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 279 comments for this article
  1. Jackielyn at 12:10 pm

    Hi, were planning to visit south Korea with my 2 kids. The problem is, my husband has no itr because he is an ofw at south Korea. Thanks

  2. JB Macatulad at 5:42 pm

    Hi Jackielyn, I’m sorry but I don’t know. Sounds like you have a special case so best to ask the embassy directly.

  3. paulguevarra at 1:45 am

    Hello sir! What if I don’t have BDO Gold card, but I know someone who has, is there anyway that I could use his card even though we are not related to each other? I mean is there an extention process or something? Thanks a lot 🙂

  4. Evelyn Almanzor at 9:39 am

    Hello, im an avid fan of korea dramas and would like to visit korea. The problem is i that i have a business but not registered. I also have a bank account. My son is working so can i get supporting papers from him?

  5. Carlo at 5:44 pm

    October 2, i submitted my application together with the documents… however my tourist visa application was denied. I dont know the main reason.. my question is can i still travel anytime at JEJU ISLAND?
    Thanks much

  6. JB Macatulad at 5:57 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that Carlo. The good news is that yes, you should still be able to go to Jeju Island. Philippine passport holders don’t need a visa to go there.

  7. Rex at 9:10 pm

    Hi, We are planning to travel to Korea this November, two of my companions age 64 and 59 are coming with me and my dad. All of us have Japan and US visas and always traveled together. But the 2 cant provide a bank certificate and bank statement since both are retired. Can a family member (their sister) who is working in Dubai show an affidavit of support for them?

  8. Cherry at 2:06 pm

    Hi we want to bring our nanny to korea. What do i need get her a visa?

  9. lilian at 9:41 pm

    hi,me and my friend are planning to travel in korea what document do i need

  10. JB Macatulad at 10:10 pm

    Hi Cherry, please contact the embassy directly. If I remember correctly, the requirements for a nanny may be different.

  11. Andie at 11:32 am

    Hi!

    Just want to ask when you applied for visa?
    I heard they’re stricter this year, and I just want to be completely sure that we don’t need an ITR if we’ve traveled in OECD countries in the past 5 years.

    Thank you!

  12. JB Macatulad at 11:34 am

    Hi Andie, I just applied for one last month (Sept 2017). I didn’t submit an ITR and I was approved. Hope that helps and good luck.

  13. MrOptimistic at 8:13 pm

    Hi JB,

    First of all thanks for all the info that you provided i do have some question hopefully you can answer it.

    1. My gf bank account just recently open this last may 2017 which is only 5 months from now, is it fine? base on your requirement it says at least 6 months of ADB.

    2. My sister just started working do i need to include her COE and other bank papers too if i’m going to support her financial needs.

    Thanks!

  14. Marian at 1:14 pm

    Hi JB, my fiance and I are planning to spend a week or two in Korea. He’s an australian citizen and he will be shouldering the expenses. I work as an English tutor to Koreans and my boss will be providing my Cert of Teaching for my visa application requirements. I have been to Australia and Japan with my fiance. Question ko lang is that 1. Will they consider him a sponsor even if we are not yet married yet? 2. I am a bit worried about working for a Korean company as they might think I will work there. Do you think this will be an issue? 🙂 Thank you so much!

  15. JB Macatulad at 7:26 am

    Hi MrOptimistic, they do require at least 6 months ADB so it’s really up to them. They may just let that one slide though provided the rest of the documents are in order. As for your sister, I’d submit those documents as well just to be sure. It can only help. Good luck!

  16. JB Macatulad at 7:33 am

    Hi Marian, best to call the embassy to be sure, but they may not consider your fiancee a sponsor since you’re not legally married yet. To be safe, I’d submit your own financial documents as well. Personally, I don’t think working for a Korean company is an issue. If it is, then they may ask you in for an interview to clarify. In any case, hope that helps and good luck.

  17. Carlo at 10:54 pm

    I would like to clarify.
    If i often travel to
    JEJU ISLAND (4times) which is VISA FREE on the 5th visit on jeju i can get the multiple visa which can allow me to travel to Jeju only??? or allow to travel to Incheon Seoul???
    So hard to hard to ask question to the Korean Embassy in Bangkok because they cant speak english..
    I used to work in Thailand

  18. Gracie at 8:11 am

    Hello. I want to know what are the booking precautions in going to Jeju. Isaw trips which are cheap but the layover is Incheon. Is this allowed? Or must I book ticket that will take me from Manila to another country that flies to Jeju?

  19. JB Macatulad at 7:45 am

    Hi Carlo, I’m sorry but I don’t know what you’re talking about. As far as I know, you need a visa to visit Seoul regardless of how many times you’ve been to Jeju Island.

  20. JB Macatulad at 7:51 am

    Hi Gracie, so long as you don’t leave the airport during your transit then I think it’s ok. Best to call the embassy to confirm.

  21. Bianca at 8:02 pm

    Hello JB! Thanks for sharing, this is very helpful. Hope you can clarify this for me: For OECD Visas, does this include expired ones as long as it was issued within 5 years from today’s date?

  22. Ae Geli at 8:40 am

    Hi, when you say 3 working days processing for frequent travellers/applicants who have travelled to OECD..does that include the day of submittal? If I submit Wednesday morning will I get it Friday afternoon? We’re really in a tight sched because of the 2 day work suspension of DFA due to transport strike (we were supposed to get passport last Monday)! 🙁

  23. JB Macatulad at 8:53 am

    Hi Ae, no unfortunately the 3-day period starts the following day. So if you submit on a Wednesday, then you can expect your passport to be released on Monday the following week.

  24. Marie at 10:30 am

    Hi, I just want to ask if I can now apply for a tourist visa, my ticket date is Feb 8-12, 2018. Is it too early to submit my visa application? Thanks 🙂

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