How to Successfully get Korean Visa for First-time Filipinos: 3 Simple steps and tips
After traveling around and completing my Southeast Asian countries tour ,namely: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia; I realized that it’s time to travel up in the north, if not in the west. But it’s also time that I have to face the dreadful process of visa applications as most of these Northern Asian countries (except Mongolia) require visa for Filipino travelers. I have never been prepared but I need to.
A month before my scheduled vacation to South Korea, I gave it a shot to apply for a South Korean visa at their embassy in Taguig. This was my second visa application after the Mexico one. (Related article: How I got Mexican Visa with multiple entries for 6 months )
I was amazed that the requirements include the basic ones and I was able to prepare it easily which are as follows:
Tourist/Business Visa Requirements for “Employees”
- Application Form
- 1 piece of Passport size colored picture
- Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6months)
4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
- Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable only)
- Original Certificate of Employment (must include applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number(cell-phone number is not allowed), HR e-mail address)
7. Original Personal Bank Certificate – you need to ask your bank for this certificate. My bank BPI, charged me 100php for this request. ADB should be least 50k .
(must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
- Bank Statement- you can ask this free from your bank
(original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
- ITR(Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy
I was happy to learn that Poland (Europe) and Mexico are part of OECD countries as there are some few benefits if you are a frequent traveler who have traveled as tourist to OECD countries within 5 years. Technically, if you have Schengen visa, Mexican visa, or let’s say a Japanese visa, for instance, you are exempted from submitting the ITR. Although I still brought it with me on the day of the application for assurance. Second, the processing time is just 3 working days unlike for those who have not been to , at least 5 working days.
The 34 OECD member countries are the following:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
One thing I liked about getting visa for South Korea is that visa fee is free as long as your stay is up to 59 days only. Considering I’m a full-time employee, just part-time traveler, I don’t have the luxury of time so obviously I cannot travel for a month and preferred to travel within a week. But for hardworking traveler, or those with 60 to 90 days stay in Korea, fee is PHP1,800.00 at the time this writing was published.
Travel first to visa-free countries (e.g. Southeast Asian countries) to build your profile as a frequent traveler.
Traveling a lot to visa-free countries before the ones which require visa helps because even if your ADB in your bank account is only 50Kphp, you will be seen as a short-time traveler who only wants to visit a country, then leave it to venture out a new short trip to another one.
Half of the visa application is preparing the documents and planning your personal application at the embassy. Now, half of it goes when you apply in person at the embassy. In order to save time (and money as well), it does not hurt to know details such as proper dress code, the embassy’s office hours and how to get there in the fastest and most convenient way possible. Of course, you need to look decent at your personal appearance in the embassy with all the necessary documents in your hand. Just remember that the application hours is between 8am- 12noon, Mondays to Fridays.
Worry not when its your turn for the interview. As long as you have all the requirements, you should be relaxed. Besides, most Korean interviewers won’t ask you questions if you got all the required documents. Like what happened to me. I was surprised that the Korean interviewer didn’t say or ask me anything. After browsing my documents, she just handed me the small slip that indicated the date for the releasing of my passport. Then, that’s it.
It is better if you can print the Visa Application Form and fill it out in advance to save you from falling in line to get the said form once at the embassy.
In front of Market Market, there is a line of taxis that can bring you to the embassy which is easier and more convenient than waiting for a Guadalupe bound jeep. You’ll pay within 60-80 php only.
Wait patiently and get your passport on the date indicated on your slip. Schedule for the releasing of your passport is between 1:30 pm- 4 pm from Mondays to Fridays. Be ready for the result. Look at the glass half-full, half-empty. First , expect the worst like if it won’t get approved, accept it and try harder next time. Try and try. Then, think positive. If it’ll be approved, then congrats to you! If the other way around, don’t stop dreaming and losing hope. But I know you will get it after reading this & following some of the tips here:). And enjoy your trip to South Korea!
Disclaimer: The article is limited to writer’s experience in getting South Korean visa for employed Filipino applicants only. For more info and update, always refer to their website: South Korea Embassy website