This isn’t the first time that I applied for a visa but the anxiety is still there and it will never go away, trust me! Yes, I am quite confident about this application as I already have a Japanese visa (multiple entry) for 5 years but I never really managed to shake off that feeling of getting denied from entering South Korea.
Unlike the application for a Japanese visa, you really need to appear in the South Korean embassy to process your papers. Sounds like a hassle but, to my surprise, it went perfectly well and fast! 🙂 So here are the steps that you need to remember when applying for a South Korean visa in the Philippines:
Step 1: Complete Your Basic Requirements
- Visa Application Form – You can accomplish this word file and have it printed or write the details on a printed form. It’s up to you but either way, it’s fine. Don’t forget to put N/A if not applicable.
- Colored Passport-size Photo – 2.3 cm x 4.5 cm against a plain white background. You need to paste it on the application form before submitting.
- Philippine Passport – Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months. The passport should be submitted without any jacket or cover.
- Photocopy of passport bio page. – located on the second page.
Step 2: Provide the Additional Requirements
Documents for this part may vary but I will only be focusing on those who are currently employed but I will give you some ideas for those who are self-employed.
- Original Bank Certificate – This should include the account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months ADB (average daily balance). There is no fixed amount for this but your financial statements should reflect that you can support your expenses during your stay in South Korea.
- Original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last three months.
- Certificate of Employment – This certificate should be printed on the official letterhead of your company. It must contain basic information such as position, salary, date hired, address of the company, Human Resource telephone number (avoid cellphone numbers), and HR email address.
- Photocopy of Income Tax Return (Form 2316). You can ask for this document from your HR unit but for those travelers who have been to OECD-member countries for the last 5 years, you are exempted from providing this document. Please see the list of OECD-member countries here.
- Original and Photocopy of Visas (if applicable) – If you have been to OECD-member countries for the last 5 years, you need to bring the original copy together with a photocopy of the visa.
- Letter of Invitation – If you have been invited by a Korean national, you must also submit the letter of invitation and a photocopy of his/her passport or ID card. If invited by a company, you need to submit a letter of invitation and a photocopy of the Korean company’s business permit.
- Photocopy of PRC and IBP card (if applicable).
Additional requirements under Step 2 should still be provided but here are additional requirements for businessmen.
- Photocopy of business registration from Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) or Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
- Photocopy of business or Mayor’s permit.
Step 3: Submit Your Documents
First, here’s the complete address and contact details of the South Korean embassy:
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634
Tel: +632 856-9210
Fax: +632 856-9008
Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30AM-5:30PM
Filing: Mon-Fri, 8:30AM-11:00AM
Releasing: Mon-Fri, 1:30PM-4:00PM
South-bound, you can take the C5 road and as soon as you pass SM Aura, you will see a Petron gasoline station. A few meters from there you should be able to see the South Korean embassy along the intersection to Upper McKinley road, just in front of the traffic light. Parking here is a bit difficult so taking the cab might be the best option.
Please take note of the following:
- Schedule of Application – Mondays to Fridays from 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM (Applicants who arrive after 10:30 AM may not be accommodated)
- Schedule of Retrieval – Mondays to Fridays from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Note: Please research on official holidays in South Korea to avoid wasting time.
You don’t need an appoint for the application process. You just need to get to the embassy and submit your documents. If you plan on staying in Korea for 59 days and below, the application fee is FREE. For those who plan to stay there from 60 to 90 days, the fee is Php 1,800.
Inside the building, you will see three windows (1,2, and 3). Windows 1 and 2 are for applicants without visas from OECD-member countries. Window 3 is for applicants with visa/s from OECD-member countries. Once inside, you need to fall in line for the security personnel to check the completeness of your requirements and they will give you a priority number for your assigned window. You just need to wait for your number to be called. Here’s an awesome fact, did you know that my transaction only took 15 seconds? I know right?! Crazy! This only means that they have an efficient system of doing stuff. 🙂
Step 4: Wait and Pray
Once you are done with the application, you will be given a small paper that contains the date of retrieval of your passport. You will only know if you are approved or denied once you get hold of your passport. For first-time applicants without visa/s from OECD countries, you are required to come back after 5 working days. For the rest of the applicants with OECD-member visas, you need to come back after 3 working days.
Some Tips and Things to Remember:
- Presenting a visa from an OECD-member country will increase your chances of getting that South Korean visa. Before this I highly suggest that, if you are from the Philippines, you should visit countries from ASEAN first before exploring Japan and South Korea (which are OECD-member countries). Ultimately, you will have a greater chance of getting a US visa and a Shengen visa if you have been to these places. This establishes your credibility in having stable finances for your travels.
- Credit Card – If you are a cardholder of the credit cards below, it will increase your chances of getting a multiple-entry visa (3-5 years) but it does not exempt you from providing the financial documents. The application is still subject for approval of the consul in-charge and does not guarantee approval of multiple-entry visa. Note that this offer valid until December 31, 2019 only. Click here for more details. Here are the list of credit cards:
- BPI Gold Master Card
- BPI SkyMiles Platinum Master Card
- Gold BPI Express Teller Debit Cards
- BDO Gold Card
- BDO Elite Card
- Paper Clips – Avoid these when submitting your documents. It will literally change their mood. Well, you will be able to see the reminders in every corner of the building once you are there.
- Photocopy – As for my experience, I got two photocopies of each document but they took off the second copy so don’t waste your time having two copies.
So there you have it. I am not an expert on this as I am also just a traveler like you but I hope this will guide and help you in the application process. It is still best to call the embassy for details that require specific answers. Leave a comment below and tell me what you think about my blog. Thanks! 🙂