How to Apply for a South Korea Tourist Visa for Filipinos

How to Apply for a South Korea Tourist Visa for Filipinos

When we first went to Korea a little over two years ago, it was a hot destination. Fast forward to 2017, and Korea is just as hot as ever, if not more!

So what makes Korea so popular among Filipinos? Well for one, there’s the food. Filipinos are partial to savory-sweet flavors so we can’t get enough of Korean barbecue staples like bulgogi and galbi. Two, there’s the entertainment. K-pop and K-dramas are huge in the Philippines. On that first trip, I wasn’t a fan of either so I didn’t understand the obsession. But after watching a few Koreanovelas like “Uncontrollably Fond”, “Beautiful Mind”, and “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds”, I was hooked. And three, there’s the cosmetics. Korea has become a hotbed for skin care products and nowhere is this more evident than in Myeongdong. With row upon row of beauty shops to pore over, that place is like an acid trip of toners and cleansing foams.

Without a doubt, Korea remains a popular destination for Filipinos. It’s showing no signs of slowing down so if you’re one of the many Filipinos looking to visit Korea, then you’ve come to the right place. This post will tell you everything you need to know about getting a tourist visa to the land of K-pop, cosmetics, and kimchi!

Step 1: COMPLETE BASIC REQUIREMENTS

Here are the documents that all applicants need to file.

  1. A completed handwritten visa application form. Don’t leave anything blank. Just put N/A if not applicable. You can download it HERE. (refer to the screenshot below)
  2. One (1) 35 mm x 45 mm colored passport photo against a plain white background. Paste it on application form.
  3. Philippine passport. Must have at least 6 months remaining validity. Submit without jacket or cover.
  4. Photocopy of passport bio page (page 2).
  5. If available, original and photocopy of valid visa(s) and arrival stamps to OECD member countries within the last 5 years. Valid visas to OECD member countries will greatly increase your chances of getting approved so be sure to submit these if you have them. CLICK HERE for a list of OECD member countries.

How to Apply for a South Korea Tourist Visa for Filipinos

Step 2: PROVIDE ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Depending on your employment status, these are the additional documents that you’ll need to provide.

A. FOR EMPLOYEES

  1. Original certificate of employment to be printed on your company’s official letterhead. It must contain your position at the company, date hired, salary, office address, HR landline number (cellphone number is not allowed), and HR e-mail address.*
  2. Original personal bank certificate. It must include account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB).
  3. Original or certified true copy of bank statements / passbook for the last three (3) months.
  4. Photocopy of income tax return (ITR Form 2316). Frequent travelers who have traveled as tourists to OECD member countries within the last 5 years are exempt from submitting an ITR.
  5. Copy of PRC or IBP card (if applicable).
  6. If invited by a Korean national, you must also provide an invitation letter and photocopy of your invitor’s passport or ID card.
  7. If invited by a company in Korea, you must also provide an invitation letter and photocopy of the Korean company’s business permit.

*If you’re a freelancer and can’t provide a COE, then you’ll be asked to submit some form of proof like pictures or screenshots of your work, letters from clients, etc. Basically you need to prove to the embassy that you are earning a living and won’t be going to Korea to look for work.

B. FOR BUSINESSMEN

  1. Photocopy of business registration from SEC or DTI.
  2. Photocopy of business or mayor’s permit.
  3. Original personal bank certificate. It must include account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB).
  4. Original or certified true copy of bank statements / passbook for the last three (3) months.
  5. Photocopy of income tax return (ITR Form 2316) with personal TIN number. Frequent travelers who have traveled as tourists to OECD member countries within the last 5 years are exempt from submitting an ITR.
  6. Copy of PRC or IBP card (if applicable).
  7. If invited by a Korean national, you must also provide an invitation letter and photocopy of your invitor’s passport or ID card.
  8. If invited by a company in Korea, you must also provide an invitation letter and photocopy of the Korean company’s business permit.

C. FOR HOUSEWIVES

  1. If husband is employed, husband’s original certificate of employment printed on company’s official letterhead. It must contain husband’s position at the company, date hired, salary, office address, HR landline number (cell-phone number is not allowed), and HR e-mail address. If husband is self-employed, photocopies of his business registration from SEC or DTI as well as their business or mayor’s permit.
  2. Original personal or husband’s bank certificate. It must include account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB).
  3. Original or certified true copy of personal or husband’s bank statements / passbook for the last three (3) months.
  4. Photocopy of husband’s income tax return (ITR Form 2316). Frequent travelers who have traveled as tourists to OECD member countries within the last 5 years are exempt from submitting an ITR.
  5. Photocopy of NSO-issued marriage certificate.
  6. If invited by a Korean national, you must also provide an invitation letter and copy of your invitor’s passport or ID card.
  7. If invited by a company in Korea, you must also provide an invitation letter and photocopy of the Korean company’s business permit.

D. FOR STUDENTS / MINORS

  1. Original school certificate.
  2. Photocopy of school ID.
  3. Photocopy of NSO-issued birth certificate.
  4. Parents’ supporting financial documents:
  • If parents are employed, original certificate of employment. It must contain their position at the company, date hired, salary, office address, HR landline number (cell-phone number is not allowed), and HR e-mail address. If parents are self-employed, photocopies of their business registration from SEC or DTI as well as their business or mayor’s permit.
  • Parent’s original bank certificate. It must include account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB).
  • Parent’s original or certified true copy of bank statements / passbook for the last three (3) months.
  • Photocopy of parent’s income tax return (ITR Form 2316). Frequent travelers who have traveled as tourists to OECD member countries within the last 5 years are exempt from submitting an ITR.
  • Photocopy of parents’ NSO-issued marriage certificate.
  1. If invited by a Korean national, you must also provide an invitation letter and copy of your invitor’s passport or ID card.
  2. If invited by a company in Korea, you must also provide an invitation letter and photocopy of the Korean company’s business permit.

E. FOR RETIREES

  1. Photocopy of senior citizen ID.
  2. Original personal bank certificate. It must include account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB). If bank certificate is under another family member’s name, then proof of relationship must be submitted. (ie photocopy of marriage contract for spouse, birth certificate for child, etc.)
  3. Original or certified true copy of bank statements / passbook for the last three (3) months. If bank account is under another family member’s name, then proof of relationship must be submitted. (ie photocopy of marriage contract for spouse, birth certificate for child, etc.)
  4. If invited by a Korean national, you must also provide an invitation letter and copy of your invitor’s passport or ID card.
  5. If invited by a company in Korea, you must also provide an invitation letter and photocopy of the Korean company’s business permit.



Step 3: SUMBIT YOUR APPLICATION AT THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA EMBASSY

Once you’ve compiled all the requirements, you can proceed to the embassy (address and driving directions at the bottom of this post). No need to make an appointment. Just proceed to the embassy and file your application between 8:30-11AM, Mondays to Fridays. This is on a first come, first served basis so the earlier you arrive, the better. Be sure to get there before 10:30AM to allow enough time for processing. Applicants who arrive after 10:30AM may not be accommodated. Representatives may file the application on your behalf so long as the required documents are complete.

If you plan on staying in Korea for 59 days or less, then the application is FREE of charge. For stays of 60-90 days, the fee is PHP 1,800 (at the time of this writing).

Frequent travelers who have visited OECD-member countries within the last 5 years and those who have visited Korea at least twice as a tourist will be directed to window 3. Everyone else will be asked to proceed to windows 1 or 2. After they’ve called your number and reviewed your documents, they’ll give you a claim slip with a tentative release date for your passport (hopefully with visa).

Step 4: PRAY THAT YOUR VISA GETS APPROVED

Once you’ve submitted your application, there’s little else to do but wait and pray for the best. The processing time for frequent travelers is 3 business days, and 5 business days for first-time travelers. Releasing time is from 1:30-4PM, Mondays to Fridays.

Applicants, especially first-time travelers, are advised to personally claim their visas since an interview with the consul may be required. If approved, tourist visas are valid for three (3) months from the date of issue.

For a smooth application process, be sure to provide all necessary documents and check the embassy’s WEBSITE for news and updates.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

How much do I need to have in my bank account to be granted a visa?
There’s no official amount. People have said at least PHP 50,000 but there’s no confirmation on this. People have mentioned that they’ve been approved with less. Some have been rejected with more. Your application is contingent on many factors so there’s no amount that can guarantee approval. As long as your application doesn’t raise any red flags and you have enough money to support yourself for the duration of your stay, then you should have a good chance of getting approved.

Do I need to have confirmed flight and hotel bookings?
No, you don’t. Confirmed flight and hotel bookings are not required. On the application form, you can just put down the contact details of the hotel you intend to stay at. It doesn’t have to be a finalized booking. You can always change after you’ve been granted a visa.

Is there an interview?
Not necessarily. An interview will only be conducted if they have questions about your application.

Do I have to go to Manila to apply?
No. A representative can file the application on your behalf so long as all required documents are complete. If you can’t have someone file it for you in Manila, then you may be able to course it through a travel agency in your area. Some people have done that.

Can I apply for a multiple entry visa?
Yes, but only under certain conditions. Frequent travelers who have visited Korea more than 4 times in the last 2 years or have visited Korea over 10 times in total can apply for a multiple entry visa. You can check THIS LINK for more details.

I heard about the BDO / BPI promo. Could you tell me more about it?
Until 31 December 2019, BDO Gold and Elite cardholders can apply for multiple entry visas to Korea. The same goes for BPI Gold credit card, BPI Platinum credit card, and Gold BPI Express Teller debit cardholders as well. Check the following links for full details: BDO / BPI.

If I get rejected, how soon can I apply again?
After six (6) months.

Do I need a visa to Jeju Island?
No, Philippine passport holders can visit Jeju Island visa-free for up to thirty (30) days.

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
Website: embassy_philippines.mofa.go.kr
Facebook: mofakr.eng
Twitter: mofakr_eng
Email: philippines@mofa.go.kr
Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30AM-5:30PM
Filing: Mon-Fri, 8:30-11AM
Releasing: Mon-Fri, 1:30-4PM

HOW TO GET THERE:
Going southbound on C5, veer right soon as you pass SM Aura. You’ll see a Petron/Jollibee shortly after. The exit to Upper Mckinley Rd will come immediately after this, with the embassy almost at the start of the exit. Parking around here is hard so ask someone to drive you if possible. If not, then the nearest parking is around half a kilometer away at the Tuscany complex.

Disclaimer

I’m not an expert on South Korea tourist visas. Like you, I’m just a traveler. I’ll try to help as much as I can but please understand that my knowledge is finite and limited to my experience only. Unless otherwise noted, all requirements listed above were valid at the time of my application. Please be sure to check the embassy’s WEBSITE for updates. If you need answers to any pressing issues, then it’s best that you call the embassy directly.

CLICK HERE for more on this website’s terms of use.

For travel tips to Seoul, check out our First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Seoul, South Korea.

The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Seoul, South Korea

JB Macatulad

JB Macatulad

JB is one half of Will Fly for Food and its chief itinerary maker.  He's the one to blame for all the crappy photos and verbal diarrhea on this blog.  Don't listen to him.
JB Macatulad


There are 338 comments for this article
  1. JB Macatulad at 7:47 pm

    Hi Janet, it won’t hurt your application but they may direct you to window 1 or 2 instead of 3.

  2. JB Macatulad at 7:49 pm

    Hi JD, yes November is too early. The bank cert needs to be no older than 1 month by the time you apply. Hope that helps and good luck!

  3. Josephine at 9:00 pm

    Hello just want to ask if ever someone will invite me to go to korea do i still need to submit bank certificate on my behalf or the invitation letter is enough?I”m planning to visit korea end of january nxtyr.hope you can help me.many thanks…& ps.what are the other requirements for G1 visa for korea.I’m planning to apply in the philippines january nxtyr after my contract ends.

  4. JB Macatulad at 8:24 am

    Hi Josephine, you still need to submit all the requirements listed above even with an invitation letter. Sorry, no idea about the G1 visa requirements.

  5. Bulay at 8:47 am

    Hi, is it true that no visa is needed for travelers traveling today until April 2018 due to the Olympics? Thanks

  6. Tina at 12:38 pm

    Hi sir, ask ko lang complete requirements then tinanggap nila, ma-approved na yun?

  7. JB Macatulad at 5:51 pm

    Hi Bulay, I haven’t heard anything about that. We’re going to Korea this December and I had to get a visa. Unless you read it directly from the Korea embassy website, then it’s best to assume it isn’t true.

    EDIT (10 November 2017): Turns out this is indeed true, but you have to enter through YangYang Airport. The thing is, there are no direct flights from the Philippines to YangYang. I checked on Skyscanner and there’s only one way to get to YangYang from Manila and it costs over PHP 115,000 because you have to go through Russia. Kinda stupid. Anyway, CLICK HERE for more details.

  8. JB Macatulad at 5:52 pm

    Hi Tina, not necessarily. You won’t know you’ve been approved until you pick up your passport (hopefully with visa). Good luck!

  9. MELISSA at 8:54 pm

    Hi sir. Have you tried or do you know anyone na nag apply po ng korean visa outside the Philippines?

  10. JB Macatulad at 8:08 am

    Hi Melissa, may mga nagcomment na dito dati who did apply and get a visa successfully from abroad. If you’re working overseas, it might be better for you to apply from where you are since the requirements may be different. Hope that helps and good luck.

  11. Ren at 11:22 pm

    Hi, I just wanna ask If I have to book a flight first before applying for a visa? And also my best friend is working in S.Korea as an OFW and she want me to tour me around, is there anything that she can do to help me get higher possibility of getting an approve visa?

  12. JB Macatulad at 9:56 am

    Hi Ren, confirmed flight bookings aren’t required so it’s best to wait until your visa is approved before purchasing tickets. As far as I know, only Korean nationals can issue invitation letters so I’m not sure if there’s anything your friend can do. In any case, good luck with the application.

  13. Jeither Tero at 9:46 am

    Very helpful and informative!!!!By the way, I have all the documents required for touris visa for Korea except that I dont have business permit, ( I have just closed my business last January 2017)..Can I still apply for tourist visa to Korea? Im neither employed..Thanks!

  14. Nix Jasmin at 12:27 pm

    Hi, just a quick question. Let say nanghiram lang ako ng pandagdag na money for the show money, once makuha ko na yung bank certificate and bank statement ko, pwede ko na ba iwithdraw yung money? Or magantay hanggang maapprove na yung VISA? Thanks.

  15. JB Macatulad at 6:21 pm

    Hi Jeither, having proof of income (business or employment) is important so not being able to provide those documents may hurt your chances of getting approved. In my case, I’m a freelance web/graphic designer so they asked for proof of my work. Not sure what you can provide in your case but they may ask you for something similar. Hope that helps and good luck.

  16. JB Macatulad at 6:25 pm

    Hi Nix, I’ve made withdrawals and deposits on accounts during a visa application process and it didn’t seem to affect the outcome. I can’t speak for everyone though. If you can, best to leave the funds there until you pick up your passport. Good luck.

  17. lina at 2:39 am

    Hi , do you know when is the effective dates for free visa to Korea ? My husband is a Philippines passports holder and I am Malaysian citizens were staying in Malaysia.

  18. Kooki at 6:53 am

    Good morning! Just want to ask something. im an ofw here in middle east and my contract will end this december i am planning to visit korea after i finished my contract. Is it possible that they will allow me to enter korea even i dont have work bu that time? Thanks!

  19. JB Macatulad at 7:24 am

    Hi Kooki, I’m sorry but I really don’t know. Only the embassy can say but as far as I know, it’s hard to get a tourist visa without employment. You may want to apply for a visa while you still have work. Not sure about visas issued from the Middle East but the ones issued in Manila are valid for 90 days.

  20. iyah at 2:22 pm

    hi!
    how long does is takes to get a korean visa??

  21. Sheryl at 12:43 pm

    Hi, I read the requirements in applying a tourist visa to Korea, but I have some few question to ask;
    1. My son (18 years old) would like to go to Korea after his graduation in grade 12 for a short tour, Is he allowed to go alone without parents accompanying him?
    2. If so, does the travel agency can process the required application for him?
    3. How much do you think will it cost for the whole package including processing the visa?
    4. Can you recommend a reliable and trusted travel agency that can process the whole package that includes the hotel & travel tour?

    Thank you.

  22. JB Macatulad at 8:29 am

    Hi Sheryl, yes your son can travel to Korea by himself. Are you based outside of Manila? I know people outside of Manila have coursed their applications through travel agencies, but I’m not aware of the costs.

  23. luweeeee at 1:43 pm

    Hi po, ask ko lang is it visa-free in Jeju Island? Thanks

  24. Christine at 4:44 pm

    Hi, so I’m planning to go to Korea soon but my parents aren’t funding the trip. I’m a student and I’ll be funding my own trip. Our bank account is a joint account because I wasn’t old enough and I’m wondering if they’d be suspicious of the amount in it or if I’ll be needing parents’ documents. I don’t have a job, the money was just from savings and winnings from competitions. I’m really at a loss.

  25. JB Macatulad at 9:31 am

    Hi Christine, I’m sorry but I don’t know. Being a student, I think it’s best for you to submit your parents’ financial documents. The Korea embassy will look for them.

  26. ECA at 5:37 pm

    Hi Sir ask ko lang po, Paano kumuha ng Korean tourist Visa right now Im in Thailand for vacation, We’re Planning to fly this December.

  27. Honey at 2:23 pm

    Hello,

    01) I would like to visit jeju island on arrival as visa free. Is it possible to change my visa being there if i got job. also Korean language test must to get an job?

    02) If i enter in jeju island 4 time within 2 years, am i eligible to get Korean multi visa?

    Kindly please let me know

  28. Honey at 2:26 pm

    Do i need bank statement to enter jeju island? or if i have US$ in hand is it ok? do you think jeju airport immigration they will ask ?

  29. JB Macatulad at 5:29 pm

    Hi Honey, no I don’t think you need to bring bank statements to enter Jeju. It should be like any other visa-free destination. As for your other questions, I’m afraid I don’t know. All I know is that Jeju Island is visa-free for Filipinos. Not sure about other types of visas.

  30. Chris at 1:15 pm

    Hi po,

    I am planning po to travel to korea this coming January 2018. I just found an airfare sale which cost 7k to fly from clark to korea. Mataas po ba approval rate ng tourist visa sa korea? Magbook na po sana ako ng flight ticket while nakasale. Pero reluctant po ako dahil may possibility na madeny yung visa sayang lang po. I am planning to travel alone po. I am currently employed po in the field of IT. Do you think po malakas yung chance ko po na maapprove?

    Thanks.

  31. JB Macatulad at 7:20 pm

    Hi Chris, it’s a case to case basis so it’s impossible to say. I understand how you feel though. Ako din madalas bumibili agad ng seat sale. But it is a risk though because pwede ka talaga madeny so it’s really up to you. Best of luck.

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