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KOREA VISA: How to Apply for a South Korea Tourist Visa 2019 (for Filipinos)

NOTICE: Some of the information on this website may have changed due to the current global situation. It's important to verify any information and check with the proper authorities for the latest travel guidelines before making any plans.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Please note that the information in this article hasn’t been updated to reflect the current global situation. It’s important to confirm any information with the South Korea embassy before making any plans.

Beginning 1 July 2018, applications for Korea tourist visas will need to be coursed through a designated travel agency. The requirements are essentially the same but applications can’t be coursed through the Korea Embassy anymore. This new policy and procedure was implemented due to the large spike in tourist visa applications from the Philippines.

A friend of ours applied for a tourist visa a few months ago. She got to the Korea embassy early, around 5AM or so, but was shocked to find a long line of applicants already there. Apparently, people line up as early as 2AM! Crazy! There were so many people ahead of her that she couldn’t even get in that day.

To make it easier and more convenient for everyone, the Korea Embassy has designated 35 travel agencies throughout the country where you can file your application. It’s now the same process as applying for a visa to Japan. Here’s what you need to do to apply.

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.
  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.

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. SEC Registration must include pages with names of stockholders.
  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 corresponding payment receipt from BIR authorized bank. 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 (OR HOUSEHUSBANDS)

  1. If spouse is employed, spouse’s original certificate of employment printed on company’s official letterhead. It must contain spouse’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 spouse is self-employed, photocopies of his/her business registration from SEC or DTI as well as their business or mayor’s permit.
  2. Original personal or spouse’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 spouse’s bank statements / passbook for the last three (3) months.
  4. Photocopy of spouse’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 TO A DESIGNATED TRAVEL AGENCY

Once you’ve compiled all the requirements, you can file your application with an officially designated travel agency. Listed below are the 35 travel agencies accredited by the Korean Embassy. I’ve listed them in alphabetical order below along with their branch locations. Just look for the one most convenient for you and click on the link for their contact details.

  1. Aboex Travel and Tours (Mandaluyong)
  2. Adventure International Tours (Makati, Cebu)
  3. Ark Travel Express Inc. (Makati)
  4. Blue Horizons Travel and Tours Inc. (Makati, Cubao, Cebu, Boracay, Bohol)
  5. Budget Travel and Tours Inc. (Alabang, Manila)
  6. Casto Travel Philippines Inc. (Makati)
  7. City Travel & Tours Corporation (Makati, Angeles)
  8. Come On Phils. Golf and Travel Agency Inc. (Ermita)
  9. Constellation Travels, Inc. (Makati, Iloilo)
  10. First United Travel Inc. (Makati, Bulacan, Cebu)
  11. Getaway Tours International Inc. (Manila, Sucat, General Trias, Dasmariñas)
  12. Grand Hope Travel, Inc. (Cebu, Bohol)
  13. Hanatour Manila Inc. (Pasay, Boracay, Cebu)
  14. Horizon Travel & Tours, Inc. (Binondo, Ermita)
  15. International Journeys Inc. (Manila)
  16. Island Resort Club Tour Services, Inc. (Pasay)
  17. JTB Asia Pacific Phil. Corp. (BGC, Pasay, Quezon City, Cebu)
  18. KP Joeun Consultancy Inc. (Pasig)
  19. Las Palmas Tours and Travel Agency, Inc. (Manila, Makati, San Fernando)
  20. Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc. (Makati)
  21. MNK Travel & Tours Corp. (Pasig)
  22. North Star International Travel, Inc. (Makati)
  23. Pan Pacific Travel Corporation (Binondo, Ermita, Makati, Cebu)
  24. Rajah Travel Corporation (Makati, Manila)
  25. Rakso Air Travel and Tours Inc. (Makati, Ermita, Santa Cruz, Angeles, Boracay, Cebu, Davao)
  26. Reli Tours and Travel Company (Makati, Pasay, Binondo, Las Pinas, Mandaluyong)
  27. Sharp Travel Service (Phils.) Inc. (Makati, Manila)
  28. Swire Travel Phils, Inc. (Makati, Alabang, Clark, Subic)
  29. The Baron Travel Corporation (Makati, Cebu)
  30. Travel Pros (Megamall, SM Aura, Fairview, North Edsa, BGC, Quezon)
  31. Travelservices, Inc. (Makati, Cebu, Laguna)

The travel agency you file with will charge you a fee to process your application. This varies from agency to agency but expect to pay between PHP 500-1,500 to file your application. Be sure to contact the travel agency first before proceeding to their office to confirm rates.

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 (with OECD visas) is 3 business days, and 5 business days for first-time travelers.

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

Good luck and I hope your application gets approved!

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.

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.

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

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