First Time Abroad: How I Almost Got Offloaded as a Freelancer?

how I almost got offloaded as a freelancerHow I Almost Got Offloaded as a Freelancer? It was my first out of the country trip for my 4 Days and 3 Nights in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in September 2013. My Philippine passport was so fresh at that time, which I applied for it in January 2013. Got enticed to book my first international trip after my Siquijor-Dumaguete trip with an unexpected free trip to Manila. I was so stoked back then as I was bringing my laptop working as a digital nomad. I was with a fellow blogger friend. When he learned that I’d go to Malaysia, he booked a flight right away.

Got an email from the airline that there will be a change of our flight. Instead of flying directly from Cebu to Kuala Lumpur, the airline told us that we had to fly to Manila then Kuala Lumpur. Our flight to Manila was in the morning, and our flight to Kuala Lumpur was in the afternoon. We already checked in, and it was our time to get interviewed by the Immigration Officer.

How I Almost Got Offloaded as a Freelancer? – Facing the Bureau of Immigration Officer

My blogger friend was a medical student, so his interview was great and smooth. I, on the other hand, I was very confident that time, but the IO asked me a lot of questions. She asked me about my current job, my employment ID, my funds, bank accounts and other sources where I got my funds for traveling.

Unfortunately, I have no Income Tax Return, no Certificate of Employment, no company ID, no leave of absence to show, and no other proof that I have a strong indication to come back to the Philippines.

The IO was interrogating me, but I answered with confidence. I told the IO I’ve been working online since 2009 and the transaction for the salary are through online. I don’t have any employment ID to show, so I just showed my BIR ID which was not the one they were looking. They asked more about my job on what I do. They asked my bank accounts, and I showed them different ATM cards until they asked me one last thing, if I have a credit card.

Travel Tip: How to Avoid Offloading as an Online Freelancer, a Female Solo Traveler or Group Travelers?

My Credit Card Saved Me

I showed them my credit card. It did save my @$$ and they let me fly out of the country. Without it, I had no idea what to do if I experienced offloading.

Things to Prepare to Avoid Offloading

Bring these documents to avoid offloading.

  • Valid passport
  • Bank Certification
  • Credit Card (if applicable)
  • Latest Income Tax Return (ITR)
  • Proof of property (vehicle, land title)
  • Certificate of Employment (COE, of course, if you’re employed)
  • Approved Leave of Absence (LOA, if employed)
  • A copy of Company ID
  • Return flight ticket
  • A copy of your daily itinerary
  • A copy of your hotel/hostel booking reservation
  • A visa (to a particular country if applicable)
  • Bring School ID, Transcript of Records (TOR), in case you are asked for your educational attainment

Well, this was my first experience of traveling abroad in 2013. The second time was in Hong Kong, and I went with friends. You can also check out How I Got a Japan Visa without Income Tax Return.

Next time, I will share with you how I traveled solo to 5 countries in 2015.

214 thoughts on “First Time Abroad: How I Almost Got Offloaded as a Freelancer?

  • hi po.ask ko lng if may possibility pb maoffload pg tour package sa travel agency ang kinuha mu?plan kc nmen ng bf ko mg bangkok.last year pko ngresign s work xa nman in 3 days resign prang wla kme work parehas but he has savings kaya lilibre nya ko.

      • Salamat po sa tips..actually last year of september lang nag malaysia kame kaso may work p sya that time.ako wala na nun kaya nasecond inspection pako..mas natakot lang ako ngaun kc parehas na kame wala work pero since tour package kala ko super safe na rin sa the way salamat po ulet ms. roxanne 😊

  • Hi miss Roxanne.. MAy idea ka po ba if I will get offloaded,, I got a package tour as a group tour but I will be alone.. I don’t even know whom I am with.. wala ako work now, kasi babalik pa aq sa KUWAIT sa MAY 24,2018 Domestic helper ako..meron ako visa sa Kuwait and ticket ko na babalik ako dun.. like ko lang kasi magbakasyon muna bago bumalik s Kuwait. hahanapin kaya sa akin lahat yun ng IO? salamat

  • hi! isa akong public school teacher at nakapag travel na ako sa japan noong 2015 kasi doon nagttrabaho ang nanay ko kaya may invitation letter sya nag process din ako ng travel order form deped in case hanapan ako, ngayon andito na si inay at balak kong magtravel uli sa japan kasama sya pero wala na syang work at isasama ko din ang anak ko nagprocess na din ako ng TO pero sa letter ko dun eh i visit ko ang kapatid ko na nagtatrabaho dun ito ang ikina kakakaba ko kasi baka hanapan kami ng invitation letter eh di na kami nag accomplish nun dahil di naman nya alam na pupunta kami dun parang surprise visit sana… magiging problema kaya ito? salamat ng marami

    • Tourist visa na Walang guarantor po so ok Lang yan. You don’t have to say you have to visit a relative. May cousin ako sa Osaka pero sa Tokyo ako nag visit,most,of the time.

      • sa visa application wala namang problema, yung travel order ko kasi ang reason na nalagay ko para payagan ako ay bisitahin ang kapatid ko baka kasi makita ng IO at hanapan kami ng invitation letter galing sa kapatid ko eh di na kami nag abala dahil ako naman ang mag shoulder ng expenses ng travel namin. sana lang di na kami hanapan ito ang inaalala ko…salamat sa reply

  • Hi! My sister and I will be travelling to Thakland this May 30 to celebrate her birthday there. We’re first timers po. She’s currently employed and has all the needed papers like COE, LOA, Bank Statement and company ID while I’m not employed cause I’m managing our family business. All I have here is my Bank Certificate, Itinerary, Hotel Bookings, and Business Permit with ITR but nakapangalan sa Mom ko since matagal nang family business ‘to. Do you think magkakaproblema kami sa immigration? Hoping for your reply! Thanks!

    • Hi Toni! Just bring everything unless they ask. Wag ka masyado mag explain kung di ka tinatanong. 🙂

  • Hi Rox,

    Do you think I’ll run into problem in the immigration? I am unemployed but ‘ll be going to tour japan with sponsorship from my dad but my dad will not be coming with me. I’ll plan to bring with me my passport, approved visa, maybe bring also my dad’s documents like affidavit of support and his COE, Bank Certificate and Tax forms. Though my visa is approved with my dad’s sponsorship do you think they’ll still question it since im unemployed?

      • Hi Rox,

        Ask ko lang about sa immigration experience mo when you went to Japan, did the IO ask a lot of questions? I have a job (freelance rin) pero i have a guarantor, sa bahay nya din ako magsstay. So i’m anxious na hanapan pa ko ng red ribbon docs eh sobrang nahihiya na ko sa guarantor ang daming docs na yung inasikaso nya for me. I can prove naman our relationship by showing pics /convos

        Thanks a lot!

  • Hi, my australian boyfriend and I will be travelling to Sri Lanka next July,,do you think i will be offloaded if i cannot show them an approved leave from my current company, I am not yet sure if my leave will be approved

  • Hi,i will be travelling to singapore next August to visit my boyfriend for a couple of days ,He works there as an engineer, he’ll pay all the expenses thru online such as round trip ticket and our hotel booking , i am currently employed and pocket money lang po ang i-sshoulder ko.

    may hahanapin pa po bang ibang requirements yung IO maliban sa coe, itr, approved leave and company id?

    may chance po ba na ma offload ako?


  • Hi po , mag totourist po sana ko 2 weeks po sa BKK , kso wala po kung work first time ko dn po mag travel eh . baka itanong po anong source of income ko wala po ko masasagot gift lang po kse skin ung tickets ko po thank u po .

  • Hi, I’ve been to Vietnam, kota kinabalu and Bangkok this year lang pero may kasama ko sa mag travel nyan.. Ngayon, I’ll be travelling to Nepal pero ang ticket ko is Dec30 ang alis ng Pinas then Jan 10 ang balik. Sa Malaysia ko manggagaling papuntang Nepal. Okay lang kaya na di ko na ideclare na pupunta ko ng Nepal baka madami pang itanong since first time na solo travel ko then di pa sa common Puntahan. I’m a freelancer pala and last time ang mga hiningi lang sakin eh yung prc ID ko. Medyo kinakabahan lang ako ngayon haha.. Thank you!

    • Hi! I am so sorry for the late response. Medyo busy lang talaga. Since it’s already February 2019, tanong ko lang how’s your trip? 🙂 Hope it was a successful solo trip.

  • Hi Ms. Roxanne, i plan to visit Singapore with my parents (both seniors).
    I’m currently unemployed but my parents have business.
    We don’t have credit cards but i have a debit card.
    We plan to avail a tour package.
    May chance pa rin po ba na ma-offload ako?

  • Hi, we kinda have the same scenario. I am working online as a virtual assistant, I dont have a company ID and COE but i think I can ask my employer for a certificate just a proof that Im working for them. Would that help me?

  • Hello! Thank you for your informative blog. Pero matanong ko lang regarding dun sa medical student na friend mo. How was his interview? Ano yung mga tinanong sa kanya at kung anong requirements ang dinala nya. Medical student din po kasi ako at may balak magvisit sa Japan next year. Any tips po? Salamat po ng marami. 🙂

  • Hi,
    I will be travelling with my friend from CEB-MACAU-CEB.. it will be our first time to travel, I am a freelancer and my friend just graduated and unemployed as of the moment, basically it was her graduation gift from her parents, what documents should she provide? Me as a freelancer I will be asking COE,LOA from my client, I have a paypal statements,bank statement and 2 credit cards,will it help? Thanks

    • HI! Sorry for the late reply. I’m wondering how’s your trip po? Better to show a certification from the bank account of her parents po.

  • Hi,
    We will be travelling next week na po, may kasama kami 2 friends ng friend ko, so basically hndi ko sila kilala,. is it okay po? We already purchased everything online like Disneyland tickets etc.

  • Hi ako po c jing 1rst time ko pupunta sa romania kasama ang bf ko kaso wla akong cfo baka yon ang dahilan na ma offload ako

    • HI, if kasama mo ang boyfriend mo, I think it’s not a problem. But you need to show proof of your relationships like photos, communications, traveling together within the Philippines.

  • Hi Ms. Roxanne,
    May ticket na po kami ng anak ko(2yearsold) papuntang penang, to visit yung husband ko, pero mag 3months palang po sya dun. Then mag stay po kami dun ng 29days.. meron po kaming return ticket.. Possible po ba na ma offload kami? Eto po ung first time na magtravel kami.

    • Hello, when are you going to Penang? So far, you’ll be fine naman. Do let me know your updates. Thanks.

  • hi..wala akong work ngaun im planning to go to cambodia then thailand.10 days.maoffload kaya aq snce my travel history na ako ?

  • Hi, hindi po ba sila mahigpit sa mga freelancers na walang ITR? First time traveler din ako and ininvite ako ni client to go to Portugal for a retreat. Nanghingi na ko ng COE at Invitation Letter tapos kung contract namin pero wala pa kong ITR as freelancer kasi hindi ko pa sya naayos. Very strict po ba sila dun?

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