[UPDATED April 2018] All about Korean Tourist Visa

Updated 04/27/2018

Applying South Korean Visa is pretty easy. At the moment, you can still apply visa by yourself without paying an agency. However, there are recent announcements about discontinuing walk-in applications and instead, agencies will apply in behalf of an applicant. For the meantime, status quo.

There are several types of visa you can apply for (working, studying, missionary, etc). I will only be writing about applying Tourist Visa by an employed (that’s me) and unemployed (my parents) as these were the ones I personally handled. For other kinds of visa and/or living status, please visit Korean Embassy site and/or contact them via telephone ([02] 856-9210, local no. 270 or 500) or email: ph04@mofa.go.kr

CONTENTS:

  1. Requirements
    • Employees
    • Retired/Housewife
  2. Reminders
  3. Submission
  4. Releasing
  5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

requirements

FOR EMPLOYEES

  1. Application Form. Print this on A4 paper.
  2. 1 pc Passport size colored picture (attach on the application form)
  3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)
  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 only)
  6. 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)
  7. Original Personal Bank Certificate  (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
  8. Bank Statement  (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
  9. ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy (frequent travelers who have traveled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR).
  10. Photocopy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)
  11. If personally invited by Korean:
    • Invitation Letter
    • Photocopy of invitor’s Passport or Identification Card (authentication not required)
  12. If invited by Company in Korea
    • Invitation Letter
    • Photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit (authentication not required)

FOR RETIRED/HOUSEWIFE

  1. Application Form. Print this on A4 paper.
  2. 1 pc Passport size colored picture (attach on the application form)
  3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)
  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 only)
  6. If being sponsored by someone else (e.g. son, daughter), submit sponsor’s proof of income:
    • 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)
    • Original Personal Bank Certificate  (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
    • Bank Statement  (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
    • ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy (frequent travelers who have traveled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR).
    • (If your sponsor is coming with you during the travel, no need for multiple copies of sponsor’s proof of income; single copy is okay since all your documents will be filed as one)
  7. Photocopy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)
  8. If personally invited by Korean:
    • Invitation Letter
    • Photocopy of invitor’s Passport or Identification Card (authentication not required)
  9. If invited by Company in Korea
    • Invitation Letter
    • Photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit (authentication not required)
  10. For family applications, proof of relationship (eg. Marriage Contact, Birth Certificate, etc.).

reminders

 

  1. No one can guarantee the approval of your visa; only consul can decide on this.
  2. From March 26, 2018, all applicants of Windows 1 and 2 (first time travellers who have not travelled as tourist to OECD member countries within the last 5 years) should submit 2316 form if employed with corresponding COMPANY ALPHALIST (Form 1604 CF with BIR received stamp). Also, please highlight your name in the company alphalist. Information of employees other than the visa applicant may be concealed if preferred.If the applicant cannot submit company alphalist, submit letter of explanation. However, there may be disadvantage in visa approval for those who fails to submit.

    All self-employed applicants of Windows 1 and 2 should submit BIR FORM with corresponding PAYMENT RECEIPT from BIR authorized bank.

  3. Frequent travelers who have traveled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR.
  4. For family applications, documents for proof of relationship is a must (eg. Marriage Contact, Birth Certificate, etc.). This should be filed together at the same window, at the same time. Representative may file the visa applications of all family members.
  5. Validity of visa is only 3 months from the issue date. Do not apply more than 3 months prior to the date of travel.
  6. Advisable to apply for visa prior to purchasing airline tickets as visa issuance is subject for approval of the consul.
  7. Always check for other announcements on Korean Embassy site.

submission

  1. Korean Embassy
    • MANILA
      • 122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634, Philippines.
      • Contact Number: (+63-2) 856-9210
      • Email Address: ph04@mofa.go.kr
    • CEBU:
      • 12th Floor Chinabank Corporate Center, Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5, Cebu Business Park, Cebu
      • Contact No.: (63-32) 231-1516(-9)
      • Email Address: phi_cebu2015@mofa.go.kr
  2. Application is from 8:30-11:00 am only. First come, first serve basis. No appointment is needed. Ensure that you arrive before 10:30 am to allow enough time for processing. Applicants who arrive after 10:30 am may not be accommodated. Since March 2018 (and until further announcement), below is the process, which I happened to experience first hand:
    • Registration
      • You have to line up before you can sign on their sheet. (I lined up 5:45AM, and my queue was 150th already. I heard some people were already there as early as 4:00AM. That means, you can no longer go there earlier, sign up, then go elsewhere to have breakfast, and then just go back before they let people in, which was around 7:20AM previously).
      • Only first 250 people will be accommodated, then the rest will not be entertained. So if you see that the line is already near Petron, you may still have a chance. When I lined up, I was almost near Petron, but as I’ve mentioned, my queue was 150th only.
      • They start the signing up at 7:00AM, 10 people at a time. They no longer ask for ID when you sign up, but better be ready and bring one.
      • If family, only one person will be allowed inside.
      • Don’t forget your umbrella because it is absolutely hot. I had instant tan lines on my back
    • Queuing inside
      • Once inside, a personnel will check if you have all the documents. After verification, he will give you a number and what window you should go to.
      • Frequent travelers who have previous tourist visits within 5 years to OECD member countries, those who have at least 2 tourist visits to Korea, and seafarers who plan to transit to Korea should apply at Window 3.
      • Those who have no previous tourists visits within 5 years to OECD member countries, and holders of confirmation of visa issuance number must present their documents at Windows 1 or 2.
      • Wait for your number to be called
    • Once called, consul will double check the requirements and will give you a paper with the date of release
      • Korean visa claim stub
  3. Visa Fees:
    • Philippine passport holder
      • 59 days (or less) stay in Korea – FREE
      • 60 to 90 days stay in Korea – P2000
      • More than 90 days stay in Korea (not applicable for tourist visa)
        • Single Entry – P3000
        • Multiple Entry – P4500
    • American passport holder – P2250
    • Foreign nationals living in the Philippines
      • Single Entry – P2000
      • Multiple Entry – P4500
      • Fees differ depending on nationality. Check with the embassy
  4. Processing Time:
    -3 working days (for frequent South Korea traveler and/or those who have been to OECD member countries within 5 years as tourist)
    -5 working days (for those who have not been to OECD member countries within 5 years)

releasing

From 1:30-4:00 pm only. Ensure to bring the claim form with the date stamp of when the visa will be released. Applicants, especially the First Time travelers, are advised to personally claim their visas.  An interview with the Consul may be required before the result of the application is given.

If approved, CONGRATS! Otherwise, they never disclose the reason, but they do attach a high-level reason on a paper attached to passport when claimed.

SKVisaApplication-7


FAQ

When should I apply?

Less than 3 months of your actual target visit date. Visa’s validity is only for 59 days upon issuance. So if you target to be in South Korea by Dec 1, then you can apply mid-October onward.

 

Should I add plane tickets and hotel reservations on the requirements?

No. I put them once, but they removed it. When you fill out the application form, you can just indicate the intended date/duration of stay and intended hotel to stay in. 

 

Do I need to be in Korea for the dates I have declared in the application form?

Not really. You just need to ensure that you stay in Korea for the span of your visa’s validity.

 

Do I need to be in the hotel I have declared in the application form?

No. You can stay wherever you want. But make sure that when you arrive in Korea, you will declare in the Korean Immigration the specific place where you’ll stay.

 

How long can I stay?

59 days or less upon arrival. You may apply for more than that, but you should be able to justify it (and there is also a fee).

 

Do I need travel agency to apply for visa?

At the moment, you can still apply visa by yourself without paying an agency. However, there are recent announcements about discontinuing walk-in applications and instead, agencies will apply in behalf of an applicant. For the meantime, status quo. But if you want to go through agency to save you from hassle, go ahead (just note that there’d be extra charges of course).

 

Do I need to apply myself?

No. You can ask someone else to submit the requirements. Same with the principle that one can submit the requirements of all family members.

 

I had OECD visas. Is it an assurance that my Korean Visa will be approved?

Not really, but your chances are high.

 

How much should be in my bank account to get approved?

There’s no definite answer to this. But whenever I apply for visa, I always ensure I have at least P4,000 x <intended # of days stay>. I believe they wanted to see that based on your bank history, you have a pretty stable source of money. There were times I need to borrow money from a friend to have a bigger account upon application. But I ask them to transfer money gradually and not one-time-big-time. So that it will reflect in my bank account history that it does not look like a borrowed money.

If you are financing for a family member, you need to ensure that you have at least (P4000 x <intended # of days stay>) x (# of members to finance). 

Examples:

  • Solo travel for 5 days – P4,000 x 5 days = P20,000
  • Solo travel for 8 days – P4,000 x 8 days = P32,000
  • Travel with sister for 5 days – (P4,000 x 5 days) x 2 persons = P40,000
  • Travel with parents for 5 days – (P4,000 x 5 days) x 3 persons = P60,000

 

How can I get a multi-entry visa?

That depends. I heard cases that due to their OECD visas, they got multiple entry on their first application. There’s another that after the fourth application for visa, they got multiple entry. Another is the promo of BPI and BDO card holders. Check more information here

 

If denied, when can I apply again?

After 6 months.

 

What are the possible causes of visa getting denied?

I am never certain about this since the embassy does not disclose reasons. However, based on stories I’ve heard/read:

  • Inability to prove you can support your trip financially. Your or your sponsor’s fund could be insufficient.
  • Inability to prove you will return in your home country. It could be possible if you are old enough to work but have no work (then your trip was sponsored by somebody else) or newly hired/resigned. Parents/grandparents’ situation is different, I think, since they are old already and are not expected to work anymore (in some cases).
  • Embassy cannot verify your documents. Embassy may not be able to get hold of your company’s HR to verify your employment.

 

Source: http://embassy_philippines.mofa.go.kr/english/as/embassy_philippines/visa/requirement/

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