We know South Korea is one of the most popular destinations among Filipinos because there’s not a day that goes by without us receiving questions about getting a Korea visa. Hence, we decided to put up this post.
Note that we’re NOT employed by or affiliated with the Korean Embassy in Manila. We’re only writing based on our own experience applying for one. (We have applied three times so far, and everything went smoothly every time.) We’re publishing this simply to have a page that we can redirect users to when they ask us questions about the application process.
And because this post is limited to our personal experiences, we can only answer questions about applying for a TOURIST visa as an employed, self-employed, or freelancing Filipino. For anything outside of this scope, it would be best to contact the embassy directly to have a definitive answer.
1. What are the requirements for applying for a tourist visa?
We have a dedicated post about that here: Korea Visa Requirements
2. How to apply? What are the steps?
Step by step process right here: How to Apply for a Korea Visa
3. Do I need a travel agency to apply?
No. The process is actually pretty easy and straightforward. In a nutshell, all you need to do is complete the requirements and submit at the embassy.
4. Do I need to book flights before applying?
No. It’s not one of the requirements. I’ve tried submitting this before, they removed it from the pile.
5. How about hotel reservation? Do I need to book hotels before applying?
No. You don’t need it. However, make sure you have an idea which hotel you will be staying because it’s one of the required fields in the application form. You don’t need to reserve, but you need to know where you intend to stay.
6. Should I stay in the hotel I wrote on the application form?
No. If your application is approved, you can pretty much stay in any hotel or hostel you want.
7. How long does it take to process the application?
3 working days – for those with OECD visas.
5 working days – for those without OECD visas
8. What are OECD visas?
These are visas granted by countries that are part of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). These are the member countries:
9. I have OECD Visas. Does it mean my application will be approved?
Not necessarily. But you have better chances. And that the processing is a lot faster.
10. How long can I stay in Korea if I am granted a visa?
Regular visas usually allow 59 days. You can apply for a longer stay.
11. Can I submit just the bank certificate?
No. Starting October 2016, a bank statement showing transactions for the past 3 months is a required document.
12. How much money should my bank account have to get approved?
I don’t know the minimum amount. I don’t think the embassy explicitly says it. But I have tried applying with P100,000 in the bank for a 4-day stay and got approved.
I guess the key thing to remember here is that how much you have should be proportional to how long your stay is. For example, if you have only P100,000, don’t apply for a 59-day stay because that would obviously raise a lot of questions regarding whether or not you can afford the trip.
13. I’m a freelancer. I don’t have a Certificate of Employment. What can I submit?
I have tried applying for a visa when I was a freelancer. What I did was, I requested for a letter from my clients that could serve as a certification that I was working for them. The letter also included what I do for them, when I was hired, how much I receive as compensation, and other details.
The embassy accepted it, and my application was approved.
14. I don’t have an ITR. What should I do?
I honestly don’t know how to answer this because I’ve always had an ITR even as a freelancer.
15. Can I apply just one week before my intended date of travel?
Just remember that it takes 3 WORKING days for those with OECD visas and 5 working days for those without. Just do the math.
However, it is good practice to have enough time allowance just in case something goes wrong. When the embassy feels like your documents are inadequate, they will call you to submit more papers, which can mean delay in the release of your passport.
16. Do I need to show up at the embassy to submit the documents?
NO. You can ask someone else to do it for you IF THE REQUIREMENTS ARE COMPLETE.
17. I need to explain something. Will they accept a cover letter?
Yes. I did once. They accepted it.
18. How much is the visa fee?
FREE if your application is for 59 days or shorter.
P1800 for 60- to 90-day stay.
19. What is the address of the Korean Embassy?
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city 1634, Philippines
20. What time should I be at the embassy to submit?
Be at the Consular Office of the Korean Embassy from:
8:30am-11am, Monday-Friday. Arrive before 10:30am.
First come, first serve basis only. No appointment is needed.
21. Is it possible to apply for a multiple-entry visa?
YES, but only if you’re qualified. Until December 31, 2019, holders of any of the following credit cards can apply for a multiple-entry visa and are EXEMPTED from providing bank certificates and ITR:
BDO Gold Cardholders: multiple-entry visa valid for 3 years
Gold Visa Credit Card
Gold MasterCard Credit Card
Gold UnionPay Credit Card
Gold JCB Credit Card
BDO Elite Cardholders: multiple-entry visa valid for 3-5years
Platinum Visa Credit Card
Titanium/Platinum and World Elite MasterCard Credit Card
Gold/Platinum/Cathay Pacific and American Express Charge Cards issued by BDO
Diamond UnionPay Credit Card
Diners Club Premiere
BPI Gold Master Cardholders: multiple-entry visa valid for 3 years
BPI SkyMiles Platinum Master Card
BPI Amore Visa Platinum cardholders: multiple-entry visa valid for 3-5 years.
Gold BPI Express Teller Debit Cardholders : multiple-entry visa valid for 3-5 years.
22. If my application is denied, can I apply again?
Yes, but only after 6 months.