How to Apply for “Home Leave” for your Filipino Maid (without an agency!)

Thought I’d share with you the steps I took in successfully applying for home leave on my own, without going through an agency in Singapore, bc we’ve just applied and received ours this week! I brought my dog Milk here from the US without one detailed in the post here (though it was a super frustrating and LONG process), so I figured I can do this too. It wasn’t easy as the philippine embassy want to make it as confusing for you as possible so that you end up paying up and hiring the agency to do it for you. But it can be done, with a bit of patience and persistence. I’ve tried to best summarize the steps so that you can just follow the steps below and not think twice about it.

Few things to note:

  • Start this 2~3 months prior her departure date.
  • If you go through a Lucky Plaza agency to do this for you, it’ll cost you anywhere from $280 to 400. You can have your maid go and compare the rates amongst the agencies. You do not and should not go through the agency in which you hired your maid (unless it’s one of the few that has this service in Lucky Plaza), as they will basically hire a third-party agency (yes, those in Lucky Plaza that you can find yourself) to do it for them and charge you another $50~100 on top for the referral fee.
  • If you do this on your own, it’ll cost you anywhere between $100~180, depending on the documents that you already have.
  • Despite what is generally known, you CAN apply without an agency even if your helper has not yet finished her contract. My helper has worked with me only for 3 months and we have successfully done this on our own.
  • The maid can, during a weekday (Philippine Embassy hours: Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.) go to embassy on her own and apply herself. You, the employer, do not need to be there.
  • Make sure to make copies of all the documents (at least three or more for each, as it seems to differ for each officer), the embassy otherwise charges $0.50 cents per.
  • Make sure your maid is dressed in pants below her knees and closed sandals, or she won’t be allowed in the embassy.


The steps:

1. First and foremost, go to this link and make an appointment at the embassy. This is to obtain the OEC (one of the documents you need). You should hurry and book even if you haven’t bought a flight ticket yet as the open slots are usually a month away, and they insist that you book one month prior to your maid’s departure date  (so you would need to basically start two~three months before the departure date. side note: OEC is actually valid up to 60 days, up to her return date).  If the time slot available is less than a month before her departure, don’t panic. Call or email them and explain your situation- I’ve heard of cases where they allowed the maid to come in the next day to get one bc of the time constraint. But book early, because you never know what you can or cannot get by with these ppl as rules are always changing and the number of copies needed varies by each officer. My maid didn’t have an email account, so i signed up with my email and had her fill out the profile section pertaining to her bio. After you select your time slot, PRINT THREE COPIES OF THE APPOINTMENT SHEET.

2. Book the flight ticket. Print out and make copies.

3. Apply for your $7000 insurance bond at NTUC online or by phone.  You do not need to visit in person! I actually did mine on the phone bc I had many questions on this stupid insurance (I still don’t get it, but basically it’s just another scheme for these ppl to make money) and I was able to buy one in 15 minutes. It takes up to ONE WEEK for your physical copy to arrive in mail. You need this original copy for the next step.


4. CRUCIAL: Once your physical NTUC proof of insurance arrives, send your maid to the embassy BEFORE the actual OEC appointment date with:

#1.

The NTUC insurance (not a copy, but the original NTUC sheet)

#2.

 fill out, print out, and make copies of all the following: (you’ll need it sooner or later anyway) OFW Information Sheet (OEC)OWWA Information SheetApplication for Accreditation (Domestic Worker)Employment Contract for Household Service Workers (Direct)

or go to this link for all the forms, if above links are broken (provided by Ks Toh)

#3

and bring & make copies: Maid’s Work permit AND copies, Maid’s passport AND copies

Employer’s work permit copies (no need for original)
Employer’s passport copies (no need for original)
Two-way ticket or itinerary
Updated receipt of Pag-ibig Fund membership contribution (optional)

Go to the embassy and tell them that you need to “authenticate” and obtain her Philippine embassy contract and get her OWWA, preferably before 1pm to give ample time (they close at 4pm). She needs to show the NTUC insurance to get her Philippine contract, and she needs the Philippine contract to show at her OEC appointment. Sounds confusing? Yes I know, but it’ll save you trouble of visiting the agency multiple times.

note: The contract given to you by your agency when you first hired her IS NOT VALID. If your agency did not give you a Philippines authenticated contract (and most don’t, as you don’t need it unless she travels abroad), then you’d need to fill out the form and have it “authenticated.”


5. Go back a week later to pick up the Philippines authenticated contract, or like my maid, go later at her OEC appointment date to pick up the contract then, and then proceed with the OEC application.

Here’s the price breakdown of everything I paid for:

NTUC: paid $71.69
Phillipines Authentic Contract: $42.50 (contract fee)+ 17 (verification fee)= $59
OWWA: $42 (update: As of Feb 2016, I was told the fee is now $34)
OEC: $3
= comes out to $168.19 (with the new OWWA fee, as updated by Ks. Toh)

Hope this helps some of you. Note again that I never set a foot inside the Philippines embassy, and we applied for the OEC appointment, NTUC insurance, and downloaded all the forms ONLINE. And my maid had to only go to the embassy physically TWICE.  I don’t actually know the details of these documents or do I really care to know, I was just told from a friend that they are the Philippine’s government’s attempt of making more $$ off of their poor citizens bc most aren’t actually even necessary. So please try to pay for these document fees instead of making them pay for it, or making them go through an agency!

41 thoughts on “How to Apply for “Home Leave” for your Filipino Maid (without an agency!)

  1. Pooi Yoke says:

    Hi Angie,

    Would like to check on the home leave application. You mentioned your maid work for you ❤ months and able to apply the leave on your own? My maid is with me for 10 months and I am giving her home leave in december for christmas.
    I dont understand the procedure below:

    "Go to the agency and tell them that you need to “authenticate” and obtain her Philippine embassy contract and get her OWWA"

    You mean I need to contact the maid agency to get this? Do I need to pay for it?

    My maid is having her home leave in dec, so i should start to apply in sep?

    Thanks in advance for your advise.

  2. Angie says:

    Hi pooi yoke!

    Thanks for pointing this out. I meant to write to go to the EMBASSY, not the agency. You do not need to go to an agency to file this process at all, unless you’re going just to check whether they forgot to give you the authentic Philippine contract. Most of the time, maid agencies won’t provide them when you bring your helper home and will make you pay for them later at the embassy, though I heard it is required. so if you do NOT have the Philippine authenticated contract like the most of us, this is the first document you’d need, to apply for the OEC later. You can get the OWWA at the same time as the authenticated contract since it requires same documents.

    You or the maid will have to pay for the authenticated contract, which is $59 total, inclusive of some “verification fee” they throw in there. I just paid for her bc she’s been great so far but it’s totally up to you! the employers are only required to pay for their flight ticket and a paid leave once every two years.

    I would defininitely start the process early in September if you are doing this on your own. Buy the ticket, send her to the embassy to get the contract/owwa immediately, and sign up for the OEC appointment as avail appt slot can be weeks away. ours was around a month wait and they required us to get the OEC one month prior to her departure date, so that’s already two months needed just to get the OEC. hope this helps!

    xo Angie

  3. Agnes says:

    Thank you for such an honest sharing of the process! We are going to do it ourselves this year (having outsourced to maid agencies the previous years to do it). Appreciate if you can advise if I can make the online appointment for 25.09.2015 but my helper is only going for her homeleave 15.12.2015, am afraid the date of issue of the OEC is valid for exit up to 2 months only? Thank you.

    • Angie says:

      Hi Agnes!

      It states that the e-receipt and OEC are valid for sixty (60) days from the date of issuance, so you may want to extend the appt by a week or two just to be sure! but OEC is actually to RETURN BACK to Singapore, not to exit from as it sometimes states, so it’s something that your maid can also get in the Philippines easily. so it’s the least of your worries, but it’s always good to have it ready!

      xo
      Angie

  4. Christina says:

    Dear Angie,

    1) will the embassy need my maid’s passport and hold the original passport?
    because we are going hong kong mid nov and worried that she may not get her passport back in time for the trip.
    2) if my maid is leaving Singapore on 29 dec and back 2 weeks after, does that mean I have to only apply OEC in mid October?

    • Angie says:

      Hi Christina,

      The embassy will NOT withold your maid’s passport as long as she’s present- they just need the originals for verification and will take the copies.

      You should start 2~3 months prior to her departure date, so right now up to October would be the right time to book at appt for the OEC (OEC is valid for 60 days after it’s issued, including the return date). The $7000 bond insurance also starts from the date you buy (valid up to two years) so you also want to maximize your usage on that! hope this helps!

      xo angie

  5. Catherine says:

    Hi there.
    Thanks for writing this up. It is incredibly useful and gives me hope that I can sort it myself! The only problem I’m experiencing is the Embassy website. The links to the pages aren’t working. Do you know of anywhere else I can find the forms? I’ve tried phoned the Embassy repeatedly and can never actually get through to talk to someone about this. It’s so frustrating!

  6. miniclover says:

    Hi Angie,

    Thank you for your detailed explanation.

    Few things to check with you.

    1. Do we need to renew her work permit first before submission of the documents to the embassy?
    2. Can we provide a dummy ticket to the embassy in case there is a change of date?
    3. Can we purchase the bonds and insurance under the NTUC?
    4. There is a change in her salary, do we need to amend the default salary or we can used the template? Do we need the covert the PDF template to word format so that we can type all the information in or in handwritten for submission?

    • Angie says:

      Hi Miniclover,

      1. If her work permit is expiring during or before her vacation, then you would need to renew. Otherwise I don’t think it’s necessary but if it’s expiring within 6 months I think it’s best that you check with the embassy.
      2. No, you need to have the actual ticket for proof of travel dates, but if you change the dates I’m not sure if you have to phone or walk-in again to get the dates changed.
      3. Yes, you can purchase the insurance by phoning directly to NTUC.
      4. This is an internal matter and the embassy won’t notice unless the helper comments on it directly to them. You can just use what’s on the template. and we handwrote ours. hope this helps!

      • miniclover says:

        Thanks for your prompt reply. My sister has accompanied my helper to the embassy today. But the waiting time is really long. She waited for 2.5hrs++ before reaching her turn. Our next OEC appointment is 29 Feb and embassy has re-scheduled to 2 Mar instead.

      • Angie says:

        oh wow, you still had to wait 2.5 hrs even with the appointment? guess there are a lot of travelers as of late. i didn’t know they would reschedule an appointment bc it is full, so thanks for the heads up for the rest of the readers.

  7. Ks Toh says:

    Thank you for this guide. We just followed it and managed to get everything done! Only thing left is for my helper to go back next month and hopefully return. And yes, it is possible to DIY (my helper is only with us for 8 months). Just a couple of changes:

    1. My helper went to the Philippines Embassy website and obtained an OEC Appointment which was like 2 weeks away. We then realised we had to buy the bond and get the official employment contract authenticated. By the time we received the bond by post (8 days later) and tried to get the contract authenticated (1 week), the OEC Appointment date was over. So, it might be better to book the OEC Appointment date later. In our case, my helper explained that her appointment was already over, and the embassy allowed her to do the OEC at the same time when she went to collect her authenticated employment contract.

    2. The OFW Information Sheet can be downloaded here: http://www.owwa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/files/Downloads/OSMP.pdf
    If you edit the URL and stop at “… downloads/” you will see other forms.

    3. There was no requirement for Application for Accreditation.

    4. The fee for OWWA was only $34. So total, we paid $168.19:
    – NTUC Bond $71.69
    – Authentication $42.50
    – Verification $17
    – OWWA $34
    – OEC $3

    • Angie says:

      Hi Ks Toh!

      Glad it helped and thanks for the update on some of the changes! I guess OWWA pricing went down and will amend my site accordingly with the link you provided as well. Right, with the OEC appointments, GREAT if you can get an appt sooner than a month wait (last year, the only available slots were all month away) but you’d definitely have to make sure you can get all the other required documents in time before you make it to your OEC appointment. I’m sure your helper will have a great vacay and be back, I think we were just one of the few unlucky ones. 😛

      xo
      Angie

  8. kstohsg says:

    This guide has been great. I followed it and managed to get everything done. And yes, we were able to DIY even though my helper is with us for 8 months only. Just a couple of differences.

    1. If the OWWA documents cannot be found on the Philippines Embassy website, you can find them here: http://www.owwa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/files/Downloads/ The “OFW Information Sheet” is named “OSMP.pdf”. The “Application for Accreditation” was not required.

    2. A good time to apply for the OEC Appointment may be around the time you purchase the bond. Choose a date about 2 weeks away. My helper applied for hers too early and the date was missed before the bond arrived by post. She explained her problem to the Embassy and they allowed her to do the OEC when she went back to collect her authenticated contract.

    3. We paid only $34 for OWWA. Not sure why. So, total expense (excluding air ticket) was $71.69 + $42.50 + $17.00 + $34.00 + $3.00 = $168.19. I think agents charge about double this?

    Now we are just waiting for her to go back next month and hopefully return! I just read your subsequent post which said your helper failed to return! Like you, we trust our helper and let her go back even though she is with us for only a few months, and like you, we paid for everything. Just hope that everything goes smoothly. Guess this last part is beyond our control.

    P.s. I posted twice last night from my MacBook but the posts did not appear. Please delete any duplicates.

    • Kate Jung says:

      Hi Ks Toh and Angie,

      Thank you very much for all the information presented here. It is extremely helpful and easy to follow! I have been quite suffering to find the right process and things to be done for OEC application and this was the most helpful for me.

      One thing I am not quite sure is that what is the difference between OFW Information Sheet (OEC) and OWWA Information Sheet? I have downloaded “OFW Information Sheet” named “OSMP.pdf” however was not able to find OWWA information sheet that is required to get the OWWA. Could you please advise which file (under what name) is “OWWA information sheet”?

      Many Thanks in advance.

      Kate

  9. Yvonne Lin says:

    Hi Angie

    I’m having a huge problem trying to fix an OEC appointment. It wants me to sign up and key in all her information. May I know if I’m at the correct stage ?

    Regds
    Yvonne

    • Angie says:

      Hi Yvonne,

      Yes, you’d have to go through the process. My maid didn’t have an email address so i actually had to use mine and set up the account for her with her info. I agree it’s a lot of unnecessary work just to get her to visit back home. anyway hope this helps!

      xo Angie

  10. Sharon Fernandez says:

    hI, thanks for this helpful post, i plan to do it myself too. However while employing my helper i bought an insurance for her, is that valid? or do i need to buy one again?

  11. Sharon Fernandez says:

    I already have an insurance for my helper, took it during her contract, do i still need to buy an additional insurance?

    • Angie says:

      Hi Sharon,

      I think the insurance you originally bought prior to this is probably different as you only need this “travel insurance” if she were to travel back to her hometown. and yes, you’d need to buy this additional travel insurance on top of what you already have. hope this helps

      xo angie

  12. Kim says:

    Hi,
    This is such a great post ! However im still in the confusion.
    Can i check if my maid is going for home leave after her two year completion, and i understand that i need to do a new contract before i apply for OEC, How shall i go about it? Is it the same as what you posted up there as i saw most of you doing it during her contract service.
    Much appreciated!

    • Angie says:

      Hi Kim,

      Very good question. Can anyone else comment on this? I believe you still have to go through all the steps above and get her OEC, insurance, etc. The only difference the agencies and embassy stated from my memory is that you do NOT need to go through an agency after the two yrs is over. You can apply yourself directly. But as my post states, you CAN legally apply yourself without going through an agency even before the contract is up, too. They just don’t tell you that. Any comments on this matter appreciated!

      xo Angie

  13. Elsa says:

    Hi Angie,
    My helper is going back in 24/10 and I got an appointment on 31/8. Is it too early? Also the email states she would need to bring a valid visa. Can I know where do I apply for it? Thanks

    • Angie says:

      Hi Elsa,

      valid visa? Sorry not sure what you’re referring to as the very process is the application procedure to obtain one. and which appointment are you referring to? Would anyone else be able to help her out?

      Angie

  14. Satin Din says:

    This is a terrific post, thank you very much! You’re doing a great public service. I am about to start this process, and so I just want to reconfirm:

    The Philippines embassy states (http://www.philippine-embassy.org.sg/labor/hsw/oec/):

    “Eligible and qualified employer to process the authenticated Employment Contract at the Philippine Embassy: Worker has served continuously for at least two (2) years with the same employer. But if less than two (2) years, the processing will be through an accredited Singapore employment agency.”

    So basically, the last line about going through an agency if the helper has worked for less than 2 years is to be completely ignored?

    • Angie says:

      yes! My helper had worked with me for only three months when it was successfully approved. seems like they just state that so they can make more money!

  15. sharon fernandez says:

    My Helper has also not completed her 2 yr contact, its one yr and i would be sending her for 1 month to Philippines during Christmas, i have booked her tickets for 9th Dec and return 6th Jan 2017. I would like to check i have registered her at the OEC as you mentioned however need to book a slot when do you suggest i book an appointment for? When it states the OEC is valid for 60 days of her return does it mean i need to apply for OEC appt by 6th Nov calculating 60 days or can i bk appt in Oct? Im a bit confused

    Secondly her contract was from an agency in Singapore is it still necessary to authenticate it?
    Do all this process happen in a day or would she need to go down multiple times?
    Should i buy the NTUC insurance now itself or wait closer to date of her OEC? Thank you

    • John Silver says:

      –>her contract was from an agency in Singapore is it still necessary to authenticate it?

      The original post says, “The contract given to you by your agency when you first hired her IS NOT VALID. If your agency did not give you a Philippines authenticated contract (and most don’t, as you don’t need it unless she travels abroad), then you’d need to fill out the form and have it “authenticated.”

      –>Do all this process happen in a day or would she need to go down multiple times?

      The original post says, “my maid had to only go to the embassy physically TWICE.”

      One for the contract verification, and the second time at the OEC appointment. She could have gone a third time to pick up the verified contract, but it sounds like it is possible to pick it at the same time at the OEC appointment. I’m asking my helper to reconfirm when she goes the first time for the contract verification whether it is possible to do that.

      • Angie says:

        She needs to go first to get her contract authenticated. then when she goes for her OEC appointment, she can pick up the authenticated contract first, and then head for the OEC appt which requires the authenticated contract as one of the documents needed. So the visit can be limited to twice.

  16. John Silver says:

    This is a fabulously helpful post. Thank you!

    One question: does the first trip that the helper makes to the embassy for getting the contract authenticated require an appointment of any sort? Or should she basically show up at any point during the office hours of the place?

    • Angie says:

      Hi John,

      No, she can just do walk in for getting the contract authenticated. She no longer needs the OEC document though if she travels AFTER sept 15th. Sorry for the late reply!

      Angie

  17. May says:

    who should pay for these, is it the FDW or the employer (I cannot find anywhere where it stated that it should be paid by the employer though)
    Phillipines Authentic Contract: $42.50 (contract fee)+ 17 (verification fee)= $59
    OWWA: $42 (update: As of Feb 2016, I was told the fee is now $34)
    OEC: $3

    • Angie says:

      Hi May,

      It is entirely up to you. I just paid for mine as a gift to entice for her to work harder. But there is no statement in the contract that requires you to pay for anything if she is traveling before her two-year contract is up.

      Angie

  18. Elly says:

    It might sound dumb,, but just one question.
    copies of the contract, is it for the old contract? (which is ending soon) or the new contract? (to start after the home leave)?

    TIA!

    • Angie says:

      Hi Elly,

      not a dumb question at all, I have no clue either! I would say to take both just in case but in your case the process will be smooth since she is going back after she already has finished her contract. If your new contract is not “authenticated” yet, then it might be best to authenticate that first in your application process whether than the original contract copy because the embassy does not see that as the valid contract.

      xo angie

  19. Katherina says:

    Thanks so much for this post.
    My ganjiong hubby wants me to book the air tickets first. And my helper is only leaving in Aug 2017. Can i buy the air tickets first and then apply for everything else later? Since i still have half a year. ><"

    • Angie says:

      Hi Katherina, yes I don’t think it matters how many months ahead you buy the tickets. you just need the proof that you purchased them when she goes in for her appt. 🙂

      xo angie

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