NEW KOREAN VISA APPLICATION PROCESS & REQUIREMENTS 2018

Starting July 1, 2018, the Korean Embassy in Manila will be implementing a new visa application process. The requirements are still the same, but this time applicants will need to course their application through any of the embassy’s officially designated travel agencies.

The move was in reaction to the growing number of applicants in the Philippines, which has almost doubled in the past couple of years, from 90,000 in 2015 to 160,000 in 2017. This caused applicants to create long queues in front of the consular building often as early as 2am. To avoid this inconvenience, this new application procedure is set to be rolled out.

This also means that beginning July 1, 2018, walk-in hopefuls will no longer be allowed to directly apply for a tourist visa at the embassy, with some exceptions.

Note that the Korean Consulate in Cebu is NOT affected by this and will continue to accept direct applications on site. For more information about direct application in Cebu, read: How to Apply for a Korean Visa in Cebu.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to apply for a South Korean tourist visa via travel agency.


Korean Visa Requirements

  1. Duly accomplished application form. Download here. You can also find it below.
  2. 1 passport size colored photo
  3. Passport (must still be valid for at least 6 months)
  4. Photocopy of the passport Bio page (Page 2)
  5. Photocopy of all your OECD Visas (If You Have Them). Only if you have them. If you don’t, skip this part. If you have visas to any member country of the  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), you will need to submit the ORIGINAL copy and a photocopy of all of them. (Past Korean visas are not counted.) To see all the OECD member countries, visit this website.
  6. If invited by a Korean: an Invitation letter and a copy of the inviter’s passport. (Ignore if not applicable.)

Korea Visa Application Form

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In addition, you will need to prove that you can support the trip. Here are the additional documents you need to secure according to your employment status.

For Employees

  1. Certificate of Employment. Must be original; and must have the address of the employer, the landline number and email address of employer’s HR department, applicant’s position, date hired, and compensation. Mobile number is not allowed.
  2. Original Personal Bank Certificate. Must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB.
  3. Original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook covering the last 3 months.
  4. ITR (Income Tax Return, Form 2316) and Company Alphalist (Form 1604 CF with BIR received stamp). Highlight your name on the Alphalist.
  5. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)

For Self-Employed

  1. Photocopy of Business registration form from DTI or SEC
  2. Photocopy of Business permit or Mayor’s permit
  3. Photocopy of ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 with corresponding payment receipt from BIR authorized bank
  4. Original Personal Bank Certificate. Must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB.
  5. Original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook covering the last 3 months.
  6. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)

For Housewives

  1. Your own or your husband’s original Bank Certificate. Must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB.
  2. Your own or your husband’s Bank Statement. Original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months.
  3. If husband is employed
    – Husband’s Original Certificate of Employment. Must be original; and must have the address of the employer, the landline number and email address of employer’s HR department, applicant’s position, date hired, and compensation. Mobile number is not allowed.
    – Copy of ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy AND Company Alphalist (Form 1604 CF with BIR received stamp). Highlight your name on the list.
  4. If husband is self-employed
    – Copy of husband’s Business Registration from SEC or DTI
    – Copy of husband’s Business Permit or Mayor’s Permit(Copy)
    – Photocopy of husband’s ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 with corresponding payment receipt from BIR authorized bank
  5. Photocopy of NSO Marriage Certificate

For Students

  1. Original School Certificate
  2. Photocopy of School ID
  3. Photocopy of NSO Birth Certificate of applicant
  4. If parents are employed
    – Parents’ Original Certificate of Employment. Must be original; and must have the address of the employer, the landline number and email address of employer’s HR department, applicant’s position, date hired, and compensation. Mobile number is not allowed.
    – Copy of ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy AND Company Alphalist (Form 1604 CF with BIR received stamp). Highlight your name on the list.
  5. If parents are self-employed
    – Copy of parents’ Business Registration from SEC or DTI
    – Copy of parents’ Business Permit or Mayor’s Permit(Copy)
    – Photocopy of parents’ ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 with corresponding payment receipt from BIR authorized bank
  6. Parents’ Original Bank Certificate. Must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB.
  7. Parents’ Bank Statement. Original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months.
  8. Copy of parents’ marriage certificate.

Important Notes

  • UPDATE REGARDING THE ITR! (March 2018): The embassy has announced that starting 26 March 2018, first-time travelers who have NOT traveled as tourists to any OECD country within the last 5 years MUST submit the following:

    For Employees, ITR with BIR Received or BIR Certified True Copy Stamp, and Copy of Alphalist with BIR Received Stamp (Form 1604 CF). You must highlight your name on the alphalist

    For Self-Employed, BIR Form with Corresponding Payment Receipt from a BIR-authorized bank.

  • Frequent travelers who have been to OECD member countries within the past 5 years are also exempted from submitting ITR. I’m not sure how many OECD visas it takes to qualify as a frequent traveler, but according to a travel agency we talked to, as long as you have a USED OECD VISA, even just one, you are considered a frequent traveler.
  • For family applications, you must provide documents that can serve as proof of relationship. Birth certificates and marriage contracts are accepted. A representative can file for the whole family.
The guards at Gyeongbokgung Palace gate
The guards at Gyeongbokgung Palace gate

How to Apply for a Korean Visa

1. Complete all the requirements.

Make sure you have gathered all the requirements listed above.

The list follows a certain order. The basic requirements first, then photocopy of OECD visas, then the financial/employment documents, and lastly the invitation letter or cover letter if you have it.

You will also be given the list when you enter the embassy, so you can rearrange the docs on the spot.

2. Submit the documents to a designated travel agency.

Now that you have all the required documents, it’s time to find an officially designated travel agency. The embassy accredited 35 agencies where you can lodge your application. If you’re familiar with the Japan Visa application process, it works pretty much the same.

The good news is, many of these travel agencies have branches all around the country, which means it’s easier for applicants in the provinces to apply.

To see the full list of travel agencies, their addresses, and contact details, visit: List of Korean Embassy-Accredited Travel Agencies.

The only applicants that can directly apply at the embassy are spouses and children of Koreans, government employees on official business trip, applicants with humanitarian reasons to travel urgently, and holders of visa issuance number (a separate document issued in Korea).

The visa itself for stays shorter than 59 days remains FREE-OF-CHARGE, but now that the embassy has employed travel agencies, they will surely be collecting a processing fee from applicants. The fee varies from agency to agency, usually between P500 and P1500. But call your chosen embassy to confirm their rates.

Processing time:

  • 3 working days – for those applying in Manila with OECD tourist visas within the past 5 years.
  • 5 working days – for those applying in Manila without OECD visas

To be safe, you might want to add a 2-day allowance to give the agency a chance to submit your application and pick up your passport.

3. Claim your visa and passport.

Pick up your passport (hopefully with a visa attached) when you are informed by your travel agency. Some agencies can arrange to mail it to you if you prefer, but most will ask you to come back and pick it up from their office.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How early can I apply for a South Korea Visa?

You can enter Korea at any time within the next 3 months (90 days) of the issue date. So if your visa is issued on July 1, you can enter anytime before October 1.

So that means, you can apply as early as 3 months (90 days) before your departure date.

How long would I be allowed to stay in Korea?

59 days, if you’re granted a regular tourist visa.

You can apply for a longer stay but you must be able to justify that.

Do I need to book flights and hotels before applying?

No. They’re not required. I’ve tried submitting these before, but they removed it from the pile.

Do I really need a travel agency for this?

YES. The Korean Embassy requires tourist visa applications filed starting July 1, 2018, to be coursed through any of their designated travel agencies.

But if you’re applying BEFORE July 1, 2018, you can still work on the application yourself. It’s fast, and free. However, if for whatever reason this isn’t a practical option — you live in the province, you just can’t spare a working day for this — by all means, find a travel agency. Just remember that they will charge you a service fee of P500-P1500.

My employer said they can’t provide the company alphalist because it’s confidential. What can I do?

Thankfully, one of the members of our Facebook community, Ms. Caye Sadie, got in touch with the Korean Embassy to ask that same question, and here’s their reply.

If the applicant can’t submit the company alpha list (Form 1604 CF with BIR stamp), they can submit an explanation letter. However, it will be subject to approval of the Officer-in-Charge.

But feel free to call the Korean Embassy to confirm. Here are the numbers:

Manila: (63-2) 856-9210 visa local no. 270, 500
Cebu: (63-32) 231-1516(-9)

What is the Visa Issuance Confirmation in the Section 2 of the Application Form?

The Section 2 of the application form calls for details of Visa Issuance Confirmation. This section is only for those with a document called “Confirmation of Visa Issuance.” Many people think it refers to previous Korean visas; NO, IT DOESN’T. The “Visa Issuance Confirmation” is a completely different document, usually issued in Korea.

If my application is denied, can I apply again?

Yes, but only after 6 months.

What does a South Korea visa look like?

Like this:

Good luck! Enjoy South Korea!

 

If you have more questions, we answered more frequently asked questions here: Korea Visa FAQs

For more information about Korean visa applications, contact or visit the official website of the Korean Embassy in Manila.


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Comments

  1. Jeric says:

    Hi, does this only apply in manila korean consulate? or kasama rin sa cebu? we are planning kasi mag apply via cebu kasi malapit kami sa cebu and using the waived financial docs promo ng BDO/BPI gold card na may multiple entry. Pano na yun?

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Jeric, sa Cebu, you can still apply directly at the consulate. 🙂

  2. Tawny Gwynne Estolloso says:

    Hi!

    What if I am currently unemployed but still have the finances to support myself on the trip?

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Medyo mahihirapan po. They want to be sure of not just the financial capacity but also rootedness in the Philippines.

  3. edwardo says:

    Paano kung Fresh college graduate ako, pero supportado padin ng parents ko.

  4. Janzell says:

    Hi. How if isasama ko tatay ko mag travel sa korea pero unemployed sya. Do i need guarantee letter? Thanks

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Janzell. By any chance, is your dad a senior citizen or retired?

  5. Carlo says:

    Hi. It is said na those who have visited any country from OECD is exempted from submitting ITR. I already visited SoKor and planning to visit again, would I be already exempted from submitting ITR?

  6. cecille vidal says:

    HI,

    Just to inquire both my parents already senior they want to travel in South Korea financially stable do I need to make a letter of support? Thank you.

    cllvidal@yahoo.com

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Cecille, for seniors, these are the requirements:

      1. Application Form
      2. 1 piece of Passport size photo
      3. Valid passport + photocopy of bio page
      4. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable only)
      5. Original Personal Bank Certificate (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
      6. Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
      7. Copy of Senior citizen’s ID

  7. Shaira says:

    Hi,

    Ask ko lang po if below 3 months palang ang account is it still possible to apply for visa?

  8. Antonio says:

    Hi, I’ve been in OECD member countries (France and UK) last year. Is it possible that I’ll be given 1 year visa? I’m going this August then 2nd visit is in December.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Antonio. Naku, di namin alam process kapag longer than 59 days. 🙁

  9. Vicky Barioga says:

    pag credit card po ba pwidi mag request ng bank statements?

  10. Ailene says:

    Hi, i want to apply korean visa, but i stopped working last December 2017, because my korean boyfriend want me to stop work. And i have bank account .may chance pa kayang ma approve ako sa korean visa pag mag aaply ako?

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