How to apply for a Korean visa – requirements for Filipino tourists

When my friends and relatives first learned that I was set to visit Korea, all of them got really excited. Can’t blame them as Korea is one of the favorite travel destinations of many Filipinos these days, thanks to the ever growing popularity of K-Pop, Koreanovelas and continuous visits to the Philippines by popular Korean celebrities.

As of this writing, Filipinos still need a visa to enter Korea. Filipino tourists who intend to stay for 59 days or less can apply for a Korean tourist visa FOR FREE. The thing is, though, you must apply at the Korean embassy in Manila for you to avail of the FREE South Korea tourist visa. For people outside Metro Manila (like me and my brother!), the cheaper option is to have an accredited travel agency fix our applications. In our case, since our flight was from Cebu to Incheon (this is where the international airport is – about an hour away from Seoul), we chose a duly accredited Cebu travel agency to file our Korea visa application papers in our behalf. Please note that although there is a Korea consular office in Cebu, it doesn’t handle visa applications.

Now for those who also want to follow the same route, here’s what we did.

Visit the official Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines website. Download and accomplish the Korean visa application form. On the same page, you can see the specific visa requirements based on your employment status but these are the basic ones that you MUST have:

– Your duly accomplished application form
– Passport (must still be valid for at least 6 months)
– Clear photocopy of the passport Bio page (this is page 2 of your passport)
– 1 passport size colored photo (tip: most photo shops already have a “For Korea Visa” photo package usually priced at Php 100 for 6 photos)

Additional requirements:

For employees:

– Original and copy of valid visas and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (list of OECD member countries can be found HERE)
– Employment Certificate (Original)
– Personal Bank Certificate (Original)
– ITR (Income Tax Return) or BIR Form 2316 copy

If you were invited by a Korean national, include the invitation letter and copy of the inviter’s passport. If you were invited by a company in Korea, submit the invitation letter and copy of the said company’s business permit.

For self-employed individuals:

– Original and copy of valid visas and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (list of OECD member countries can be found HERE)
– Business Registration from SEC or DTI (Copy)
– Business Permit or Mayor’s Permit (Copy)
– Personal Bank Certificate (Original)
– Individual ITR (Income Tax Return) or BIR Form 2316 (Copy)

Same rules apply if you were invited either by a Korean national or company in Korea.

Tip: Don’t forget to submit copies of arrival stamps to OECD member countries. This will help expedite processing of your visa application. In my case, since I was granted a U.S. visa before, it only took the Korean embassy about 3 days to process my application. Otherwise, regular processing time takes 5 days.

Again, visa fees:

59 days (or less) stay in Korea – TOTALLY FREE
60 to 90 days stay in Korea – Php 1,350.00 (about US $35.00)

seoul-korea-war-memorial

By the way, the Cebu travel agency that we chose was Cebu Fortune. Call them at (032) 412-2575 or visit them at Machay Building, 30 Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City. Their rates are pretty affordable.

Follow my humble Mindanaoan in Korea travel series for recommended itineraries, Seoul hostel, food finds, travel tips to North Korea and many more!

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Mindanaoan Irene

Mindanaoan is a multi-awarded blogger, social media strategist, publicist, Google Business Group - Women lead organizer, avid traveler and a proud relief operations volunteer. She is also a regular resource person for social media and blogging related conferences/workshops here and abroad. In 2012, Mindanaoan also completed a US Gov't. Department of State-sponsored International Visitor Leadership Program for emerging global leaders. She toured the U.S. for about a month for her IVLP experience. She is the founder of a bloggers group and social media club. She is also an active member of several online media, bloggers and social media enthusiasts groups all over the world. Mindanaoan is available for work and travel. Contact Mindanaoan at mindanaoan@gmail.com

10 Responses

  1. Shayne says:

    hi! I hope you can still reply! I just want to ask, when you applied for tourist visa thru agency, you didn’t have to go to manila for interview? because that’s what I’m worried about. If I apply thru agency and then in the end, I still need to personally appear in manila before I can get my visa.

  2. June Estrebor says:

    Hi Irene, this is really helpful. I’d like to clarify though (or know your take on this), if I haven’t been invited by a Korean or a Korean Company, is it fine that I just disregard that requirement?

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