Korean Visa Application Requirements for Filipino Tourists in Manila, Philippines (Single / Multiple Entry)

by Visa Guides & Immigration, South Korea302 comments

LATEST UPDATE: The Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC) in BGC will now be handling all Korean visa-related applications and the release of passports instead of the South Korean embassy (the embassy will no longer process visa applications except for special cases). The good news? There’s NO need to book an appointment and you can just walk in to KVAC directly to lodge your application.

I’m sure that a majority of us Filipinos have encountered Korean influences at some point in our lives, may it be through K-Pop, K-dramas (Koreanovelas), cosmetic products, or food (among many others).

Due to these things as well as other factors, South Korea has remained a dream destination for many — but for those who want to make it a reality, there is the question of how our weak Philippine third world passports can fare when it comes to entry or visa matters. Don’t fret though because applying for a South Korean visa is easy and also FREE!

RELATED READ:
South Korea Itinerary Travel Guide
How to Explore Nami Island, Petite France, and More!
How to Rent a ‘Hanbok’

Looking for Seoul Itinerary Ideas?

Come and check out my ‘DIY Seoul Itinerary Guide’ post which features detailed day-by-day activities that you could do, no matter the length of your stay!

The application process is SO simple and starting this 2018, the Korean Embassy is coursing applications through travel agencies (much like how the Japan Embassy does). As such, with the help of this guide, let us make your South Korea travel dreams come true!

…But first, a disclaimer:

NO ONE can give you a guarantee of your South Korean visa’s approval: not even a lawyer, a consultant, a travel agent, or an embassy employee. Anyone who says otherwise is most likely going to be a scammer. That being said, what I can offer you here is a comprehensive guide with helpful tips to increase your chances of getting that South Korean tourist visa.

Top photo by: Shutterstock

ApplicationProcess for South Korean Visa

Step 1: Determine the type of South Korean visa that you need to apply for

There are, of course, various types of South Korean visas out there that you can apply for: a visa for studying, a visa for business, a visa for joining family, etc.

For this particular guide though, I will only be discussing the requirements for a tourist visa since it’s an experience that I’ve gone through myself.

If, however, you have a different situation or purpose of visit, it’s best that you contact the South Korea Embassy for more information and for the complete requirements. You can do this via telephone ([02] 856-9210, local no. 270 or 500) or via email: [email protected]

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Step 2: Prepare the required documents for your application

Depending on your circumstance, click the symbol ‘+‘ below to view the corresponding requirements for each section. Make sure that you have authentic, original, and complete documents at all times!

(Section A) South Korea Tourist Visa WITHOUT Any Guarantor/Sponsor

* * * * * *

(Section B) South Korea Tourist Visa WITH Any Guarantor/Sponsor

* * * * * *

(Section C) South Korea Multiple Entry Tourist Visa

NOTE: If in case you are a Philippine national living or residing in a foreign country and you wish to avail a South Korea tourist visa, kindly inquire with the appropriate South Korean Embassy in the country that you’re living in.

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Step 3: Go to KVAC and submit your documents

Starting September 2023, the South Korean Embassy has officially inaugurated the Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC). Going forward, ALL visa applicants must now process their applications through this center either:

  • By themselves; or,
  • Through a designated travel agency
    • See here for a complete list of these 35 accredited agencies)

It helps to note that visa applications for diplomatic passport holders, official passport holders, and for those who require a visa urgently within 1 to 2 days due to clear humanitarian reasons will be the only ones who are exceptionally accepted at the embassy. Additionally, KVAC is only providing visa processing assistance; hence, the approval or denial of your visa is solely at the discretion of the Embassy of Korea after reviewing your documents.

In my opinion, filing for a visa application by yourself presents absolutely NO issues. In fact, choosing to go through a travel agency primarily ONLY helps if you can’t personally visit KVAC to submit your application. Remember, much like KVAC, travel agencies only facilitate document submission for an additional fee and they have NO influence over the visa application’s decision.

  • VISA PROCESSING FEES: A South Korean Visa is FREE of charge as long as you are only going to stay 59 days or less; however, KVAC as well as travel agencies charge for the service that they offer for processing your application.
    .
    KVAC currently only charges Php 900 as a service fee (they ONLY accept cash). As for other travel agencies, they typically charge about Php 500 to Php 2,000 as an additional fee on top of the KVAC service fee. (Meanwhile, for stays spanning from 60 to 90 days, the embassy will charge you a fee of about Php 2,000.).

Take note that the consulate in Cebu still accepts direct applications — you can also course your application through their own accredited travel agencies, the list of which you can find here.

For the complete address details of KVAC and the Cebu Consulate, see below:

KVAC (Korea Visa Application Center)
9F~10F, Brittany Hotel BGC, 6 Mckinley Pkwy, BGC, Taguig, Metro Manila
Website: https://www.visaforkorea-mn.com
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 02-8248-5440
Operation hours: 09:00AM to 17:30PM (except for Philippine & Korea holidays)
.
KOREAN CONSULATE IN CEBU
12th Floor Chinabank Corporate Center, Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5, Cebu Business Park, Cebu
Email Address: [email protected]
Contact No.: (63-32) 231-1516(-9)

  • CUT OFF TIME FOR VISA APPLICATIONS AT KVAC: 4:00PM
  • Please take note that in case you are a group of applicants for a family trip or business trip, one of the applicants may submit ALL of your applications. But if you wish to submit visa applications through a representative (someone who isn’t coming with you on the trip), you must submit your applications to one of the designated travel agencies mentioned above.

Once you arrive at KVAC, the process usually goes like this:

  1. Upon arrival, a guard in the lobby will provide you with a queuing number. (Most people will already be here by 8AM to line up, and even though the official opening time is 9AM, KVAC may already start distributing and calling queuing numbers at 8:30AM).
  2. You can then head to Level 2, a waiting area furnished with chairs and featuring a café station. Your companions can stay here to wait, but only the visa applicants with queuing numbers can proceed to Level 9 when their number is called.
  3. A staff person will regularly come to Level 2 to call out numbers. When yours is called, proceed to Level 9.
  4. Another staff person will receive your documents for preliminary checking. Once done, you will be given a new queue number.
  5. In a separate room, keep an eye out for your queue number once it flashes on the screen with its assigned counter. Once called, proceed to Level 10.
  6. This is the final checkpoint in which your documents will be reviewed and taken for submission to the embassy.
    • Take note, any original document that you submit will NOT be returned to you — except for your passport.
    • If you like, you can receive your results and passport via courier service for an added fee of Php 300 (within Metro Manila, sent within 3-5 working days) or Php 400 (outside Metro Manila, sent within 5-7 working days).
    • If in case you have missing documents, KVAC also has a photocopy and printing service for Php 10 per page (payable by cash only).
  7. You will be given an Application Receipt with a barcode — keep this because it will be important when claiming your passport and visa application results later.

– – –

Step 4: Claim your South Korean visa results

Typically, the processing time for visas is 5 working days, but due to the increased volume of applicants, expect it to go for as long as 10 working days or more.

Rest assured, KVAC will regularly send you the status of your application via SMS.

  • If you’re personally going to pick up your visa results and passport, just bring a valid government ID as well as the Application Receipt.
  • If someone else will pick up your results on your behalf, the representative needs to present the Application Receipt, a photocopy of your ID, an original copy of the ID of the representative, and a notarized Special Power of Attorney (SPA).
  • If you lose the Application Receipt, please secure a Police Report with a notarized Special Power of Attorney (SPA).

Should your application be approved (yay!), make sure that your South Korean visa has your correct name, passport number, etc.

  • Wanna track the status of your application online? Go to this page!

2020 UPDATE: The Embassy will NO longer issue a visa label for visa applications processed in the Philippines as of July 1, 2020. If your application is approved, the embassy will notify you by issuing a ‘Visa Grant Notice’ on the official website. From there, you can print out the visa document by entering your passport number, date of birth, and other relevant information.
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The Visa Grant Notice will contain your personal details including name, date of birth, and passport number, as well as other details including visa issuance number, status of stay, period of stay, number of allowed entries, date of issue, validity of visa, and issuing authority. (Simply PRINT the Visa Grant Notice and present it to immigration officers before your flight and after arrival).

What to Do in South Korea…?

Come and check out this list of the top things to do in South Korea which features the best activities and tours to do in places like Seoul, Busan, and more!

• • •

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How long does my passport have to be valid in order to apply for a Korea visa?

Your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months beyond your intended period of stay.

When is the earliest time that I can apply for a South Korean visa?

You can apply as early as two (2) months or 60 days before your planned trip date departure.

Which is the best travel agency to go to if I want to increase my chances of approval?

There really is NO best travel agency out there when it comes to visa approval because they have NO control whatsoever over that matter. Again, these accredited travel agencies simply ensure that the documents you are going to give are complete. After which, they just pass it to the embassy who makes the analysis and final decision.

Can I make an appointment on behalf of my friends? We’re all traveling together to Korea.

In case you are a group of friends with similar plane ticket dates, or if you are a group going for a family trip or business trip, only 1 (one) from your group of visa applicants may submit ALL of your applications. But if you wish to submit visa applications through a representative (someone who isn’t coming with you on the trip), you must rather submit your applications to one of the designated travel agencies mentioned above.

How long is the duration of a single-entry tourist South Korean visa?

All tourist visa holders of a single-entry visa are permitted to stay in South Korea for a maximum period of 59 days.

If I have a multiple-entry tourist visa, how long until I can re-enter South Korea again after a trip?

There seems to be NO existing rule for a “break period” when you want to enter South Korea again — however, take note that if you enter the country again too soon, that will raise questions and the immigration might not let you in. Also, take note that you should NOT spend more than 180 days total in a year in South Korea as a tourist.

How long does it take for my South Korea Visa application to be processed?

Please refer to the info I mentioned above under step #4.

Do I need to book accommodation and plane tickets by the time I send in my application?

The embassy does NOT require applicants to submit “booked” roundtrip flight tickets and hotel(s) before applying for a visa. It might sometimes help to present a flight reservation and you can do this easily with One Way Fly which has a fee that is as low as Php 900~ only.

Do I need to submit a cover letter for my visa application?

This is NOT required, but it’s always good practice to prepare it just in case. To see an example cover letter, you can check the letter I submitted for my Korean visa application at this link.

How much money should I show in my bank account?

The South Korean Embassy did NOT mention any minimum balance requirement, but some people have been saying that you need to have at least Php 10,000 per day of your stay — you can use this as a standard but of course, it’s always best if you have more. The way I see it, there’s no amount that will guarantee approval. Just ensure that you have complete documents and have enough pocket money to support yourself during your trip.

How can I track or follow up on the status of my South Korea visa application?

You can go to this page.

My South Korea Visa application was denied. Is there anything I can do?

Sorry to hear that. Either way, you can reapply again after 3 months.

• • •

» Top South Korea Tours «

N Seoul Tower Tour

N Seoul Tower Tour
Marvel at the breathtaking views of Seoul!

Nami Island Tour

Nami Island Tour
+ stops to Garden of Morning Calm and more!

• • •

Booking Essentials

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TIP: It’s a good idea to crosscheck the prices with other popular travel insurance providers like World Nomads and HeyMondo (as my reader, you get 5% off)!

.

However, take note that a travel insurance’s affordability typically means lesser coverage; so please always ensure that you read the fine print in order to decipher which travel insurance company is the right fit for you and your trip!

Looking for more travel tips for South Korea?

Check out my other detailed South Korea travel guides!

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As you can see, applying for a South Korea Tourist Visa is fast and easy — you can do it all by yourself! All in all, I hope the process becomes absolutely hassle-free for you with the help of this visa guide.

Let me know how it goes… good luck!

• • •

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302 Comments

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  1. Beng Coronel

    Great inputs, Aileen! Very informative and it covers everything one needs to know to get a visa and enjoy South Korea!

    Reply
    • Aileen Adalid

      Hope it helps you!

      Reply
  2. MARIAE

    Hello! There is a newly opened visa center in BGC that already allows walk in. I haven’t tried it yet and i am interested to go there instead of a travel agency…just saw it in the news. Do you have any idea about how it goes there?

    Reply
    • Aileen Adalid

      Hey Mariae! Yes, there is! I have already updated this guide regarding this new process. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  3. Aldrin

    Hello, we had visited South Korea last December 2019. We are planning to visit again in December 2023. Do we still need to get a new VISA? Thank you

    Reply
    • Aileen Adalid

      If you were only issued a single-entry visa, then yes you still need to apply for a new visa. (So unless it says multiple-entry on your visa, then you do not need to apply again as long as it’s within the validity period).

      Reply
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