To address the increasing number of foreign students’ inquiries on their eligibility to take the Licensure Examinations and register as professionals in the country, hereunder is the Professional Regulation Commission’s response to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
- What are the governing laws on the practice of profession by a foreigner?
As a rule, Section 14, Article XII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution declares that the practice of all profession in the Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens, save in cases prescribed by law.
In view of the above law, there are laws which provide for the practice of profession by foreigners and this refers to the following:
- Section 7 (j), (l) of Republic Act No. 8981 or the “PRC Modernization Act of 2000”;
- PRC Memorandum Order No. 3 (s. 2016) or the Revised Guidelines in Implementing Section 7 (j) (l) and Section of RA No. 891 and the Pertinent Provisions of the Professional Regulatory Laws, the General Agreement on Tradein-Services, and Other International Agreements on the Practice of Foreign Professionals in the Philippines;
- Each of the Professional Regulatory Laws has its specific provisions on reciprocity requirement.
2. Can a foreigner take the licensure examination?
A foreigner may be allowed to take the licensure examinations, if allowed by the professional regulatory law and that he/she has presented an international agreement or has established reciprocity on the practice of profession between the Philippines and the applicant’s country and has complied with the documentary requirements prescribed by the Professional Regulatory Board and the Commission.
Other than the proof of reciprocity, a letter, or any document, requesting the Chairperson of the Commission or Professional Regulatory Board to allow the applicant to take the licensure examination, signed by and under the official seal of the appropriate official, and that by express provision of the law of the foreign state or country or international agreement to which the applicant’s state or country is a signatory, the citizens of the Philippines are allowed to take the licensure examination and to register as a professional in such foreign state or country.
3. How can an applicant prove that there is reciprocity between the applicant’s country and the Philippines?
In order to establish reciprocity, the applicant shall present an international agreement or law in the applicant’s country on the specific practice of profession providing for the following, that:
- The requirements for the registration or licensing in the country of origin are substantially the same as those required and contemplated by the laws of the Philippines; and
- Filipinos are permitted to practice the aforementioned professions in the country of origin on the same basis as its own nationals/citizens, with similar rights and privileges accorded to both.
Before one can become an examinee, it is incumbent upon individual applicant to establish to the satisfaction of the concerned Professional Regulatory Board the existence of reciprocity on the practice of profession between the Philippines and applicant’s country.
In view of the above cited law and policy issuance, proof of reciprocity on the practice of profession between the Philippines and applicant’s country is one of the requirements for taking the Licensure Examination and cannot be dispensed with.
4. What is a requirement for documents executed abroad?
It is important that all documents issued or executed abroad must be:
- Apostilled by the competent authority of the country of origin which is a contracting party to the HCCH 1961 Apostille Convention, or
- Authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate if the country of origin of the document is not a contracting party; and whenever necessary, documents proving the completed education should have a certificate of equivalency from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for the degree obtained abroad.
These documents include the following, among others:
- Birth Certificate;
- Diploma of degree;
- Transcript of Record (TOR);
- CHED Certificate of Equivalency for the degree;
- Certificate of 1-year post-graduate internship (for applicants of the Physician
Licensure Examination); and
- CHED Certificate of Equivalency for post-graduate internship (for applicants of the Physician Licensure Examination).
5. Where to submit the documentary requirements for the Licensure Examination?
The application form and requirements for the Licensure Examination shall be submitted to the Licensure and Registration Division of any PRC Regional Offices (RO) nearest the applicant’s residence. It is the policy of the Commission to require individual applicant to submit the examination requirements, including the proof of reciprocity. This is to ensure that, at such time, no changes or amendment in the national law or international agreement have been made that will be determinative of the existence of reciprocity for the practice.
Incomplete documentary requirements shall not be processed.
6. How does a foreigner know that he/she is allowed to take the Licensure Examination?
A positive position from the Board and the Commission is necessary for the applicant take the licensure examination. A Resolution will be issued by the Professional Regulatory Board and the Commission for this purpose including an information that the applicant possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications before an applicant may be allowed to file an online application for the licensure examination and be included in the list of examinees for the specific Licensure Examination.
A foreign national applicant shall be required to apply online within the prescribed period for taking the Licensure Examination. Thereafter, the PRC Regional Office shall issue a Notice of Admission to the foreign national applicant.
7. If a foreign national successfully passed the licensure examination, can he/she already practice the profession in the Philippines and work permanently in the country?
Successful examinees in the Licensure Examinations for various regulated profession shall be required to take a professional oath before any member of the Professional Regulatory Board or any other person authorized by the Commission or by law before they start their practice and has to register as a professional at the PRC Regional Office.
A Certificate of Registration (COR) and PRC Professional Identification Card shall be issued to a registered professional which authorizes the professional to permanently practice the profession in the country, subject to specific regulations imposed by the government (e.g. updated work visa, Alien Employment Permit etc.).
Please be guided accordingly.