination. Once the payment is made, the membership becomes valid and remains active for a period of up to two (2) years.
5. Is OWWA membership mandatory?
While OWWA membership is not strictly obligatory, it is strongly recommended by the government, its agencies, accredited training institutions, manning and recruitment agencies, and other labor organizations for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to become OWWA members. This is to ensure that they have access to the numerous advantages and eligibility for various programs and services provided by OWWA. These benefits include social benefits, scholarships, repatriation and reintegration programs, among others, which are considered highly advantageous for OFWs and their families.
6. How do I pay for my OWWA membership?
To become a member of OWWA, you have the option to make the payment in person or online through the OWWA Mobile App. However, considering the COVID-19 restrictions, the agency recommends making the payment online. To do so, you can visit the OWWA Mobile App, where you can check your account details and proceed with the payment.
7. Do I need to wait for my OWWA membership?
No, there is no waitlist for OWWA membership, and applicants can choose to pursue their applications at any time. However, it is recommended that applicants, especially those aspiring to become or returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), submit their membership applications as early as possible to avoid processing delays for their overseas employment. The agency receives a high volume of applications, so if you intend to apply for OWWA membership, ensure that you fulfill all the requirements and submit them promptly
8. What is the difference between OWWA and DMW? Do I have to apply for both?
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is indeed an attached agency and service arm of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Its primary purpose is to serve the best interests of Filipino migrant workers. On the other hand, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is a newly established government department, created in 2021 through Republic Act No. 11641, signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte.
At present, the DMW is still in the process of organizing itself as the newly appointed secretary, Susan Ople, has only assumed office this year. Once fully operational, the DMW will assume responsibility for the functions previously carried out by OWWA, while OWWA will continue to serve as the service arm for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). It is important to note that applicants for OWWA membership do not necessarily need to apply for DMW membership as well.
Throughout the years, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has consistently fulfilled its mission to prioritize the welfare of Filipino migrant workers and their families. It accomplishes this by offering a wide range of benefit programs and services that address their needs from pre-departure to arrival, on-site support, and even upon returning to the country.
Becoming an OWWA Membership Registration Guide for OFWs establishes a significant connection between Filipino workers and their home country, as it symbolizes a shared commitment to creating a brighter future for both parties. Undoubtedly, becoming a member of OWWA presents an invaluable opportunity that should not be overlooked.
For more information on OWWA membership as well as updates on its programs and services, visit their official website at www.owwa.gov.ph or check their official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OWWAofficial. You may also download the OWWA Mobile App on Google Play Store and App Store to get started on your OWWA membership.