Steps On HOW TO APPLY For A SOUTH KOREA Visa

South Korea is one of the top international tourist destinations among Filipinos because of the prominent Korean influence in our country. Majority of Filipinos nowadays enjoy Korean food, music, culture, films and drama series. This is why South Korea has become a dream country for most of us. The good news is we can turn this dream vacation into a reality starting with the first vital step: Applying for a visa. As you may know, a tourist visa is required to enter South Korea. Don’t worry, applying for a South Korea visa is very easy and totally free!

During the celebration of the Philippines and South Korea’s 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations last June 2, 2019, Korean Ambassador Han Dong-Man said Seoul will ease the requirements for Filipinos who want to visit South Korea. He announced that they will give multiple entry visa valid for 5 to 10 years and cut down the number of documents needed for visa application–especially for qualified people such as the businessmen, media representatives, and government officers.

UPDATE: Processing of applications for South Korea for a temporary visitor’s visa will be a minimum of  25-30 working days from the date of lodging at the Korean Embassy (excluding Saturdays, Sundays & holidays), according to the announcement of the Korean Embassy last September 26, 2019. Expedite/Express processing option will no longer be allowed starting September 9, 2019 (for both first-time travelers & frequent travelers).

The Embassy will also no longer allow withdrawal/pull out of passports and documents once the application has been received. So please be make sure that you will not be needing your passport until the release of your Korean Visa.

 

 

 

This will serve as your guide when preparing and filing your South Korea Tourist Visa.

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STEP ONE: PREPARE YOUR REQUIREMENTS

Remember: Always remember to provide authentic, original, and complete documents at all times. Here are the necessary documents that you should complete:

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NECESSARY DOCUMENTS:

  • Visa Application Form
    • The form must be duly accomplished.
    • It must be computerized or typed, not handwritten.
    • It must be printed on an A4-size paper.
    • For fields that aren’t applicable to you, just leave them blank.
  • Philippine Passport (ORIGINAL)
    • The passport must have at least 6 months of remaining validity.
    • Make sure that is has a signature. For new passports with 10-year validity, the signature field is on the bottom part of Page 3 next to the bio page. For previously issued passports, there is no need to sign because your digital signature is already on the bio page itself.
    • You must have completed the Emergency Contact Page found on the last page of the passport.
    • If you have traveled abroad within the last 5 years, submit your previous passports (original copy) together with your current passport,
  • 1 Passport Size Photo
    • The size should be 35 mm x 45 mm, it has to be colored, and against a plain white background.
    • It must be glued on the designated area on the first page of the application form.
  • Photocopy of Passport Bio Page
    • This can be found on page 2 of the passport.
  • Original and Photocopy of All OECD Visas (If Applicable)
    • If you have used OECD visas, submit the original and photocopy of all of them.
    • Past Korean visas, as well as Japan visas, are not counted.
    • Also include the arrival stamps to OECD member countries within the last five years.
  • Invitation Letter and Photocopy of the Passport the Korean who invited you (If Applicable)
    • If you have been invited by a Korean, provide the Embassy an invitation letter, as well a copy of his/her passport.
  • Photocopy of BDO or BPI Credit Card (If Applicable)
    • Also include the latest original credit card account statement.

Note: The South Korean Embassy currently has a promo wherein eligible BDO and BPI credit cardholders can acquire multiple-entry visas. They will also be exempted from submitting some required financial documents. The promo will last until December 31, 2019.

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Additional requirements:

Depending on your employment status, here is a rundown of all the additional documents that you have to provide:

For Employees

  • Original Certificate of Employment
    • This must be printed on your company’s official letterhead. It has to contain your position at the company, date hired, salary, office address, HR landline number (cellphone number is not allowed), and HR e-mail address.
  • Original Personal Bank Certificate
    • The bank certificate must indicate the account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB).
  • Original and Certified True Copy of Bank Statements and/or Passbooks for the Last Three Months
  • Photocopy of Income Tax Return (ITR Form 2316)
    • Note: According to the Korean Embassy, those who have traveled “frequently” as tourists to OECD member countries except Japan within the last five years are exempted from submitting an ITR.
    • You must still submit an ITR even if you’re exempted from tax.
  • Photocopy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If Applicable)

For Business Owners / Self-Employed

  • Photocopy of Business Registration from SEC or DTI
    • This must include pages with the names of the stockholders
  • Photocopy of Business or Mayor’s Permit
  • Original Personal Bank Certificate
    • The bank certificate must indicate the account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB).
  • Original and Certified True Copy of Bank Statements and/or Passbooks for the Last 3 Months
  • Photocopy of Income Tax Return (ITR Form 2316)
    • It must include corresponding payment receipt from BIR authorized bank and must have pages including the net income and total revenue.
    • Note: According to the Korean Embassy, those who have traveled “frequently” as tourists to OECD member countries except Japan within the last five years are exempted from submitting an ITR.
    • You must still submit an ITR even if you’re exempted from tax.
  • Photocopy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If Applicable)

For Housewives and/or Househusbands

  • Spouse’s Original Personal or Bank Certificate
    • The bank certificate must indicate the account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB).
  • Original and Certified True Copy of Bank Statements and/or Passbooks for the Last 3 Months
  • Spouse’s Original Certificate of Employment (If Applicable)
    • If the husband/wife is employed, provide the husband or wife’s original certificate of employment printed on the company’s official letterhead. It must contain the spouse’s position at the company, date hired, salary, office address, HR landline number, and HR e-mail address.
  • Photocopy of Business Registration from SEC or DTI (If Applicable)
    • If the spouse is self-employed, provide photocopies of his/her business registration from SEC or DTI.
  • Photocopy of Business or Mayor’s Permit (If Applicable)
    • If the spouse is self-employed, the business or mayor’s permit.
  • Photocopy of Spouse’s Income Tax Return (ITR Form 2316)
    • Note: According to the Korean Embassy, those who have traveled “frequently” as tourists to OECD member countries except Japan within the last five years are exempted from submitting an ITR.
    • You must still submit an ITR even if you’re exempted from tax.
  • Photocopy of NSO-issued Marriage Certificate

For Students/Minors

  • Original School Certificate
  • Photocopy of School ID
  • Photocopy of NSO-issued Birth Certificate
  • Parents’ supporting financial documents:
    • If parents are employed: Provide original certificate/s of employment. It must contain their position at the company, date hired, salary, office address, HR landline number (cell-phone number is not allowed), and HR e-mail address. If parents are self-employed, submit photocopies of their business registration from SEC or DTI as well as their business or mayor’s permit.
    • Provide the parent’s original bank certificate. It must include account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB).
    • Provide the parent’s original or certified true copy of bank statements and passbook for the last 3 months.
    • Provide a photocopy of the parent’s income tax return(ITR Form 2316).
    • Provide a photocopy of the parents’ NSO-issued marriage certificate.

For Retirees

  • Photocopy of Senior Citizen ID
  • Original Bank Certificate
    • The bank certificate must indicate the account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB). If the bank certificate is under another family member’s name, submit a proof of relationship like photocopy of birth or marriage certificate.
  • Original and Certified True Copy of Bank Statements and/or Passbooks for the Last 3 Months
    • If the bank account is under another family member’s name, submit a proof of relationship like photocopy of birth or marriage certificate.

 

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Special Cases

With OECD Visa

If you have visas to any member country of the OECD or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, then you are required to submit the following documents along with the other requirements mentioned above:

  • Original copy and photocopy of all your OECD visas
    • Note: Only used visas are counted and past Korean visas, as well as Japan visas, are not counted.
  • Arrival stamps to every OECD member countries within the last five years

Benefits:

  • This will help expedite the processing time of your visa application from the usual 5 working days to only 3 working days.
  • Those who have traveled as tourists to OECD member countries within the last five years are exempted from submitting an ITR.

Here is a list of the member countries that are part of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development):

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Latvia
  • Luxembourg
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Without BIR Form/COE

If you do not have an ITR, write a letter of explanation. Explain why you cannot submit the requirement.

Reminders:

  • Please note that you are not required to submit an ITR if you’re a holder of BPI or BDO credit cards. However, this is only a promo that is effective until December 2019).
  • You are also not required to submit an ITR if you have frequently visited an OECD-member country as a tourist in the last 5 years (except Korea and Japan).
  • You must still submit an ITR even if you’re exempted from tax.
  • Minimum wage owners are exempted from submitting an ITR. If you are a minimum wage owner, include this in your letter.
  • If you do not have a Certificate of Employment or COE, you will be asked to provide some proof that you are not going to Korea to search for a job. If you happen to be a freelancer, you may request for a COE from your employer or current clients.

If invited by a Korean National/Company:

If you have been invited by a Korean national, kindly provide the following:

  • Invitation Letter
  • Copy of the Korean’s Passport or ID Card

Meanwhile, if you have been invited by a Korean company, kindly provide the following:

  • Invitation Letter
  • Photocopy of the Company’s Business Permit

Family Applications

For family applications, provide documents that can serve as proof of relationship such as the following:

  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage Certificates

One copy of bank certificates/statements will do. Please note that if the sponsoring family member is not an immediate family member (not a parent, sibling, or child), an AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT and PROOF OF RELATIONSHIP are required. A representative can file for the whole family.

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STEP TWO: SUBMIT YOUR VISA REQUIREMENTS TO A DESIGNATED TRAVEL AGENCY

First things first, the application for visa needs to course through any of the designated travel agencies. Starting July 1, 2019, visa applications will be processed through designated travel agencies only. As of this writing, the Korea Embassy has a total of 35 designated travel agencies nationwide where you can submit your application.

Here is the list of the 35 designated travel agencies that you can choose from:

  1. Aboex Travel and Tours (Mandaluyong)
  2. Adventure International Tours (Makati, Cebu)
  3. Ark Travel Express Inc. (Makati)
  4. Blue Horizons Travel and Tours Inc. (Makati, Cubao, Cebu, Boracay, Bohol)
  5. Budget Travel and Tours Inc. (Alabang, Manila)
  6. Casto Travel Philippines Inc. (Makati)
  7. City Travel & Tours Corporation (Makati, Angeles)
  8. Come On Phils. Golf and Travel Agency Inc. (Ermita)
  9. Constellation Travels, Inc. (Makati, Iloilo)
  10. First United Travel Inc. (Makati, Bulacan, Cebu)
  11. Getaway Tours International Inc. (Manila, Sucat, General Trias, Dasmariñas)
  12. Grand Hope Travel, Inc. (Cebu, Bohol)
  13. Hanatour Manila Inc. (Pasay, Boracay, Cebu)
  14. H.I.S. (Philippines) Travel Corp (BGC, Cebu)
  15. Hankookceb Corp. (Cebu)
  16. Horizon Travel & Tours, Inc. (Binondo, Ermita)
  17. International Journeys Inc. (Manila)
  18. Island Resort Club Tour Services, Inc. (Pasay)
  19. JTB Asia Pacific Phil. Corp. (BGC, Pasay, Quezon City, Cebu)
  20. KP Joeun Consultancy Inc. (Pasig)
  21. Las Palmas Tours and Travel Agency, Inc. (Manila, Makati, San Fernando)
  22. Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc. (Makati)
  23. MNK Travel & Tours Corp. (Pasig)
  24. North Star International Travel, Inc. (Makati)
  25. Pan Pacific Travel Corporation (Binondo, Ermita, Makati, Cebu)
  26. Party-on Travel and Tour Community, Inc. (Ortigas)
  27. Rajah Travel Corporation (Makati, Manila)
  28. Rakso Air Travel and Tours Inc. (Makati, Ermita, Santa Cruz, Angeles, Boracay, Cebu, Davao)
  29. Reli Tours and Travel Company (Makati, Pasay, Binondo, Las Pinas, Mandaluyong)
  30. Sharp Travel Service (Phils.) Inc. (Makati, Manila)
  31. Swire Travel Phils, Inc. (Makati, Alabang, Clark, Subic)
  32. The Baron Travel Corporation (Makati, Cebu)
  33. Travel Pros (Megamall, SM Aura, Fairview, North Edsa, BGC, Quezon)
  34. Travelservices, Inc. (Makati, Cebu, Laguna)
  35. Uni-Orient Travel, Inc. (Makati, Binondo, Ortigas, Cebu)

Note: If you are from Cebu, you may still apply directly without coursing your application through a travel agency. The Korean Consulate in Cebu still accepts direct applications.

Once you have completed all the requirements, you may now submit your application to a designated travel agency. Getting your South Korea Visa is free of charge as long as you are not going to exceed 59 days in the country. However, the travel agencies charge for their services. The price range is from Php 500 up to Php 2000.

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STEP THREE: WAIT FOR YOUR VISA TO GET APPROVED

The processing time is at least 25 working days exclusing weekends and holidays. To be safe, apply for a visa at least 1 month before your trip. Some applications can take longer while some will take a shorter period of waiting. The agencies will also need sufficient time to collect, document, sort, deliver, and pick up the passports from the Embassy so make sure to allot enough time for that as well. You will be informed by your travel agency if your South Korea visa has been approved. After this, you may pick up your passport along with the attached visa.

For those who unfortunately get their applications rejected, do not worry because you may re-apply after six months! Do not lose hope, your SoKor dreams will eventually come true!

And that’s about it! In just three steps, you have successfully applied for a South Korea visa. You may now start planning your itinerary for your trip to South Korea!

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Reminders

  • You may apply for a South Korea visa as early as 90 days before your target date of departure.
  • Single-entry tourist visa holders are only allowed to stay in South Korea for a maximum of 59 days.
  • The Korean Embassy does not require applicants to submit flight tickets so there is no need to book flights prior to submitting an application. Just to be sure, book your flights after your visa gets approved.
  • If you are applying for family applications, you need to provide documents that serve as proof of relationship like birth and marriage certificates. One representative can submit applications for the whole family.
  • If you have a sponsor, you still have to submit your own bank documents, as well as the sponsor’s financial documents.
  • Prepare a cover letter if you need to explain something. Make it clear and detailed as possible.
  • The embassy will allow walk-in applicants only for spouses and children of Koreans, holders of visa issuance number, government employees with official business trips and for those with humanitarian reasons for urgent travel to Korea.
  • You may track your visa application status by going here: https://www.visa.go.kr/openPage.do?MENU_ID=10301

 

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Overall

Applying for a South Korea Tourist Visa is such a hassle-free experience. It’s very quick and easy. And while the waiting game can be nerve-wracking, the uncomplicated process of filing an application really helps. If you are planning to go to South Korea soon, I truly hope that your visa application gets approved so you can experience the beauty of South Korea for yourself!

Share your personal experiences about getting your South Korea visa in the comments below! I would love to hear from you, guys!

KOREAN EMBASSY IN MANILA
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Email Address: ph04@mofa.go.kr
Telephone: (63-2) 856-9210, local no. 270, 500

KOREAN CONSULATE IN CEBU
12th Floor Chinabank Corporate Center, Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5, Cebu Business Park, Cebu
Email Address: phi_cebu2015@mofa.go.kr
Contact No.: (63-32) 231-1516(-9)

 

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Seoul Korea Travel Guide:

Seoul, Korea Travel Guide: A 4D/3N PHP Itinerary

 

Did you like this article?  Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more travel updates! YES TO ADVENTURES! ❤

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