7 Essential Tips for First-Time OFWs: How to Apply Abroad Smoothly

May 14, 2023

Are you a first-time OFW and feeling overwhelmed by the idea of applying for an overseas job? There is no need to panic! All it takes is some preparation and research in order to have a smooth processing of your application. To help make this process more manageable, here are seven essential tips every first-time OFW must know so they can successfully apply abroad.

From understanding the requirements needed before applying to making informed choices regarding your career path, these tips will help guide you in making sure that everything runs smoothly throughout the entire process.

Why apply abroad?

Before diving into the details, let's take a moment to understand why most Filipinos choose to work abroad. Despite the scarcity of jobs in the Philippines and lack of job security, working abroad provides employment opportunities for overseas Filipino workers to acquire better salaries and benefits while living away from home. Moreover, OFWs can remit money back home, ultimately helping their families and the Philippine economy.

How Do I Register As An Overseas Filipino Worker?

The first step to becoming an OFW is registering with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). The POEA provides additional information and services such as getting a valid overseas employment certificate, applying for necessary documents like visas, OECs, employment contracts, work permits, and more. This also serves as a way of monitoring the welfare of all Filipino workers abroad. Check out the POEA website to make sure you are properly registered.

Tips for First-Time OFWs

Are you planning to work overseas for the first time? As an aspiring overseas Filipino worker (OFW), applying abroad might seem overwhelming and nerve-racking. But with proper preparation and guidance, your journey toward a successful career abroad can be made smoother.

Vista Residences will provide you with seven essential tips to make your application process less daunting and more successful. From knowing your rights to being cautious when choosing agencies, we've got you covered. Read on to find out more.

Tip #1: Research the job market and opportunities abroad.

Before applying for a job abroad, it's essential to research the job market in your target country. Like a fresh graduate, learn about the salary rates, the benefits, and the living expenses. You can also browse through online job sites or social media platforms to look for job postings. This way, you can have a better idea of what kinds of jobs are available and their requirements.

Tip #2: Make sure to comply with the necessary documents and OFW requirements.

To apply for a job overseas, you need to secure various documents, including your passport, visa, and other relevant IDs. Always check if you have all of these before applying. Moreover, you should also know the specific requirements of the job you are applying for, such as work experience, education, or certifications.

Tip #3: Seek advice from skilled professionals, family, and acquaintances.

One of the essential things to remember when applying abroad is to seek advice and employment guidance from skilled professionals such as friends, relatives, and former colleagues who have been through the same process. Listen to their experiences, ask for tips and advice, and learn from their mistakes and successes.

Tip #4: Be aware of your rights as an OFW.

As an OFW, you have the right to decent and humane work conditions, fair wages, and benefits. Knowing your rights as a Filipino overseas worker will help you identify job offers that may violate your rights and enable you to address them properly.

Tip #5: Be cautious when choosing agencies.

Unfortunately, some agencies take advantage of first-time job seekers, especially those who are not familiar with the application process. Before deciding which agency to trust, always verify their legitimacy by checking their accreditation and feedback from previous clients. Remember that some red flags, like overly high fees or false promises, indicate an illegitimate recruiter. You can also check in with the Philippine Embassy and the POEA for assistance.

Tip #6: Educate yourself about the culture and laws of the country you're working in.

Before moving to a foreign country, it's essential to learn about the culture and laws of the place where you're going to work. Learn about their cultural values, customs, and beliefs to adjust to and respect their culture. Also, invest time in understanding their laws and travel regulations, especially those concerning migration and employment.

Tip #7: Prepare yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Working abroad may bring numerous challenges, from culture shock to homesickness. To help you adapt and cope, prepare yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Keep a healthy lifestyle, engage in hobbies or activities that you enjoy, and build a support system to guide you throughout your journey.

Things to Bring Abroad for OFW

Are you a first-time OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker)? Going abroad to work is exciting, yet it can be overwhelming and daunting. There are so many things to consider, like packing all the necessary items—both personal and professional—to ensure your travels go smoothly. Here are some must-have items every OFW should bring before embarking on their journey abroad!

Passport and Visa

The most important document to bring with you on your travels is, of course, your passport. Make sure that it is valid and up-to-date on all the necessary requirements before leaving in order to avoid any problems upon arrival at your destination country. Additionally, if you have applied for and been approved for a visa and an overseas employment certificate (OEC), make sure you have a copy of them in addition to your passport and boarding pass, just in case immigration officers look for them.

Copies of essential documents

Copies of all essential documents, such as your birth certificate, overseas employment certificate, marriage license, or diploma, should be brought with you in case they are needed for legal purposes. Additionally, being able to prove that you have the important documents if requested by officials and airport security is essential.

Bring the original copies, photocopies, and digital copies (preferably on a USB drive) of the following documents: It is important that you bring these with you all the time while traveling on your departure date.

Insurance Card

Health insurance is a must when traveling abroad; you’ll want to be sure that you are covered in the case of an emergency or accident. Bring your current health insurance card and other documents with you and make sure it covers any medical needs you may have while overseas—this includes trips back home in case of emergency.


You’ll want to bring enough money for your entire journey, including cash as well as credit and debit cards. Make sure to check with your bank prior to leaving to ensure that you are able to use any cards abroad and research the exchange rate in order to get the most out of your money.

Necessary Medications

Before leaving for your journey abroad, make sure to bring enough of any necessary medications that you may need. Additionally, it is a good idea to have the name and address of your doctor or pharmacy in case you need more supplies or medical advice while overseas.

Packing List

It may seem like a no-brainer, but having a well-thought-out packing list of the most important things is essential when traveling abroad. Make sure to include all the necessary items, such as clothing, toiletries, electronics, and any other personal items you may need. You’ll also want to check with your employer prior to leaving for specific requirements or items that you may need for work.

Phone and Contacts

Make sure to bring your phone with you and program any important contacts, such as family members, friends, or employers, into it before leaving. Additionally, you may want to consider getting an international data plan in order to stay connected while overseas. Have all your significant contacts, including your employer's, listed to serve as your backup in case of an emergency or, if you are unlucky, in the event of a drained phone battery upon arrival.

These are some of the essential items that you should bring with you when traveling abroad for work. Being prepared and organized ahead of time can help make your journey smoother, more enjoyable, and stress-free!

As exciting and challenging as applying for work abroad may be, it's essential to be cautious throughout the journey. Knowing and applying these seven essential tips when preparing for overseas work can make a significant difference in the application process.

Remember to research, comply, and educate yourself about the job market, requirements, culture, and laws of your target country. Seek advice from skilled professionals, and avoid fraudulent agencies. By doing these things, you'll be one step closer to achieving your dream career abroad.

For more information on Vista Residences, email [email protected], follow @VistaResidencesOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, or call the Marketing Office at 0999 886 4262 / 0917 582 5167.

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