Kabayan Remit Blog
Illustration of a hand holding an OFW eCard

How to get an OWWA OFW eCard

An OWWA OFW eCard is a form of identification that proves an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) is an active member of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). Using this free ID, OFWs can easily enjoy the benefits that come with being an active OWWA member.

While eCard registrations are currently on hold, it will still help to know why you should get one, how to apply for one, and where to claim your eCard when it’s ready.

So, get your pens and notepads ready and read on to learn more about the newest ID for OFWs.

Who is eligible for an OWWA OFW eCard?

Illustration conveying a list of qualifications

Still in its early stages, the OFW eCard is only available to OFWs under the Balik Manggagawa (returning worker) program.  These are Filipinos who have recently finished or are currently finishing their overseas employment contracts and are planning to work with the same employer. The Balik Manggagawa may return to the same host country or be assigned to a new one.

These same OFWs are also eligible for an OFW eCard if they meet the following criteria:

An OEC Exemption Number is proof that you are a Balik Manggagawa who will be resuming your work in the same host country after your trip to the Philippines.

While only the Balik Manggagawa can avail the OFW eCard today, the program’s second phase will eventually make the ID available to other active OWWA members. This includes new OFWs who have just started working abroad, direct hires, and OFWs hired through the Department of Migrant Workers’ (DMW) Government Placement Bureau.

Why should I get an OWWA OFW eCard?

Illustration conveying a man wondering why he should get an OFW eCard

Having an OWWA OFW eCard helps you streamline the process of being a Filipino working abroad. Soon, you won’t need to sort through papers, folders, and binders when you visit the OWWA or travel to your job site.

With an OWWA OFW eCard you can look forward to these perks.

Quickly avail of OWWA benefits

Using your eCard, you can register for these programs available to active OWWA members:

  • Social Benefit Programs – for financial assistance in times of illness, loss, or injury
  • Education and Training Programs – for opportunities to learn new skills and increase your competitiveness in the international job market
  • Reintegration Programs – for OFWS who wish to come home and start a business in the Philippines
  • Repatriation Programs – for OFWs fleeing countries in conflict or states of emergency

Always have an OEC on hand

Your OWWA OFW eCard works as an exit clearance. With this in your pocket, there will be fewer steps to take as you prepare to work abroad.

Take your OFW ID wherever you go

Using OWWA’s Mobile App, you can access a digital version of your OFW eCard on your phone, so it will always be with you, and you’ll carry fewer things while you’re on the go.

Add a valid ID to your arsenal

Your OWWA OFW eCard acts as a government-issued ID with a unique membership number that will be assigned to you forever.

How do I check my OWWA membership status?

illustration showing a woman checking her OWWA membership status

By now you’re probably interested in getting an OFW eCard; but before you rush to apply, review your OWWA membership. You may have forgotten to renew your membership while you were abroad, or it may be expiring in a few days. 

To check or renew your OWWA Membership status you can:

  • Download the OWWA Mobile App – The app is available in iOS or Android. After you log in, tap on the app’s Information tab to view your membership status. You can also use the app to pay OWWA’s membership fee.
  • Visit POLO-OWWA – If you are already abroad, visit the nearest Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) to review your membership status.
  • Visit OWWA RWO – You don’t need to be in Manila to renew your OWWA membership. Visit your nearest OWWA Regional Welfare Office (RWO) to assess your membership.

How do I apply for an OWWA OFW eCard?

Illustration portraying the OFW eCard application process

This is the application process you had to follow before OWWA paused registrations:

While OWWA website improvements have put OFW eCard registrations on hold, it still helps to know what to expect once registrations open.

  1. Visit the OFW eCard application website and fill out the online form.
  2. Indicate which OWWA RWO is the most convenient location to pick up your OFW eCard.
  3. Read and understand OWWA’s data privacy policy before clicking the “Agree” button.
  4. Accomplish the form’s Captcha section. This proves that a human is filling out the application form.
  5. Click the “Submit” button.

Eligible OFWs who submitted their application forms received a tracking number they could use to monitor the status of their OFW eCard.

Once their cards were ready, the OFWs retrieved their IDs at the OWWA RWO indicated in their application forms. They either picked it up themselves once they returned to the Philippines or had an authorised representative get it for them.

Authorised representatives had to be related to the OFW. They also needed to present an authorisation letter from the OFW with an attached copy of the OFW’s passport identification page.

Losing your OFW eCard

It’s important to note that getting an OFW eCard is free; however, there may be corresponding fees should an OFW lose their ID.

If you ever lose your card, use this directory to contact your nearest OWWA RWO. They’ll fill you in on what you’ll need to do to get a new your eCard.

What’s next?

An illustration of a magnifying glass hovering over the word "next!"

It may take some time until OFW eCard registrations reopen, but here are some things you can do while you wait:

  • Monitor your OWWA membership status – The last thing you want is to be an inactive member when registrations reopen. Keep track of your renewal date and pay your dues on time.
  • Download the OWWA Mobile App – One way to monitor our OWWA membership status wherever you are is by checking your phone. Use the OWWA Mobile App to track your membership, pay your fees, and avail of OWWA benefits.
  • Register as a Balik Manggagawa OFWs classified as Balik Manggagawa are eligible to apply for an OFW eCard. To sign up as a returning worker, log in to your profile in the DMW’s online services portal and fill out the Balik Manggagawa registration form.

Sending money to the Philippines

An illustration representing sending money online

There are bills to pay and memberships to renew. While you wait for a shot at applying for your OFW eCard, focus on doing well at your job abroad and set some funds aside for yourself and your loved ones.

Be cautious of informal remittance channels

While you may want to skip transaction fees when you send money home, there won’t be the same layer of protection you would have with more formal remittance channels.

According to our central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), “Banks and other formal channels afford its customers due protection and recourse, which may not be the case for informal channels. Remittance transactions are also duly reported to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.”

Informal channels include bringing money with you when you come home or sending it to the Philippines though friends or relatives. These ways may seem easier for you, but the risks may be greater than the convenience and rewards. And when it comes to your savings, it’s better to play it safe.

Keep your remittances safe

A secure money transfer app like Kabayan Remit can conveniently send your remittances from your host country to these reputable banks in the Philippines:

The app can also transfer funds to BSP-regulated e-wallets and pawnshops, including GCash, Maya, Cebuana Lhuillier, and Palawan Pawnshop—all while providing users a convenient way to pay their government contributions, bills, and investments from their phones or desktops.

Overseas, Kabayan Remit is monitored by the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). It also works with the Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB), which is registered with the United States’ Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Get started

Ready to enjoy Kabayan Remit’s bank-level security features? Signing up is easy. Simply follow these three steps:

Behind the scenes, we monitor our program for suspicious transfers, making it a point to alert you if we think someone is trying take a cut out of your hard work.

  1. Log in to the app or register for a free account here.
  2. Add your beneficiary’s details, including their mobile number.
  3. Tap “Send Money,” and you’re ready to go.

To learn more about Kabayan Remit and the different ways we help OFWs send money to the Philippines, click here or visit our FAQ page.

Should you have more questions, our 24/7 bilingual customer support team is also available to assist you here.


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