If you’re an OFW in Puerto Rico, applying for or renewing your OWWA membership is necessary to avail yourself of varying benefits from OWWA. We also encourage you to apply voluntarily for OWWA membership for those who have obtained employment in Puerto Rico via a visit visa to access government programs, services, and support. So how do you apply for OWWA membership in Puerto Rico? To find out, read our in-depth guide as we share the necessary details for OWWA membership in Puerto Rico.
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is an agency mandated to promote and protect the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their dependents. This agency works with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), and the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) or previously known as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). All the said agencies help to verify OFW’s legal employment and assist those accessing benefits.
Furthermore, the OWWA membership entitles OFWs to varying services, programs, and support to assist them and their dependents. The OWWA membership also provides OFWs legal assistance and financial aid for those affected by Covid-19. If you’re an active OWWA member, you can access livelihood programs, loans, education and training benefits, scholarships, and a repatriation and reintegration program.
In addition, OWWA membership serves as insurance policies assisting in medical, disability, calamity, death, and burial. Thus, OFWs in Puerto Rico are encouraged to apply for or renew their OWWA membership to get the maximum benefits only available to active OWWA members.
For OFWs in Puerto Rico who are not yet members of OWWA or have expired membership, you should secure the following application requirements listed below. You can also contact the Philippine Embassy and POLO in Washington for more details since Puerto Rico is under their jurisdiction.
- Duly accomplished OFW Information Sheet.
- Photocopy of Active and Valid Proof of Employment, such as:
- Valid Visa and Work Permit
- Employment offer
- Latest payslip
- Certificate of Employment from the company or employer
- Company ID
- Other relevant employment documents
- Original and photocopy of passport (showing the data page)
- OFWs must present a letter of certification from the employer or company, verifying that they are not on the list of terminated, resigned, canceled, or employees due for termination.
- OWWA membership fee of US$25.00 payable to “OWWA” through non-cash payment US Money Order or Bank Draft and via personnel check or credit/debit card is not accepted.
- For mail transactions, include a self-addressed/stamped/prepaid return envelope.
While the OWWA benefits are for OFWs and their dependents, not everyone can apply for membership since OWWA has qualification criteria that applicants should meet. OWWA requires its members to have active and continuous employment with valid work permits and visas to qualify for membership. Moreover, OFWs who have acquired permanent residency status in foreign countries and remain Filipino citizens with full-time or permanent employment are qualified to apply for OWWA membership.
Nonetheless, since OWWA only acknowledges members with active and continuous employment, the following individuals cannot apply for OWWA membership, including employees:
- Due for termination
- Due for cancellation
- Under the “No work, No pay” scheme
Booking an OWWA Appointment in Puerto Rico
As stated earlier, Puerto Rico is under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Embassy and POLO Washington. So OFWs in Puerto Rico should contact their offices regarding the OWWA appointment. And as of writing, POLO Washington doesn’t have an online appointment system for OWWA membership applications. But they conduct an On-Site OWWA Membership Program that changes based on the Covid-19 situation. Thus, OFWs in Puerto Rico should contact their offices for the latest process.
On the other hand, if the On-Site OWWA Membership Program is not applicable for you, the Philippine Embassy and POLO Washington also conduct a Consular Outreach Mission across their jurisdictions. You may visit their Facebook pages and websites to see the latest announcement and specific locations of the upcoming schedule. Note that an appointment is necessary if you’re attending a Consular Outreach Mission. So contact POLO Washington to book an appointment.
Lastly, OFWs in Puerto Rico who cannot attend on-site and Consular Outreach Mission and vacationing in the Philippines should book an appointment at any DMW office to apply for or renew their OWWA membership.
Applying for OWWA membership in Puerto Rico
Apart from the On-Site OWWA Membership Program and Consular Outreach Mission, OFWs in Puerto can apply for the OWWA membership via regular mail. Just contact POLO Washington and inquire regarding the latest requirements OWWA membership application.
But if your schedule doesn’t permit you to apply on-site, another convenient way to renew your OWWA membership in Puerto Rico is through the OWWA mobile app. Just download the app on your device and renew your OWWA membership anytime and anywhere.
Paying OWWA Membership in Puerto Rico
For first-time applicants and those processing their OWWA membership on-site via POLO Washington, Consular Outreach Mission, or DMW, ensure to book an appointment if applicable. Then, secure the necessary documents for application and pay the OWWA membership fee by following the steps below:
Step-by-step process of Paying the OWWA membership
If applying via email, contact POLO-OWWA Washington first to confirm if this process still exists.
- Download and fill out the OFW Information Sheet.
- Complete and scan the requirements.
- Email your requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If your application is approved, follow the instructions to pay the OWWA membership fee sent to your email.
- Take a screenshot of the OWWA membership fee payment receipt and send it to OWWA’s email to receive an email e-copy of your official receipt.
- Then, email OWWA to set an appointment for pick up to claim your OWWA membership’s original official receipt.
Via On-Site Application/Consular Outreach Mission
- Contact POLO-OWWA Washington to confirm if the appointment is necessary or if walk-in applicants are accepted. For Consular Outreach Mission, ensure to book an appointment with POLO Washington.
- Visit the POLO Washington office or the exact location for Consular Outreach Mission.
- Head to the OWWA counter and present your requirements for evaluation.
- If you’re qualified, pay the OWWA membership fee.
- Then, claim your OWWA membership official receipt.
Via Regular Mail
- Download and fill out the OFW Information Sheet.
- Secure and photocopy the requirements.
- Ensure that the documents are complete.
- Include self-addressed, stamped, and prepaid on the return envelope.
- Mail your requirements to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Embassy of the Philippines, 1600 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington DC, 20036.
Via OWWA mobile app
- Download the OWWA mobile app on your device.
- Register an account. Also, provide an active email as it’s where you’ll receive your temporary login details.
- Check your email and copy the login details.
- Return to the OWWA mobile app and enter the login details sent to your email.
- Once you’ve logged in to your account, click the Information button at the lower tab.
- Next, you’ll see your membership status, if active or inactive.
- If inactive, click Renew Membership Here and accept the Terms of Service.
- Double-check or update your employment details if necessary. Then, click Submit.
- On the LandBank payment portal page, click Payment Option and choose your preferred payment method.
- Copy the Reference Number and follow the payment instructions to pay the OWWA membership fee.
- Then, take a screenshot of your transaction or the provided electronic receipt.
Reminders for OWWA Membership in Puerto Rico
For OFWs in Puerto Rico who are applying for or renewing their OWWA membership, take note of the following reminders:
- POLO Washington handles the OWWA membership for OFWs in Puerto Rico since there is no designated POLO in that area.
- OFWs in Puerto Rico can apply for or renew their OWWA membership via on-site application at POLO Washington or Consular Outreach Mission. In addition, POLO-OWWA Washington offers OWWA membership applications via email and regular mail.
- OWWA Washington only accepts non-cash payments via US Money Order or Bank Draft payable to OWWA, and personnel checks or credit/debit card payments are not accepted.
- For convenience, OFWs in Puerto Rico can renew their membership through the OWWA mobile app. If vacationing in the Philippines, you should book an appointment and apply at DMW.
- If an appointment is required, bring a copy of your confirmed appointment schedule since it may serve as your gate pass. Also, don’t forget to bring your Covid-19 vaccination card or Negative RT-PCR test taken 48 hours from your visit.
- Applicants visiting the Embassy and POLO-OWWA should wear proper attire since wearing sleeveless or tank tops, sando, shorts, miniskirts, ripped jeans, and slippers are strictly prohibited. If the applicant doesn’t comply with the dress code, they won’t be allowed to enter the premise.
- For the latest update and announcement, visit the Facebook page and website of the Philippine Embassy and POLO Washington or contact their offices.
Video: Guide on how to renew membership at OWWA and benefits as OFW
For more details on OWWA membership, please watch the video below:
As discussed in the video, OFWs can check their OWWA membership status through the OWWA mobile app. If inactive, you can renew your membership in-app and access many benefits, such as educational and scholarship programs only available to active OWWA members.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to book an appointment with OWWA in Puerto Rico?
Contact POLO Washington to book an appointment for OWWA membership.
2. How do I renew my OWWA membership in Puerto Rico?
You can renew your OWWA membership in Puerto Rico through the POLO Washington office, Consular Outreach Mission, email, regular mail, and OWWA mobile app.
3. How to renew OWWA membership online?
Download the OWWA mobile app to renew your membership online.
4. How much is OWWA membership in Puerto Rico?
The OWWA membership in Puerto Rico is US$25.00.
5. Can I pay for the OWWA membership online?
You can pay the OWWA membership fee online via OWWA mobile app.
6. How long is OWWA membership valid?
The OWWA membership is valid for two years.
7. Why my OWWA membership is inactive?
Your OWWA membership becomes inactive if the validity has expired or you’ve changed employers.
8. Is OWWA membership mandatory?
OWWA membership is only mandatory if processing employment at DMW.
9. Are all OFW member of OWWA?
Not all OFW can become OWWA members since OWWA have qualification criteria for applicants.
10. Who can avail of OWWA benefits?
OWWA benefits can be accessed by active members, while inactive members can only avail of limited services.
To sum up, OFWs in Puerto Rico don’t have to worry since they have many options to apply for or renew their OWWA membership. Just contact the Philippine Embassy and POLO Washington office for more details.
Additionally, the OWWA mobile app is a more convenient renewal process, allowing OFWs to renew their OWWA membership anytime and anywhere. Thus, we encouraged OFWs in Puerto Rico to apply for or renew their OWWA membership to access varying benefits.
Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC, USA
Operating Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday
Address: Main Chancery Building, Bataan Street corner 1600,
Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC, 20036
Telephone Number: 202 467 9300 / 202 467 9363
Fax Number: 202 328 7614
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PHinUSA
POLO Washington, DC, USA
Operating Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday
Address: 1617 Massachusetts Ave. North West, Washington, DC, United States, Washington, District of Columbia
Telephone Number: +1 202-467-9426
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064785936453
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com