4 Reasons Why You Should Have A Budget

Admit it: now that you’re working overseas, life is easier and money is not that much of an issue. You get to earn more than what you can earn here and your family back home is happy.

Still, this is not an excuse to splurge and do whatever you want with your money. In fact, now is the perfect time to have a budget.

You might ask why. Here’s why:

It Stops You From Overspending

Earning in dollars can be overwhelming. Finally, you can buy things you cannot normally afford and send it back home to make the family happy. But, there is a danger in that. You’ll never know how much money you lost or worse, you might later on realize that everything you worked hard for is gone.

This is where budgeting comes in.

Having a budget allows you to allocate your finds to more important expenses such as monthly amortization, tuition fee, and savings. By having a budget, you’ll be able to avoid buying unnecessary things since the money is already allocated.

It Encourages You To Save

One of your goals upon working overseas is to be able to save more money. Thankfully, budgeting could help you with that. Since you already assigned a specific month for savings, you have the obligation and commitment to deposit that amount to your account.

Another advantage is that through budgeting, you will be able to increase your savings because you know how much will go to specific expenses. Furthermore, you are sure that enough amount is allotted to savings instead of saving only what is left.

As a result, you don’t need to withdraw funds every time you need to spend on something, thereby protecting your hard-earned money.

It Makes You Feel More In Control Of The Money

Do you feel that your hard-earned money just brushes into your palm? If yes, then it means that you are not in control of your money – and it’s not a good sign.

Having a budget will make you feel more in control and mindful of your money because you know exactly where it goes. You won’t feel guilty as well when you spend on something because you know that your money is properly allocated. In fact, you are able to track and prioritize your spending without wondering what happened to your money. This will also stop you from overspending.

It Helps You Achieve Your Goals

Working overseas is not forever. This is why you have to make the most out of your stay to ensure that you can give a better future for your family. In fact, by the end of your contract, you wanted to have at least a cushion for your dream home.

But how can you do that if you don’t know where your money goes?

This is why budgeting is important. Through budgeting, you can prioritize your spending and focus more on things that really matter – savings, your kids’ educational fund, a dream house, and the list goes on. Since you can track your spending, you will have more flexibility in adjusting your daily expenses. This will make it easier for you to achieve your goals and maximize your stay abroad.

Finance Your Dream Business With The Help Of SSS Business Loan

Time and again, people will always tell you that OFW life is not forever. That’s true. In fact, you’re only as good as your contract. This means once your contract expires, you have to go back home and look for another job.

Or, you can start your own business and stay here for good – with your family.

“Wala naman akong pang-capital,” you might say.

Private lending firms such as Balikbayad offers business loans for OFWs like you. But if you want to make the most out of your benefits, then you might want to consider SSS Business Loan.

Stick around because you’ll learn everything you need to know about this type of facility from the government.

What is SSS’ Business Development Loan Facility?

The Business Development Loan Facility is SSS’ lending facility that aims to provide financial assistance to the business sector to increase productivity and enhance potential earnings. The borrowed funds may be used for expansion, diversification, and other business development projects.

This facility is also aimed to support the program of the government towards more employment opportunities and increased economic activity for the country’s economic growth and development.

The good thing about this facility is that there is no pre-payment fees and penalties to be charged in case you want to pay earlier.

What are the terms under this type of facility?

Loanable Amount

The maximum loan amount shall be the lowest of the following:

  • Amount of the loan being applied
  • Actual and total project cost
  • Loan value of the assigned securities or collateral
  • Maximum of P500 million per borrower

Take note that the equity ratio after financing is 3:1. Consequently, the total loan with the agency must not be more than five percent of the SSS Investment Reserve fund.

Interest Rate

The prevailing market rate, which will be reviewed every month. You also have the option between variable or fixed interest rate.

Loan Term

The term of the loan must be maximum of 15 years. The agency also allowed a grace period of more than three years on principal payment for those who will use the amount to finance projects related to forest development or extractive industries. In this instance, the maximum loan term is 25 years.

Collateral

The SSS Business Development Facility loan is a secured loan. Asset of any kind may be used as long the total amount will fully cover the loan.

What are the allowed businesses?

  • Agri-business
  • Food processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Commercial Production
  • Service-Oriented Enterprises
  • Tourism-Related Projects
  • Real Estate Development Projects
  • Sustainable Energy Projects
  • Extractive Industries
  • Forest Development Projects
  • Trading
  • Leasing or Lending Business

What are the allowed purposes of the loan?

  • Site development
  • Enhance or modernize of existing facilities
  • Construction or repair of building and other civil works
  • Acquisition, repair, or upgrading of machinery and equipment, including furnishings
  • Acquisition of existing facilities
  • Acquisition of land, which is up to 50 percent of the acquisition cost
  • Working capital

What are the eligibility requirements?

The borrowers must be:

  • SSS member-employee in good standing
  • New or existing private industries and enterprises
  • Single proprietor, partnership, or corporation that is at least 60 percent Filipino-owned, including cooperatives and non-governmental organizations
  • Engaged in any of the businesses mentioned above
  • For existing businesses, must have a proven track records of profitability with no incurred losses for the past three years and average income for the past two years is positive

There are tons of financial companies that could assist you with your needs. Nonetheless, SSS is a good option that you might want to consider for your future business needs.

If you are interested, you may contact any SSS-accredited participating financial institutions or PFIs. You may call the Business and Development Loans Department at 8920-6401 local 5115 for a complete list of PFIs and to start your loan application process.

OFW Guide: Tips And Things To Remember When Vacationing In The Philippines

It’s Christmas season once again. Finally, after months or years of being away from your family, you can finally go back home and spend the most joyful celebration of the year. You already informed your family about when you’ll come home and how long you will stay.

Don’t get too excited. As an OFW, there are things you need to do and remember to ensure that you can go back to your job site without any stress or hassle.

Before you count the days, here is a list and guidelines on what to do, not to bring, and how you can make the most out of your stay:

Tip No. 1: Make the necessary preparations.

Surely, your family and friends miss you a lot. As soon as you step on Philippine soil, you will be bombarded by tons of parties here and there because they genuinely miss you. You also want to make up for the lost time with your family, so expect trips to the mall, shopping, eating out, and even going on a quick vacation.

Before you fly out, make sure you made the necessary preparations and arrangements. First thing on your list must be your budget. A lot of people will tease you to sponsor one round of drinks or your kids might ask you to buy this and that. You might also want to go on a staycation with your family for two days, which is something you should prepare for as well.

Bottom line is prepare. Set a budget and make sure you still have money left on your way back to your job site. Stick to that budget and learn to say no whenever necessary. OFW life is tough and the people back home must know that.

Aside from the budget, you need to have a list of things to do while you’re home. Make a list of what to do, where to go, the people you plan to see, and matters you need to take care of. Having an itinerary help you make the most out of your stay while making sure that you cover everything that needs to be done.

Tip No. 2: Your family should know when you’ll be back.

Surprising your family that you are home for the holidays is one of the best Christmas gifts ever. But if you want to lose that element, then make sure you inform them the exact details of your arrival – from arrival date, time, airline, and what terminal in NAIA you will be picked up.

Make sure your family knows how many luggages you have so that they could make necessary car arrangements, too.

Tip No. 3: Leave prohibited, unnecessary, and expensive items.

When packing your things, make sure you bring only what is necessary – your change of clothes, shoes, and pasalubong to your family. If you have items you want to leave in the Philippines, then pack those, too.

As much as possible, do not bring items that could potentially delay your departure. Expensive and unnecessary items must be left behind. Make sure you don’t bring prohibited items as well.

Check out this link where the Department of Transportation and Communications listed items that are prohibited in the airport.

Tip No. 4: Take it easy on your luggage and balikbayan boxes.

Depending on the airline, every passenger is allowed to bring baggages of up to 40 or 50 kilos. Anything in excess must either be left at the airport or pay for an additional fee, which is quite costly.

Therefore, take it easy on your luggage. It’s normal to bring pasalubong to your family, but make sure you meet the baggage requirements of the airline company. Bring only what you need to avoid leaving or paying an additional fee. Anyway, you can always send another set of boxes while you’re still working overseas. Duty Free is also an alternative in case you want to give something to your relatives and friends.

Better yet, don’t feel obligated to give everyone a present this Christmas. It’s okay if you can’t “share your blessings” to others. Don’t compromise your financial standing for the sake of pleasing everyone.

Tip No. 5: Know your benefits as an OFW.

Did you know that you are exempted from travel tax? Have you considered shopping in Duty Free in case you were unable to buy pasalubong?

These are just some of the perks you can avail of as OFW so make sure you take advantage of it.

Tip No. 6: Don’t forget about your government records.

Your vacation is the perfect opportunity to start or update your government records like SSS, Philhealth, and PAG-IBIG. Make sure you dedicate some time on that to avoid any hassle in the future.

Getting an OEC is also a must, which will serve as proof that you are a legitimate OFW. If you will be working in the same employer and job site, then make sure you get an OEC exemption.

READ: Returning Land-Based Workers

Tip No. 6: Include savings and investment in your itinerary.

Aside from government services, your vacation is the perfect time to update or start your savings and investment journey. Take this opportunity to explore your options in growing your money. There are several government-backed savings program you can try, which allows you to save higher than in banks. This way, your money won’t be put to waste.

If it were up to you, how will you spend your vacation in the Philippines?

Should You Insure Your Business?

Life is uncertain. You’ll never know when it will give you surprises, both good and bad. Whatever it is, you need to be ready for it.

This is among the many reasons why insurance exists. It helps protect not just you and your family but also your possessions in case something happened. The good thing now is that there are several things you can insure – house, car, motorcycle, personal possession, and the list goes on.

Did you know that you can also insure your business?

“Eh maliit lang naman ang negosyo ko. Wala din ako pang-bayad. Bakit ako magpapa-insure kung pwede ko naman idadgdag na lang sa kapital ko.”

That’s a good point. Still, having your own business means you are exposed to certain risks. These risks could negatively impact not just your cash flow but also your business in general. When this happens, you are at the verge of operating at a loss or close your business to save whatever is left. But when you have a business insurance, you feel secured against unprecedented events that could challenge your business.

But before you get one, did you know that there are different types of business insurance? These types cover specific areas in your business, so make sure you pay attention to find out what’s best:

Business Owner’s Policy

This is the most common type of business insurance availed by many businesses. It covers a wide coverage – from damage to property caused by fire or typhoon, business interruption, liabilities, to workers’ compensation among others.

BOP is ideal for small businesses with less than 50 employees.

Property Insurance

You’ll never know when fire, typhoon, or earthquake will happen. When it does happen, your business’ properties like owned space, inventory, and equipment is in danger.

Thankfully, insurance companies offer Property Insurance for business. In case disaster happens, you can reimburse whatever was damaged inside the area, including your inventory.

General Liability Insurance

Are you a start-up business? If yes, then this type of business insurance is ideal for you.

General liability insurance could protect you from various claims like accidents, damage to property, and personal injury. It could also cover medical fees or legal expenses.

Nonetheless, general liability insurance is best paired with another type of business insurance for bigger coverage.

Electronic Equipment Insurance

This is recommended if you are in a business that is heavily dependent on electronics. By electronics, we mean not just computers.

Electronics will break down and go through the normal wear and tear. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a cheap price tag. In case your concern is how to protect your business against loss or damage to the equipment, then EEI is the right coverage for you. This way, you don’t have to worry about temporary stoppage just because something broke down.

Here comes the best pat: home-based businesses may avail of this type of insurance as well.

Vehicle Insurance

Having a company vehicle is both efficient and convenient. Just like any other material things, wear and tear happens. Accidents might occur, too and when your vehicle isn’t working, it could affect your operations, especially when you are heavily reliant to it.

Here comes vehicle insurance. You can have your business car insured for protection against damages or accidents. Just make sure you ask for the coverage and restrictions to make sure that you can claim.

Business Interruption Insurance

Also known as Business Income Insurance, this type of coverage keeps you covered in case of unexpected disasters and evacuation is necessary. It helps you by covering costs of relocation as well as income loss as a result of closure brought out by the disaster.

There are many other business insurance types that are more suitable to your needs. Before you say yes, think hard and think clearly about what you really need and what is more suitable for your business. This way, the money you pay for the insurance premium won’t be put to waste.

OFW Guide: How To Apply For Police Clearance

Let’s face it: applying for a job, whether here or overseas, requires you to submit TONS of documents. These documents will be photocopies several times, depending on how many agencies you applied to.

One of the documents you need to secure is a police clearance.

Not all countries or agencies you will apply for requires you to get a police clearance. On the other hand, countries like USA, Canada, Australia, here’s what you need to know when applying for this type of requirement as well as a step-by-step procedure on how to get one.

But first, what is a police clearance?

A police clearance is a type of document that proves that you, the holder, has no criminal or derogatory record. This is valid for six months with a unique QR code to verify its authenticity.

You may be asked to get a police clearance either from:

  • Your place of residence, to ensure that you didn’t commit any crime in the area where you live; or
  • Your place of work, which ensures that you are not guilty of committing any crime in the companies you worked for within the same area.

Take note that the scope of police clearance is for a specific locality. It is also different from NBI Clearance in terms of scope since the clearance issued by the agency covers all criminal records anywhere in the Philippines.

Step-By-Step Procedure On How To Apply For A Police Clearance

Step 1: Prepare the requirements.

You will need:

  • At least two valid IDs with photo, complete name, and signature
  • PSA-certified birth certificate in case you only have one ID
  • Police clearance application form, in case you have not registered online
  • Cash for payment of police clearance fee – in case you have not registered online
  • An active email address

Take note that most local government offices prefer that you register with the NPCS website instead of applying thru walk-in.

Step 2: Register and create an account with NPCS.

Most city governments require applicants to register with the National Police Clearance System to speed up the process.

Go to the NPCS website and click Register. A new window will appear, so make sure to tick all the boxes to continue. Don’t forget to read everything since this serves as a guideline when applying for a police clearance.

Then, fill out the New Applicant Registration form and click Register. Check your email because a verification link will be sent, which you need to click to verify your information. Thereafter, you will be asked to sign with the email address you used to register.

Once you logged in, don’t forget to edit your profile by completing the necessary information being asked.

Step 3: Set up an appointment.

Click the Clearance Application button. Choose the police station where you will apply. Thereafter, a list of available schedules will appear. Choose your preferred date and time, and click Next.

Don’t forget to click the Land Bank of the Philippines button before saving your appointment.

Take note of the payment details, which will be displayed as soon as you saved your appointment. A reference number will likewise be given so TAKE NOTE and write it down. You will use this reference number when paying for the fee.

Step 4: Payment.

To pay, click Pay to LANDBANK button, which will lead you directly to the bank’s e-Payment portal. You can use your Landbank account, GCash, or Bancnet.

Take note that the police clearance fee is P150 plus P10 transaction fee.

Step 5: Go to your scheduled appointment.

Don’t forget to bring the requirements such as valid IDs, reference number, and official receipt of your payment. Once you presented the documents, you will undergo biometrics process wherein photo, fingerprints, and digital signature are taken.

When done, wait for your name to be called for the release of your police clearance.

In case your application got a hit, you have to go through a verification process first before you can claim your police clearance.

The good thing about applying for a police clearance now is that the process is faster since it is digital. It’s more efficient now compared before; hence making the process more convenient for you.

OFW Guide: What You Need To Remember Before You Board The Plane

Finally, after months of trying and waiting, you are on your way to another country to work. From the moment you stepped on the entrance gate of NAIA up until the plane landed to your destination, there will always be mixed emotions. This will remain true, especially for first-time OFWs.

Unfortunately, this mixture of emotions could backfire against you.

This is why preparation is important to make sure that you won’t forget anything come departure. Don’t worry because we listed the documents you need to bring plus other preparations and tips you need to remember to ensure that your trip will be smooth and hassle-free.

Documents To Prepare

Before you go to the airport and face the Immigration Officer, make sure you have the original as well as photocopies of the following documents:

  • Pre-Departure Overseas Seminar or PDOS Certificate
  • Valid passport
  • Working visa
  • Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC
  • Flight ticket and Boarding pass
  • Employment Contract
  • NBI Clearance
  • Valid government-issued ID with your photo
  • Letter of Guarantee or Letter of Endrosement, if applicable
  • Seaman’s Book, for seafarers

These documents will be presented to the Immigration Officer or IO. These signifies that you are a documented Overseas Filipino Worker and may leave the country legally. Have these documents stacked in an organized manner to make it easier for you to look for what you need.

What happens when you face the Immigration Officer?

Aside from ensuring your documents are ready, you need to fill out a Departure Card, which is readily available in the airport.

Once you’re done, line up and present the following documents to the officer in charge:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • OEC
  • Plane ticket
  • Seaman’s Book, for seafarers
  • Departure card

This is tricky. IOs need to ensure that no Filipino will be a victim of human trafficking, which is why they pay extra attention to OFWs. Remember to:

  • Be calm and composed.
  • Answer the IO’s questions honestly and truthfully.
  • Answer the question directly and avoid giving too much information.
  • Dress appropriately.

IOs may intimidate you to ensure that you are telling them the truth. Just relax because sweating profusely and distorted stories might cause you to be offloaded.

Things To Bring Aside From The Documents Listed Above

Your documentation requirements are crucial. Still, you need to remember to bring these things to avoid hassle:

  • Black pen, for filling out other documentation requirements in the airport
  • Small notebook with your employer and/or agency’s contact details like contact person, mobile number, and address
  • Cash. Despite the exemption from airport terminal fees and taxes, you’ll never know when you’ll need another bottle of water. It’s better to be prepared.
  • Water tumbler. Drinking fountains are available in the airport, so make sure you keep those filled. This will prevent you from spending too much money on something you can get for free, right?
  • Extra clothes. Who knows, you might be stuck in the airport or there is a sudden change of weather in your destination. It’s better to be prepared.

That being said, here is a step-by-step process of what you need to follow once you’re in the airport:

  • Go to the OFW Lounge. This is where your OEC and Employment Contract will be validated.
  • Go through the airport security and scanning.
  • Proceed to your designated airline for check-in and dropping of bags. A boarding pass and baggage claim tag will be given to you after.
  • Go to the Departure Lobby for another scan. Make sure you present your passport and boarding pass.
  • Get a Departure Card and fill it out.
  • Head to the Immigration counter – OFW Express Lane. Make sure that all your documents are ready.
  • Once approved by the IO, pass through Customs for another scan. At this point, body search is legal and you will also be asked to remove your shoes.
  • After passing through Customs, go to your designated pre-departure gate for boarding.

Going through Immigration will take time, so make sure you arrive at least three hours before your designated departure. This way, you still have enough time to relax and enjoy the airport facilities.

Find Out The Costs Of Working Overseas

Do you plan to seek greener pastures and work overseas? If yes, then you’re not alone. There are hundreds, even thousands of Filipinos who are willing to work abroad and earn more than what they can earn here,

Here’s the reality: despite the promise of higher salary, there are fees you need to pay – some shouldered by you while the others will be paid for by your employer or agency.

Apart from the documentary requirements, here are the costs you need to prepare for before you say to a job overseas:

Shouldered By The Worker

You need to prepare your wallet for the following expenses:

  • NBI Clearance – P130.00
  • Philippine Passport – P950.00 and P1,200.00 for regular and express processing, respectively. You also have to pay additional P150.00 if you want it delivered to your home.
  • Philhealth – P2,400 every year
  • Police Clearance – P100
  • Birth Certificate – P150
  • SSS Contribution – Depends on your salary grade but it starts at P960 per month
  • Medical Exam Fee – Depends on the medical clinic conducting the examination, but it usually charges P5,000
  • Placement Fee – Equivalent to less than or equal to one month salary stated in your contract
  • Immunization Fee – Depends on the immunization, but it is safe to prepare at least P5,000. This is not mandatory but some host countries require that workers take necessary shots before being deployed.

Shouldered By The Employer / Agency

Don’t worry. Not everything will be shouldered by you. With the passage of Republic Act 8042, there are costs that must be shouldered by the employer. This includes:

  • POEA Processing Fee – P200
  • OWWA Membership Fee – $25 or its peso equivalent
  • OFW Compulsory Insurance – Depends on the insurance provider
  • Visa Fee – This will depend on the host country
  • Airfare – Varies, depends on the airline
  • Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar or PDOS – P100

In other words, you will be charged at least P50,000 for the documentary requirements and mandatory memberships alone.

Apparently, the costs don’t stop here. Even if you were able to comply with all of these requirements, you need to worry about the costs of living overseas. This is why it is important that before you leave the country, you will set aside a budget that will help you pay for basic necessities like food and water in order to survive the first few weeks.

“How much?,” you might ask.

Again, it depends on your country of destination, Some countries like Singapore, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait have higher cost of living than in Manila. This means even if you are earning three or four times than your salary in the Philippines, you will end up paying more because the cost of goods are high.

Still, don’t let this discourage you. Filipinos are known for being resilient and ma-diskarte, so use those to make the most out of your salary. Be wise with your spending and avoid buying unnecessary things, especially during the first few months overseas. Set a budget, prioritize your spending, and get a side job if time permits so you will be able to earn more.

You’ll get used to this eventually. Just make sure you use your salary wisely.

OFW Guide: How To Get Or Renew NBI Clearance While Overseas

Fact: when you decide to work as an OFW, you need to secure TONS of documents to process your application. By documents, this includes NBI Clearance.

Usually, you need a NBI Clearance as part of the requirements you need to submit prior to leaving the country. It is valid for a certain period only and may be renewed whenever needed.

Why do you need to get this document when you’re already out of the country?

There are two scenarios:

  • If you want to live permanently on the country where you currently work
  • If you want to migrate to another country while working in a foreign country

Given these scenarios, does it mean you need to go back to the Philippines to get a NBI Clearance?

Thankfully, NO. In fact, all you need is a decent Internet connection because getting this document can be done online.

There are two options when you apply for NBI Clearance online:

  • Through a proxy or an authorized representative
  • By mail, which does NOT require an authorized representative

Here’s how you can apply or renew NBI Clearance WITH REPRESENTATIVE:

Step 1: Prepare all the documents.

For new application:

  • NBI Form No. 5 or the Fingerprint form. You can get a form from the Philippine Embassy or Consulate. If you have a representative, s/he can get the form at NBI UN Avenue branch.
  • Duly signed Letter of Authorization, in case you have a representative
  • Photocopy of passport, including the latest stamp of departure
  • 2×2 photo in white background. Make sure that the photo was taken at least three months prior to application.
  • Valid IDs provided by your host country

For renewal:

  • Previous NBI Clearance in its original form
  • Duly signed Letter of Authorization, in case you have a representative
  • Photocopy of passport, including the latest stamp of departure
  • Valid IDs provided by your host country
  • NBI Form No. 5, although this is not a mandatory requirement

As soon as you prepared all documents, send these to the Philippines.

Step 2: Registration

Go to NBI Clearance website to register for a new account online. Make sure you provide all relevant information for faster verification process. You can also access the website here.

Step 3: Create an online appointment.

Once you successfully registered, set an appointment. Make sure you use “PASSPORT” as your valid ID.

Since you are overseas, choose NBI Clearance Center, UN Avenue, Manila as your branch.

Step 4: Payment of fees.

Depending on your preferred payment method, you or your representative must pay for the corresponding fees. A reference number will be generated after, which you should keep.

Step 5: Submission of documents.

Your representative must submit the documents and present the reference number at the NBI Central Office in UN Avenue. Make sure that your proxy will present valid ID to verify his or her identity.

Step 6: Mailing and Authentication.

Once your NBI Clearance is released, your representative must mail it to you. Once you received it, it should have NBI Dry Seal.

Then, go to the Philippine Embassy or Consulate and have your clearance stamped.

Here’s how you can apply or renew NBI Clearance WITHOUT REPRESENTATIVE:

This is what you will do in case you cannot assign someone to process the NBI Clearance application or renewal on your behalf:

Step 1: Preparation of documents.

Prepare the documents mentioned above. With or without a representative, the requirements are the same.

Aside from the documents, you also need to attach money order or bank draft amounting to P200 to NBI Director. Take note that personal checks or cash are not accepted.

Step 2: Mail the documents.

This should be mailed at Mailed Clearance Section, 3rd Floor, NBI Clearance Building, UN Avenue, Ermita, Manila

Step 3: Register online.

You can do this by creating an online account at the NBI Clearance website. If you have an existing account, then simply log-in at the website.

Step 4: Apply for clearance.

On the Applicant’s Information Page, click “Apply for Clearance.”

Skip the online appointment since you don’t have a representative who could go to the NBI Office in UN Avenue.

Step 5: Payment of fees.

Pay for the corresponding fees. A reference number will be generated, so make sure to take note of it.

Step 6: Processing of application.

Verification of documents and processing of NBI Clearance application often takes five days from the time the agency receives your documents.

Also, always check the status of your application through the NBI Clearance website.

Step 7: Mailing of documents.

Once approved, NBI will mail you the clearance. Make sure the document has NBI Dry Seal before you bring it to the Philippine Embassy for verification.

The process may not be perfect – for now – but this is an improvement that will definitely help Filipinos. Take advantage of this service and share on the comments section about your experience.

OFW Guide: How To Renew Your Philippine Passport

One of the most important requirements you need to accomplish when you want to work abroad is the passport. This serves as your travel document and that you are a citizen of a particular country.

Thankfully, passport validity is extended to 10 years, which means you will only renew your passport every decade.

Speaking of renewal, what are the requirements and process you need to do to be able to renew your passport? Is there a special lane for OFWs like you? How much money should you bring?

Keep reading to find out.

Passport Renewal Requirement

Here are the documents you need to bring when you renew your passport:

  • Renewal application form. You can get the form at the DFA or you can download the form here.
  • Current passport
  • Two government-issued IDs
  • OFW documents like Employment Contract, plane ticket, Exit Clearance, and passport with your employment visa stamp

In certain cases such as change of name for married applicants or misspelled name in your OFW documents, make sure you bring the following, whichever is applicable to you:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Death certificate of the deceased spouse

Take note that the DFA will only get photocopies of these documents. Still, they require that you present the original copy for checking.

What if you have an existing passport but you lost it? What documents do you need to bring to be able to get a new one?

Aside from the ones mentioned above, you also need to submit:

  • Personal appearance
  • Confirmed appointment with the DFA
  • Notarized Affidavit of Lost with detailed explanation as to how and where you lost your passport
  • Police Report, in case your passport was still valid when you lost it.

Take note that for lost passport, a 15-day clearing period is part of the renewal application process.

Where To Renew

The good news is you don’t have to set up an appointment to renew your passport. Every DFA Consular Office has Courtesy Lanes, which accommodate applicants like OFWs, minors, and senior citizens.

Thankfully, the DFA announced that the Robinson’s Galleria branch will be exclusive for OFWs. This also means that you don’t have to set up an appointment to renew your passport. You can go in anytime, as long as your requirements are complete.

Costs For Passport Renewal

Just like anything else, renewing your passport means you have to pay for certain fees.

For regular processing, which requires 15 working days before you get your passport, the fee of P950 must be paid. If you’re in a rush, then be ready to pay for P1,200 so you could get your passport within seven working days.

An additional fee of P200 or P350 must also be paid for lost and valid MRRP / MRP and e-passport, respectively.

You might also want to allocate funds for photocopy, which is P3 per page. You can save more from this by making sure that you photocopied ALL documents before going to the DFA Consular Office.

Step-By-Step Procedure And Things To Remember On How To Renew Passport

1. Prepare all documents needed for passport renewal.

Make sure that all of the documents are ready, both original and photocopies. Create a checklist so you won’t miss out on any requirements.

2. Proceed to the DFA Consular Office early.

This way, you don’t have to worry much about long lines and you can finish early as well.

Also, dress appropriately. Sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirt, and slippers are NOT allowed. You are entering a government agency, so make sure you dress properly.

3. Get a number and wait for your turn.

The guard on duty will give you a number. Hold on to that number and wait for it to be called.

Once called, submit all the documents at the service counter.

4. Pay the passport fees.

You can go for regular processing or have it expedited.

5. Get your picture and biometrics taken.

A DFA official will assist you on this.

6. Delivery or Pickup

You have the option to either have your passport delivered to your home OR pick up in the DFA Consular Office where you applied. For delivery service, LBC will handle it for an additional fee of P150.

How To Start Your Buy And Sell Business

Your salary overseas may be bigger than your usual salary in the Philippines. Still, let’s face it: it doesn’t seem enough. This is why you take side jobs to make ends meet and yet, your family’s needs – and wants – back home are just too much for your pocket to handle.

This is why you and your family decided to start a buy and sell business to help augment financial needs. Plus, it is among the easiest business you can do since the qualifications are not restricted to large capital and a business degree.

Don’t be too complacent. A lot of people are in this field so you need to be smart in starting this business. The question now is how.

Here’s how to start your buy and sell business:

Step 1: Know Your Market.

It’s not enough that you have a brilliant idea or a product that will make people’s lives easier. To succeed, you also need to know who your market is.

Who are the people most likely to buy your product? What needs are you trying to fulfill through the product you are selling?

Aside from this, you also need to know who your competitors are. This is essential because it will help you in your market strategies. At the same time, you also need to check whether the market is already saturated. Competition is good but if there’s too many already, then you need to come up with a plan on how to set you apart from the rest.

Step 2: Establish Your Capital.

Now that you know your market, it’s time to establish how much money you will use for your new business. Consequently, you need to know where you will get your capital.

You can use your savings for your starting capital. On the other hand, you can also borrow money if you don’t want to use your savings.

Balikbayad offers up to P500,000 to help OFWs finance their needs.

Step 3: Source Your Products.

You know what to sell and how to sell it. You have sufficient money for capital, thereby making you capable of buying what you need. The next thing you need to do is to source your products.

The truth is you can sell anything you want. If you want to succeed in this arena, then you need to go for a product that will not only help Filipinos but also something new and relevant in the market.

You can start with products where you can buy wholesale for a cheaper price in areas like Divisoria, Tutuban, or Taytay. Make sure you canvass properly and find suppliers that will give you the most competitive price.

You can also get products from where you’re working and send it back home. Who knows, this could lead to exclusive distributorship where you can kiss your OFW life goodbye.

Step 4: Set Up Your Store

There are two ways to set up your store: physical store or online.

If you plan a physical store, then you need to look for a place with high foot traffic. This way, you will be able to reach more potential customers. That being said, you need to prepare yourself to pay for the rent, which must be declared as part of your expenses.

If you want to save yourself from paying the rent, then consider an online store. You will be able to use the funds for your marketing campaigns instead of paying it for rent. The best part is there are free sites that allow you to set up an online store such as Facebook and Instagram. Maximize on that. When your online store is picking up, you can put up your own website.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Many online stores don’t have the necessary permits and business registration. While this is okay, you might be asked to process the legitimacy of your business when you decide to open a physical store or rent a commercial space. Online retailer giants like Lazada and Shopee also require business documents before you are allowed to sell on their website.

It may be a hassle, but at least you are registered, right?

Step 6: Start Selling.

Now that you have your products, your business is registered, and you secured the necessary permits needed, it’s time to start selling.

Don’t wait for next week or next month. You might be foregoing opportunities if you delay. Go for it.