It is one thing to get excited for your trip to South Korea, yet it is another thing to apply for the visa! The application for a South Korean Visa can be a rigorous task but if you carefully follow the instructions given in their embassy website then you may just get a visa to enter their beautiful country. Here is our experience applying and successfully receiving a South Korean Visa with a Philippine passport.
** This may be quite a read, although I promise that it can help you with your application. **
WHAT REQUIREMENTS DO YOU NEED?
** My partner and I were both working hence we prepared the necessary documents for employed individuals. **
1. Application Form
- You can download the application form from their website and make sure to print it in A4 size paper.
- Make sure to avoid any erasures and if you are as OC as I am, you would print two or more application forms just in case you make a mistake.
- We did our best to answer all the blanks, as well as to not leave any blanks. In most of the questions wherein it was not necessary for us to answer we placed N/A (Not Applicable) instead.
- Make sure to neatly paste in your passport size picture in the first page of the application form.
2. 1 piece Passport size colored picture (34mm x 45mm)
- We made sure to look presentable and have our ears shown.
3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)
4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2 of your passport)
5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (if applicable only)
- If you have traveled to an OECD country for the past 5 years then you need to include this in your requirements. I am not so sure if this entitles you to an immediate qualification for a South Korean Visa but it will most definitely increase your chances into getting one.
6. Original Certificate of Employment which must include applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number not cell-phone number, and HR e-mail address)
- We both requested this from our respective HR and thankfully it was not hard to get. Just make sure that all of the stated information is right and complete. I believe the South Korean Embassy would need your HR landline number because they will be contacting them to certify if all that you have submitted is true.
7. Original Personal Bank Certificate which must include account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average daily balance (ADB)
- This one was quite tricky for me as I clearly did not follow the instructions. First, I did not have a personal bank account which was over 6 months. So instead, I used my payroll account. Secondly, UnionBank does not issue a bank certificate stating your ADB. So the bank certificate (issued upon request and with payment) which I submitted only included the account type, current balance, and account opening date. Thirdly, two weeks prior to our visa application, that was the time I only deposited money to my UnionBank account. This requirement for Mark on the other hand was quite easy as BPI states your ADB in your requested bank certificate.
8. Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
- As for my bank statement, I requested that UnionBank print out all of my transactions for the year.
9. ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy
- We both again requested this from our respective HR’s.
10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (if applicable only)
WHEN DO YOU APPLY?
As our trip was set to be on 15 October 2016, we applied on 25 July 2016. That was an estimate of 3 months prior our trip. I think it best that you apply for a visa, 1-2 months prior to your trip.
WHERE DO YOU APPLY?
Republic of Korea Embassy
- Address : McKinley Town Center, 122 Upper McKinley Rd, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila
- No need to set an appointment, just proceed to the embassy and pass your application between 9-11 AM from Mondays to Fridays.
- Application is FREE if you plan on staying in Korea for 59 days or less.
- Application cost PHP 1,800 if you plan on staying for 60-90 days.
HOW DO YOU APPLY?
Once you have arrived inside the embassy, you will need to fall in line near the door entrance. Here, one of the staff will be checking and arranging your application form and other requirements.
You will not need to staple your requirements as they will be doing this for you then you will be given a number stub. For first time applicants, you will be waiting for your number to be called upon at Windows 1&2. While for frequent travelers and holders of OECD-visas, you will be waiting for your number to be called upon at Window 3.
Once I submitted all my requirements to the nice Korean lady at the other side of the window, I was given a claim stub which was dated one week later. Prior to going to the embassy, I thought there will be an interview so I dressed quite formal. You can actually dress very casually when you submit your requirements.
Overall, the application process was a breeze. You can actually pass the application for your family and friends, if you will be traveling in a group. There is no actual need for physical appearance.
CHECK OUT OUR DIY ITINERARY AND BUDGET FROM THE TRIP HERE!
You wait. Waiting for the visa was so aggravating because I was holding on to the little hope I had that our visas would be approved. The processing time is 5 business days, although if you are an applicant with a valid OECD-visa, the processing time is only 3 business days. Releasing time is from 2-4 PM from Mondays to Fridays. Then on 1 August 2016, Mark’s sister went to the embassy to claim our passports and hopefully our visa’s too. Miraculously, all 6 of us were granted a 59 day tourist visa! Rejoice!
** It is best to check the embassy website for updates further information. Everything written here is based on experience. **
CHECK OUT OUR PHOTOS FROM THE TRIP HERE!