HOW TO APPLY FOR A SOUTH KOREAN VISA
A few months back, I was just doing my usual work when suddenly a weird thought came into my mind, “You should visit South Korea!”, it’s like my conscience is advising me that I need to do that. My friend asked me what I was mumbling to myself and I told her, ” You know what? It just came to me and I want to go South Korea!”. I know it was so out of the blue but at that point, that’s exactly what I need to do.
I would like to share my experience on how I successfully applied for a South Korean Visa which consists of 4 easy steps:
STEP 1. Prepare all the necessary documents that you need.
These are the basic documents that you should have:
- Filled out and signed South Korean Tourist Visa Application Form (http://south-korea.visahq.ph/South_Korea-Tourist-visa-application.pdf)
- Original, signed Philippines passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity.
- Passport-type photographs: 1 piece 2×2 Photo (they aren’t really strict with the background color or the exact size of the photo)
- Bank Statement. Copies of bank statements from the past 3 months.
- Employment Letter. A letter from your employer/school (on business letterhead, with contact details), stating that a leave of absence has been granted and that you will be returning to your current job. If you are self-employed, include a copy of your business license and tax return. If you are retired please submit proof of your retirement fund.
How to Fill out your Application Form:
There’s an instruction on how to properly fill out the form (2nd page), but to give you an idea, here’s a guide on how to accomplish it.
Write down the number of the Confirmation of Visa Issuance, if applicable. (You usually don’t put anything here unless you already have one, but for first timers, just skip this part)
1~2. Write down the name as printed in your passport. Surname is last name and given name is first name. ( I would suggest you use upper case so they can read your hand writing better)
3. If you have the Chinese character name, write down in Chinese character. (Of course no need for this, unless you actually have one)
※ Only for people from countries that use Chinese character.
4. To mark your gender, check a bracket below.
5. Write down the date of birth in the order of day, month, and year. (Be careful with this part!)
6. Write down your nationality.
7. Write down the name of the country you were born in.
8.~11. Write down your address, phone number, mobile phone number and email in your home country.
13.~17. Write down the type of your passport (see your passport) and draw a circle around the appropriate one. (Most of us have Ordinary passports, so just choose that)
※ DP(Diplomatic Passport), OF(Official Passport), OR(Ordinary Passport)
18.∼20. Write down your occupation and the phone numberㆍnameㆍaddress of your company.
21.~25. Write down personal data of your spouse, if you are married.
29. Write down how many times you have visited Korea.
30.~31. Write down the address and phone number of a place you are going to stay after arriving in Korea. If they are undecided, write down “undecided.” (If your purpose is to tour and don’t know anyone there, just put undecided)
32. Write down who will bear the cost of your stay in Korea. (name, relation) (If self, just write your name)
34. If you are a spouse or a child under the age of 20 of a person who holds the visa status of Culture and Art(D-1), Student(D-2), General Training(D-4) through Particular Occupation(E-7), fill these blanks.
35. Write down the name of person who sponsors your visa.
※ A sponsor may be a non-Korean. (No need for any sponsor if you really don’t have one, just put N/A)
Types of VISAS
- 59 DAYS OR LESS STAY IN KOREA – GRATIS (FREE!- My favorite word!)
- 90 DAYS STAY IN KOREA – PHP 1350.00
More than 90 days stay in Korea
- Singe Entry –PHP2250.00
- Multiple entry –PHP3600.00
- US PASSPORT holders –PHP2025.00
- Foreign nationals in the Philippines applying for a tourist visa –PHP1350.00
STEP 2. Go to the South Korean Embassy and bring all the important documents.
SOUTH KOREAN EMBASSY
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center,
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city 1634, Philippines
Tel : (63-2) 856-9210
Fax : (63-2) 856-9008
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com (Consular Section)
Hours of Operation : Monday~Friday 08:30~17:30
How to get there:
This is the only route I know, if anyone can give suggestions on how to get there through another route, by all means please share it here :)
A. The longer and cheaper way
Take a bus anywhere from the South to Guadalupe. Make sure that the Bus will stop at Guadalupe. Buses with A/C Marks are the only ones that can drop you off at Guadalupe. B usually drops you off at Orense street, several blocks away from Guadalupe. (if you’re a fan of walking, this wouldn’t be a problem for you lol)
Walk towards Jollibee and you will see a narrow street filled with jeepneys, people and vendors (the place is usually cramped so be very careful with your belongings!), continue walking and as soon as you see the mercury drug store, turn left you will see tons of jeepneys with C-5/ McKinley signs. If still unsure, you can always ask the drivers if they will pass by the South Korean Embassy. (Don’t forget to tell them to drop you off there, because if you won’t they wouldn’t stop there. Para po!) The fare is only PHP10.00 one way.
Same is true if you are coming from the north, just ask the driver to drop you off at Guadalupe, usually you need to cross the Guadalupe overpass bridge to get to the other side (Guadalupe Nuevo). When you see the Jollibee and Mcdonald sign opposite each other, more likely you’re on the right place. Follow the same route.
B. The faster and more convenient way
1. One word: Cab!
If you cannot endure the hassle of walking, fluctuations of the weather, the humidity and the crowd, taking a cab is the best option for you. (Although be careful with taxi drivers, some are very tricky at times. ) The cost would usually range from Php 150-170 from Guadalupe.
Landmarks: Market! Market! and Petron Gas Station. (It’s just a couple of blocks away from the gas station) When you see the Korean Flag, that’s it! yay!
How to go back to Guadalupe:
A. The longer and cheaper way
Look for the Shuttle that provides FREE ride from McKinley to Market market. (Waiting usually takes from 15-30 minutes, so make sure you don’t have other plans for the day or else you’ll be late ). The shuttles are nice and comfortable, and again FREE! Ask the driver to drop you off near the Jeepney stops.
Jeepney to Guadalupe costs Php 13.00-Php 15.00
I am not familiar of other routes, I need to work on my navigation and direction giving skills!
B. The faster and more convenient way
1. One word: Cab!
There are cabs available outside the Embassy.
- Leave an Identification Card in the security area and you will see clipboards there marked with First Time Flyer or Frequent Flyer. Sign your name in the appropriate clipboard.
- After that you can now go inside the Embassy. (They aren’t so strict with body frisking and checking of bags, I mean they still do it but not as strict as with the US Embassy)
- Upon entry , you will see a reception table beside the door where the security guards are and they will ask you if it’s your first time to leave the country. They will give you a stub and redirect you to the appropriate window.
V1 for first time flyers
V2 for those who were given a previous Visa but weren’t able to use them (not so sure about this part)
V3 for frequent flyers
- You can sit while waiting for your turn, it usually takes less than an hour to finish everything.
- There’s no need for an Interview, just submit your documents. ( I’ve noticed that the female consuls don’t usually smile, I guess that’s their strategy, to keep a serious face while going through documents, or they may be just tired from work!)
- They will screen your documents and return those that they don’t need. (I’ll give tips later on what and what not to bring)
- They will give you a claim stub with the date of the release of your passport. (This is not a guarantee that you will be given a Visa)
STEP 4. Go back and claim your passport:
Release of Passports:
V1 and V2 usually 5 working days (Monday to Friday) and v3 usually 3 working days only.
Don’t Forget to Bring an Identification Card and Release Stub. (They are very strict with this, no stub, no passport! YIKES!)
TIPS! TIPS! TIPS!
- When filling out your Application form, avoid ERASURES at all costs! They are pretty strict with erasures. Make sure you print a copy a head of time and give your self enough time to fill in the necessary information. (Concentration is the key!). Use Black Pen and do not use Pencil ( this is not a board exam! lol). It is advisable to fill out the application form at home, instead of rattling and hurrying yourself to finish it while in the Embassy. ( It’s a hassle, but if you want it the hard way, it’s your call.)
- Do not purchase a ticket, book a hotel and get a tour package until you get your South Korean Visa. It is not required to have those upon application. It was my mistake that I already bought my round trip ticket before my application (I can’t help it, I’m always in the look out for promo fares! yikes). The consul will just return it to you if you submit it along with your other documents. So if you get denied, you just wasted your money for the airfare, hotel or tour package.
- If you have a VISA or an expired visa for the following countries: USA, JAPAN, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA and CANADA, photocopy your visas and submit it.
- If you’ve been to those countries stated above for the past 5 years, photocopy your arrival stamps to that country from your passports.
- Getting a South Korean Visa is super easy if you have been to those 5 countries stated above. It’s like a guarantee that you can secure one if you have a visa from any of those countries.
- An invitation Letter is not required if you don’t know anyone there. (Actually this letter makes things more complicated, even if you have one I suggest not to submit it, if you really want to submit it, include a photocopy of your guarantor’s passport)
- No need to print payslips, a Certificate of Employment and ITR/ BIR form 2316 is suffice. If not available please indicate in the COE that you still don’t have one or submit a photocopy of your previous BIR form 2316 from 2011/2012.
- Do not submit original copies of anything except for your passport, COE and Bank Certificates.
- Make sure to bring an Identification card other than your passport for this is needed in the Security Area before you can enter the embassy.
- They aren’t too strict with cellphones, you can use it there.
- They have a lot of CCTV cameras, so be careful with your actions and smile all the time. (who knows who can see you, right? lol)
- Application Time is only from 9am to 11 am Monday to Friday. (They will not entertain you after 11 am)
- Release Time is only from 2pm-4pm Monday to Friday. (They will not entertain you if not within that time frame)
- The South Korean Visa for Single Entry is valid for only 90 days. Be sure to Visit Korea within the 90 day period.
When I got my Visa, I almost did a Charlie Chaplin Skip! I was so happy and excited! yay! Thank you for the light bulb that gave me an idea to do it . :D
I am delighted that I tried applying for a South Korean Visa and I can go there this summer 2013 (Spring time in South Korea) to witness the Cherry Blossom festival. I know it’s weird I’ve seen Cherry Blossoms in the states, but for sure it’s different and better in South Korea! I’ll be blogging more of my travel experiences here. Take care every one!
if you have any questions, comments or suggestions feel free to ask me!
Official South Korean Embassy Website:
South Korean Application Form