How to Apply for a Korean Tourist Visa (for Filipino Travelers)
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South Korea is the 6th most popular destination in Asia, and you can frequently find airfare promos to the country to encourage more Filipino tourists to visit it. If you like to ride the Korean Wave, then you are in good company.
Getting a tourist visa to South Korea is actually not that hard. Basically, they just want to know if you have the means to tour South Korea, and that you aren’t planning to stay there to work. The embassy of South Korea in the Philippines is a well-oiled machine, and you can expect to get your visa within the hour if you have all the required documents. Note that all documents should be no more than three months old at the time of the application.
Basic documents for all applicants
- Completed visa application form – You can download the form here, and you can fill it in more easily if you had a PDF editor like Acrobat. Otherwise, print it out and fill it out using BLOCK LETTERS. Do not leave anything blank. Use “N/A” for fields that are not applicable to you.
- 5 x 4.5 cm colored passport photo, white background
- Valid Philippine passport, sans cover or jacket, valid for at least 6 more months from the date of travel.
- Photocopy of page 2 of your passport (bio page)
Employment documents (any of the following)
- Original certificate of employment (COE) with official company letterhead – it must include the company address, email address, and landline number (mobile numbers are not accepted), as well as your position, hire date, salary.
- Photocopy of business documents
- SEC or DTI registration
- Business or mayor’s permit
- Original school certificate together with photocopies of the school ID and NSO-issued birth certificate (for students and minors)
- Photocopy of NSO-issued marriage certificate (for unemployed spouses)
- Photocopy of income tax return (ITR Form 2316) with personal TIN number – You are exempt from this requirement if you have traveled within the last 5 years as a tourist to OECD member countries
- Original bank certificate – must include the type of account, account opening date, current balance, and the average daily balance or ADB (average daily balance) for the previous 6 months
- Certified true copy of bank statements or the passbook for the last three (3) months
Note: Minors, students, and unemployed spouses must submit copies of the employment and financial documents of the paying spouse or parent. If you are traveling with your family, you can submit your applications together to avoid duplication of documents.
- Original and photocopy of OECD member country visas and arrival stamps in the previous five years – this is optional, but you are more likely to get a visa if you have them
- Invitation letter from a Korean national/company together with a copy of the inviter’s passport/business permit, if applicable
- Photocopy of professional license (PRC or IBP), if applicable
When you have all the applicable documents listed above, you can now submit them to the South Korean Embassy:
Republic of Korea Embassy in the Philippines
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634
Tel: +632 856-9210
Fax: +632 856-9008
You don’t have to make an appointment. Simply mosey in between 9 and 11 am from Monday to Friday. If you are staying less than 60 days in South Korea, you won’t have to pay anything. Otherwise, the application fee is PhP1,800.
You will be directed to Window 1 or 2 if you have not travelled to an OECD member country before or in the last 5 years, or Window 3. Take a number and wait for your turn. The staff will review your documents to make sure they are complete. You will then receive a claim slip with an estimated date on which you can get your passport back, hopefully with a visa stamp on it.
Visa processing typically takes up to five business days. You can claim your passport between 2 and 4 pm from Mondays to Fridays. The embassy may contact you to ask for additional documents or to schedule an interview. However, if everything is in order, this should not be necessary.
Getting a South Korean visa is easy if you have all your documents ready. Getting one for North Korea, however, is not. There is no North Korean embassy or consulate in the Philippines, so you have to get your visa from their embassy in Beijing. But that is another story.