LAST UPDATED: FEBRUARY 14, 2017
Oh, VISAs. The bane of travelers hailing from third world country. Wouldn’t it be better if we just have to show proof of financial standings and a return ticket to visit any country we want? Alas, that is not the case. Applying for a VISA is a tricky business. There’s never a guarantee you’ll have one; people who have hundreds of thousands in the bank and return tickets still get denied. Which is why I was a wreck when it was my turn to apply for a Korean VISA; the first VISA application I’ve ever done.
Fortunately, my VISA was approved. Yey! And so were my companions. I’ve heard Korean VISAs are one of the easiest to get, but I also know of people who got denied one. I figured I’ll start my Korean travel series with a guide on how to get a South Korea Tourist VISA for Filipino employees.
Like I said, this post will be a guide if you’re employed, since that was my case when I applied. A friend of mine was asked for different requirements since she wasn’t employed when she applied so be sure to get the Korean Embassy’s website or other travel blogs for requirements if you’re not applying as an employee.
1. Application Form
-Always make sure to print out the latest version from the Korean Embassy website.
-Print the application form in A4.
-Leave no space blank. Write N/A (Not Applicable) if you have to.
-Fill out the form in block letters using a black pen. No erasures please.
-Make sure your photo is attached to the application form.
-Use their format for dates (YYYY/MM/DD).
-For item 10.1. I wrote down 600 USD for my 5D4N trip. It’s enough to cover the trip and it’s reflected that I can afford it on my bank statement. Don’t overestimate or underestimate too much and make sure you can afford that amount.
-For items 10.2, you can write your name on 10.2.A, myself on 10.2.B, and financial support on 10.2.C. We jokingly said we’ll write emotional support on that bit too. Lol. Don’t write that.
-That’s the only part of the form we kind of doubted but if you have any questions, you can leave it on the comment section.
2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture
-As I said above, make sure this is attached on the application form.
-White background is the safest bet.
-Most studios will already know the size but for your preference, it’s 1.37 x 1.77 inches.
3. Original Passport
-As usual, make sure it should be valid for more than 6months.
-If you have any passport jacket/case, remove that.
4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (Page 2)
5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable)
-For a list of OECD member countries, kindly see this website.
6. Original Certificate of Employment
-Get this a few days before you’re planning to go to the embassy. The more recent it is, the better.
-It must include your job position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number and HR e-mail address. Very important that you get all those details in it or they might refuse/deny your application altogether!
-Emphasis on landline number. They don’t accept cellphone numbers.
7. Original Personal Bank Certificate
-It must include account type, current balance, account opening date, and six months ADB (average daily balance).
-I got mine from BPI. I paid PHP100 and got it within a few minutes.
8. Bank Statement
-It should be original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months.
-I also got this from BPI and got it on the same day.
9. Income Tax Return or Form 2316 Copy
-It must have your personal TIN number.
-You can submit your ITR from last year if this year’s not available yet.
–Note: Frequent travelers who have traveled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR.
10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)
-These are for the professionals like doctors, accountants, etc.
You can apply for your VISA 1-2 months before your planned trip. The VISA, if approved, is only valid for 3 months upon date of release. Once you get all the required documents, you can now submit them to the South Korean Embassy in McKinley.
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
No appointments needed. You can pass your applications within 9 to 11 am from Monday to Friday. It’s a breeze checking in so it’ll probably only take you around 30 minutes to finish the application. Unless it’s really crowded that day.
The staff will be assisting you throughout. They’ll check if you completed your documents first and re-arrange them. Tip: Re-arrange your documents according to the numbering about to have less hassle. Once they check it’s completed, they’ll give you a number that would be called to either Window 1 or 2 if you haven’t travelled to an OECD member country in the last five years, Window 3 if you have. They’ll get your documents (yes, including your passport) and give you a claim stub with the date on which you have to claim your passport back.
VISA Application is free if you’re planning to stay in Korea for 59 days or less. And it’s worth PHP1,800.00 if you’re planning to stay between 60 to 90 days.
PS. If you’re a group, one of you can submit all your documents. It doesn’t have to be a family member. 🙂
PPS. Yes, you can pass your documents via tour groups but I think it’s better for you to pass it for yourself so you/your friend/family can answer questions from the consul if there’s any.
It takes three working days if you have been to an OECD member countries within five years as a tourist, and five days if not. You can claim your passport between 2 and 5 PM from Monday to Friday. A visa stamp should be in your passport if you’re approved. 🙂
A Few Notes
They say PHP50000 is a good amount to have in the bank if you’re travelling to Korea. I’m not sure if it’s true but my friends and I have this much in our bank and we’re all approved. But I think it is okay as long as you have enough to sustain your needs. My 5D4N trip took around 20K-25K all in so you can use that as a baseline. To give you a bit of a background, my friends and I have been working for two years and have been to a few countries before Korea. That may have helped us get our VISA approved but we never know for sure.
That’s it! Good luck and I hope your VISA gets approved, everyone! 🙂