Published 2 September 2019, The Daily Tribune

In my previous column, I pointed out that all foreign nationals who intend to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines are required to secure an Alien Employment Permit (AEP). The term “gainful employment” means that there is an employer-employee relationship which will be created between the Philippine-based employer and the foreign national.

Here is the completion of the two-part article on the requirement and procedure in applying for an AEP.


Applications for AEP shall be filed at the DOLE Regional Office or Field Office where the intended place of work is located.

Processing Period

For new AEP applications, the AEP shall be issued within 3 working days from the publication of the new AEP application in a newspaper of general circulation and payment of the required fees and fines, if any.

For AEP renewal applications, the AEP shall be issued within one working day after receipt of the application.

However, the average processing period may take longer depending on the volume of applications received by DOLE.


The AEP shall be valid for a period of one year, unless the employment contract provides for a longer term. In any case, the AEP shall not exceed for more than three years. Note, however, that the AEP shall only be valid for the position and for the company for which it was issued. Therefore, if the foreign national was promoted or appointed to a new position by the same employer, he/she and the employer will still have to apply for a new AEP. Also, if the foreign national transfers to another employer, but with the same position, the new employer and the foreign national will also have to apply for a new AEP.


Applications for renewal of AEP shall be filed with DOLE not earlier than 60 days before the expiration of the AEP. However, foreign employees may file their application earlier than the prescribed period in case they need to leave the country or in other similar circumstances.

In case of officers whose appointment or election takes place before the expiration of their AEP, the application must be filed not later than 15 working days after the appointment, or before the expiration of the AEP, whichever comes later.

In case the appointment or election will take place after the expiration of AEP, the application for renewal must be filed before the expiration of the AEP which can be renewed for a period of 1 year. Thereafter, the foreign national should submit a Secretary’s Certification of election or appointment to DOLE within 15 working days from the date of election or appointment. If no certification is filed, the AEP shall be revoked by the Regional Director within 1 month from its issuance.


A fine of Ten Thousand Pesos (PhP10,000.00) for every year or a fraction thereof shall be imposed on any foreign national who is found working without a valid AEP. Also, a fine of Ten Thousand Pesos (PhP10,000.00) for every year or a fraction thereof shall be imposed on the employer who is found to employ a foreign national without a valid AEP.

Non-payment of the above penalty will result to the employer being prohibited from employing any foreign national for any position.

In order to avoid the above penalty, newly hired or appointed foreign nationals should file their AEP applications before the commencement date of their employment as indicated in the contract.

Whether you are foreign national desiring to obtain work in the Philippines, a human resource professional or a company owner which employs or need to hire foreign nationals, it pays to have a working knowledge the governing rules and the nitty-gritty of securing an Alien Employment Permit to ensure compliance with immigration laws.

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