I know there are countless South Korean Visa Guide for Filipinos out there but I still want to share my own personal experience and how I almost got denied! 🤞 Before I start, I would like to note that all of us 7 friends are first time applicants and applied for Tourist Visa for Employees (self funded) so I can only speak about on that particular matter. Otherwise, please visit the official South Korean Embassy website here: http://embassy_philippines.mofa.go.kr/english/as/embassy_philippines/main/index.jsp
Also, the scenario I’m about to narrate happened in Consulate of the Republic of Korea in CEBU.
DISCLAIMER: Laagan Kaayo is not affiliated with the Consulate of the Republic of Korea. The information written here is solely base on Laagan Kaayo’s personal experience and does not assure you’ll undergo the same. This post only serves as a guide and inspiration for your South Korean Tourist Visa application and does not guarantee approval.
Preparation of Requirements for South Korean Tourist Visa for Filipinos
- APPLICATION FORM – You may download the form below or get a copy at the consulate.
In our case, we used the .docx format and filled it up on the computer then printed it in A4 size. All in block/capital letters and we made sure to put N/A on parts that didn’t apply to us. I’m sharing a glimpse of my form to give you an idea because I don’t want you to experience the same struggle I had while filling it up. It’s kind of frustrating to see all those “self-proclaimed” guides on the web that only copied the list of requirements from the embassy’s outdated website 🙄 Is that even a guide?! Are you kidding me?! Zzz
How did I fill up my South Korean Visa Form – for Employees (self-funded)
Under Personal Details – We put N/A on National Identity No. because unfortunately, we don’t have that yet.
Under Passport Information – Basically we literally copied what is written in the bio page of our passport, including the date format.
Under Contact Information – The only thing to emphasize here is the email address is written in Capital Letters as well.
Under Employment – We copied what is written in our COE including the address and contact number even if our actual work location is different.
Under Details of Visit – I booked a hostel in Agoda with “Book Now Pay Later” in case we got denied, I can still cancel the booking for free. Also to have a valid address and contact number of accommodation in South Korea. THIS IS IMPORTANT.
For the countries that you have visited in the last 5 years, actually that’s not all the countries I have visited but I just wrote according to the spaces available. And I think it’s fine 😁 Some of my friends haven’t gone outside the country yet so they just put N/A on the first row and proceeded to the next section.
Under Funding Details – I wrote my name here. But I really wish my mom will sponsor me. 😭 Our budget for this trip is Php 25000 excluding b/f flight.
Don’t forget to write the date of your submission and affix your signature!
So that’s how my form looked like when we submitted it to the consulate. Just please update according to your personal information.
- 1 PIECE OF PASSPORT SIZE COLORED PICTURE – Please paste on the application form. (35㎜×45㎜) A color photo taken within last 6 months(full face without hat, front view against white or off-white background)
We had our photos taken at Colours in Ayala that costs P120 for 4/pcs. It’s a bit expensive so I suggest you look for cheaper studio.
- ORIGINAL PASSPORT (should be valid for more than 6 months)
- PHOTOCOPY OF PASSPORT BIO-PAGE (page 2)
- ORIGINAL & PHOTOCOPY OF VALID VISA/s & ARRIVAL STAMPS TO OECD MEMBER COUNTRIES for the past 5 YEARS (If applicable only)
I had my Japanese Visa last 2015 photocopied from my old passport including the arrival stamps.
- 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)
- ORIGINAL PERSONAL BANK CERTIFICATE – (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
Costs P100 in BPI. Okay. I know what’s on your mind! My ADB that time when I had my bank certificate printed in BPI was around P16,000 and my total money was around P70,000. You’re welcome.
- BANK STATEMENT (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
- ITR(Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy with stamp
- Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)
Contrary to what’s written in their website, the case in South Korean Consulate in Cebu is:
People who went to OECD countries are not exempted in submitting BIR2316. Only those who have been to South Korea within 5 years are exempted.
Furthermore, the processing time mentioned in their website also doesn’t match what the South Korean Embassy in Cebu is following. As of September 2017, all applications, regardless if it’s your first time or you’re a frequent traveler, minimum processing time is 7 working days. Visa Fee is FREE for 59 days (or less) stay in Korea and costs PHP1,800.00 for 60 to 90 days stay in Korea.
This is how my submission process went last September 6.
It was a hot Wednesday, I walked my way to Chinabank building, just few meters across Ayala Center Cebu where the Consulate of the Republic of Korea is located at the 12th Floor.
- When I entered the building, the guard inspected my bag and then instructed me to write my name on the visitors log book at the reception. After that, I went to the 12th floor. The office was on the right side as I stepped out from the elevator.
- A security guard inspected my bag again as I entered the facility then I walked towards the second guard inside who provided me my priority number after I surrendered my ID(any) and have my phone’s camera(front & back) sealed with a scotch tape. Yes, you read that right. Like they are so strict AF!
- They have free WIFI and a TV with Korean drama shown to keep the people entertained. I was surprised to see that it wasn’t crowded at all. I arrived round 10:30AM and only waited for like less than 5 minutes before I was called to submit my documents.
- There are 3 services currently offered inside their office. Window 1 is for Passport. Window 2 is for Notarization (registration for family relation). Window 3 is for Visa. When my number(20) was called, I proceeded to the Visa window and provided my documents to the girl.
What did I submit?
- Application Form with my photo pasted on it. – Accepted
- My current passport – Accepted
- Photocopy of the bio-page of my current passport. – Accepted
- My old passport with my Japanese Visa – Returned
- Photocopy of my Japanese Visa with arrival stamp – Accepted
- Bank Certificate – Accepted
- Bank Statement (3 months) – Accepted
- Copy of BIR 2316 – Accepted (no stamped)
- Latest credit card statement – Returned
- Vacation Leave proof – Returned
- COE – Accepted
- Plane ticket back & forth – Accepted
“This could seriously affect your application!”
The girl reviewed my documents and returned some of it. Then suddenly she spoke in a very stern manner, “Your BIR 2316 doesn’t have a stamp! This is considered as lacking document. Do you still want to submit it?”. I was shocked, I mean I didn’t expect it because I have a colleague who submitted the same kind of BIR 2316 copy and the stamp was not required, well in Manila. I got so stressed thinking it would take weeks to get a stamped 2316 as our BIR branch is located in Manila! Like fuck my life! I hesitantly replied “Yes” to her. Then she warned me and said, “This could seriously affect your application!”. My jaw dropped upon hearing this and all I could utter was “OK”.
She then set aside my documents and type something on the computer. After a few moments, she handed me a claim slip. I’m done. I’m dead.The next 7 days weren’t easy for me knowing that there’s a huge possibility that I will get denied.
Judgement Day – Releasing Time
We were ready to face whatever fate was bestowed upon us. We went back to the embassy and went through the same logistics and when we finally step inside the office, we were surprised to see no one but ourselves! It was around 3PM.
My heart beat so fast as I approached the “Visa” window! And the worst part of it all was that I left my claim slip at our office because I went straight to the consulate from my house! This day couldn’t get any better. Luckily, I took a photo of it and showed the snapshot to the same girl! I’m really scared of her. She’s not rude but she’s also not friendly. She glanced at it quickly then type something on the computer and then face the pile of passports on her right side. She scanned through them until she found mine and my eyes went wide when I saw my passport wrapped with a white paper. LIKE HOLY SHIT!!!!! I AM WELL AWARE THAT WHEN THERE IS WHITE PAPER IT MEANS YOU ARE DENIED.
She unwrapped the white paper slowly away from my passport and unfold it and it turned out that it was just a photocopy of my claim stub. HAHAHA She handed it over to me and my hands were shaking as I wrote my name, date and signed it. DAMN!!!!
I’m sorry for being OA but I think that is still so much better than my visa being denied. All of us got approved (even my friends who don’t have any passport stamps yet). We went to Starbucks after to celebrate!
So yeah! That’s my personal journey in applying South Korean Tourist Visa in Cebu. It wasn’t smooth but I’m still really grateful and happy! ❤️❤️❤️
Did you know that you can already check the status of your visa application online?
Read more here: http://www.laagankaayo.com/south-korea-visa-application-status/
Tips: If you are traveling with friends, I strongly suggest that you submit together because there’s a good chance that you guys will be approved. Someone advised me from the inside. As for the money, I have no idea what is the minimum amount that you should have in your account. I just think that it should at least match the estimated cost you wrote in the form.
Other scenarios that might inspire you!
- My friend applied for South Korean Tourist Visa in Manila. He mistakenly submitted an old BIR 2316 (like 2015) copy w/ no stamp and didn’t submit a Bank Statement. And NO, he doesn’t have a Gold BPI/BDO credit card to qualify the exemption from passing those requirements. His documents weren’t even reviewed by the staff like it was so chill! And yes, he was approved and got the Visa!
- My other friend only has around 5000 ADB on her bank account but has a total of 55000 money. It’s quite obvious in her bank statement that people are feeding her account with money. 😁😁😁 And yes, she was approved and got the Visa.
Bottom line is, the decision of granting someone a visa is clearly at the hands of the Consul. Whoever your are, whatever requirements you submit. The approval is not guaranteed but I can guarantee that you have a chance! So just think positive and submit the complete and legit requirements. Good luck! 🤞