The Nitty-Gritty of getting a South Korea Tourist Visa (Single Entry)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

You must be plotting a Kpop scheme that's why you come across this blog entry. Or maybe not :) Well, there are tons of reasons why people would want to go to South Korea  I, myself, have a list of things I want to do when I get to SK. And I tell you, the list gets longer every day! BTW, what I will share is my personal experience so I cannot answer queries related to visa processing. 
my friends Jett and Maki at Changgyeongung
After I had my visa approved, I received a lot of questions from friends and office mates if the application is easy or not. Well, for first timers like me, it was a bit nerve wracking. Completing the requirements is a piece of cake, it is the chance of getting approved that was a pain in the ass. If you check forums online, you will read a lot of horrible stories about denied visa application.

First things first. It would be best to refer to relevant sites to get the most reliable information about visa application. Here are the direct links:

(Click on Topic No. 4 Updated Visa Requirements - The step by step guide is also on the application form)

Download the visa application form here (PDF format) <- this is the newly released form to be used effective September 1, 2015

UPDATED VISA REQUIREMENTS (Effective March 1, 2015)

1. Certificate of Employment - must include applicant's position, date hired, compensation, address, office landline number(cell-phone number is not allowed), e-mail address.
2. Bank Ceritificate - must include account type, current balance, account opening date, 6 months average balance (ADB)
3. Bank Statement - original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months
4. Income Tax Return copy - with personal tin number
5. Original passport and copy of the first page (at least 6 months valid)
6. One passport-size colored picture

The type of visa that you need to apply will be based on the purpose of visit. For a short trip like mine, single entry visa would be the appropriate choice. The C3 Single entry visa is valid for 90 days from the day of approval. The application fee is gratis, that is you don't have to pay for visa application processing. The length of stay allowed is for 59 days only.

Here's some FAQs that might help you:

How much money should I have on my bank account?
No one really knows exactly how much you need to have in your bank cert to get approved. Based on my experience (and other people), the stability of source of income bears more weight than the the actual balance. To be honest, I only have 40,000 php in my account when I applied.

I am a first time traveler, Do I have a lesser chance of getting approved?
No. Don't be afraid to apply if you don't have any previous travels abroad. Honestly, I don't have any stamps on my passport as well and I was approved. There are numerous people who were denied even though they had several out of country trips.  

Do I need to appear personally at the embassy? 
Not really. You can ask a representative to submit the requirements for you. However, it would be best to be there personally at your tentative schedule of visa release. Based on my research, sometimes the consul would conduct an interview prior to releasing.

What is the turn around time for visa processing?
Five working days for first time travelers and three working days for visa holders.

Do I need to submit a copy of hotel bookings and airline tickets when I pass my requirements?
NO. It is not required. 

my visa :)
I still remember how delighted I was when I got my visa approved. It was like passing the board exams lol. I was close to trembling when the consul handed my passport. And there it was. My visa :) I was jumping for joy at the embassy and everyone is looking at me. Haha. I don't mind looking foolish because I just can't contain my happiness.

I hope this blog entry will somehow help you. Good luck on your application. Remember, there is NO sure fire way of getting a South Korea Tourist Visa. You have to take a risk. You won't lose anything if you apply. FIGHTING! :)

Special thanks to the PeXers of Pinoy Exchange South Korea Forum. Check out: Thread I and Thread II


Photo taken at Jusangjeolli Cliff of Daepo, Jeju Island

UPDATES
December 2013
When I applied for a tourist visa for the second time, I was asked to pay PHP 1,350 as a penalty for my unused visa. I was granted a 90-day visa instead of the usual 59 days. I am not sure if it will be imposed to all applicants with unused visa because in my case, I had an unused visa on that same year. Until now, there is still no latest announcement on the embassy's website.

June 2015 
To accommodate more applicants, visa application and releasing hour have been extended.
ㅇ Application:  8:30 AM to 11:00 AM (Monday to Friday)
ㅇ Releasing:  1:30 PM to 4:00 PM (Monday to Friday)

July 2015
The Republic of Korea has decided to implement proactive measure in order to provide foreign tourists with easier and convenient access to Korea due to the recent Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak. The validity of every single-entry visa that was issued before and after the MERS development (from March 1 to June 30, 2015) was extended from the current three months to six months. Persons subject to the extension are allowed to enter the Republic of Korea even after the visa expiration date, which would prevent them from going through inconvenient procedures such as visiting Korean embassy to have their visa extended.

Check out my other South Korea Blog Posts right  here.


***


Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Republic of the Philippines
Address
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city 1634, Philippines
Contact Numbers
Telephone: (63-2) 856-9210  visa local no. 270, 500
Fax:  (63-2) 856-9008, 9019, 9024(Consular section)
Email: philippines@mofa.go.kr, ph04@mofa.go.kr (Consular section)

Consulate in Cebu - Effective March 18, 2015, Cebuanos who want to go to South Korea need not go to Manila to obtain a visa.  
Address
12th Floor Chinabank Corporate Center, Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5, Cebu Business Park, Mabolo, Cebu City
Contact Numbers
Telephone: (63-32) 231-1516(-9)
Fax:  (63-32) 231-2950
Email: phi_cebu2015@mofa.go.kr

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57 comments

  1. I also don't have any stamps in my passport when I first applied and I got approved! :) I've been working for three years now (current company).
    * 24 years old
    * Bank Cert 40K

    As I mentioned in my blog, there is no sure fire way of getting an SK visa. Just make sure to submit complete documents. And also, prepare other documents such as TOR, diploma, meralco bills or credit card statements. Sometimes, the cosul will request for additional docs. Normally, sa tentative release date nila nirerequest yun. So para hindi masayang oras mo pagbalik, i ready mo na yung ibang docs :)
    * I actually applied for my 2nd visa last week and got approved. I will be in SK next year, January 12-19 2014 :) Good luck on your application :)

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  2. for the additional docs that the consul might request, all photocopies lang or should i bring the original? kasi diba ung orig lang na ibibigay ay bank cert at COE :) happy trip!

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  3. hi. may i ask if u r a regular employee in ur company? i am planning to get visa kasi soon. ang worry ko lang, i am working in the department of health. pero under job contract lang, meaning contractual. pero i worked for at least a year na. pls. answer. thanks.

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  4. Hello Anne, Yes I am a regular (full time) employee in our company. What I know is, so long as you can present a COE, that would suffice. Of course, other requirements should be complete. Hope this helps :)

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  5. hi.. ask ko lng po f i nid pa to submit COE f self employed sa family business?

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  6. Good morning JL,
    If you are self employed you can either provide a copy of business registration from DTI/SEC or business permit. And don't forget to submit ITR. Hope this helps! :)

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  7. tnx,ff.up question hw abwt bank cert..kailangan bah ndividual?or pwede na bank cert.ng parents...cla dn nman sponsor nmin pgpunta nmin sa SK plus kasama dn nmin..

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  8. If you are travelling with your parents, you have to submit your parent's original bank cert and ITR. I am not sure though if there's anything else required. It's best to call the embassy :)

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  9. You can use other documents, such as land title and deed of sale of property.
    I also read somewhere that you can get a certificate of exemption from the BIR.
    Not sure about the process though. You can contact BIR directly to inquire :)

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  10. how long did you stay in SK po?? thanks! :)

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  11. hi. your post was helpful :) anyway, i have a question. in your Employment Certificate, did you indicate your salary details? thanks

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  12. salamat! :) Yes, my annual income is stated.

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  13. Hello Milet, ask ko lang kung pwede na magapply ng maaga. For example, July magaaply pero February pa lang pupunta.

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  14. Hello Mel! 90 days lang ang validity ng single entry visa. So, kung Feb 2015 ang planned date of departure nyo, dapat pasok sya sa 90 days from the date of approval.

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  15. thank you sa pagsagot sa tanong ko. one more question about sa length of stay. dba nakalagay dun sa application form yun. what if nilagay ko sa form 7 days lang pero mag stay ako dun 15 days. ayos lang ba nun?

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  16. you're welcome. yup, okay lang yun. period of stay naman is not more than 59 days :)

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  17. I got it. Thank you very much for answering my questions. :-)

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  18. hi Milet, very interesting post. sana lang masagot ang aking question. problem kasi about bank certificate. I have read na pwede gamitin ang payroll account. kaso here in UAE, mas sikat ang pagbibigay nang bank statement. pwede kaya yung bank statement ng payroll account ko? thanks.

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  19. i planned to go to SK on October 9-14, 2014.. what is the best date/month to apply for my visa? tnxs :)

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  20. Hello! My friend used her payroll account when she applied last year, tinanggap naman. But the Embassy still requires submission of Bank Certificate, not bank statement. Try mo na lang siguro tanungin sa bank kung makakapag issue sila ng bank cert. It should indicate info such as the amount of money in your account, when it was opened and contact number of the bank. Check out this link from the embassy: VISA REQUIREMENT FINAL(for mofat website).ppt

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  21. August 2014. 90 days naman validity ng visa so dapat pasok dun ung date of departure nyo. :)

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  22. What if I don't have an ITR because I work as a partimer and I will about to finish my contract in the company. Guys please help how to do it. :(

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  23. Hi! My friend and I have already booked our flight to Seoul on Sept 2014. My friend is working in Singapore so she'll apply for her visa there. I'm worrying for my case because this is my first ever travel abroad, I got a very clean passport. I can comply with the requirements naman. Then i saw your blog and got a little confidence :) May I know your profile? I've been working for 7 years and with my current job more than 2 years already. What do you think? =) Thank you in advance

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  24. I love your blog. I keep on reading and reading all your blog posts.^_^ i am a budget traveller too. Ate, just want to ask cause i'm planning to have a vacation next year to korea, actually i LOVE KOREA even if i've never been there and honestly, it'll be my first time to travel abroad. I have this dilemma of not passing the visa application. I'm just an ordinary employee of a manufacturing appliances company and have a salary ranging 13k-15k a month. In my itr it's declared that i'm below minimum wage earner, is there any a chance that i could pass the visa application? Though i have more than 50k savings in my bank account. And which is preferrable, i'll first book a flight before applying a tourist visa ? (cause i'm planning to book a promo fare (1 fare) or appplying first the visa before booking a ticket which will cost me more than 10k.. thank you. I'll wait for your reply.

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  25. I don't think it will matter if you are below minimum wage earner. You are not tax exempt ergo you can provide ITR. Ang mahalaga nagbabayad ng tamang buwis :) Basta you are employed and have stable source of income, pasok sa banga yan! And don't forget to check the contact number of your HR, sabi kasi ni unnie dun sa embassy minsan kapag hindi sila maka connect twice lang nila tatawagan. Pag wala pa rin, denied na. Regarding your plane tickets, if you are willing to take a risk, then book a promo fare before applying a visa. And lastly, when I first applied, I don't have any previous travels abroad either. I was approved. Good luck on your application Mariz and thanks for visitng my blog! :)

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  26. Hi! I also have unused visa, ok lang b un? di b mkakaapekto kpg kukuha ako ulit.. at kelangan talaga magbayad 1,350 as penalty?

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  27. Hello Geanie! Wala naman ako naging problem nung nag apply ako ulit. Yes required na magbayad pag may unused visa. Though wala pa rin announcement sa website ng embassy kung lahat ba ng may unused visa ay dapat magbayad. Yung sakin kasi, unused visa sya on that same year na nag apply ako ulit. Hope this helps :)

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  28. Standard is 59 days so don't apply too early to be sure

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  29. ay oo nga, 90 days pala yung sakin kasi pinagbayad ako ng penalty na 1,350 :)

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  30. Hmmm. You might be referring to period of sojourn which is 59 days (gratis). Validity is 90 days.

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  31. oh thanks!
    btw, where did you guys stay at?

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  32. In Jeju Island, we stayed at Hotel Four Seasons. In Seoul, we stayed at Bukchon Maru Hanok guesthouse and Vestin Residence (Myeongdong). :)

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  33. Hi, Milet. :) I'm a fill time writer kasi so wala ko business permit or business registration. Ok lang ba na ITR lang i-present ko with Bank Cert? If you know a website regarding this, pa-share please. :) Thank you. :)

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  34. Are you a freelancer? If that's the case, then it does not clearly fall under any of the published categories in Korean Embassy website. But that does not mean you can't apply. As you have mentioned, you can present an ITR and bank cert. I think that would suffice. May nabasa ako before sa pinoyexchange na freelancer and she was approved. Better to prepare other documents na lang just in case manghingi ang embassy. Good luck on your application Jessy :)

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  35. If sakali madeny, ilang months po ulit bago magapply again?

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  36. ask ko lang.. denied kasi ako.. and my work is US based.. so kumbaga free lance ako dito sa pinas. yon kaya ang dahilan kung bakit na deny ako?

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  37. I'm not really sure ash. Did you submit a BIR-issued COR? Ang alam ko kasi for freelancers and home-based service providers eto yung madalas na sinasubmit. Kung gusto mo talaga malaman ang reason, pwede ka naman magtanong sa embassy. Don kay unnie sa Window 3. Mabait yun :)

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  38. Helo mam milet,mag tatanung lang akong uk lng po va f 60k up yung nasa bank??may cause po va na maaapproved?im a secretary of manggo marketing ,and gus2 namin magapply for vsa..

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  39. Hello Soo Shin! No one really knows how much you have to have in your bank account to get approved. Yung stability kasi ng source of income ang mas mahalaga. Nung nag apply nga ako 40K lang yung sakin pero na approved pa din. Good luck sainyo! :)

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  40. i have a question..I got my visa today. When can I apply for my 2nd visa? Balak namen kasi bumalik ng march 2015. Thanks!

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  41. I will be going back to SK next month. Same req lang din yung i-susubmit, first timer man or hindi, right? Thanks!

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  42. Hi millet! Nagapply na ako nung monday lang ng visa ulit. I also have unused visa. Nagapply ako nung july, hindi ko naman alam na 90 days lang allowed. So when i got my visa approved naman siya kaso yun nga hangang nov lang eh december sk ko for winter din :)

    Sure kaya yun na maapprove? Hindi ko din sinabe na may unused visa ako. Kelan ka nagbayad sa penalty nung pagkakuha mo?

    Sana okay naman. Nakabili na ako ng ticket and book sa hotel namin. :/

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  43. Hello Tinners! Tingin ko wala naman magiging problema sa visa mo. Yung sakin din kasi nag re apply ako on the same year na first akong na approve. Pinag bayad nila ako on the day din na na release yung visa ko :)

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  44. Sana naman. Mas okay ng magbayad kesa madeny :/

    Kinakabahan kasi sa mga nababasa ko na blogs re denied sk visas.

    Btw, nice blog! 👍

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  45. Thanks! Sana walang maging issue :) Good luck!

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  46. Hi! Im applying for visa next week, and Im worried I'll get denied since it's my first time to travel to SK. Sana ma-approve kasi Im going with lots of my friends this coming March. I have a few concerns regarding the ff. and I hope you can help me with this. Thank you!


    ITR: I am a Physical Therapist and I work in a rehab center. We are not declared as "employed", but as consultants so instead of salary, professional fee yung binibigay sa amin. I got my own ITR form 1701 on Sept 2014, but I started working there Sept 2013(March 2013 graduate ako ng PT). Nagbayad ako late filing kasi Sept na ako nagreg sa BIR. Would that be a problem?


    COE: nilagay sa COE ko is yung annual professional fee (wala kaming basic salary kasi per patient yung bayad sa amin). Nilagay na annual fee for 2014 was P200,000++. Okay lang ba?


    Bank Cert: I was not confident with my money sa bank so I asked my dad to transfer a little of his money to my account just for purposes of the bank cert. So ngayon P100,000++ nasa bank cert ko

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  47. Leigh Guinto MercadoApril 22, 2015 at 5:14 PM

    Hello po!!! I just want to ask po if we need to submit a travel clearance? My sister and I are both students. I'm 19 and she's 16..Or we can secure a travel clearance after getting the result of our visa application? Thank you!!!

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  48. Ma'am, na denied ako sa sk visa, binigay ko ung itr ko sa previous employer ko pati COE, but nagsubmit din ako ng bagong COE since employed ako sa business ng sister ko. Pano po kaya mag reaplly? Pwede po kayang mg pass ng affidavit of sposorship? Na sponsor ako ng sister ko for the travel expense?Meron naman po ako bank statement with sufficient funds.

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  49. Hi Dara! Sorry to hear you got denied. As far as I know, you can re apply after 6 months. You can prepare a notarized Affidavit of Support which states that your sister is responsible for your travel expenses. I am not sure though what other documents are required. Try mo din mag tanong sa forums like Pinoyexchange and Female Network, baka merong same case ng sayo. Madami pwede mag advise sayo dun :)

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  50. Ma'am, not possible po ba ung mag appeal? Sayang naman po ung ticket.

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  51. Hmm, yung dalawang friends ko na deny last year pero nakapag appeal sila the same day na narelease yung passport nila. Wala kasing mabigay na clear explanation ang embassy bakit sila denied. So nangulit sila dun kay unnie sa window 3. Eventually nabigyan din sila ng visa.

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