Visit South Korea 👣 Seoul Series (#1): Korean Visa Granted!

Namsan ParkHave you ever wanted to visit South Korea but bounded by some limitations or should I say.. HESITATIONS? This is a blog series about traveling to South Korea in Spring. I have known many people who eagerly want to explore this country for many reasons but they couldn’t due to limited knowledge on how to make it happen. Thus, I am inspired to share how I made it to my CHERRY BLOSSOM FULL BLOOM EXPERIENCE in Korea (April 2015) as a budget traveler. Who knows, you might be the next! Finally, I want to dedicate this to other ESL/EFL teachers who in many years have been teaching English to Koreans but couldn’t even pay a visit to South Korea. I have 2 words for you, “You can!” 🙂

It has been a childhood dream to visit places where I can enjoy SPRING, autumn, and winter for the reason that these beautiful seasons are not present in tropical regions such as the Philippines. For many years, I have eagerness to travel abroad however people would discourage me by saying, “Either for leisure or work, it would require a generous amount of money and excruciating visa-application process.” I finally decided to overcome it and I just want to share my experience to someone who might benefit from it.

When I checked the embassy’s website, the Visa Requirements for Filipinos (shown below) made me have second thoughts on whether I should go for it or not. But my motivation? VISA IS FREE!!! So why not try it anyway? You just have to provide some documents and off you go.


I was nervous at first due to the following reasons:

☑ No ITR Form 2316 or 1701. What I only have was a Form 2307 (Self-employed);
☑ 6-month old bank account with very small money in savings (<P30,000);
☑ Low credit card limit (P15,000);
☑ Expiring passport (Travel Month: April 2015; Passport Expiry: November 2015);
☑ COE from a no employer-employee relationship company;
☑ Traveled to other non-visa Asian countries (at least once)


After organizing my documents based on the embassy’s requirements (see below) , I uttered a prayer and courageously handed in my application.
Quick Tip: Provide only what is required. No more, no less.

To my surprise (and relief), the application process for a South Korea tourist visa was so organized that I must have spent no more than 20 minutes at the embassy in total. Seriously, it took me much longer just to travel to the embassy and back!

You Are HereAfter I got my claiming stub, I waited for five days and went back to the embassy. This welcomed me, “Congratulations, Ms. ____, you are granted a visa to South Korea. ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY, 🙂 ” the woman said. My heart ❤ leaped with joy. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I could finally realize my Vision Goal to travel to Korea in Spring!! So I just said, “Kamsahamnida!” and left the embassy. Yahoo. VISA GRANTED! 🙂
Single-entry tourists visa are good for 3 months from their date of issue, so I suggest applying 1-2 months before your trip. In my case, my travel was in April so I applied for visa in February.


Tourist Visa Requirements for Filipino Employees
1. Application Form
2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture
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, and Korean Visas will not be counted)
6. Original Certificate of Employment (new!)
(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 (new!)
(original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
10. Photocopy of ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316

* 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 travelers who have traveled 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 — PHP1,800.00


Republic of Korea Embassy in the Philippines

122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634
Tel: +632 856-9210
Fax: +632 856-9008
Website: embassy_philippines.mofa.go.kr
Email: philippines@mofa.go.kr
Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30AM-5:30PM
Filing: Mon-Fri, 9-11AM
Releasing: Mon-Fri, 2-4PM

HOW TO GET THERE:
Going southbound on C5, veer right soon as you pass SM Aura. You’ll see a Petron/Jollibee shortly after. The exit to Upper Mckinley Rd will come immediately after this, with the embassy almost at the start of the exit.

My Experience: I never traveled to Manila alone in the past. I did not want to trust strangers completely so I kept my phone with me and got in touch with friends for directions. To ease confidence, I also downloaded Google Map 🙂 I rode a bus to Manila from the province; rode MRT from Quezon Ave. to Guadalupe Station. From Guadalupe, I walked to the Jeepney stop and hailed a jeepney going to C5. I asked the driver to drop me off at the embassy at Mc Kinley.

My VISA APPLICATION EXPENSES:

Bus Fare (Region III to Manila)      P230.00
Bus Fare (Manila to Region III)      P230.00
Jeepney to and from C5      P20.00
City Bus                               P20.00
Visa                                     FREE
TOTAL                                P500.00

For the next series, Follow Me! 🙂

👣 HistoryMaker/The Official Traveler


Disclaimer: The example above is more accurate for Tourist Visa application. Like you, I’m just a traveler. I’ll try to help as much as I can but please understand that my knowledge is finite and limited to my personal experience and purely research only.

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11 thoughts on “Visit South Korea 👣 Seoul Series (#1): Korean Visa Granted!

    • The Official Traveler says:

      Hi there,
      Thanks for visiting and following this blog. I’ve been to Mindanao last year 🙂 (1) you may wish to find an accredited agency that can help you in your application (although it will surely give you additional cost) or (2) you may opt to check the local airline’s seat sale/promo to fly to Luzon and reach the Embassy.
      Korea is such a beautiful place..^_^ a-must see visit. It’s perfect in Autumn and Spring (in April!! Go for it!!).

      Wish you best!

      Like

      • Oh My Nomnom says:

        Wow, hope you enjoyed your Mindanao visit! 🙂 Thinking about autumn in South Korea makes me feel giddy. 😀 Anyways, do you have a blog post about your expenses and itinerary of your South Korea trip? Thanks! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Official Traveler says:

        Oh, yes! Autumn is also a perfect time to visit Korea (besides Spring). Your comment makes me psyched about my Autumn trip next month (not in Korea though) 😀 Regarding blog post on my expenses and itinerary (for Spring trip), I’ll be posting them next month. This month is Autumn in Korea. You should go visit! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Official Traveler says:

        Oh great! ^_^ I’m scheduled to go back to Korea next year, too 😀 and i understand the $$$ part of the travel story haha
        I hope your scheduled trip (local/international) is not among the “Cebpac cancelled flights” during the APEC Summit next month.
        Nonetheless, let’s both enjoy our trips 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh My Nomnom says:

        Oh my… your comment almost gave me a heart attack. I have totally no idea about Cebpac’s cancelled flights! I just checked Google and thankfully… our flight is not included! Whew! We’ll be leaving for HK on November 10th and be back on the 13th – good heavens! Thank you so much for the heads-up though. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Joser L. Ferreras says:

    Hi! I also don’t have an ITR since I was considered a self-employed individual on my first job, however I have copies of my 2307 forms. I’m also set to leave my second job (started in May this year) this week (hence no ITR also) which would make me an unemployed individual by the time I apply for my visa next week and my scheduled departure to Korea on the 2nd week of December. I was glad to read you got your visa by submitting only your 2307 forms. Did you have to personally explain to the embassy why you didn’t have an ITR or they just automatically accepted the 2307 forms? Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks! 🙂

    Like

    • The Official Traveler says:

      Hi Joser,
      Thanks for dropping by 🙂 I understand that you WILL be applying for your K-visa SOON and you want to increase your confidence particularly on the Form 2307 prior to this.
      My Experience: I didn’t have to explain/justify it to them. I worked consistently in 2014 and my travel was April 2015, I submitted Form 2307 (3 quarters) of 2014. I also submitted my COE with monthly salary and position indicated to support it.

      Quick Tip: If your purpose of travel is for leisure/as a tourist, your attachment to a work organization (in principle) is very vital in your preparation for your visa application.

      Do you still have copies of your 2307 for 2014?
      Do you have copy of your 2307 this year from your current employer? Don’t leave the company without securing it 😀

      Wish you best!

      The Official Traveler

      Like

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