Ivan and I love a lot of things about Korea: their food, fashion, tv shows/movies (from mushy koreanovelas to tear-jerking movies to funny reality shows), technology, train system, weather… the list goes on. In fact, we love Korea so much, that we flew there last Valentine’s Day for the second time in less than 2 years.
Our first trip to Korea was in October 2014, during autumn. The trees were in lovely shades of orange and yellow, and the weather was perfect for fashionable layers.
This time though, we wanted to experience the merciless winter wonderland in February. I seriously can’t wait to share with you our itinerary and photos! But first things first: here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a South Korea Tourist Visa.
COMPLETE ALL VISA REQUIREMENTS
- Accomplished handwritten visa application form. Access the visa form thru this link. Don’t forget to sign the last page.
- PH passport with at least 6 months validity
- 1pc. passport size (1.5in x 2in) photo with white background, taken within the last 3 months. Put your name and signature at the back of the photo (not really a must, but this is a personal practice), and paste it on the form.
- Photocopy of passport bio page
- Original copy of Certificate of Employment–that include the following: applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number (cell-phone number is not allowed) and HR e-mail address
- Original copy of Bank Statement or Certificate of Business Registration if self-employed
- Original copy of personal Bank Certificate–that include the following: account type, current balance, account opening date, average daily balance (ADB)
- Photocopy of ITR Form 2316
- If you have travelled to OECD member countries: original & photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps for the past five (5) years (Korean Visas will not be counted)
- Additional documents if personally invited by a Korean: invitation letter and photocopy of invitor’s passport or identification card
- Additional documents if invited by a company in Korea: invitation letter and photocopy of Korean company business permit
IMPORTANT NOTE: Requirements stated above are for those who are employed during the time of application. For others, kindly check the requirements that fit your application type on the official website of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea.
Need a checklist on the go? Download our mobile-friendly South Korea Tourist Visa Requirements list for Philippine passport holders HERE.
SUBMIT APPLICATION FORM AND DOCUMENTS
TO THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA EMBASSY
The Embassy of the Republic of Korea is located at 122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634. No prior appointment is needed. Simply go to the embassy any time between 9:00AM – 11:00AM, at any day from Monday to Friday, to file your visa application.
After logging in at the front gate, go straight to the office inside and line up at the front desk for your queueing number. The guy handing out the number will check your documents, arrange them accordingly and inform you which window you should proceed to. First timers will be directed to either Window 1 or 2, while frequent travelers and those who have traveled to OECD member countries will be asked to go to Window 3.
In our case, no questions or additional documents were asked. I was done in 10 minutes (I swear). My number was up right after I got it, and the consul just quickly browsed through my documents. I was handed my claim stub in no time. Ivan waited a bit longer though, since there were more applicants who had visas to OECD member countries. Still, we were in and out in under 30 minutes.
Was the efficient process the best thing about applying for a South Korea tourist visa? Not really. The application being FREE is! At least for a stay under 60 days. ☺
IMPORTANT NOTE: The usual processing time is three (3) to five (5) working days. Date will be indicated in your claim stub.
Releasing of passports and documents is done in the afternoon, particularly at 2:00PM – 4:00PM, Mondays to Fridays. You can have someone else claim it for you. No need for an authorization letter as he/she would only need to present your claim stub with your full name written at the back.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Single-entry South Korea Tourist visas only have a validity of ninety (90) days from the date of issuance, so it is best to apply not more than three (3) months before your trip.