It wasn’t my first time to visit a country which required a visa. I went to India in 2013 with a pre-approved one. But since it was my first time to visit a first world country, I wanted to experience applying for a visa myself.
I was a bit nervous before arriving at the Korean Embassy in McKinley Hill. My friend and I triple checked that all of our requirements were complete. We took a cab from our office and arrived at around past 9 AM. Applying for a Korean tourist visa had been an easy process for me. No need for interviews, just a bit of long lines, and best of all, no fee since I was traveling for less than 60 days.
I filed my application about a month prior to my scheduled departure. My overall experience was swift and efficient. I got my visa stamp after one week from my date of application.
For first time visitors like me (employees), below are the set of requirements as per the Embassy. If you are not an employee, please refer here.
* Ideally must be issued within three months of application
1. Application Form
2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture (Please attach on the application form)
3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)
4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable only)
6. 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
(must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
8. Bank Statement
(original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
9. ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy
10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)
* If personally invited by Korean
. Invitation Letter
. Photocopy of invitor’s Passport or Identification Card
(authentication not required)
* If invited by Company in Korea
. Invitation Letter
. Photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit
(authentication not required)
* Frequent travellers who have travelled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR.
■ Processing Time:
3 working days (for those who have been to OECD member countries within 5 years as tourist)
5 working days (for those who have not been to OECD member countries within 5 years)
■ Visa Fee: 59 days (or less) stay in Korea — GRATIS
60 to 90 days stay in Korea — PHP 1,800.00
The line was long when we arrived but it was moving in a timely manner. Police officers helped in instructing the applicants once it’s their turn to come inside. The embassy is open between 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays but visa application filing only falls between 8:30 – 11:00 AM. Afternoons are allotted for passport releasing. As a best practice, it is always good to arrive before opening time.
1. Complete your application form. Write N/A in all entries not applicable to you. Write in block letters (CAPITAL LETTERS) and make sure there are no erasures. Use another sheet of paper if your entries can not fit in the allotted space. Don’t forget to indicate the item no. ex. – Continuation for items 9.4 and 9.5.
2. Arrive early. The passport application time is only until 11:00 AM. Note that the embassy honors local and Korean holidays. You may contact the embassy to make sure they are holding office on the date of your application.
3. Prepare your documents in order the requirements were written on the website (refer to the above list). I’ve noticed that the officers giving queue numbers double checks the papers submitted.
4. Be attentive. Once you have your queue number, take note of your number and the assigned window where you will pass your documents.
5. After checking your requirements, the consul will give you a small piece of paper bearing the date when you can claim your passport. Keep it safe!
Please be advised that being a given a release date slip is not a guarantee that your visa will be approved. However, in case it will be (think positive), I noticed that the effectivity of the visa started from the date I got my passport which was between Oct 5, 2017 and Jan 5, 2018. I was awarded a single entry visa which was more than enough me. Yehey! 😀 You will also be asked to write your name and contact number at the back of the slip. You will give this slip to the person by the door who in turn will give you a queue number again just like the time when you filed your application. Again, take note of your queue and window numbers!
1. What are the documents needed to be submitted for employees?
– For employees, you may refer to the above list. If not, you may refer here.
2. Should I submit newly produced documents?
– It is advisable to submit documents dated within three months from the date of your application.
3. How much should I have in my bank account?
– There is no definite answer for this. But I guess it all boils down to how long you plan to stay in Korea. In my case, we will be staying for ten days and my account only had Php 65000. I guess your money should at least be the same (or more than) with the budget you will write down in your application. I wrote down USD 1000 as my estimated budget for the whole ten days.
4. How long is the application process?
– Me and my friend were first time applicants and we went to the embassy together. However, my friend’s passport release date was earlier on Oct 2 while mine was on Oct 5. I have never been to an OECD country before but my friend had been to Japan once. It’s a good guess that speed up her application. The application process can vary between 5 to 7 working days from time of application.
5. Which countries are under the OECD list?
– OECD stands for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. You may refer to this site to check the complete list.
6. If my application was denied, how long can i apply again?
– You can re-apply after six months.
7. Do we need to present hotel and flight reservations?
– Flight and hotel reservations are not part of the requirements.
8. What time can we apply?
– For those applying in Manila, application processing is done in the morning between 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM. The afternoons are for passport releasing only.
9. How much is the cost for visa application?
– The application is free (gratis) for 59 days or less. If visiting between 60 to 90 days, it will be Php 1800.
10. Until when is the validity of visa issued?
– A single entry visa is valid for 3 months.
11. Can relatives apply together?
– Yes, family members can file their applications together.
12. Can we apply via a travel agency?
– Yes. Your travel agent will be the one to submit your applications and requirements on your behalf. Fees may vary though.
Embassy of the Republic of Korea
122 Upper McKinley Road
McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio
Taguig City, Philippines
Phone: (63-2) 856-9210