Seoul Searching Diaries: How to Apply for a Korean Visa in the Philippines

Thanks to Air Asia’s seat sale, my friend and I decided to book a flight to Seoul for the summer. Well, it was more like he kidnapped me. See, my friends and I have this standing agreement that if one of us sees a seat sale or really cheap tickets, we’d just book for each other. This has led us to various destinations — Bangkok, Boracay, Cebu, and now Seoul.

This was my first trip without my family that I had to apply for a visa so I was unusually OC about it. The requirements needed depends a lot on the purpose for travel. I applied for a tourist visa as a student, my friend applied for a tourist visa as an employee. Here’s how we applied for the visa:

STEP 1: FILL OUT THE APPLICATION FORM AND COMPLETE THE REQUIREMENTS

Application Form

This can be downloaded as a pdf file from their website. Fill out the form completely, and write n/a for entries that are not applicable. When my friend and I applied for the visa, we had not yet booked our hotel, so we had to write “n/a” on the space for “Address in South Korea.” This is perfectly fine. 🙂

1pc. Passport size colored picture

This is to be attached to the application form. If you have a digital copy of your passport sized colored picture, feel free to just print one out and attach it to the form.

Original Passport (valid for at least 6 months)

Copy of Passport First Page

This is the page with your photo and information.

Original & Copy of  valid visas and arrival stamps to  OECD  member countries for the past  5 years (except South Korea)

What are the OECD member countries? Check out the list here. I have a US Visa, so I had to photocopy that. The original should be no problem since its already attached to the passport. If you don’t have any Visa from any of the OECD member countries, that’s perfectly fine.

Original Certificate of Employment (for EMPLOYEES)

This is a letter from your company’s HR department saying that you are currently employed in their company. Remember to ask your HR for this, this is different from your employment contract.

Personal Bank Certificate Original (for EMPLOYEES) 

This is a document from your bank stating the amount you have kept there as of a specific date. This is different from a bank statement, wherein all your transactions are enumerated.

The purpose of providing this document is so that they can be assured that you have enough money to finance your travels. There is no minimum amount required, you just have to show that it is enough to provide for the length of your stay in South Korea.

ITR(Income Tax Return) or  form  2316 Copy (for EMPLOYEES) 

You probably have a copy of this already. If not, you can ask your HR department for this document.

Original School Certificate (for STUDENTS)

Get this document from your school registrar. Since I study in UP Diliman, I had to get this document at the Office of the University Registrar and had to pay a minimal amount. It takes around 3 days to process there.

Copy of School ID (for STUDENTS)

Copy of Birth Certificate (for STUDENTS)

If you don’t have a copy with you, you can request for an NSO certified birth certificate from the National Statistics Office. Check out their website for more information.

Parent’s Original Bank Certificate, ITR/Form 2316 and Original Employment Certificate (for STUDENTS) 

Because it is assumed that the parents will finance their son/daughter’s trip to South Korea, the parents’ financial and employment records are needed.

As for me, because I had worked before going back to school, I submitted my own bank certificate together with my dad’s. I also had to submit supporting documents instead of the ITR and COE because my dad had already retired from the military. In lieu of these documents, I submitted his retirement order, to justify his not having any ITR and COE.

Affidavit of Support  (for STUDENTS)

This is not in their list of requirements but I figured I had to provide one just to ensure that they know that my trip is being supported by the dad. You can just google the format of an affidavit, replace the applicable details, and have it notarized.

STEP 2: SUBMIT THE REQUIREMENTS AT THE SOUTH KOREAN EMBASSY 

Republic of Korea Embassy in the Philippines
122 Upper McKinley Road
McKinley Town Center
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634

If you’re coming from Quezon City or Ortigas, the easiest way is through C5, southbound. It’s that building right after Petron and Jollibee, after you get past the exit to BGC. Parking is a problem, since there is no parking and tow trucks frequent the place so parking on the road may be dangerous.

Visa application is only from 9 – 11 am, Monday to Friday, so be sure to get there in time. No appointment is needed.

Out of all the embassies I’ve gone to to apply for visa, my favorite is this embassy because of how complete and hassle-free it is. When you get to the office, fall in line at the table beside the door. The people there will check your requirements to see if they are complete or not.

If your requirements are complete, they will give you a number. Note that the numbers are different for those with OECD visas and those that do not.

If your requirements are incomplete, proceed to the table behind them — there are application forms, glue and photocopying machines there, in case all you need is to provide a copy of a document.

Once your number is called, proceed to the window and answer the consul’s questions.

STEP 3: PAY THE VISA FEE

For Philippine Passport holders, the following fees are applicable:

  • < 59 days stay in Korea — GRATIS (free!)
  • 60 – 90 days stay in Korea – PhP 1,350
  • > 90 days stay in Korea – not applicable for tourist visa
  • Single Entry – PhP 2,250
  • Multiple Entry – PhP 3,600

US Passport holders – PhP 2,025
Foreign nationals in the Philippines applying for a tourist visa – PhP 1,350

STEP 4: VISA PROCESSING

The consul will give you this slip of paper when you submit your requirements.

Image

 

Processing usually takes 5 working days for first time travellers and those who do not have OECD visas. If you have an OECD visa, it will only take 3 working days. (The releasing of my passport took longer because of the holy week.)

STEP 5: CLAIM YOUR PASSPORT

Claim your passport on the date indicated in the slip of paper. Claiming is only from 2 – 4 pm. I suggest you come early because I got there at 4pm and they didn’t want to let me in anymore.

Same procedure for claiming — log in, get a number from the table beside the door, and then wait for your number to be called. Claiming for others is okay, as long as you have their slip with you. Just to be sure, ask them to make an authorization letter, authorizing you to claim their passport on their behalf.

                              Image

There you go! Good luck on your application! 🙂

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