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How to Apply for a South Korea Tourist Visa in 2018

With the Korean Wave (Hallyu) gaining popularity in recent years through a variety of appealing platforms, such as entertainment, music, TV dramas (K-drama), and movies, it’s no surprise that a lot of nationalities – Filipinos in particular — aspire to experience the “real deal” by visiting the country where it all began: South Korea.

(ALSO READ: Korea to Offer Permanent Residency to F-5 Visa Holders)

South Korea is one of our more progressive neighbours in the Asian region. The country offers a great mix of technology, culture, and natural tourist destinations (think Nami or Jeju Island) – not to mention its four seasons, which is certainly appealing to most Asian tourists, especially Filipinos. This is exactly why — if you’re planning to visit this country – you must obtain a South Korean tourist visa first. Here’s how:

How to Apply for a South Korean Tourist Visa

Guide to Applying for a South Korean Tourist Visa

Applying for a tourist visa for South Korea is relatively simple to do. A tourist visa can be processed within two weeks upon application. However, it’s always better to give yourself some leeway for this process, just in case you stumble across some issues while gathering the necessary requirements.

Also, as of July 1, 2018, the Korean Embassy in Manila had adopted a new visa application process to address the growing number of visa applicants from our country. While the requirements are still the same, the visa application now has to be coursed through any of the Korean embassy’s accredited travel agencies – but, more on that in a little bit.

IMPORTANT: Walk-in applicants will no longer be entertained at the Korean Embassy in Manila for direct applications effective July 1, 2018.

(ALSO READ: How to Apply for an Australian Tourist Visa)

How to Apply for a South Korean Tourist Visa

Image Credit: Edwin Sarmiento/Flickr

General Requirements for Your South Korean Tourist Visa Application

As the process of applying for a South Korean tourist visa is now handled by accredited travel agencies, the idea is to simply provide them everything they need to increase your chances of getting approved. Here are some of the documents that you need to secure for your application:

  1. A duly accomplished visa application form. Download a copy HERE.
  2. One (1) passport size coloured photo
  3. Valid Philippine passport (must be valid for another 6 months from the time of your intended flight to South Korea)
  4. A photocopy of your passport bio page (page 2 – where you can find your personal details and photo)
  5. A photocopy of ALL your OECD visas (if any). If this does not apply to you, just skip this part. Otherwise, you need to provide both the original and photocopy of all your OECD visas. To know which countries are OECD member countries, click HERE.

Note: Old Korean visas are not counted.

  1. If invited by a Korean national: an invitation letter and a photocopy of the Korean national’s passport, if applicable.

Additionally, applicants must be able to provide proof of financial capacity or support for their trip. Here are the additional requirements by the Korean Embassy:

For Employees:

  • Your original Certificate of Employment. This document must specify: your employer’s address, the company’s landline number and e-mail address, as well as the applicant’s position, date of employment, and salary.

Note: Mobile numbers are not allowed.

  • Your original personal bank certificate. This document must specify the following: account type, current balance, account opening date, and average daily balance (ADB).
  • Your original or Certified True Copy of bank statements or passbook. This must cover the last three (3) months.
  • Your ITR (Income Tax Return or Form 2316), with a BIR stamp (ideally).
  • A photocopy of your PRC card or IBP card (if applicable).

For Business Owners or Self-Employed Individuals:

  • A photocopy of business registration form issued by DTI or SEC. SEC registration must include the pages indicating the names of stockholders
  • A photocopy of your Business or Mayor’s permit
  • A photocopy of your ITR or Form 2316 with the payment receipt issued by a BIR-authorized bank with the pages bearing the business’s net income and total revenue
  • Your original personal bank certificate. This document must specify the following: account type, current balance, account opening date, and average daily balance (ADB).
  • Your original or Certified True Copy of bank statements or passbook. This must cover the last three (3) months.
  • A photocopy of your PRC card or IBP card (if applicable)

For housewives or househusbands:

  • Your own or spouse’s original personal bank certificate. This document must specify the following: account type, current balance, account opening date, and average daily balance (ADB).
  • Your own or spouse’s original or Certified True Copy of bank statements or passbook. This must cover the last three (3) months.
  • If spouse is employed:
    • Your spouse’s original Certificate of Employment. This document must specify: employer’s address, the company’s landline number and e-mail address, as well as the applicant’s position, date of employment, and salary.
  • If spouse is self-employed:
    • A photocopy of the spouse’s business registration form issued by DTI or SEC. SEC registration must include the pages indicating the names of stockholders.
    • A photocopy of the spouse’s Business or Mayor’s permit
    • A photocopy of the spouse’s ITR or Form 2316 with the payment receipt issued by a BIR-authorized bank with the pages bearing the business’s net income and total revenue
  • A photocopy of your PSA-issued marriage certificate

For Students:

  • Your original school certificate
  • A photocopy of your latest school ID
  • A photocopy of your PSA-issued birth certificate
  • If your parents are employed:
    • Your parents’ original Certificate of Employment. This document must specify: employer’s address, the company’s landline number and e-mail address, as well as the applicant’s position, date of employment, and salary.
    • Your parents’ ITR (Income Tax Return or Form 2316), with a BIR stamp (ideally) together with a copy of their company’s Alphalist (Form 1604 CF with BIR received stamp). Highlight your parents’ name on the list.
  • If your parents have a business or are self-employed:
    • A photocopy of your parents’ business registration form issued by DTI or SEC. SEC registration must include the pages indicating the names of stockholders.
    • A photocopy of your parents’ Business or Mayor’s permit
    • A photocopy of your parents’ ITR or Form 2316 with the payment receipt issued by a BIR-authorized bank with the pages bearing the business’s net income and total revenue
  • Your parents’ original personal bank certificate. This document must specify the following: account type, current balance, account opening date, and average daily balance (ADB).  
  • Your parents’ original or Certified True Copy of bank statements or passbook. This must cover the last three (3) months.
  • A photocopy of your parents’ certificate of marriage.

For Retired Senior Citizens:

  • Your original personal bank certificate. This document must specify the following: account type, current balance, account opening date, and average daily balance (ADB).
  • Your original or Certified True Copy of bank statements or passbook. This must cover the last three (3) months.
  • A photocopy of your Senior Citizen’s ID.

How to Apply for a South Korean Tourist Visa

Step-by-Step Procedure in Applying for a South Korean Tourist Visa:

Step#1: Gather all the applicable above-listed documentary requirements.

Step#2: Submit your documents to a Travel Agency accredited by the Korean Embassy. To know which travel agencies are accredited to handle your visa application, click HERE.

Notes:

  • Only the following applicants are allowed to apply directly at the Korean Embassy:
    • Spouses and children of Korean nationals;
    • Government employees on official business trips;
    • Applicants on humanitarian travel purposes; and
    • Holders of visa issuance number (this is a separate travel document issued in Korea)
  • The Korean visa for stays shorter than 59 days is FREE of CHARGE. However, as visa applications are now coursed through various agencies, processing fees will apply. Usually, fees range anywhere between P500 and P1,500. You may check with your chosen embassy to confirm their rates.
  • The processing period is as follows:
    • For those applying in Manila with OECD tourist visas issued in the last 5 years: 3 business days
    • For those applying in Manila without OECD tourist visas: 5 business days
      • Note: With the entry of travel agencies in the picture, processing times may vary from embassy to embassy with, some promising processing within 5-7 days, whereas others have it done within 7-10 days.

Step#3: Collect your visa and passport at your travel agency.

While coursing your visa application through an agency does not guarantee approval, you must take advantage of their filing expertise and industry know-how. You can do this by ensuring prompt and meticulous compliance with the embassy requirements. Good luck!

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