south korea visa without itr
South Korea,  South Korea Visa,  Visa Guide

My South Korean Visa without ITR — Here’s How I Successfully Did It!

Updated on 18 Aug 2019: All Korean visa applications should be processed through accredited travel agencies by the Korean Embassy. See this updated list of accredited travel agencies for South Korea. Applying for a Korean visa without ITR? You’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading..

So here it is! After writing my South Korea visa application guide for Filipinos, I received a couple of enquiries on how my South Korea tourist visa got approved even though I don’t have an Income Tax Return (ITR). If you’re someone who gets income from online sources like me, mind you, it’s really daunting and tedious to file for your own taxes here in the Philippines. Not that I have no plans of filing but a crazy idea came to my mind.

What if I try my luck in applying for a South Korean visa with no ITR just yet? What are my chances of getting approved? I challenged myself to do it last Oct 2016, and I’m so glad I did. I’m sure you’re already curious about it. So here, let me share with you some tips.

[UPDATE]: The Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu does not grant exemption of ITR for those who have travelled to OECD countries. You are only exempted if you have travelled as a tourist to Korea at least once within 5 years. Please read full details of the update here.

Disclaimer: Although I got a single-entry South Korea tourist visa, this doesn’t mean that I’m encouraging you to do the same. It is still best that you complete the requirements set by the Korean Embassy or Korean Consulate in Cebu to increase your chances of approval. After all, it’s still a case-by-case basis.

Tip #1: Write your letter of explanation

When you apply for a Korean visa with no ITR yet (like my case), the very first thing to do is to compose a letter of explanation stating your intent to travel to Korea and why you lack an ITR. Sorry to disappoint but I won’t show you the exact copy of my letter as the details are too personal. Instead, I made a template below to guide you in writing your own letter.

Sample letter of explanation for no ITR Korean visa


Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Republic of the Philippines
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city 1634, Philippines

Dear Sir / Madam:

I am personally writing this letter to explain why I failed to present an Income Tax Return (ITR) as part of my requirements to obtain a Tourist Visa to South Korea.

1st paragraph: State your reason/s why you are applying for a Korean visa without ITR yet, and the target date you are planning to file for it. If you’re fairly new to the job, explain your starting date. In addition, please indicate how long you are working with your present company.

2nd paragraph: If you’ve travelled to other countries before, state your trip details including the destinations, the dates, reasons for travel, and who you were with.

3rd paragraph: Explain why you want to travel to Korea. If you have a travel blog or if have contributions to online travel media platforms, put the URLs or links to your posts or contributions. These will show proof that you’re someone who loves to travel and share stories to others.

4th paragraph: Lastly, write your closing statement.


[Your name with signature]

Tip #2: Gather all your Korean visa requirements

korean visa without itr

Check your respective South Korea visa requirements here and gather all of them. Please refer to Step 1 of my Korean Visa Guide.

Tip #3: Make a checklist and set a target date to complete all your documents

This is pretty self-explanatory. If you plan to travel to Korea in winter (like I did) say December, then by October, you should have completed all the needed documents. I suggest that you apply for a South Korea visa at least two months prior to your travel date to give yourself enough time to plan for your trip.

Tip #4: Follow the 5 simple steps of my South Korean visa application guide for Filipinos

south korean tourist visa

All documents ready? Time to submit your application. Please refer to my my South Korea visa application guide for  Filipinos for full details of my successful application.

Good luck on your South Korea visa application! Keep calm and have faith.

*Article originally appeared on TripZilla.

Your South Korean visa approved? Start planning for your Korea itinerary. You might want to grab these travel essentials prior to your trip:

  1. 4G Portable WiFi (unlimited data)
  2. T-Money Card
  3. Korea Rail Pass (unlimited train rides)



  • Charmaine

    Hi Jan,

    Travel history is not stated as a requirement in applying for a South Korean visa so you can still try your luck. However, building up your travel history could help in increasing your chances of visa approval as this will provide additional proof that you have every intention to go back to your country of origin as seen from your previous travels.

    Hope this helps! And best of luck in your Korean visa application soon! 🙂