Monday, October 24, 2016

How to apply for Korean Visa [Filipino Citizens]

Let's face it, we Filipinos traveling to first world countries requires VISA, one of which is to South Korea. In every traveler's point of view, VISA correlates to tons of work but definitely not a hindrance to everyone's travel goals.
Surprisingly, applying for a South Korean Visa may not be as hard as anyone can think of. The Consulate of the Republic of Korea has already been open in Cebu for quite some time and applying for a VISA has never been easy and accessible for us Cebuanos. (exact address: 12th Floor Chinabank Corporate Center Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5 Cebu Bussines Park, Mabolo Cebu City Philippines - near Lexmark building in Ayala Center Cebu) 

There are many ways on applying for a Korean VISA. One can ask help from an accredited travel agency or one can simply DIY. I opted to go for the latter so I can save money. For this article, I will be tackling all the process and experiences I have undergone while applying for a KOREAN TOURIST VISA in CEBU. As an overview, unlike other visa applications, there is no Personal Interview required for applying a Korean Visa which makes it easier. The only thing you do is to submit all the required documents and wait for the result.

Update(june 1, 2018) : All application will now be catered by accredited agency!

Part I: Requirements:

According to Korean EMBASSY website below are the list of requirement needed to apply for a KOREAN TOURIST VISA (for Employees):

  • Valid Philippine Passport
  • Filled-up Application form (Click here here to download or refer to Korean embassy website)
  • 1 piece of Passport size colored picture (must be of Korean Visa standard)
  • 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, and Korean Visas will not be counted)
  • Original Certificate of Employment (including applicant's position, date hired, compensation, address, office landline number, e-mail address)
  • Original Personal Bank Certificate (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
  • Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
  • Photocopy of ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 (Checked by BIR with stamp)
•If personally invited by Korean: Invitation Letter & Copy of invitor’s Passport
•If invited by Company in Korea: Invitation Letter & Copy of Korean Company Business Permit
¦ Processing Time: 5 working days (except apply date)
¦ Visa Fee: 59 days (or less) stay in Korea -- GRATIS
60 to 90 days stay in Korea -- PHP1,800.00

For more info Visit the Korean Website: here

UPDATE April 2017: Applied again and the same flow still applies and was granted again with 1 yr Multiple Entry Visa.

Part II: Procedure

This was my first time to apply for a Korean Visa and luckily there was a promo coming from my bank, BPI,  in which selected BPI cardholders will be allowed to present their card(xerox copy) and a copy of their recent SOA or their BPI Express Online Account screenshot in lieu of presenting financial documents (ITR and Bank Certificate) required for a Korean VISA application, They might as well grant a multiple entry. This promo is true to both BDO and BPI specific card holders and is extended till December 31, 2019. ( For BPI, For BDO)

Since I have a VISA issued by OECD member country, I had it xerox copied for more proof of travels.  With this, it is even easier on my part to fulfill the requirements and expect a higher chance of approval.

After all the requirements were gathered, I immediately plan a date on when to submit my application. I am constantly double checking all the requirements in case I miss something. As for the Korean Embassy Cebu Rules, submission of requirements is always done in the Morning and Claiming of passports in the afternoon.

I decided to visit the embassy a bit late in the morning(around 10 am) hoping to avoid all those early bird applicants. To my surprise, it was not really a busy day in the embassy. It was only a few applicant plus a travel agency agent. So I went directly to the guard(he attended as a front desk I guess) and then required me to deposit an ID and ask for my purpose in the embassy. I replied to him that I am here for visa application and then gave me a number. I went straight to the chairs and started double checking again the requirements and all the paper works needed for the application.

While waiting for my number to be called, I was chatting with my fellow applicant and ask her about the requirement and help me double check again, inspected my documents and said that all was good. My number was then called. I went to the counter and handed over all the requirements. The lady behind the window was a Filipina and she walked me through the process. She checked all the requirements and asked a few questions. She then told me that all was good and then gave me a claiming stub reflecting the date on when I can expect the result of my application, when to claim and the contact number of the embassy. So I collected my ID back from the guard and went home. Then waited for the claiming time.

Part III: Claiming

After 3 days I received a call from the embassy(I think it was Filipina in the counter), I thought that it would be my passport and if it was already ready for pick up and that the result was already out but unfortunately it was another matter, they were unable to contact the HR officer of my company(so there you go they really do background check) which was indicated on the COE I submitted. They asked me if the number was correct so I checked with my workmates and they confirm the number was correct. I told her to try again some other time or day.

After that call, I went to the HR office and confirm the number to them and it was correct. Two days after the call, there were no update from them so I decided to call the embassy and asked about the status of my application. The person that I talked to was (guess who?) the same Filipina I talked before, she even remembered my name. So I asked her the status and she said the results were up and you can claim the passport that afternoon. I also asked if she had made contact with the HR officer and confirmed she did and told that the officer was on leave during the first time she called.

So I prepared and  rushed to the embassy that afternoon. After claiming my passport, I immediately went to the centerfold of it where most Visa usually are placed. To my surprise, I was granted with 1 yr Multiple Entry Korean Visa. I never expected a multiple entry visa considering it was my first time to apply for a Korean Tourist Visa. I was happy and lucky that day.

My 1-yr Multiple Entry Korean Tourist Visa.

Have you tried applying for Korean visa? Share your stories and experience in the comment section below.  


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