[UPDATED] How to Apply for a Korean Visa (Tourist) in 5 Easy Steps!

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UPDATE: Starting July 1, 2018, all temporary visitors' visa application will be processed through designated travel agencies.

For a list of accredited travel agencies, please refer to this article from the Korean Embassy website.

Last Friday, November 13, I went to the Korean Embassy for the second time around to pick up my passport and visa. This is my second time to reapply for a tourist visa for South Korea. Despite being a well-travelled individual, reapplying for another tourist visa is still a hassle and nerve-wracking experience. Fortunately, my experience was very different with the Korean Embassy in the Philippines. They don't like to waste time; they tell you what you need to submit and that's it. Applying for a tourist visa through them is soooooo fast and efficient, it's almost unbelievable! So, without further ado, here's

How To Apply For A Korean Tourist Visa in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Visit the Korean Embassy website and gather ALL the required documents. They won't accept your application if you submit incomplete requirements, so make sure you brought everything you needed. Important: Applicants are required to submit an ITR or Form 2316 copy, however, you’re exempted from filing if you’ve been to OECD countries within the past five (5) years. To check, here’s the list of current members of OECD.

  2. Arrive at the Embassy early. Visa application is from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM, Monday to Friday. Unlike other Embassies, the Korean Embassy doesn’t offer scheduled appointments, so many applicants try to arrive two hours earlier to be first in line. A lot of travel bloggers recommended to get there around 7 AM, but I came at the Embassy around 8:15 AM and still managed to submit everything within 45 minutes tops. Of course, the volume of people at the Embassy may vary. Note: The Korean Embassy follows both holidays from the Philippines and Korea. Kindly check South Korea’s calendar before visiting.

  3. Get a queue number from the embassy personnel. At the Embassy, the first thing you need to do is register and submit your ID at the gate. Once you're inside the embassy building, a personnel seated by the door will take a look at your documents. He will ask you to register in one of the clipboards, then will give you a queue slip.

  4. Wait for your turn. Once called, the consul at the counter will check your documents, and if everything is complete, he/she will give you a release slip that contains the tentative date of release. DO NOT LOSE YOUR RELEASE SLIP. Note: Anyone can claim your passport, provided that you write their name and contact number at the back of the release slip.

  5. Visit the Korean Embassy after 3-5 working days. Bring the release slip and visit from 1:30-4PM, Mondays to Fridays. Repeat Steps #3 and 4 to claim the passport.


The Arrangement of Documents

Arrange the documents the way it's listed on the website as this will save you time when you visit the Embassy.

Visa Fees

Visa is FREE if you’re staying 59 days or less. If you’re applying for 60-90 days as a tourist, the fee is 1,350.00. If you apply through travel agencies, they may charge you processing fees.

Visa Denial

This section on this blog post can be found on their website, but I’m going to include it here anyway in case you had a hard time finding it. The reasons for the denial of visa application are as follows:

  • Your passport is invalid;

  • You are prohibited to enter Korea as per Korean Immigration law no.11 sec. 1 (Prohibition of Entry);

  • Our record shows that you have previously violated the Korean law;

  • You failed to submit the required document completely;

  • The documents you have submitted cannot be verified;

  • You failed to prove the purpose of entry to Korea;

  • You failed to prove strong economic and family ties to the home country;

  • Your inviter is not qualified to invite you;

  • You failed to establish your relationship with your inviter.

Also, the reasons for the denial of spouse visa application are as follows:

  • You failed to give prima facie evidence of your marriage validity according to the Philippine law and regulation;

  • You failed to provide the correct information about your spouse;

  • You and your husband failed to prove keeping a normal marital life

Existing Promotion

If you’re a BDO Gold or Elite credit card holder, you’re also eligible or qualified to apply for a multiple-entry visa this year. All they have to do is submit the needed requirements and their credit card statement. I’m not affiliated with BDO, and the details of this promo can be found on their website.