How to Apply for a Korean Visa

안녕 친구!

South Korea is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Filipinos, thanks to the popularity of Korean pop music and dramas. However, unlike Taiwan, which is also becoming a popular destination, one needs to apply for a visa to go to South Korea (unless you are going to Jeju Island as part of a tour group.)

When I first visited South Korea in 2016, it was my first time to travel to a country where I had to get a visa on my own. (I went to Japan in 2009 but getting a visa was easy because I was invited by a university for a conference.)

One of the things that made me worry at that time was the money I had in my bank account. It was nerve-racking because no one can say for sure how much money I need to have in my account, plus the fact that I have to show six months' worth of bank certificates.

I only became confident the second time I applied for a visa. This time, I was confident I'll get a visa since they already gave me one the previous year.

The official website of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Republic of Philippines has everything you need to know to apply for a visa.

The first thing you have to do when applying for a Korean visa is to download this form from the official website of the Korean Embassy in Manila. The trick is not to leave anything blank; instead, put "N/A" when the information being asked is not applicable to you.

Here's the complete list of requirements (as per the Korean Embassy in Manila)

1* Application Form
2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture (Please attach on the application form)
3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6months)
4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable only)
6. Original Certificate of Employment
   (must include applicant's position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number(cell-phone number is not allowed), HR e-mail address)
7. Original Personal Bank Certificate
   (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
8. Bank Statement
   (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
9. ITR(Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy
10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)

An invitation letter and a photocopy of the invitor's passport or identification card is required if one is personally invited by a Korean national, while an invitation letter and a photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit is required if one is invited by a Korean company.

Frequent travellers who have traveled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR.

Processing time for those who have been to OECD member countries is 3 working days, and 5 days for those who have not been to OECD member countries.

Applying for the Korean visa is free for the first 60 days.

According to a friend (who is a frequent traveler to Korea), the embassy usually gives a 30-day visa but I got a 60-day visa twice. :D


* Make sure your employment certificate has a phone number the Embassy can call. I've read accounts were the visa was denied because the Embassy cannot contact the applicant's employer.

* Have enough money on your bank account to support your stay in Korea. There is no specific amount, but around P10,000 a day is the safest amount. For example, if you are planning to stay in Korea for 5 days, make sure you have at least P50,000 in your account.

*If you have a BPI or BDO credit card, as your bank if you can upgrade to the gold/elite card, if you don't have one yet. The Embassy gives out multiple-entry visas for specific BDO/BPI cardholders. Those cardholders also do not have to submit a bank certificate and ITR.

Keep these tips in mind and enjoy your trip to Korea!


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