[UPDATE]: Starting 29 Aug 2023, the Korean Visa Application Center (KVAC) at 9F-10F of Brittany Hotel BGC in Taguig City, Metro Manila will accept walk-in applicants with a service fee of ₱900. Visit the Korean Embassy’s official website and KVAC’s official website for more information.
In 2016, I processed my South Korea visa application at the Korean Embassy in Manila, and in 2023 at the Korean Consulate in Cebu. You may apply for your Korean visa via one of the accredited travel agencies, schedule a Korean visa online appointment (for Cebu applicants), or walk-in at the Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC) in Taguig City.
Let me share with you the simple steps to apply for a Korean visa for Filipinos.
Tip: Secure your T-Money Card with a free SIM card before your Korea trip so you don’t have to worry about transport and connectivity in South Korea. Plus, you can use this Korea tourist card to pay at convenience stores and vending machines.
Steps to apply for a Korean visa for Filipinos
Step 1: Gather your Korean visa requirements
South Korea visa requirements vary depending on your type of visa. Check the Korean Embassy in Manila or Korean Consulate in Cebu to know your Korean visa requirements. I applied for a Korean visa for employees.
Korean visa requirements for employees:
- Application Form (this is the revised Korean visa application form updated on 7 Feb 2022)
- 1 piece Passport size coloured picture (to be pasted on the form)
- Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)
- Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
- 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)
- Original Certificate of Employment (including applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, address, office landline number, e-mail address)
- Original Personal Bank Certificate (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
- Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
- Photocopy of ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 (Checked by BIR with stamp)
- Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)
If personally invited by a Korean
- Invitation Letter
- Photocopy of invitor’s Passport or Identification Card (authentication not required)
If invited by a company in Korea
- Invitation Letter
- Photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit (authentication not required)
Step 2: Fill out the Korean visa application form
Print out the new Korean visa application form in an A4 size bond paper.
Tips in filling out your Korean visa application form:
- Write your information carefully. Avoid erasures at all costs. Do note that you should write in BLOCK LETTERS, meaning ALL CAPS. Put N/A for fields that are not applicable to you.
- If your handwriting sucks, you can download the .docx format of the Korean visa application form. Type all the information and print it. It’s neat and will save you more time than writing.
- If you want to conserve paper, you can print on both sides of the paper but the sequence of pages should be correct. Eg. Page 1 (front), Page 2 (back) and so on.
Important fields to need to take note of
1.7 국가신분증번호 National Identity No.
Put N/A because Filipinos don’t have this yet.
2.2 체류자격 Status of Stay
Write C-3-9 TOURIST if you are applying for a Korean tourist visa.
8.9. 동반입국 가족 유무 기재 Are you traveling to Korea with any family member?
Family Members only include your spouse, father, mother, children, brothers and sisters. Your de facto partners, boyfriend or girlfriend, and friends are NOT family members, so don’t put them on the list even though you’re traveling with them.
10.2 경비지불자 Who will pay for your travel-related expenses?
a) 성명/회사(단체)명 Name of Person/Company(Institute)
If you are funding your travel, write your name. If not, provide the name of the person/s or institute who will fund you.
b) 관계 Relationship to you
Self or your relationship to the person/s or institute funding you.
c) 지원내용 Type of Support
If you are paying for yourself, write “FINANCIAL SUPPORT” or write which part of your trip will be funded (eg. FLIGHTS, HOTELS, TOURS, etc.).
Sample Korean visa application form completely filled out for your reference:
Tip: Under the 8.4 Address in Korea section, you can pick any hotel on Klook or Agoda and use the hotel’s address and contact information. If you really intend to stay in that hotel, make sure that it has a free cancellation policy so you won’t be charged if your Korean visa gets denied or if you change your mind later on. You may check out Lotte Hotel Seoul which was what I used in my Korean visa application.
Step 3: Submit your Korean visa requirements
Put all your documents in a secure envelope or folder and submit them to any of the accredited travel agencies in the Philippines, Korean Consulate in Cebu on your scheduled Korean visa online appointment date, or to the Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC) in Manila for walk-in applicants.
- If you lack some documents like Income Tax Return (ITR), be sure to create a cover letter explaining why you failed to submit one. You may refer to my Korean visa without ITR guide and Korean visa for self-employed Filipinos.
- May also attach some supporting documents to prove your capacity to fund your travel such as credit card statements and properties you own.
- Follow my tips on how to increase your chances of visa approval.
South Korea visa fees 2023
- 59 days (or less) stay in Korea — GRATIS or FREE
- 60 to 90 days stay in Korea — ₱2,000
- If you’re applying via the Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC), there is a service fee of ₱900 on top of the South Korea visa fees.
- If you’re applying via an accredited travel agency, handling fees could vary. For instance, RELI Tours & Travel charges ₱1,000 to process your South Korea visa application.
Step 4: Wait for your South Korea visa
After submitting all your Korean visa requirements, you just have to wait for it.
South Korea visa processing time 2023
The South Korean visa processing time could take 10 to 15 working days, depending on your circumstance or number of applications. For reference, I got my Korean visa in Cebu this March 2023 after 10 working days.
UPDATE: On 29 Sep 2023, the Korean Embassy announced an increase in the visa processing period to 10 working days due to the increase in the number of Korean visa applicants. With the KVAC’s opening, the Korean visa processing time was initially expected to be reduced to 5 working days.
Step 5: Check your Korean visa online and claim your Philippine passport
You just have to trust and wait for the verdict. You can check your Korean visa status online. KVAC or your travel agency will contact you via text when your Philippine passport (with or without a South Korea visa) will be ready for pick up.
If, unfortunately, you get denied, you can re-apply only after three (3) months.
Excited to plan your South Korea trip? Check out our 5-day Korea winter itinerary, 5-day Korea spring itinerary, Korean street food list, Korean pasalubong list, Lotte World Seoul guide, N Seoul Tower guide, Nami Island guide, and Discover Seoul Pass guide. Have fun!
Disclaimer: Although I was granted a single-entry South Korea visa, this doesn’t mean that I’m already a Korean visa expert. I still encourage you to ask the Korean Embassy in the Philippines or the Korean Consulate in Cebu for your specific questions and concerns.