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

KOREA VISA: How to Apply for a South Korea Tourist Visa 2019 (for Filipinos)
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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)
  32. Uni-Orient Travel, Inc. (Makati, Binondo, Ortigas, Cebu)

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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Ariane

Sunday 8th of November 2020

Hi admin! I am planning to go to sokor in 2021 and by that time I'm still a college student and 21 yrs old. I will be in charge sa magagastos ko for my stay and hindi hihingi sa parents. Possible ba na maging success ang application ko? I can provide the docus naman and will find out how to get my parents ITR. Do you have any travel agencies recos to best apply visa? Thank youuu!

JB & Renée Macatulad

Wednesday 11th of November 2020

Hi Ariane, hard to say right now because of the pandemic. I'd hold off on any serious travel planning until travel restrictions ease and borders open up again.

Lar

Thursday 10th of September 2020

Good day po!

Planning to travel next year w/ sisters, 3 kami. Next yr pa naman. Hopefully the pandemic will end soon. Question po: Mag su submit ba kaming 3 nang bank accounts? Plano kasi naman sa ate ko nalang na account mag save & wala kaming bank account ni isang Sissy. Would this be a problem po?

Thanks . God Bless & Stay Safe!

JB & Renée Macatulad

Monday 14th of September 2020

Hi Lar, submitting multiple bank accounts will help but since magkakapatid naman kayo, I think ok lang kung yung account ng ate niyo na lang basta enough naman yung amount. Please verify this with the travel agency you file with. Pero personally, nagsusubmit ako ng multiple bank accounts talaga para mas sigurado. Hope that helps and good luck!

Kate

Monday 27th of April 2020

Hi!

Me and my mom are planning to go to Korea and since I'm still a student, i need my parents' documents. My question is dapat po ba na both parent na documents yung ipapasa? Even though my mom is the only one I'm travelling with

Hope u can answer my question thank you

And also if i will be travelling w/ my mom, should i provide another copies nanaman of my mom's documents for my (student) visa requirements?

JB & Renée Macatulad

Monday 27th of April 2020

Hi Kate, as far as I know, tourist visas to South Korea are still suspended. You can refer to this post on the Korea Embassy website. Also, the requirements listed here are pre-COVID-19 so they may be different now. I'll update this page when the dust settles but if you plan on applying soon, then you may want to contact the embassy directly.

rachel

Thursday 20th of February 2020

what if i stop already working ? and meron po akong bank account pero bago pa po.. and then po meron poako boyfriend na korean na sponsor ko nalang po. makakakuhapo ba ako nang tourist visa?

JB & Renée Macatulad

Sunday 23rd of February 2020

@Rachel: Baka mahirap to be honest, but you never know. Good luck.

Miles

Tuesday 11th of February 2020

Hi Sir, ask ko lang po kasi sabi nila dapat daw nakapag travel na muna sa ibang free visa country bago mag travel sa mga countries with visa. If totoo po, mga ilang travel po kaya yung kailangan ? Thank you so much.

JB & Renée Macatulad

Wednesday 12th of February 2020

Hi Miles, not sure kung totoo yun. It helps kung may previous travel experience ka na but I don't think it's a requirement.