Travel to South Korea

South Korea has become a popular travel destination for Filipinos. I believe this is due to cheap flights are available all year round with increasing number of budget airlines. It also helps that South Korea have eased up their visa policy to attract more tourists.

My whole family visited Seoul in April, 2014.  And because we wanted to avoid paying sizable service fees to travel agency who charges per head, we decided to do it ourselves. So here it is, your guide on

How to apply Korean Tourist Visa in the Philippines

To apply South Korean tourist visa in the Philippines is very easy and straight forward. That is, if you have fund to show and complete requirement.  It is even easier if you are considered a frequent traveler.

FREQUENT TRAVELERS are defined as persons who have traveled to any OECD member countries within the last 5 years. Note that unused visa doesn’t count.  The OECD member countries are US and Canada, Japan, Schengen member states, and the United Kingdom. There is a fast track window dedicated for such applicants.

Those who have traveled to South Korea 3x or more within the last 4 years are also considered frequent travelers.

As with all my visa application for Philippine passport holders posts, I’ll only be focusing on TOURIST VISA. If you are working, studying, or marrying, this post will not be useful. You can find the requirements in the consular section of the South Korean Embassy’s official website.

Tourist Visa Requirements for First Time Applicants

    1. Application Form – [download]

  1. One (1) Passport size colored picture (34mm x 45mm)
  2. Original Passport (6 months valid)
  3. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page
  4. Original Certificate of Employment, if employed
  5. Photocopy of Business Registration and Business Permit, if self-employed
  6. Original Personal Bank Certificate issued by bank (NOT Bank Statement, NOT Passbook)
  7. Photocopy of ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316
  8. [optional] Invitation Letter & Copy of inviter’s Passport, if invited by Korean resident.
  9. [optional] Invitation Letter & Copy of Korean Company Business Permit, if invited by Korean company.


Tourist Visa Requirements for Frequent Travelers

  1. Application Form – [download]
  2. One (1) Passport size colored picture (34mm x 45mm)
  3. Original Passport (6 months valid)
  4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page
  5. Original & Copy of valid visas and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years
  6. Original Certificate of Employment, if employed
  7. Photocopy of Business Registration and Business Permit, if self-employed
  8. Original Personal Bank Certificate issued by bank (NOT Bank Statement, NOT Passbook)


Where to Apply Korean Tourist Visa in the Philippines?

Address : 122 Upper McKinley Road
McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio
Taguig city 1634, Philippines

Applications are accepted, no need to schedule
Monday~Friday 08:30~12:00nn

First Time Applicants: Windows 1 & 2
Frequent Travelers: Window 3


How long is it to Apply Korean Tourist Visa in the Philippines?

First Time Applicants: 5 working days
Frequent Travelers: 3-4 working days


How much is the visa fee of Korean Tourist Visa?

59 days (or less) stay in Korea — FREE (Walang bayad, Libre Lang)
60 to 90 days stay in Korea — PHP1,800.00

south korea visa

Apparently they also issue 3-year, multiple entries visas.


Korean Embassy’s issue with yayas and caregivers

It is almost impossible to secure a Korean visa for your yaya, caregiver, or nurse.

When we applied for the whole family in April, we included my father’s caregiver who have traveled with us to China, Taiwan, and other Southeast Asian countries. Her passport is filled with travel stamps, yet despite writing guarantee and letter of financial support for her, they still wouldn’t issue her visa.

It took 5 trips to the embassy (2 hours drive away during rush hour, not to mention wasting gasoline), each time presenting new required document, for us to realize they are not going to issue her visa.

In the end I got a Korean friend to guarantee for the caregiver. And so I learned that the Koreans have issue with the Filipino traveling with yaya or caregiver. They find it arrogant. The consul said that “if my father can’t walk, he should just stayed home.” He said it in a joking manner but obviously I know for sure it was 100% meant. What an a$$hole. I don’t know if this is an acceptable attitude of a Korean country representative abroad. But he issued me the visa anyway. So I let it pass.