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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Getting South Korean Tourist Visa

After two months, I'm now finally compiling the visa infos, itinerary and expenses during our South Korea trip. Hopefully, this should help those planning to head to South Korea anytime soon.

First off, let's get into the Visa application. After getting the promo tickets from Cebu Pacific on February 2011, we didn't care that much yet about the visa. We started preparing our docs and stuff around mid-October.

Visa Information
Being a Philippine passport holder entails some challenges for me as a traveler. We have to put up with these visa applications which also doesn't guarantee 100% approval. Anyhow, like what I always tell myself, you just got to try and try for the love of travel!

South Korea, though it required visa before entry, was good enough to have tourist visas for Filipinos given without any charge. Yes, for free. Further information should be found in their site South Korean Embassy in Manila.

But for all you out there interested to know how I went with applying my SK visa, I'll give a brief story about it!

First thing is to prepare your necessary supporting documents. Make sure you read the guidelines on their Visa information site.

What I have prepared are the following:
1. The accomplished copy of the Visa form, I have downloaded and printed my own copy
2. Your latest passport (should be at least 6 mos valid by your time of travel)
3. 1 Passport size picture (I had mine in white background but I think it doesn't matter as long as it's taken in the last 6 mos and clearly shows your face, but check their site as well for more info)
4. Old Passport - If you are a frequent traveler and have old or current visas from other OECD countries like US, Australia, etc.
5. Certificate of Employment - you could request one from your HR, state your position and how long you have been working, would also help to indicate how much you are earning
6. BIR Form 2316 or ITR for the previous year
7. Bank Certificates - this can be requested from you bank. This is to show you have enough funds to travel. Some says a rough estimate would be at least $100 USD each day you are staying in the country. But this may not always be the case.

Once I had these, I was ready to pass them to the embassy.

The embassy, in McKinley, accepts application only in the morning 9-11am. In the afternoon is the schedule for visa release.

When I got there before 9am, they already allow people to get in and get numbers and I suppose they were already starting.

It was really easy and quick. At the front gate, surrender  a valid Id and log you name before entering. No need to leave your bags or mobile phones. (This was the case when you go to US embassy)

Get inside the building and on your right, a person hands out a number. If you are traveling as a group, it would be good to get one number for all.

Window 1 serves those first time travelers. Window 3 for frequent travelers and those who has been to other OECD countries. I learned that in Window 3 the visa processing should only take 3 days unlike the one for Window 1 which takes a week.

I had to be in Window 1 since I applied with my friend who is a first time traveler.

So after being called your number you just need to give the documents and you will be given a piece of paper indicating the date and time to claim the result. Ours was scheduled a week after.

Don't lose the the paper as it will be needed on the day you claim the visa.

So we had a not so long wait...

Visa Result
We were excited and nervous on getting the result. So we waited at the lounge and when our number was called out we went on to the counter. It was my friend who got our passports.

And whola! South Korean Visa approved. We are allowed a single entry for 59 days. We are happy and excited.


17 comments:

  1. Hi. When you got your visa, were you required to travel to South Korea in the next three months or so, otherwise, it'll become invalid? I'm thinking of applying for a visa as early as next month as I await for airfare promos should it be granted. Thanks for your inputs.

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  2. thank you for the information very helpful! by the way just want to ask.. i've never been to any oecd countries, but i've been to vietnam,singapore and malaysia.. complete nmn documents ko kea lng nagwoworry lng ako sa visa stamps ko, do you think enough na yung napuntahan or should i go out of the country pa for additional visa stamps before applying a visa to south korea? thank you!

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  3. @Anonymous Hi, yes. When we checked the visa on our passport it does indicate when your finally entry date is. I would advise applying for your visa at least a month before you leave. But that's just me. As long as you have complete requirements I think you should be fine but still we can't always guarantee.

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  4. @arianne Hello, Arianne. Happy to know you found this post helpful :) That is alright if you haven't traveled to any OECD countries before. My friend is a first time overseas traveler and her visa is approved so it should be fine. Just make sure your requirements are complete. Goodluck!

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  5. Thanks for your information how to get tourist visa in korea!!

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  6. i love to visit SK, is it better to get a visa first before booking a flight? can you also recommend a cheap (but safe & neat) place to stay? your itinerary seems fun, how did you arrange all those? will you please send me a reply thru an email? aiiiy@ovi.com any recommendations & tips? i love to hear from you! p.s your blog is amazeballs! ^__^ -Ai

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  7. @Anonymous Ai thanks for dropping by. Will reply to your questions shortly! Enjoy and happy travels!

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  8. what if i don't have an ITR yet? i've been working for less than a year. would my COE suffice? thanks:)-dianne

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  9. @Anonymous I would suggest including copy of your payslips maybe for the last 6 mos. This is just my thoughts :) But it's still best to check with the embassy or their website.

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  10. na approve ba yung friend mo na first time mag travel abroad? Thanks. :)

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  11. my friends and I are planning to go to SKR next year but unlike them I am it will be my first time to travel overseas so I am quite afraid that my visa won't be appprove, my friend already have US visa and my other friend TW and SKR visa as well. I was thinking that I will have a slim chance of getting a visa for SKR since it will be my first time. any tip you can advice me? thank you and your blog is really helpful :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anna, thanks for dropping by my blog! Nice to know it helps a lot :-)

      Based on my own and my friends experience, best tip is to make sure your documents are complete, true and correct. One tip also is to ensure the signatory on your COE is contactable during the duration of your application. My thoughts is that embassy will possibly try to reach them to confirm your details so it would help if they are available.

      Anyhow, be positive and I'm sure it will work for you. If not, there is still option to reapply. You should be able to ask the embassy for options.

      Hope you get the visa and enjoy SK!

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  12. Question on the Bank Certificate/Statement and COE.

    Let's say I get a Bank statement this week.
    Then I apply for the VISA 1 month later, is the Bank cert still valid?

    Is there a validity period for that? or certs generated at anytime can be used?

    Same question for the COE.

    Thanks in advance Karen!

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  13. Hi Carura, personally, I would suggest your bank cert and coe is valid for max of 1 month. But just my opinion. Although, the most updated the better. Anyway, if there aren't any changes on your bank acct or employment, I think the doc is considered valid. :)

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  14. Hi. Thanks for this post!

    Regarding the bank statement. Would they call the bank to confirm if you really have that amount of money?

    Thank you

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous, to be honest, I'm not 100% sure if they do call the bank but to be on the safe side I think we can assume they would. :-)

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