The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has recently launched the new OFW E-Card through Philippine Overseas Labour Offices (POLOs) abroad. This aims to provide Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) with an easier way to access their benefits and services even if they are abroad, especially in the Middle East where traveling to the Philippines can be quite tricky.
ALSO READ: Guide: How to Get your OFW ID – iDOLE ID
The OWWA OFW E-card is currently still in its developmental phase and will be issued to active OWWA members and OFWs who possess a valid Balik-Manggagawa OEC/Exemption Number and a Philippine passport for FREE. The card shall be considered a valid government ID which can be presented at any POLO or Consular Office of the Philippine government overseas. If you are interested in the OWWA OFW E-card, make sure to read the following sections for guidance.
What is the OFW E-Card?
The OFW e-card, issued by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), serves as an identification and entitlement card to Filipino migrant workers. OWWA can easily track its members’ records through this card’s barcode.
The OFW e-Card is a recognized identification card for current, authorized overseas Filipino workers. It gives them access to social benefits and other services offered by the government—things that many Filipinos don’t have themselves.
The OFW ID may be presented to any Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), as well as any embassy or consulate abroad—to prove one’s identity and right to work overseas.
Benefits of OWWA E-Card
Holders of the new OFW E-card shall enjoy the following benefits:
- Faster transactions and availing of OWWA programs and services;
- Possession of a digital OWWA OFW e-card via the OWWA mobile app, which can be used as the actual OFW e-card;
- Fewer paper requirements as this will also serve as an exit clearance when leaving the Philippines;
- Issuance of a permanent OWWA/OFW membership number;
- Additional government-issued ID.
This e-CARD can also be used as a valid form of identification at the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), OWWA, Bureau of Immigration and Philippine Overseas Labor Offices.
- Must be an active member of OWWA
- Must be under the Balik-Manggagawa program with valid overseas employment certificates (OECs).
- Valid Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or Exemption Number
- Valid passport
Note: Your OWWA membership must have at least 90 days of validity from the day of your application of OWWA OFW e-CARD.
What are the differences between an OFW ID Card, an e-Card and iDOLE?
OFW ID Card and OFW e-Card are the same thing. It is a new, machine-readable card that serves as evidence of being an active member of OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) and OEC OFW—so it’s pretty important!
However, the OFW e-Card and IDOLE OFW ID Card are different. The first was created in 2010 as a pilot project to provide undocumented workers with legal identification while on board ships or during meetings with authorities. However, the government decided to terminate the iDOLE OFW Card and replace it with an e-Card because of controversy surrounding its confusing guidelines and a photo of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Initially, they were intended to be used as an alternative to passports. Since then, the OFW eCard has replaced the iDOLE card, which was launched before but is no longer available for new applicants (cardholders will still have their existing one until they expire).
How to Apply for the OWWA OFW E-Card
As of now, only OFWs under the Balik-Manggagawa Programme are entitled to apply for the new e-card, since the initiative is still on its first phase of implementation. However, according to the OWWA website, other active OWWA members an soon apply for their new ID in the coming months once the project enters its second phase of implementation. Here are the steps on how to apply for the e-card online:
Step 1: Visit the OWWA website.
Step 2: Fill out the OWWA OFW E-Card Application Form.
Step 3: Select your preferred OWWA Regional Welfare Office where you wish to claim your OFW E-Card.
Step 4: Tick the Data Privacy Act and complete the CAPTCHA.
Step 5: Click ‘Submit.’
Step 6: You will be shown a Tracking Number as proof that your transaction has been processed.
Step 7: Input your e-mail address or Facebook Profile name to check the status of your OWWA OFW E-Card.
Step 8: Claim your OWWA OFW E-Card at your preferred OWWA Regional Welfare Office.
If the OFW-applicant is currently based abroad, his/her authorized representative may claim the card in the Philippines on their behalf.
To know more about the OWWA OFW E-Card, visit the OWWA’s official website or personally consult an OWWA representative at the Philippine Embassy in your country.
OFW ECard Application Form
You can sign up for an OFW ecard online by accessing the application form at https://ecard.owwa.gov.ph/.
Tracking OFW e-Card Delivery Status
You can find out the status of your OWWA OFW e-Card on their Delivery Status Page. Entering your tracking number or passport number and date of birth will reveal how close you are to receiving it.
This service aims to provide you with an estimate of when your card will arrive, but it’s not always accurate. If you don’t see any results after entering this information, you may want to check back in a few days or weeks.
As of this writing, there have been no reports of the OFW e-Card delivery status page being down. However, if you are having trouble accessing it, try using a different browser or device. You can also contact your nearest OWWA branch for more information on how to check the card’s delivery status.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who is Balik-Manggagawa?
Balik-Manggagawa, according to the POEA Rules and Regulations, is an overseas Filipino worker who completes or has completed an employment contract with his/her employer. If this person needs help finding another job in the same location as before by means of direct hiring or contractualization.
2. How to Apply for OFW e-Card if OEC Exempted?
In order to apply for an OFW e-Card online, you will use your BM Exemption Number rather than your OEC Number.
3. What is the DOLE/OWWA-Microsoft Tulay Project?
Dole/OWWA-Microsoft Tulay is a joint project open to OWWA members. It offers different courses in computer fundamentals, hardware assembly and maintenance, digital imaging—with Filipino volunteers conducting the classes under POLO-OWWA guidelines.
4. What is an OEC in the Philippines?
The OEC must be presented to international ports of exit in the Philippines as proof that its holder is a bona fide OFW. It exempts OEC holders from paying travel taxes and airport terminal fees; it has a 60-day validity period.
5. How long is the OEC valid?
The validity of an OEC is limited to 60 days. In applying for the card, a worker must present several documents at POLO: a copy of the exit/re-entry visa, passport photocopy and proof that he or she works for a certain company (e.g., a certificate from the employer).
6. What is repatriation assistance?
Repatriation Assistance – Repatriation services include negotiations with the employer, police and/or immigration authorities; plane ticket sourcing; booking and re-booking facilitation for all airports in one’s host country and Manila.
7. Is the OFW e-Card a free service?
If you are returning to the Philippines, you can claim your e-card at any OWWA regional office. This service aims to save the government money through its online application system, which allows the OFW to provide all information needed for the issuance of his or her e-card without having to visit an OWWA office.
8. Can a member of my family apply for it?
A family member can also apply for a visa by bringing an authorization letter and a copy of the applicant’s passport identification page.
9. Is it possible for new OFWs to apply for an OFW e-Card?
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has made an e-CARD available only to returning workers, but it may become available to all OFWs in the future.
10. Can I get my OWWA OFW eCard even if I’m abroad?
Yes, you can get your eCard while abroad by having a family member present an authorization letter along with photocopies of their own valid ID. They may claim the card on your behalf.
11. What if I lose my OFW eCard?
The first issuance of the card is free. Please contact your nearest Regional Welfare Office to secure a replacement for your OWWA OFW eCard if it has been lost or stolen.
With an OWWA E-card, OFWs don’t just have an additional ID card, they also have a way to access their benefits and privileges. The card is also proof that you’re an OFW, which means you can use it as an identification document when traveling and seeking medical assistance abroad.
There’s no need to carry your passport around while traveling or applying for medical assistance. With the OWWA E-card, you can access your benefits and privileges wherever you go! Hopefully, after reading this guide, you have a better understanding of what your OWWA E-card is and how to use it. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!