18/06/2024

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Korean Visa Application Requirements for Filipino Tourists in Manila, Philippines (Single / Multiple Entry)

18 min read
Korean Visa Application Requirements for Filipino Tourists in Manila, Philippines (Single / Multiple Entry)

SEPTEMBER 2023 UPDATE: The Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC) in BGC will now be handling all Korean visa-related applications and the release of passports in lieu of the South Korean embassy (the embassy will no longer process visa applications except for special cases). The good news? There’s NO need to book an appointment and you can just walk-in to KVAC directly to lodge your application.

I’m sure that a majority of us Filipinos have encountered Korean influences at some point in our lives, may it be through K-Pop, K-dramas (Koreanovelas), cosmetic products, or food (among many others).

Due to these things as well as other factors, South Korea has remained to be a dream destination for many — but for those who want to make it a reality, there is the question of how our weak Philippine third world passports can fare when it comes to entry or visa matters. Don’t fret though because applying for a South Korean visa is easy and also FREE!

RELATED READ:
– South Korea Itinerary Travel Guide
– How to Explore Nami Island, Petite France, and More!
– How to Rent a ‘Hanbok’

Looking for Seoul Itinerary Ideas?

Come and check out my ‘DIY Seoul Itinerary Guide’ post which features detailed day-by-day activities that you could do, no matter the length of your stay!

READ NOW

The application process is SO simple and starting this 2018, the Korean Embassy is coursing applications through travel agencies (much like how the Japan Embassy does). As such, with the help of this guide, let us make your South Korea travel dreams come true!

…But first, a disclaimer:

NO ONE can give you a guarantee of your South Korean visa’s approval: not even a lawyer, a consultant, a travel agent, or an embassy employee. Anyone who says otherwise is most likely going to be a scammer. That being said, what I can offer you here is a comprehensive guide with helpful tips to increase your chances of getting that South Korean tourist visa.

Top photo by: Shutterstock

Table of Contents

ApplicationProcess for South Korean Visa

Step 1: Determine the type of South Korean visa that you need to apply for

There are, of course, various types of South Korean visas out there that you can apply for: a visa for studying, a visa for business, a visa for joining family, etc.

For this particular guide though, I will only be discussing the requirements for a tourist visa since it’s an experience that I’ve gone through myself.

If, however, you have a different situation or purpose of visit, it’s best that you contact the South Korea Embassy for more information and for the complete requirements. You can do this via telephone ([02] 856-9210, local no. 270 or 500) or via email: [email protected]

– – –

Step 2: Prepare the required documents for your application

Depending on your circumstance, click the symbol ‘+‘ below to view the corresponding requirements for each section. Make sure that you have authentic, original, and complete documents at all times!

  1. Philippine Passport. Make sure that your passport is valid for more than 6 months prior to your intended travel date, it has your signature, filled out the emergency contact page, and has at least two (2) blank pages.
    .
  2. Photocopy of current Philippine Passport bio page. This is found on page 2 (the part where your passport photo and other info are shown).
    .
  3. If applicable, previous Philippine Passport(s). You only need to submit this if you have traveled abroad within the last 5 years.
    .
  4. If applicable, original and photocopy of all your OECD visas for the past 5 years. If you have been to any of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development or OECD countries in the past 5 years as a tourist, make sure to submit the original and photocopy(ies) of the relevant visas and arrival stamps. (UPDATE: As of 2019, even if Japan is part of the OECD countries, it is NO longer considered as an example due to several cases of applicants passing fake Japan visas.)
    • Doing this will help expedite the processing time of your visa.
    • When I say ‘original’, this means that you will have to submit the passport(s) that contains the OECD visas and arrival stamps (no matter if they are your old or current passport[s]).
    • Only used visas are counted.
    • It is said that you are NO longer required to submit an ITR if you have traveled at least once to OECD member countries in the past 5 years — or have traveled to South Korea for more than two times within the last 4 years.
      .
  5. If applicable, photocopies of your PRC or IBP card.
    • Both the IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines) and PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) cards are identification cards issued by professional regulatory bodies. The former is for lawyers and the latter is for certified professionals such as nurses or engineers who’ve passed their respective licensure exams.
      .
  6. A duly accomplished South Korean Visa Application Form.
    • Download the application form here: PDF.
    • Before printing, properly fill the form on your computer and ensure that everything is in CAPITAL LETTERS (apparently, KVAC does not allow handwritten application forms). To do this, you can use websites like this: [click] to be able to accomplish the form digitally.
      • Print the application form on an A4-sized paper.
      • Do NOT write outside the boxes and do NOT handwrite your application form (except for your signature).
      • If anything is not applicable to you, just put N/A.
      • There is a part in Section 2 that asks for “Confirmation of Visa Issuance”. Just leave it blank or put N/A because this is basically info that’s only issued in Korea (most likely for Koreans only).
      • See here for a SAMPLE filled-out application form: [click] and click the tab that says “Visa Application Form Sample”.
    • There are sections here that ask for your address/hotel in South Korea as well as your intended date of entry and period of stay. Now regarding this..
      .

You are NOT required to present “booked” airline and hotels beforehand because the embassy does NOT require applicants to book it before approval. It might sometimes help to present a flight reservation though, and you can do this easily with One Way Fly with a fee that is as low as Php 900~ only.
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Once your South Korean visa is approved, check Skyscanner to look for the best flight deals. As for hotel bookings, it’s best to do it with Booking.com or Agoda.com. With them, you can reserve a hotel with NO pre-payment and you can even cancel the booking a day before your arrival with NO cancellation charges at all.

  1. 1 Passport-sized photo. This should be around 35mm x 45mm, colored, and against a white background. Paste this on your South Korea visa application form.
    .
  2. Optional: cover letter and itinerary. These are NOT required, but it’s always good practice to prepare them, to see an example cover letter, you can check the letter I submitted for my Korean visa application before in this link.
    • However, if you are a freelancer or if you have missing documents that you can’t submit such as an ITR, a Certificate of Employment, etc. — it is, therefore, a MUST that you submit a cover letter to the embassy to explain your situation.
    • As for the itinerary, there have been some cases wherein some applicants were asked to submit a rough draft of their South Korea itinerary; so it’s best to prepare this just in case.
      .
  1. Proof of income or financial stability. The requirements for this differ depending on your occupation. But if in case you are a student, a minor, or a person who has no income, refer to section (B).
    • For employed persons.
      • Original personal bank certificate: this must indicate your account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB).
      • Original or certified true copy of your Bank Statement or passbook for the last 3 months.
      • Original Certificate of Employment: this must be printed on your company’s official letterhead and must contain details of your officer or employer’s address, HR landline number (cellphone number is not allowed), HR email address, your position, your hiring date, and your salary.
      • Photocopy of your ITR (or Form 2316)
      • If you do NOT have an ITR or any of the other requirements above, write a simple letter explaining why you’re unable to submit them (examples: you’re newly employed so you don’t have an ITR, etc.).
        .
    • For self-employed / business persons.
      • Original personal bank certificate: this must indicate your account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months’ average balance (ADB).
      • Original or certified true copy of your Bank Statement or passbook for the last 3 months.
      • If you own a business, submit photocopies of your Business Registration issued by DTI / SEC, the company ITR, and your Business Permit or Mayor’s Permit.
      • If you’re a freelancer, provide the latest photocopy of your ITR (or Form 1701A) with a corresponding payment receipt from a BIR-authorized bank and proof of work (examples: screenshots of your work, a letter from clients, proof of payments for your work, etc.).
      • If you do NOT have an ITR, write a simple letter explaining why you’re unable to submit it (examples: if you are a new business, a newly self-employed person, you are being taxed in another country, etc.)
        • It is said that the only time you are exempt from submitting an ITR is if you have traveled to OECD countries in the past 5 years.
        • Start filing your local taxes as early as NOW — after all, a lot of embassies (not only Korea) require an ITR. So if you’re looking for a hassle-free experience on Philippines tax compliance, I suggest registering with Taxumo because they can take care of literally everything for you: tax forms, payments, and submissions. I’ve been using them for years now and it has been such a time-saver. Come sign up with my code AILEEN and you can get a 10% discount on all their subscription plans!
    • For retirees.
      • Original personal bank certificate: this must indicate your account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months’ average balance (ADB).
      • Original or certified true copy of your Bank Statement or passbook for the last 3 months.
      • Photocopy of your senior citizen ID.
        .
    • For unemployed persons.
      • Given the way the Embassy of South Korea presents its requirements for visa applicants, it’s best that you acquire a guarantor/sponsor who can provide an ITR. Refer to section (B) below for this.
        .
    • For students, minors, housewives, ‘househusbands’, etc.
      • Refer to section (B) below.
        .
  1. (OPTIONAL) Letter of Attorney. This is only if you’re planning to course your application through a travel agency, you will need to sign this Letter of Attorney.

* * * * * *

This kind of application is applicable for students, minors, unemployed persons, husband/wife (if one of you will be supporting the other), self-employed persons/freelancers (who can’t provide an ITR and have no strong reason why they can’t submit it) or just about any person who will take on a sponsor. This also applies to anyone who would have a company/agency to sponsor the trip.

For submitting the necessary requirements, simply submit the requirements listed in section (A), numbers #1 to #8. And when it comes to (#9) Proof of income or financial stability, you should ask these documents from your guarantor/sponsor as dependent on their profession or occupation — this could be your mom, dad, brother, sister, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, relative, etc.

Take note though that there are no guarantees of approval if your guarantor is NOT a family member of yours. In fact, it is said that it’s a lot better to have family sponsoring you.

Moving on, you should also submit the following…

  1. Sponsor/Guarantee letter. This is a simple letter written by your sponsor indicating and confirming how he/she will cover the costs of your South Korea trip.
    .
  2. Photocopy of sponsor/guarantor’s passport. Provide a photocopy of the bio page only; if not, it can be a photocopy of any government-issued ID.
    • If your sponsor is a company in Korea, provide a photocopy of their Korean Company Business Permit
      .

TIP: If your sponsor is your brother/sister, you must also submit their birth certificate to the embassy.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

  • If you are personally invited by a South Korean…
    • …resident, you must submit an invitation letter and a photocopy of his/her passport or authentication ID
    • …national, you must submit an invitation letter and photocopy of his/her passport or ID card.
    • …company, you must submit an invitation letter and a photocopy of the Korean company’s business permit.
      .
  • If you are married, submit a photocopy of your NSO Marriage Certificate.
    .
  • If you are a student, submit the following:
    • Original school certificate.
    • Photocopy of your school ID.
    • Photocopy of your NSO-issued birth certificate.
    • Your parents’ or your sponsor’s supporting financial documents (depending on their occupation refer to the list in section (A) under #9.)
      • If your parents are your sponsor, provide a photocopy of an NSO-issued marriage certificate.
      • If your sponsor is other than your parents, explain your relationship with that person through a cover letter.

* * * * * *

The South Korean Embassy only issues multiple-entry visas under certain conditions. Currently, there are 2 ways to avail this….

FIRST, by being a frequent South Korea traveler. Basically, it is said that if you have visited South Korea more than 4 times in the past 2 years OR if you have visited South Korea more than 10 times in total (with at least 1 of the visits done within the past 2 years), then you are suitable for a multiple-entry application.

SECONDit is said that if you show or submit proof that you have OECD visas in the past 5 years, the embassy can automatically just issue you a multiple-entry tourist visa. (Yet to be fully confirmed but there have been cases in which this happens).

NOTE: If in case you are a Philippine national living or residing in a foreign country and you wish to avail a South Korea tourist visa, kindly inquire with the appropriate South Korean Embassy in the country that you’re living in.

– – –

Step 3: Go to KVAC and submit your documents

Starting September 2023, the South Korean Embassy has officially inaugurated the Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC). Going forward, ALL visa applicants must now process their applications through this center either:

  • By themselves; or,
  • Through a designated travel agency
    • See here for a complete list of these 35 accredited agencies)

It helps to note that visa applications for diplomatic passport holders, official passport holders, and for those who require a visa urgently within 1 to 2 days due to clear humanitarian reasons will be the only ones who are exceptionally accepted at the embassy. Additionally, KVAC is only providing visa processing assistance; hence, the approval or denial of your visa is solely at the discretion of the Embassy of Korea after reviewing your documents.

In my opinion, filing for a visa application by yourself presents absolutely NO issues. In fact, choosing to go through a travel agency primarily ONLY helps if you can’t personally visit KVAC to submit your application. Remember, much like KVAC, travel agencies only facilitate document submission for an additional fee and they have NO influence over the visa application’s decision.

  • VISA PROCESSING FEES: A South Korean Visa is FREE of charge as long as you are only going to stay 59 days or less; however, KVAC as well as travel agencies charge for the service that they offer for processing your application.
    .
    KVAC currently only charges Php 900 as a service fee (they ONLY accept cash). As for other travel agencies, they typically charge about Php 500 to Php 2,000 as an additional fee on top of the KVAC service fee. (Meanwhile, for stays spanning from 60 to 90 days, the embassy will charge you a fee of about Php 2,000.).

Take note that the consulate in Cebu still accepts direct applications — you can also course your application through their own accredited travel agencies, the list of which you can find here.

For the complete address details of KVAC and the Cebu Consulate, see below:

KVAC (Korea Visa Application Center)
9F~10F, Brittany Hotel BGC, 6 Mckinley Pkwy, BGC, Taguig, Metro Manila
Website: https://www.visaforkorea-mn.com
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 02-8248-5440
Operation hours: 09:00AM to 17:30PM (except for Philippine & Korea holidays)
.
KOREAN CONSULATE IN CEBU
12th Floor Chinabank Corporate Center, Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5, Cebu Business Park, Cebu
Email Address: [email protected]
Contact No.: (63-32) 231-1516(-9)

  • CUT OFF TIME FOR VISA APPLICATIONS AT KVAC: 4:00PM
  • Please take note that in case you are a group of applicants for a family trip or business trip, one of the applicants may submit ALL of your applications. But if you wish to submit visa applications through a representative (someone who isn’t coming with you on the trip), you must submit your applications to one of the designated travel agencies mentioned above.

Once you arrive at KVAC, the process usually goes like this:

  1. Upon arrival, a guard in the lobby will provide you with a queuing number. (Most people will already be here by 8AM to line up, and even though the official opening time is 9AM, KVAC may already start distributing and calling queuing numbers at 8:30AM).
  2. You can then head to Level 2, a waiting area furnished with chairs and featuring a café station. Your companions can stay here to wait, but only the visa applicants with queuing numbers can proceed to Level 9 when their number is called.
  3. A staff person will regularly come to Level 2 to call out numbers. When yours is called, proceed to Level 9.
  4. Another staff person will receive your documents for preliminary checking. Once done, you will be given a new queue number.
  5. In a separate room, keep an eye out for your queue number once it flashes on the screen with its assigned counter. Once called, proceed to Level 10.
  6. This is the final checkpoint in which your documents will be reviewed and taken for submission to the embassy.
    • Take note, any original document that you submit will NOT be returned to you — except for your passport.
    • If you like, you can receive your results and passport via courier service for an added fee of Php 300 (within Metro Manila, sent within 3-5 working days) or Php 400 (outside Metro Manila, sent within 5-7 working days).
    • If in case you have missing documents, KVAC also has a photocopy and printing service for Php 10 per page (payable by cash only).
  7. You will be given an Application Receipt with a barcode — keep this because it will be important when claiming your passport and visa application results later.

– – –

Step 4: Claim your South Korean visa results

Typically, the processing time for visas is 5 working days, but due to the increased volume of applicants, expect it to go for as long as 10 working days or more.

Rest assured, KVAC will regularly send you the status of your application via SMS.

  • If you’re personally going to pick up your visa results and passport, just bring a valid government ID as well as the Application Receipt.
  • If someone else will pick up your results on your behalf, the representative needs to present the Application Receipt, a photocopy of your ID, an original copy of the ID of the representative, and a notarized Special Power of Attorney (SPA).
  • If you lose the Application Receipt, please secure a Police Report with a notarized Special Power of Attorney (SPA).

Should your application be approved (yay!), make sure that your South Korean visa has your correct name, passport number, etc.

  • Wanna track the status of your application online? Go to this page!

2020 UPDATE: The Embassy will NO longer issue a visa label for visa applications processed in the Philippines as of July 1, 2020. If your application is approved, the embassy will notify you by issuing a ‘Visa Grant Notice’ on the official website. From there, you can print out the visa document by entering your passport number, date of birth, and other relevant information.
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The Visa Grant Notice will contain your personal details including name, date of birth, and passport number, as well as other details including visa issuance number, status of stay, period of stay, number of allowed entries, date of issue, validity of visa, and issuing authority. (Simply PRINT the Visa Grant Notice and present it to immigration officers before your flight and after arrival).

What to Do in South Korea…?

Come and check out this list of the top things to do in South Korea which features the best activities and tours to do in places like Seoul, Busan, and more!

• • •

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How long does my passport have to be valid in order to apply for a Korea visa?

Your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months beyond your intended period of stay.

When is the earliest time that I can apply for a South Korean visa?

You can apply as early as two (2) months or 60 days before your planned trip date departure.

Which is the best travel agency to go to if I want to increase my chances of approval?

There really is NO best travel agency out there when it comes to visa approval because they have NO control whatsoever over that matter. Again, these accredited travel agencies simply ensure that the documents you are going to give are complete. After which, they just pass it to the embassy who makes the analysis and final decision.

Can I make an appointment on behalf of my friends? We’re all traveling together to Korea.

In case you are a group of friends with similar plane ticket dates, or if you are a group going for a family trip or business trip, only 1 (one) from your group of visa applicants may submit ALL of your applications. But if you wish to submit visa applications through a representative (someone who isn’t coming with you on the trip), you must rather submit your applications to one of the designated travel agencies mentioned above.

How long is the duration of a single-entry tourist South Korean visa?

All tourist visa holders of a single-entry visa are permitted to stay in South Korea for a maximum period of 59 days.

If I have a multiple-entry tourist visa, how long until I can re-enter South Korea again after a trip?

There seems to be NO existing rule for a “break period” when you want to enter South Korea again — however, take note that if you enter the country again too soon, that will raise questions and the immigration might not let you in. Also, take note that you should NOT spend more than 180 days total in a year in South Korea as a tourist.

How long does it take for my South Korea Visa application to be processed?

Please refer to the info I mentioned above under step #4.

Do I need to book accommodation and plane tickets by the time I send in my application?

The embassy does NOT require applicants to submit “booked” roundtrip flight tickets and hotel(s) before applying for a visa. It might sometimes help to present a flight reservation and you can do this easily with One Way Fly which has a fee that is as low as Php 900~ only.

Do I need to submit a cover letter for my visa application?

This is NOT required, but it’s always good practice to prepare it just in case. To see an example cover letter, you can check the letter I submitted for my Korean visa application at this link.

How much money should I show in my bank account?

The South Korean Embassy did NOT mention any minimum balance requirement, but some people have been saying that you need to have at least Php 10,000 per day of your stay — you can use this as a standard but of course, it’s always best if you have more. The way I see it, there’s no amount that will guarantee approval. Just ensure that you have complete documents and have enough pocket money to support yourself during your trip.

How can I track or follow up on the status of my South Korea visa application?

You can go to this page.

My South Korea Visa application was denied. Is there anything I can do?

Sorry to hear that. Either way, you can reapply again after 3 months.

• • •

» Top South Korea Tours «

Korean Visa Application Requirements for Filipino Tourists in Manila, Philippines (Single / Multiple Entry)

N Seoul Tower Tour
Marvel at the breathtaking views of Seoul!

Nami Island Tour

Nami Island Tour
+ stops to Garden of Morning Calm and more!

• • •

Booking Essentials

Book an AirBnB

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TIP: It’s a good idea to crosscheck the prices with other popular travel insurance providers like World Nomads and HeyMondo (as my reader, you get 5% off)!

.

However, take note that a travel insurance’s affordability typically means lesser coverage; so please always ensure that you read the fine print in order to decipher which travel insurance company is the right fit for you and your trip!

Looking for more travel tips for South Korea?

Check out my other detailed South Korea travel guides!

READ NOW

– – –

As you can see, applying for a South Korea Tourist Visa is fast and easy — you can do it all by yourself! All in all, I hope the process becomes absolutely hassle-free for you with the help of this visa guide.

Let me know how it goes… good luck!

The post Korean Visa Application Requirements for Filipino Tourists in Manila, Philippines (Single / Multiple Entry) appeared first on I am Aileen.

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