Friday, May 11, 2012

Applying For A Tourist Visa For South Korea

After my traumatic but successful Schengen Visa Application, you would think that I’d be more confident in applying for another visa. NOPE. My next international destination after Europe is South Korea. Another visa country. *gulp*

I’ve read pages and pages in various forums about their experiences in applying for the SK visa to the point of psyching myself out. Most have favorable outcomes. People would console the aspiring applicants that as long as they submitted the complete documents, it is highly probable to be granted the visa. I kinda over-analyzed and played a dozen “what-would-go-wrong” situations in my head.

When I checked the Korean Embassy’s website back in late October 2011, the website enumerated less requirements for applicants who visited OECD countries for the past 5 years. I briefly encountered the term OECD in my previous job. So... it resurfaces in this trip. Hahahaha.

I’ve already done Netherlands, Germany, Italy and France (naks, yabang daw!) which are all OECD countries so I was hoping that it would be easier. The recent version of the website leaves out the information which is still being used in the Korean Embassy.

List of requirements for employees according to the website: 

What is handed out in the embassy:

Requirements for South Korea Tourist Visa – For Employees:
  • Application Form
  • 1 pc. Passport sized colored picture
  • Passport Original (6 months valid from travel date)
  • Copy of Passport of First page
  • Original & Copy of valid visa and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past five years.
  • Original Certificate of Employment (COE)
  • Original Personal Bank Certificate
  • ITR (Income Tax Return or form 2316 Copy)

Some of the questions in the form:
#12. National Identity Number – NOT APPLICABLE
#14. Passport Classification: ORDINARY (OR)
#26. Purpose of Entry: TOURISM
#32. Who Will Pay For The Expense For Your Stay: PERSONAL FUNDS

Important notes:
  • Read Page 2 of the Application Form for the guidelines.
  • Photocopy all the necessary documents. There's also a photocopying machine in the embassy (for a fee, of course).
  • They have an area where they have pens and paste.
  • Note your claim date and time – 2pm to 4pm.
  • Application time is from 9am to 11am
  • Have a pen handy
  • Have a reading material handy (while waiting)

How to go to South Korea Embassy:
Ride a cab from Makati! Tamaders mag-commute eh. The Embassy’s website has map and directions if you want to commute. From the Glorietta vicinity, the cab fare cost me Php 100 (meter read slightly less but I wasn’t feelin’ exactly generous to add). The ride lasted for around 20 minutes. I was in the embassy past 9am.

This is the process as of mid-March 2012: (One month prior to my departure date.)
  • Get a number/visitor’s pass at the guard’s gate after listing your name.
  • Upon entering the door, there is a desk where you log your name. The guard/assistant will ask if you have a previous OECD visa. If so, write your name down in the “Window 3” list. They will give you another number.
  • Wait patiently for your turn.
  • I had around 30 numbers before my number in Window 3. I think they issue duplicate numbers. When a number is called, around 10 people stood up and fell in line. The line moved fairly quickly.
  • I sat in the window and handed my documents. After the lady checked them, I was handed out a piece of paper reflecting the claim date.
  • The visa release is one week from the date of your application.

  • Taxi fare from Glorietta Makati to SK Embassy – Php 100.00/way
  • Photo for visa application for – Php 75.00
  • Bank Cert – Php 100.00
After a week of waiting, I returned in the embassy. A Korean consul was the one handing out the passports. While waiting, some people were reasoning out with the consul - I think they were explaining that they were claiming the passport for someone else. I waited for around 30 minutes before my number was called. A bunch of people stood up. I was a mass of nerves from waiting. I was handed my passport. I went at the back and discreetly checked my passport. A visa sticker was in place. WHEW!

Remember to check the details in your visa before you leave. Check if you your name is spelled correctly, and if the visa's validity is within your travel period. 


  1. Hello! Can I just ask what a personal bank certificate looks like? Is it just one page stating the amount of funds you have, or is it like a bank statement with details as to withdrawals and deposits?

    I'm asking because I'll transfer from one bank account to another and they may ask where the money came from. As long as final figure lang ang nakalagay sa bank cert, then that shouldn't be a problem. :)

    Also, I have a valid US Visa, but I haven't used it yet. Would it count?

  2. Hey there! The bank cert is just a one-pag doc stating the amount of your funds.
    Not sure how to US visa will factor in your application. Good luck!

  3. hello,
    How much money should be in the bank certificate for a korean visa? thanks...

  4. ^Hello! I believe that as long as you have enough funds to support your stay in Korea, that will suffice. In my case, I had my Korea travel fund plus the emergency fund that I keep in the bank.

  5. Thanks for this helpful Blog . I have Some information to share about
    online Transit visa application for Sri Lanka


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