POEA Online Services You Should Know About

Let’s face the truth: applying for a job overseas is not easy. Then, there are also tons of documents you need to comply with to make sure that you are properly documented and be able to enjoy the status of OFW.

Thankfully, the government, particularly the POEA, is taking steps to improve and promote efficiency in their services.

Did you know that POEA now has online services facility? This means booking appointments, registering, getting clearances, and requesting for documents among others can be done online. This also means you don’t have to line up and wait for hours waiting for a single document to be released, thereby making everything more convenient.

Here are the services you can avail of through POEA’s online facility:

OFW Record Online Appointment

This service is available in case you want to request for OFW Information Sheet or Record. Instead of going early to the POEA Office to get a number, you can simply log-in to their OFW Records System and schedule an appointment.

When scheduling for an appointment, make sure you have a previous Appointment Reference Number (ARN) to log-in. If you don’t have ARN yet, you may register and set an appointment through this link.

Manpower Registry (e-Registration)

Aside from licensed recruitment agencies, POEA, from time to time, releases job openings for Filipinos aspiring to work overseas. You can set up your profile through POEA’s e-Registration facility. The said facility also allows OFWs to get access to online services such as applying for OEC and paying processing fees.

Take note that this service is also particularly important for direct hires. This is also necessary for all seafarers.

In case you don’t have an account yet, you may register through this link.

Balik Manggagawa Online Processing System

One of the most important requirements you need to secure as an OFW is the Overseas Employment Certificate or OEC. This will serve as proof that you are a properly documented OFW and exempted from travel taxes and airport fees among others.

You can set up an appointment through this link.

Online Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar

This is another important requirement you need to comply with as OFW. The Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar or PEOS is a service of POEA that provides you with necessary information you need to know about overseas application, the fees involves, and safeguards against illegal recruitment among others.

Don’t worry because this service is free. You simply need to log-in and make an account, take the learning modules, and print your PEOS certificate. Take note that the PEOS Certificate is an important requirement when applying for a job overseas, so make sure you take this seriously.

Verification of Status of Recruitment Agencies

This is important. Illegal recruitment is something the government is seriously working on to avoid compromising the lives of Filipinos. Before you apply, make sure you check this facility because it lists the names of legitimate recruitment agencies as well as those whose licenses were suspended.

If the name of the agency you applied for is not on the list of agencies with valid license, then don’t push through and look for a new one to avoid being a victim of illegal recruitment.

Verification of Agency’s Job Orders

It’s easy to say that a particular job is needed overseas, but how sure are you?

This is why POEA launched this online service to check that the agency has approved job order/s as submitted by licensed recruitment agencies.

SRA / LOA Online Application System

This is the Online Recruitment Authority Application System. As of this writing, there is limited information as to how this system works.

Adjudication Cases Monitor

Unfortunately, not all is well for OFWs. In case you filed a case against your foreign employer due to employment issues, then this system will give you an update as to the status of your case.

As of this writing, this site is still under maintenance.

The POEA Online System is still a working progress, but it is a good step to provide thousands of OFWs a convenient access to various services. Take advantage of it.

5 Tips on How to Choose the Best Name for Your Business

Starting a business is not a walk in the park. You need to make sure that your business is profitable in order to survive. Then, there are marketing strategies you have to think about to make the people know your product exist. You also have to deal with customers who may or may not like your product. Then, you also need to think about adding new products on your line or possible expansion to make your business grow.

Before everything, you need to think about this important factor: your business name. 

Don’t underestimate a business name. The name of your business reflects not just what you’re offering but also who are the people behind that business and what are the values you represent. This is why it is important to make it right because this is how people will remember you. In other words, your business name is a reflection of your business’ identity.

That being said, here are tips and things to remember when choosing a business name:

Tip No. 1: Make it unique and unforgettable. 

There are a LOT of entrepreneurs in the market offering the same products. In this digital world, you need to make sure that yours is something that stands out and something that people will remember.

Therefore, go for something catchy and could easily stick to the people’s mind. Avoid nonsense mix-up of names or something that is hard to spell or pronounce. Otherwise, you won’t be able to maximize the power of name recall, which could help you a lot in this business.

Tip No. 2: It should reflect your business. 

Let’s say you want to sell sausages. Your business name should tell people that you are selling sausages. Avoid using terms like “technology” or “solutions” because it does not reflect what you’re actually selling.

In choosing a business name, make sure it is a reflection of the product or service that you are actually selling. Do not deceive people by adding popular terms just for the sake of being remembered.

Going back to sausages, you should include the term “sausage” or “food” so people will know that you are selling something of that sort. This will make it easier for people to remember you as well.

Tip No. 3: Simplicity is key. 

Do not create long business names. Believe it or not, your potential customers won’t care that much. Stick to one or two business names and you’re good to go.

Since we’re talking about simplicity, avoid adding special characters to your name, except for ‘s. Remember that name recall is important, so keep it simple as much as possible.

Tip No. 4: Ensure that the name is available. 

This is important. Even if you finally came up with the most brilliant and eye-catching names, you need to check that nobody owns it yet. Trademark infringement is a serious issue, so choose something that nobody has thought of yet.

If you came up with a name that is owned by no one, then register it as soon as you can. This way, you got the first dibs and you are the rightful owner of that particular name.

Tip No. 5: Don’t rush. 

We understand how important it is for you to start your business. Without a name, you won’t be able to start because your social media pages will depend on it.

Still, relax and give it some time. A business name is important in ensuring the success of your business. If you can’t think of a name now, then perhaps tomorrow or two days from now could help in squeezing your brain for the perfect business name. Ask help from family and friends by having a brainstorming session. There are also name generators available online so take advantage of those as well.

9 Business Ideas Worth Trying this 2019

Brand new year means brand new opportunities. At this point, you know that OFW life is not forever and applying for a new job overseas may take time. This is why you vowed to do something to ensure continuity of funds in the family.

How will you do that? You consider opening a new business.

The truth is there are tons of opportunities available to help you jumpstart your entrepreneurial career. If you’re unsure as to what type of business you should start, then let this list help you.

Here are business ideas you can try this 2019:

1. Online Business – The online market is flourishing. Many Filipinos spend a lot of time glued on their mobile phones and, yes, shopping or at least browsing for items. Take advantage of that by putting up an online store. You could sell anything you like but to set you apart from the rest, offer the people something that is not readily available in the market. It could be one-of-a-kind products from the country where you’re working or a product that you make.

2. Cleaning Services –  Most households are unable or have difficulty finding a reliable house help. If you worked in a hotel or as a household service worker overseas, then put those skills to use and start your own general cleaning services company. All you need are cleaning tools and equipment and eye for perfection, and you’re good to go. Just make sure you get equally reliable and trustworthy cleaning ladies because reputation is key in this type of business.

3. Food Delivery – Does anyone in the family love to cook? If yes, then try offering those to die for meals to people. Instead of renting a space or putting up your own restaurant, try food delivery services first. You can start cooking at your own kitchen first and commission a third-party to deliver the food to your customers. Keep in mind that the appearance of your food matters a lot, so take good, enticing pictures. Who knows, this could be a start of something bigger, say your own restaurant in the future?

4. Food Cart – If cooking is not your family’s thing but you still would love to get into the food business, then consider franchising a food cart. The good thing about food carts is that there is already an existing business model that you can adapt. Plus, the franchised food cart already made a name in the market, thereby making marketing easier for you. You can check this post for affordable food carts you can franchise.

5. Laundry Service – Apart from general cleaning, laundry is something Filipinos are willing to pay for. You can open your own laundromat and give people some convenience. Self-service laundry centers are also in demand these days, so you might want to invest your hard-earned money on that.

6. Gift Boxes – This type of business is in demand these days. Take advantage of that by putting up your own subscription service. Every month, subscribers will receive specially designed gift boxes that contains items based on a particular monthly theme. You can have monthly themes like “Toys and Games,” “Goodies from Overseas,” or “For the Coffee Lovers.” Items can be easily sourced so this won’t be a big issue for you.

7. Party Supplies –  The party industry is booming these days. People are willing to spend money to make their parties Instagram-worthy. You can take advantage of that by putting up your party supplies store. The good thing about this business is that items are available on wholesale, which means you can get items at cheaper prices.

8. Tutorial Services – Are you good at a particular subject, preferably English or Math? Put those knowledge into good use and offer tutorial services. Many working parents these days are willing to pay for tutors since they could have a hard time squeezing study time as soon as they get home. If you can’t offer tutorial services, then at least anyone in the family can do for extra income.

9. Personal Grooming Home Service – Did you work as a barber, hair stylist, makeup artist, or spa personnel abroad? Use those skills by offering home service facilities. Compare the prices of said services in the malls and offer a competitive rate. Don’t worry. People are more willing to pay for convenience.

6 Tips to Make Sure You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

It’s a brand new year. Surely, before 2018 ended, you made a list of things to accomplish as well as plans and resolutions for 2019. You are also proud of yourself for aiming for those goals and promised to do whatever it takes to make sure these resolutions will come to life. After all, at the end of the day, all you want is a better future for you and your family that is why you outlined those goals.

The first week has been great and so far, you’re on the right track. The question now is whether or not you can sustain this until December 31, 2019.

Of course you can! Here are tips that will ensure that you can stick to your 2019 goals and resolutions before 2020:

Write your 2019 resolutions. 

Yes, it is old school, but it still an effective ways to make sure that you’ll make it before the clock strikes at 12 midnight on December 31. As odd as it sounds, writing your resolutions for the year has higher effectiveness rate than just relying on your mind.

Keep those resolutions simple and attainable.

One of the reasons why New Year’s resolutions are not sustained is because you set unrealistic and impossible to attain goals. Forget that.

What you need to do is to keep your resolutions simple and attainable. Instead of aiming for a complete overhaul of your lifestyle, target one to two habits first and then move on to the next. Instead of aiming to reach one million by the end of the year when you don’t have savings yet, keep it realistic and target at least P100K.

The point is the simpler and more attainable your goals are, the easier for you to make these happen.

Daily action is key. 

You can’t attain something without putting 100 percent effort to it. This means you need to outline steps you need to take everyday to make sure that by the end of the year, you will stick to those goals and resolutions.

What you can do is schedule your activities for the week to help you attain those resolutions. For instance, you promised to save P100K by the end of the year. Before the week starts, finalize your raket/s (apart from your main job, of course) and the amount you are expecting that could help add up to your savings.

Breakdown your one big goal to smaller goals. 

Let’s go back to P100k savings for 2019. It’s easy to say you want to save that much but how do you plan on achieving that goal?

This is why it is important to make manageable action chunks from that one big goal. It is easier to make those resolutions happen because you are more focused and at the same time, there is a higher chance that you will achieve it.

So how do you plan on achieving the P100k savings? You could start by looking for sidelines. To get a sideline, you set aside one day to look for part-time jobs or ask friends around if they know someone who could find your skills useful.

The bottom line is start small to help you supplement that one big goal.

Track your progress. 

This is important. You’ll never know whether or not you are making progress if you don’t track it, right?

Establish a system that will help you record the progress you’re making or check whether or not you’re done with this particular daily action. This way, you can easily see what areas you need to work on and whether you could make those resolutions happen.

Always focus on the positive.

We understand. There are days when you won’t be able to stick to your daily goals and it will make you feel bad. That’s fine.

Instead of worrying about those missed days, focus on the positive side, say the fact that you are making progress with your savings or the sideline you just booked this coming weekend. If you look at the negative side, your perception towards your 2019 goals could change and may compromise the things you want to achieve.

At the end of the day, it’s also about discipline, mindset, and your willingness to make your 2019 resolutions happen. When you establish that, then you are set for the rest of the year – and beyond.

Choose Between PAG-IBIG MP2 or SSS PESO Fund for Your Savings

Over the years, people are given more available options for savings, which is a good thing. This is because it allows people, regardless of what income bracket they belong to, to save and help them for their future.

If you are an Overseas Filipino Worker, you are not excused. There are tons of saving options available to you to ensure that you have something to hold on in case your contract overseas ended. 

In separate posts, we discussed about OFW membership in government agencies like PAG-IBIG and SSS. Aside from the benefits you can get from respective government agencies, did you know that they also have savings facility that you can try? 

Here is a closer look between PAG-IBIG MP2 and SSS PESO Fund and find out which savings facility is best for you. 

Common Features:

  • Open to all regular SSS and PAG-IBIG members, including OFWs
  • Tax-free
  • Savings is guaranteed by the government, which means you don’t have to worry about losing your money 
  • Optional savings program offered to all members with up-to-date contributions
  • Higher interest rates compared to banks
  • Monthly payments not required

Nonetheless, there are several differences between the two programs, which you will learn more about in the succeeding sections. 

Eligibility Requirements:

PAG-IBIG MP2 – 

  • No age limit
  • All PAG-IBIG members, including OFWs, regardless of amount of monthly income
  • Open to retirees and pensioners as long as at least 24 monthly contributions were made before retirement

SSS Peso Fund 

  • Open to SSS members must be 55 years of age and below
  • Paid at least six monthly contributions within the last 12 months prior to enrollment
  • For OFWs, SSS payment must be maximum contribution
  • No claim filed under SSS programs such as total disability benefits 

Amount of Investment:

PAG-IBIG MP2

  • Minimum investment of P500
  • Has no maximum savings amount

SSS PESO Fund –

  • Minimum investment of P1,000
  • Savings and earnings under this facility go to three accounts: retirement / total disability (65 percent), medical (25 percent), and general purpose (10 percent)
  • Maximum savings amount of P100,000 every year

Interest Rate:

When it comes to interest rate, PAG-IBIG MP2 takes the spot. In fact, investment grows faster in MP2 than SSS’ PESO Fund. 

Dividend rate rose from 4.58 percent in 2010 to 8.11 percent in 2017, which means savings is almost doubled. Depending on the market trend, there is a possibility that the dividend rate will go higher. 

On the other hand, SSS PESO Fund’s dividend rate is between 1.85 to 3.75 percent, which is based on T-bill and Treasury Bond rates. The rate may be lower compared to PAG-IBIG MP2, but this rate is still higher compared to what banks offer in their savings and time deposit accounts, thereby allowing you to earn more when you opt for this facility.

Policy on Withdrawal: 

PAG-IBIG MP2 – 

Aside from the savings itself, this facility gives out dividends, which you can claim after five years. 

In case of emergency such as health reasons, disability, or insanity, early withdrawal may be allowed. In case of death of the member before the five-year maturity period, beneficiaries could claim the savings. 

What if you want to reinvest the money? That’s fine. After five years, you can register for a new MP2 account and keep on saving for another five years. You might be surprised with how much your money will grow over the years. 

SSS PESO Fund

Just like the MP2 savings facility, you can claim your savings after five years. Here’s the catch: you can only claim up to 35 percent of your savings, which is the medical and general purpose funds. The remaining 65 percent may only be withdrawn when either you reach the age of 60 OR you file for retirement or total disability with SSS. 

In case you withdraw before the fifth year, then SSS will charge a penalty fee. 

That being said, what is the better savings program? 

Both are good, but if you will be wiser with your money, then it is best to go for the PAG-IBIG MP2 savings facility. It is easier, more convenient, flexible, and allows you to grow your money. What more could you ask for? 

What You Should Know about SSS for OFWs

In separate posts, we discussed about OFW’s membership with Philhealth and PAG-IBIG. These two agencies provide additional benefits and services apart from what you can get from OWWA. Aside from these two government agencies, there is another agency that Overseas Filipino Workers like you could apply for – Social Security System or SSS. 

SSS is a state-run social insurance program catering to all Filipinos, regardless of the form of employment, except for those employed by the government. It was established in 1954 by virtue of RA 1164 or the Social Security Act of 1954. Later on, the said law was amended in 1997 upon passage of RA 8282. 

That being said, the question now is how can SSS help you to encourage you to continue your membership? Read on to find out. 

How to Register

For first-time members, you need to submit the following documents at the SSS branch nearest you:

  • Duly accomplished Overseas Worker Record (SS-Form OW-1). You can get a copy here
  • Original or certified true copy of Birth Certificate, Baptismal Certificate, or Passport. 
  • In the absence of these three documents, you may submit Driver’s License, Record of Employment, or Voter’s Identification Card among others. 

For convenience, you may also register online through the agency’s My.SSS portal. Simply visit the SSS’ online registration page and fill out necessary information to register. 

In case you have an existing SSS, then no worries. Your SS number will be used every time you make transactions. Nonetheless, make sure you check Overseas Worker in the SS Form RS-5 when you make a payment to update and change your status as OFW. 

Membership Contribution 

As of January 1, 2004, the Monthly Salary Credit (MSC) was increased from P1,000 to P5,000. This equates to minimum of P550 contribution every month. If you want more convenience, you may opt to pay for your contribution for the entire year. 

You can check out this link from SSS website for a complete schedule of contributions. 

In case you’re wondering if you can make payments from overseas, the answer is yes. SSS has branches in Asia, Middle East, and Europe where you can remit your contribution directly to the agency. Check out this link for specific areas where SSS representatives can be found. 

Benefits of Being a Member

You might say that this is just another way for the government to extort money. Still, being a member of SSS comes with perks. 

Here are some of the benefits of being a member:

  • Access to Loan Facilities- You might need extra cash for the purchase of your home or to pay an emergency expense. SSS offers various loan programs to its members that could fit your needs. If you are regularly and religiously paying your contributions, you can apply for Housing Loan, Salary Loan, or get benefits upon retirement. The best part is interest rate is usually lower compared to borrowing from banks. 
  • SSS Flexi Fund Program- This program is exclusive to SSS-OFW members. It invests the members’ funds into stable, low-risk fixed income securities, thereby allowing you to earn more than what ordinary savings account can give. Even if you are no longer working overseas, you can still continue with this program. Interest rates are based on either SSS’ short-term peso placement or 91-day Treasury Bills rate, whichever is higher. You can download the application form here and submit it in SSS branch near you.  
  • Social Benefits- SSS has an array of benefits like retirement, disability, death, and funeral. It may not seem a lot at first, but these social benefits could come in handy in case something happened. 

The bottom line is this: don’t underestimate these government agencies. They may not be of value for you now, but you’ll never know what could happen. Be a member and give yourself a peace of mind wherever you may be. 

5 Things to Remember for OFWs Spending Holidays in the Philippines

It’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year, especially now that you are allowed to go back home even for a few weeks. We also know how excited you are to spend the holidays with your family. 

Before you get too excited, there are certain things you need to remember as you prepare your trip back home. These are:

1. Make an Itinerary 

You are heading back home, so you need to make plans on where to go, what to do, and things you need to accomplish. If you plan to open an account, update records, or apply for a loan, then make sure include this in your itinerary.. This will give you an idea on how to set your budget and make necessary preparation for possible expenses. 

Why not just go with the flow? Spontaneity is fun, but you give yourself more room for temptation, at least when it comes to spending.

Therefore, make an itinerary. Having one allows you to make the most out of your stay in the country. 

2. Rethink about Balikbayan Boxes

One of the things your family always looks forward to is your pasalubong.You’ve been away for some time and you want to bring home every possible thing you could to share to your family, relatives, and friends. Plus, it is a Filipino tradition to do this and share your blessings to others.

Before you fill those balikbayan boxes, think again. 

To begin with, declaring international goods at Customs could be hassle. If you plan to send it in the Philippines, it will take a month or two before it arrives. 

Instead, bring only a handful of gifts to people who matters. You can still bring pasalubong items like chocolates and food, but place these inside your luggage instead. If you insist on giving something for everyone, shop at Duty Free. This way, you don’t have to worry about baggage allowance since you’re back home. Just make sure you allot a specific budget for that. 

3. AirBnB over Hotel Accommodation 

Let’s say part of your itinerary is to have a staycation with the family. That’s fine. The question is where will you stay? 

Hotel accommodation is tempting, but have you considered AirBnB? 

The good thing about AirBnB is that it offers more affordable staying options for you and your family. You can get an entire house that could accommodate your entire family without paying too much. Plus, you can bring and cook food, thereby helping you save extra instead of eating out. 

If you insist on trying out hotels for convenience, then that’s fine. There are hotels that offer affordable rooms. 

4. Apply for OEC Online 

OEC or Overseas Employment Certificate is among the most important documents you need to secure as proof that you are a legitimate OFW. The good news is returning workers will take easier path. 

Instead of lining up in POEA, you can get an OEC online through Balik Manggagawa Online Processing System or BM Online. If you are staying in the country for five days or less, you can already get your OEC at the Labor Assistance Counter in the airport. 

You can also read more about OEC for Balik Manggagawa here

5. Take it Easy on Spending

Yes, you are earning in dollars and you are earning more compared to your old job in the Philippines. Still, this is not an excuse to splurge and give in to everyone’s demands. 

This is why it is important to plan your stay in the Philippines. The itinerary will serve as your guide on how you will spend your vacation here. Also, learn when to say no to people, especially when money is involved. It’s not easy to earn money and surely, they have no idea about the sacrifices you went through just to provide a better future for your family. 

Above all, enjoy and have fun while it lasts. Christmas is that one occasion you want to spend with your family. Make the most out of your stay. 

Types of Insurance OFWs Should Consider for Their Family

Not many people believe in insurance – and we don’t blame you. The idea of paying premiums every month could be heavy on the pocket, especially when you have other expenses on the table.

Still, there are variety of reasons why you need to get an insurance. For starters, you’ll never know what will happen either to you or any member of the family. Also, savings is not enough to cover sudden expenses (especially if it involves six to seven digits). This is why it is important to start preparing for the uncertain and having an insurance could help you with that.

The question now is what type of insurance should you get for your family? Below are your options:

Life Insurance

This type of insurance pays lumpsum to the surviving family in case of death of the insured person or after a certain period.

There are three types:

  • Term Life Insurance – This provides death benefit payment after a certain period, usually within one to 30 years. It is also the most affordable type of life insurance in the market.  The issue with this is that in case death didn’t happen within the given period, the insured will get nothing.
  • Whole Life Insurance – This offers lifelong coverage plus death benefit and investment. The good thing about this type of policy is that you get to earn dividends, which you can withdraw whenever you need it.
  • Variable Universal Life (VUL) Insurance – This insurance type comes with disability, living, and death benefits as well as insurance component. The difference of VUL with whole life insurance is that you can choose where to invest your money.

Among the insurance types in the market, having a life insurance should be your priority. It offers financial support in case something happens to you plus the investment component could be helpful in growing your money and possibly covering expenses back home.

Health Insurance

This type of insurance reduces, if not cover all costs of healthcare services. This could be emergency, inpatient, outpatient, and preventive services. Healthcare insurance may be used not just by the policyholder but also by the qualified dependents.

Why should you get a health insurance? The answer is simple: healthcare is expensive in the Philippines. Getting an insurance will help you cover medical expenses without depleting your savings account and Emergency Fund (which we assume you have!)

Tip: Ask about including critical illness insurance coverage. This coverage includes serious illnesses like stroke, heart attack, brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and cerebral palsy among others. You might have to pay for additional premium, but this could be useful especially if critical illnesses run in the family.

Education Insurance 

Education can be expensive in the Philippines, especially if you want to send your children in the best universities in the country.

If your budget can accommodate it, then get an educational insurance for them. Consider this as a form of investment to ensure your child’s future. This is better than borrowing money when it’s time for your kids to go to college.

Education is something you could leave to your child and it is worth investing.

Home Insurance 

The purpose of insurance is to help you prepare for the inevitable. When you invested in a home, you need to make sure that it is protected against all possible loss or damage like fire, typhoon, or burglary. Your home might be affected of disaster caused by someone in the community, thereby losing everything you invested in that home.

Having a home insurance offers emotional and financial security and peace of mind. Nobody wants to experience disaster but in case it happens, at least you have something to turn to. Plus, it could help you reimburse expenses like medical, rental, and relocation so you don’t have to worry about getting these paid.

Car Insurance

Do you have a car? Then you need to have an insurance to make sure that expenses related to vehicular accident (medical bills and repairs among others) or theft will be covered.

It may be the least of your concern, but having a car insurance could give you peace of mind in case something happens.

Do you really need to get all of these insurance policies? Not really. Nonetheless, it is important to get at least one since this will give you financial security and peace of mind in case something happens.

The key here is to know your needs and find out which one should you prioritize. You can start with life insurance or health insurance since this will come in handy.

4 Passport Appointment Scams You Need to Avoid

One of the basic requirements of working overseas is passport. In fact, our passport should not be less than six months prior to expiration; otherwise, you will be asked to renew it. Many countries overseas are also strict about this six-months validity rule and won’t issue you Entry Visa or Work Permit if your passport is about to expire in six months.

Here’s the thing: applying for a passport is not that easy. In fact, some would take months before they can even book for an appointment. Because of this and the immediate need to fulfill requirements to be able to work abroad, some Filipinos turn to fixers, hoping to expedite the process and get their passports earlier than usual. Some are even pure scam and meant to extort money from you.

Save yourself from that by knowing these appointment scams you need to avoid:

Scam No. 1: The False Bar Code 

When you schedule an appointment online to either apply or renew a passport, you will notice the bar code on the top right of the application form. This is automatically generated from the DFA system.

Apparently, scammers would go the extra mile by printing false bar code on your application to make it appear that your passport application was submitted and accepted by the DFA system.

Scam No. 2: Applying on the Applicant’s Behalf

This is how it works: you approached a fixer because you need to get your passport pronto. The fixer will apply on your behalf and tell you that you can use the courtesy lane.

Don’t get too excited. Before you can proceed to the submission of your passport application, DFA representatives will check your application form and documents to see if you are qualified for the exemption. If you’re not, then you wasted money for nothing.

Scam No. 3: The Fixer’s Fee

The truth is DFA accepts endorsements from other government agencies as a form of courtesy or by way of accommodation.

Sadly, there are fixers who would go as far as falsifying or giving you fake endorsements from government agencies or officials just so you could process your passport. There are also some who got authentic endorsements from government agencies and sell this to passport applicants.

We understand the urgency of applying and getting your passport, but you don’t need to shell out thousands to be able to get one in an illegal manner.

Scam No. 4: Slot Not Under Your Name

Some fixers apply for a passport and get a reservation slot. Apparently, they won’t be renewing or applying for their own passport, rather said reservation slot will be sold to another person who is in need of a schedule.

The problem with this is that the slot is NOT reserved under your name. This could be problematic since even if you have a slot, the person in the given schedule is different from you and has different details. This will prompt DFA representatives not to allow you to enter and proceed with the passport application.

These forms of scam are frowned upon by the DFA and encouraged Filipinos to go legal. Yes, they admitted that it could take time before you’re able to get a slot but be patient. It is better to wait legitimately than process and get your passport fast but with accompanying dangers like fake passport.

Still, don’t worry. Per DFA website, Overseas Filipino Workers (both land- and sea-based) do not need passport appointment. You may avail of the Courtesy Lane anytime from Monday to Friday, which means no appointment needed. This will make application or renewal easier and more convenient for you.

You just need to bring the following documents or proof of your OFW status such as:

  • Valid iDOLE card
  • Valid employment contract
  • Valid Work Visa
  • Seaman’s book (for sea-based applicants) stamped at international border less than 365 days from date of application

You may also choose between regular or expedite processing, depending on how soon you need it.

4 Investment Tips to Remember for OFWs

Sometimes, working hard is not enough to be able to secure your family’s future. Life overseas is unstable and there is always a possibility that you might be asked to go home even if your contract is not yet due because of various reasons like political turmoil, civil uprising, or tragedy among others.

In case that happens, are you ready?

This is why time and again, we always emphasize the importance of investing your money. In doing so, you are not only making your money grow but also ensuring everybody’s future because you always have funds to back you up.

The question now is how do you invest?

Here are tips you need to remember to make sure you make the most out of your investment:

1. Knowledge is power. 

For the laymen, investment can be overwhelming and difficult to understand. This could also be the reason why there are many who prefer not to invest because it’s something that they cannot comprehend.

That should not be your mentality. It could be overwhelming at first, but that’s what the Internet is for. Simply type “investment” and you will find tons of articles, podcasts, videos, and blog posts about it. Take your time to go through the information in front of you so you will have better understanding of what your options are and how each of them works.

If self-study is not your style, then you might want to consider attending seminars about investing. In case you have questions, you will easily get answers because someone who knows a lot about investing is in front of you.

2. Know the difference between good and bad investment. 

No pun intended, but scammers are most likely to lure OFWs to invest in their “venture” with a promise of high return of money after a week or one month at most. Since you are interested in growing your money (and hopefully as quick as possible), you decided to sign up.

Be careful. Before you invest your money into something, you need to make sure the legality of such investment deal. There is no such thing as double or triple your money in one week. Yes, you can grow your money, but this will take time, months or years even, before you can reap the benefits.

Be vigilant and stick to banks and other legitimate investment companies in growing your hard-earned money.

3. Send remittances regularly. 

When you invest, there is a higher possibility that your family back home will manage it or process necessary acts on your behalf. This way, you don’t have to worry about it and just focus on your work overseas.

To make sure that your investments are properly maintaining, you should be able to send money regularly for this specific purpose. You can use the money sent for various investment purposes like increasing the amount of your investment or getting another type of investment.

Speaking of remittances, it is important that you send money on safe and legitimate channels. This way, you are sure that the money you sent from overseas will arrive in the Philippines.

4. Go online. 

You are miles away from home and you only rely on your family when it comes to managing your investment. Still, you need to be on top of everything to ensure that your hard-earned money is spent wisely.

Therefore, go online. If the disbursement account is through a specific bank account, make sure you apply for online banking facility so you can easily track your investments. Don’t forget to check it regularly.

Take note that this will not guarantee you a million by the end of the year, but investing your money will help you a lot in making it grow. Don’t be afraid and give investing a try. There are tons of investment options available and it’s just a matter of finding the right track for you.