South Koreans love the Philippines as much as Filipinos love Korean dramas, K-pop culture, and Korean food. Affordable flights from the Philippines to South Korea allow die-hard Filipino fans to visit the land of the morning calm. But before anything else, please take note that Filipinos need to acquire a visa first before entering South Korea. Here’s a simple and straightforward guide on how to apply for a South Korean visa and get one successfully.
The following process is for employed, single individuals who’re applying for a tourist visa below 60 days of stay. Additional details are provided below for other types. You can also visit the South Korean Embassy website for the updated requirements and accurate information on applying for a visa appropriate for you.
Complete all your requirements before visiting the embassy and be sure to sort the documents based on the list and avoid stapling or putting paper clips before submitting.
UPDATE: Starting July 1, 2018, the Korean Embassy will NO longer accept walk-in visa applications on their office at McKinley Town Center. All visa applications should be submitted via their affiliate agencies. This process will only apply in their Manila office, making all visa applications in Cebu remains the same. The embassy will still not collect any amount for the visa application but be reminded that these agencies will be collecting fees for their services.
For the entire list of embassy-accredited agencies for Korean visa application, enclosed with their office locations and contact numbers, download the list from the embassy website.
- Application form. Updated application form can be downloaded on the embassy’s website.
- 1 piece Passport size colored picture. Attach the photo on the application form.
- Original Passport. It should be valid for at least 6 months.
- Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2).
- Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable only). Remember that it indicates OECD countries. There’s no need to photocopy the arrival stamps of non-OECD countries.
- Original Certificate of Employment (must include applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number(cell-phone number is not allowed), HR e-mail address). My COE didn’t include the HR’s e-mail address but be ready if the officer asks for it.
- Original Personal Bank Certificate (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB). Go to your bank and request for your bank certificate. The request usually takes 3 days, same with the bank statement. On my case, my savings account on BDO was opened in Manila and I needed to call my home branch to request by informing the nearest BDO branch to do the bank-to-bank process. I received my bank certificate after a week. The bank certificate usually costs Php100. As to the amount, there is no standard value the embassy requires. I know someone who applied having only 60K on his account and got approved. The approval also relies if the money on your account is enough to cover your expenses during your stay in South Korea.
- Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months). Bank statement is Php100 for the first pages (for BDO) and an additional rate per page (forgot the rate). This document will show the transactions on the savings account you’ve submitted. If you deposited a large amount of money just to have a show money, the embassy can track the activity on this document. The embassy only needs the last 3 months but the one I got from my bank has 6-month transactions in it.
- ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy. Apart from the Certificate of Employment, you also need to get a copy of your authenticated Income Tax Return from your HR. BIR doesn’t authenticate each ITR of the employees. Instead, a list of employees bears the BIR stamp. On my case, I asked for a photocopy of the Alphalist with BIR Stamp from my HR. The embassy doesn’t accept unauthenticated ITR so seek the supporting documents before going to the embassy. You can also request from your HR a copy of sworn declaration, transmittal form, or notarized certification with BIR stamp submitted in compliance with RR No.2-2006.
- Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only).
Visa fee is gratis (free) for below 60 days of stay and a payment of Php1,800 for 60-90 days stay in South Korea. Once you complete the list of requirements, you can directly apply at the embassy nearest you.
Address: 122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Taguig City (MANILA)
Contact No: +632-856-9210 visa local no. 270, 500
Address: 12th Floor Chinabank Corporate Center, Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City (CEBU)
Contact No: +6332-231-1516(to 9)
NOTE: Visa application is only accepted Mondays to Fridays from 08:30AM-11AM. Applicants easily pile up so fast and it’s better to show up in the embassy earlier than the schedule.
For CEBU, once you arrive at the embassy, register and leave an ID on the guard on duty who will hand you a number. He will also put stickers on your phone’s camera lenses. Wait for your number and approach the VISA window once called. The officer will review your documents. There will be two scenarios here: staff will (1) hand you a claim stub indicating the date of pick-up or (2) return your documents for incomplete requirements.
Processing time takes 3-5 days for applicants with OECD Visas while 5-7 days for regular applicants. Go back to the embassy on the scheduled release from Mondays to Fridays, 01:30PM to 4PM. If your visa application is successful, check your details on the visa before leaving the counter.
How to Fill-Out the South Korean Visa Application Form
For the visa application form, you must fill out the form completely and correctly. Write in block letters, check all that applies, and put N/A for not applicable entries. The embassy also asks for the form to be printed on an A4-sized paper but got mine printed on a legal-sized one.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS IN APPLYING FOR A SOUTH KOREAN VISA
- Do I need to book a flight before my visa application? You can attach your flight itinerary if you booked one during seat sales but this won’t guarantee the approval of the visa.
- The form asks for an address in Korea, do I need to book my accommodation before applying? Again, NO. Just indicate the address of the hotel you’re planning to stay as well as their contact number. To ease your mind, you can put reservations using some booking sites, those that you can cancel anytime.
- I’m self-employed, what additional requirements do I need to submit to the embassy? Excluding the certificate of employment, you also need to submit a photocopy of your Business Registration from SEC or DTI and a photocopy of your Business Permit or Mayor’s Permit.
- I’m a student, any additional requirements to prepare? You need to provide your school certificate (Original), copy of School ID, copy of Birth Certificate, Parents’ Documents like:
If employed: Employment Certificate Original [must include position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number(cell-phone number is not allowed), HR e-mail address]
If self-employed: Business Registration from SEC or DTI (Copy), Business Permit or Mayor’s Permit(Copy)
– Original Bank Certificate [must include account type, current balance, account opening date, 6 months average balance (ADB)]
– Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
– Copy of Income Tax Return(ITR)
– Copy of NSO Marriage Certificate
- A Korean friend personally invited me to visit his country, do I need to provide an invitation letter to the embassy? Yes, as well as a photocopy of his/her passport or identification card.
- Will the embassy return all my requirements after my application? NO. So be sure to submit only the photocopies of the documents, unless it was indicated that they need the original copy.
Tours and Activities for your South Korea Trip
Once your visa is granted, you’re now ready to visit South Korea! But don’t forget to plan your itinerary. Check my Seoul sample itinerary and travel guide. Meanwhile, for cultural and natural attractions and activities, you can buy it from Klook before your trip to Seoul, South Korea. These include hanbok rentals, nanta show, and day trips to DMZ, Petite France, and Nami Island. Check the activities below.