South Korea has become and remained to be a favourite destination to many — thanks to Kpop, Kdramas, variety shows, and Korean beauty products. But, the simple thought of having to go through any kind of visa application hassle turns us off.

No need to worry, though. Korea Visa application for Filipinos is simple and easy (provided you’ve got your docs on easy access). In 2018, the Korean Embassy in the Philippines announced that all Korea visa applications should be coursed through its accredited travel agencies.

Before we get the ball rolling, do note: there is no one who can guarantee your application’s approval. So, don’t believe people who tell you otherwise or that they can “help”. They’re most likely scammers. 알았지?

Without further adieu, here’s a comprehensive guide on how you can increase your chances of being granted with a Korean Tourist Visa.

South Korean Tourist Visa Application for Filipinos

airport boarding
Image credit: takahiro taguchi | Unsplash

1. Prepare the Required Documents

And, here is the list of the general requirements.

For South Korean Tourist Visa Application Without Sponsor:

  • Philippine Passport

As a general rule, make sure that it is valid for more than 6 months before your intended travel date and 2 blank pages and your signature.

  • Photocopy of your passport’s profile page

This is that page that holds your photo and personal details.

Original and photocopy of all your Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) visas for the most recent 5 years, including arrival and departure stamps

No need to submit if you don’t have any. But if you do have them, submit them. They can help expedite your processing period.

This should be filled out on your computer and then, printed out. Based on experience, only your signature should be filled out by hand.

Also, remember to use capital letters when filling out your form — even when writing your email address.

There’s a section which asks for your travel details like a place in Korea where you plan to stay and dates of entry and exit. Don’t panic. You don’t need to make bookings in advance. The Embassy won’t require you to submit proof of bookings anyway. BUT you need to fill the section out.

You can make your hotel reservations through ShopBack’s partner sites, Expedia and Agoda, where prepayment is not needed. They even allow cancellations, with conditions of course.

There are times when an itinerary is requested from applicants, so it’s best to have it ready, just in case.

Put N/A in all sections which are not applicable to you. DO NOT leave any section blank.

  • 1 Passport-sized Photo

Paste it on the space provided in your application form. If your unsure what a Korean Visa passport photo looks like, it should be coloured, with a white background, and around 35 mm x 45 mm in size.

Hold your horses ’cause this is where the list of general requirements ends. What follows are lists of Korean Visa application requirements specific to statuses or conditions.

With credit card

street in seoul during day, south korea
Image credit: Yeo Khee | Unsplash

The Korean Embassy had teamed up with BPI and BDO in 2017 for a promo. BPI and BDO credit cardholders do not anymore need to submit documents to prove financial capacity. They may also be granted multi-entry visas. The promo ends on December 31, 2019.

Here’s a list of eligible credit cards:

Eligible credit cards
Gold BPI Express Teller Debit Card
BPI Gold MasterCard
BPI SkyMiles Platinum MasterCard
BPI Amore Visa Platinum
BDO Gold Visa
BDO Gold MasterCard
BDO Gold UnionPay
BDO Elite: Platinum Visa, Titanium/Platinum & World Elite MasterCard, Gold/Platinum/Cathay Pacific & American Express Charge Card (issued by BDO), Diamond UnionPay, Diners Club Premiere

Without credit card – Visa requirements

If you don’t have any of the above-mentioned credit cards, you are required to submit the following:

  • Original bank certificate named under you plus 3 to 6 months average daily balance (and/or certified true copy of bank statements or passbook for the most recent 3 months): How much should be in it, you ask? There’s really no specific amount required but make sure what’s in it should be able to cover your expenses during your stay. Less than 60 days, maybe 60,000? You’ll need more if you’re aiming to stay beyond 60 days.
  • Photocopy of Income Tax Return (ITR) or Form 2316 plus photocopies
  • Proof of income or financial capacity and stability
  • Employed: certificate of employment (must include company’s official letterhead, the position held, hiring date, salary, office address, HR telephone number, HR email address)
  • Freelancer or Self-employed: a cover letter explaining your situation; if you have proof of agreements or transactions with your clients (e.g. contracts, screenshots of work, proof of payments, letters from clients, etc), present copies.
  • Business Owner: photocopy of ITR, photocopy of Business Registration issued by DTI / SEC, photocopy of Business Permit or Mayor’s Permit
  • Senior Citizens or Retirees: photocopy of Senior Citizen ID

For South Korean Tourist Visa Application With Sponsor

cherry blossoms in south korea
Image credit: Timothy Ries | Unsplash

This applies to unemployed persons, students, minors, or employed/self-employed people who do not have some of the financial proof requirements indicated above. If that is the case, the sponsor or guarantor (parent, relative, company, agency, etc) submits them.

The following must be submitted as well:

  • Photocopy of the sponsor’s government-issued ID (passport will do)
  • Sponsorship/Guarantee Letter written and signed by the sponsor and indicating that he or she will cover the expenses of the visit
  • Photocopy of Marriage Certificate (if the applicant is married to sponsor)
  • Birth Certificate of the sponsor (if the sponsor is a sibling of the applicant)
  • Photocopy of school ID and original copy of school certificate (if the applicant is a student)
  • Photocopy of birth certificate (if the applicant is a minor or student)

If you were invited by a South Korean citizen, you need to include the following in your application:

  • Photocopy of his or her passport or ID
  • Invitation letter
  • Photocopy of business permit (if a company)

2. Submit the Requirements to An Accredited Travel Agency

The visa application is free if you’re aiming to stay for less than 60 days. But, travel agencies will charge processing fees surely. It should range between P 500 – P 1,500, depending on where you submit.  For stay duration between 60 to 90 days, the embassy charges around P 1,800.

You can apply for Korean Tourist Visa through the following agencies:

Eligible credit cards
Rakso Air Travel and Tours Inc.
Rajah Travel Corporation
Pan Pacific Travel Corporation
Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc.
International Journeys Inc.
Island Resort Club Tour Services, Inc.
Horizon Travel & Tours, Inc.
Hanatour Manila Inc.
Grand Hope Travel, Inc.
Ark Travel Express Inc.
Uni-Orient Travel, Inc.
Travelservices, Inc.
Travel Pros
The Baron Travel Corporation
Swire Travel Phils, Inc.
Sharp Travel Service (Phils.) Inc.
Reli Tours and Travel Company
Party-on Travel and Tour Community, Inc.
North Star International Travel, Inc.
MNK Travel & Tours Corp.
Las Palmas Tours and Travel Agency, Inc.
KP JOEUN Consultancy Inc.
JTB Asia Pacific Phil. Corp.
H.I.S. (PHILIPPINES) Travel Corp
Getaway Tours International Inc.
First United Travel Inc.
COME ON PHILS. Golf and Travel Agency Inc.
City Travel & Tours Corporation
Casto Travel Philippines Inc.
Budget Travel and Tours Inc.
Blue Horizons Travel and Tours Inc.
Adventure International
ABOEX Travel and Tours
Constellation Travels, Inc.


3. Wait And Claim Your Visa

Game arcade in Seoul at night
Image credit: Ciaran O’Brien | Unsplash

Processing time for South Korean Visa applications have the following durations depending on where you submit. Add 2 to 3 more WORKING days since they go through travel agencies now:

  • 7 working days for Cebu applications with or without OECD visa
  • 5 working days for Manila applications without OECD visa
  • 3 working days for Manila applications with OECD visa within the past 5 years

When it comes to questions concerning single and multiple entry visas

Multiple entry visas may only be granted to:

  • Frequent South Korean travellers (like if you visited more than 3 times in the last 2 years; or if you’ve been to the country more than 10 times with visits in the last 2 years)
  • BPI or BDO cardholders (as stated above and valid only until December 31, 2019)

Good luck and enjoy your trip!

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