2022 Philippine Elections

#PHVote Guides: How to register to vote overseas during a pandemic

Michelle Abad
#PHVote Guides: How to register to vote overseas during a pandemic
(2nd UPDATE) If you’re a Filipino or dual citizen, you’re eligible to vote in the 2022 elections even if you’ll be abroad

At least 1.4 million overseas Filipinos are so far eligible to vote in the 2022 Philippine polls. Despite the likelihood that the coronavirus pandemic will still be around in many parts of the world next year, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) aims to have 1.6 million more register.

Based on Comelec data as of May 19, there are 1,423,941 total registered overseas voters. These Filipinos abroad will get to cast their votes ahead of the larger population at home, their 30-day voting period running from April 10 to May 9, 2022.

Do you want to cast your vote from afar in the next Philippine elections? Here are some things to know.

Who can vote overseas?

Filipino citizens or dual citizens who are abroad, or will be abroad, during the 30-day voting period, from April 10 to May 9, 2022, are eligible to vote.

They must be 18 years old by April 10, 2022, and must not otherwise be disqualified by law.

There are overseas Filipinos who cannot exercise voting rights. According to the Comelec, they are those who:

  • Lost their Filipino citizenship
  • Renounced their Filipino citizenship or have pledged allegiance to a foreign country
  • Were convicted in a final judgment by a court or tribunal of an offense punishable by imprisonment of not less than one year
  • Were previously declared insane or incompetent by competent authority in the Philippines or abroad
When is the registration period?

For the following types of applications, the registration period is from December 16, 2019, to September 30, 2021:

  • Registration/Certification
  • Transfer of registration record from post to post (e.g. from Hong Kong to Singapore)
  • Transfer of registration record from abroad to the Philippines 
  • Change of name due to marriage or court order/correction of entries in the voter’s registration record
  • Reactivation of voter’s record
  • Change of address

In July 2021, the Comelec began offering fully online services for applications that do not require live biometrics capturing, like reactivation of registration, and updating of addresses.

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What are the registration requirements?

If you’re a Filipino citizen, you will need a valid Philippine passport. In the absence of a passport, you will need a certification from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that:

  • The DFA has reviewed documents you submitted and found them sufficient to warrant the issuance of a passport.
  • Or, you have a valid Philippine passport but cannot produce it for a valid reason.

If you’re a dual citizen, you’ll need an original or certified true copy of:

  • An Order of Approval to retain or reacquire Filipino citizenship issued by the post
  • Or, an Identification Certificate issued by the Philippine post abroad or the Bureau of Immigration

If you’re a seafarer, you’ll need:

  • Photocopy of Seaman’s Book
  • Any other pertinent document that would be required by Comelec

If you’ve secured the requirements, you’ll need to accomplish an application form called OVF No. 1. The PDF from Comelec’s website can be found here. Physical copies can also be found at the posts abroad. You can also fill up the form online using iRehistro.

Overseas voters are not included in the Comelec’s newly launched mobile app for registration, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez told Rappler on Tuesday, June 15.

Where do I register?

Qualified voters can register in any post abroad. These include Philippine embassies, consulates, and designated registration centers. The Comelec website has the full list of posts and their respective countries or territories. 

On Friday, June 11, the Comelec said that voting was suspended in Tripoli, Libya, and Baghdad, Iraq, due to conflict in these areas.

If you’ll be in the Philippines during the registration period, there are local registration centers for overseas voting as well. These are:

  • Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) Comelec Main – Intramuros 
  • Marina Industry Authority (MARINA) – SM Manila
  • DFA Consular Office West, NCR – SM Manila
  • DFA Aseana – Aseana Business Park, Parañaque City
  • DFA Robinsons Galleria – Edsa cor. Ortigas Avenue
  • Philippine Overseas Employment Administration – Ortigas Avenue cor. Edsa

All of these local registration offices are open from Mondays to Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm. An exception is the DFA Consular Office West, which operates from Mondays to Fridays from 10 am to 6 pm.

The Comelec recommends that aspiring voters bring their own alcohol or hand sanitizer, as well as their own blue or black ballpoint pens as safety protocols against COVID-19.

What is the registration procedure?
  1. Secure and submit accomplished OVF No. 1 and other identification documents.
  2. The Comelec representative will determine your identity, and will verify your inclusion in the National List of Registered Voters.
  3. Have your biometrics captured.
  4. The administering officer will administer the oath and issue the acknowledgment receipt of OVF No. 1.
I have more questions. Who do I contact?

For further details about where, when, and how to vote, contact your respective Philippine consulates and embassies. The OFOV also posts updates on its Facebook page.

You may also reach the OFOV through the following phone numbers and e-mails: 

 – Rappler.com

Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer at Rappler. Possessing the heart and soul of a feminist, she is working on specializing in women's issues in Newsbreak, Rappler's investigative arm.