How to Apply for South Korea Tourist Visa for the First Time in Cebu

South Korea has been a dream destination for many Filipinos. I’ve been to South Korea once last year to have my first winter experience. How magical the snow was! I got my roundtrip ticket for PHP 5000 only (Thank you, CebPac!). Friends have been asking me questions regarding how to apply for one. Applying for a Korean Tourist Visa is very simple, fast and FREE! Yes, it is free as long as you are going to stay for less than 59 days. However, if you wish to stay for 60 – 90 days, processing fee will cost you PHP 1800. Actually, the process can be done all by yourself. There is no need to hire for a travel agency if budget is a factor for you. Below is a guide to make your dream to experience South Korea possible.

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But first, let me share this to you: NO ONE can guarantee the success of your application even if you go to a travel agent, a lawyer, a consultant, or even an embassy employee. If someone says the otherwise, he/she might be a scammer. To increase the chances of success, submit the requirements diligently and completely.


STEP 1: PREPARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR APPLICATION.

This guide is only for applicants who belong to the following categories without any guarantor/sponsor.

  • FILIPINO EMPLOYEES
  • FILIPINO BUSINESSMEN/SELF-EMPLOYED
  • If you don’t belong to any of these categories, visit the embassy website here for more info.

FOR FILIPINO EMPLOYEES:

  1. Accomplished Visa Application Form

Download the application form here. Please make sure that you have original and authentic document. Please print in A4 size only.

  1. Original Passport

Your passport should be valid for more than six months. Your passport will be submitted and surrendered to the embassy during verification. You will only get your passport back once the result is up – either you pass or fail.

  1. Photocopy of Passport Bio Page

The Passport Bio is located at Page 2 of your Original Passport.

  1. If applicable only: Original and Photocopy of all your OECD Visas for the past 5 years

OECD stands for Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Developlement. Just make sure that you will submit the original and photocopy of the mentioned relevant visas and arrival stamps.

  1. One (1) Passport-sized Colored Photo
  • Your photo must be recent
  • Must be 35 mm x 45 mm in dimensions
  • With white background
  • Please make sure also that your photo is of high quality.
  1. Original Certificate of Employment

Your Certificate of Employment (COE) should have the following information:

  • your position in the company
  • date hired
  • compensation
  • office address (Note: Mobile phone numbers are not allowed.)
  • email address of your HR manager
  1. Original Personal Bank Certificate

You may request this from your bank. It must include the following:

  • Bank account type
  • Current Balance
  • Account Opening Date
  • Average Daily Balance (ADB)
  1. Original Bank Statement

This is different from a bank certificate. Submit Original or Certified True Copy of your bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months.

  1. Income Tax Return (ITR) of Form 2316 Copy
  2. If applicable only: Copy or PRC Card or IBP Card
  3. If applicable only: either BDO or BPI Credit Card, Photocopy of the said card, and latest and original credit card account statement

FOR FILIPINO BUSINESSMEN/SELF-EMPLOYED:

  1. Accomplished Visa Application Form

Download the application form here. Please make sure that you have original and authentic document. Please print in A4 size only.

  1. Original Passport

Your passport should be valid for more than six months. Your passport will be submitted and surrendered to the embassy during verification. You will only get your passport back once the result is up – either you pass or fail.

  1. Photocopy of Passport Bio Page

The Passport Bio is located at Page 2 of your Original Passport.

  1. If applicable only: Original and Photocopy of all your OECD Visas for the past 5 years

OECD stands for Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Developlement. Just make sure that you will submit the original and photocopy of the mentioned relevant visas and arrival stamps.

  1. One (1) Passport-sized Colored Photo
  • Your photo must be recent
  • Must be 35 mm x 45 mm in dimensions
  • With white background
  • Please make sure also that your photo is of high quality.
  1. Photocopy of Business Registration from SEC or DTI
  2. Photocopy of Business Permit or Mayor’s Permit
  3. Original Personal Bank Certificate

You may request this from your bank. It must include the following:

  • Bank account type
  • Current Balance
  • Account Opening Date
  • Average Daily Balance (ADB)
  1. Original Bank Statement

This is different from a bank certificate. Submit Original or Certified True Copy of your bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months.

  1. Income Tax Return (ITR) of Form 2316 Copy
  2. For those who do not have ITR: Write a simple written explanation in letter format explaining why you are unable to provide your ITR (sample reasons include: you are just new in the business or newly self-employed)

You will be exempted from providing this letter of explanation if you are a member of OECD countries or you are able to provide requirement # 13.

  1. If applicable only: Copy or PRC Card or IBP Card
  2. If applicable only: either BDO or BPI Credit Card, Photocopy of the said card, and latest and original credit card account statement

visa.JPG

Above is a snippet only of the first page of the application form.


STEP 2: SUBMIT YOUR REQUIREMENTS TO SOUTH KOREAN EMBASSY

No appointment needed. Just walk in to the South Korean Embassy from Mondays to Fridays at 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM. First come first serve basis. We arrived at exactly the opening hour. The processing was very fast. For Cebu location, the address is:

CEBU

HOW TO SUBMIT THE REQUIREMENTS

  1. Outside the entrance door, arrange your documents inside your envelope in the order as listed above. This is to avoid hassle once you are already inside the embassy.
  2. You will be asked by the guard to write down your name and leave an ID. No picture taking is allowed once you are already inside the embassy. The guard will be covering the camera of your phone with a tape. This is what he did when we went there.
  3. At the entrance, a staff will be positioned to collect your documents for checking and inspection. Once your documents are already good to go, he/she will give you your queue number. You may now enter and sit down. Wait for your number to be called. If you arrive early, yours will be processed quickly. It didn’t take an hour during my time.
  4. When it is your turn, approach the designated window. The staff will be collecting all your documents and check them one by one. Also, be prepared for some questions just for verification. Don’t worry these questions are just simple. There is also a possibility that they might ask for additional documents before they give you date of release of result.
  5. Finally, the staff will give you a piece of paper indicating the date of the release of your result. Please also check your e-mail from time to time as there might be additional documents they will ask from you.

STEP 3: CLAIM THE RESULT.

Processing time usually takes 3 to 5 days. I swear I commend the embassy for the streamlined processing. If your application gets approved, see to it that all information in your South Korean Visa are correct including your name, passport number, etc. before you leave the embassy. Good luck!


ADDITIONAL HELPFUL TIPS

  1. As mentioned above, submission of requirements to the embassy is only from 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM weekdays only. Release of results is from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM weekdays only.
  2. In your application form, you will be asked about your funding details: Estimated Travel Cost. There is really no minimum amount you should have in your Bank Certificate and the Embassy will never disclose this information. Just make sure that your bank account has been opened for at least 6 months before you applied for the visa, and that it contains an amount greater than your Estimated Travel Cost. During our time, I made sure I have at least Php 50 000 in it. Your Average Daily Balance (ADB) of your bank account is also taken into consideration. Again, there is really no guarantee.
  3. No need to present your booking details and air fare tickets. I brought them in the embassy, but the staff just returned these documents to me as they were not necessary.
  4. Apply for visa as early as three (3) months before your planned departure date.
  5. Research ahead of where you are going to stay in South Korea. In the application form, you will be asked of the address of your hotel/guesthouse/accommodation where you will be staying during your trip.
  6. If you get denied, I am sorry but you will have to wait for 6 months before you re-apply.
  7. If you have other queries, you may directly contact the Consulate through email: ph04@mofa.go.kr; or you may visit their website: http://overseas.mofa.go.kr/ph-en/index.do.
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littlemisadvencha is a Filipino Civil Engineer, M.S. student in Structural Engineering and a fur mom of four-legged babies. She writes about her experiences to inspire and educate.

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