This is the Ultimate Guide to Getting A Korean Visa For Filipinos.
Yes, applications should now be coursed through Embassy-designated travel agencies. But, the requirements are essentially the same. So, this guide, as updated, is still very much important and relevant. My only wish is that you would take time to read everything before you ask questions.
This post is the most visited and the most active post in my blog ever since I first wrote about it in 2012. Six years later, and after many updates, it’s still here and very much relevant.
If you want to jump directly to my posts about South Korea, you can visit it HERE.
Official Sources of Information
The only official source of information for all your visa inquiries is the website of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines. And here is the link to their official website:
If you have visa queries, you can send an email to the embassy. This is their email address:
Now, you probably have read this blog before, or you may have seen other blogs or websites. But then again, the best and official resource for your visa questions is the website above.
But to help you find your way, I summarized the important website pages that you need to take a look at:
- Visa Announcements – This is where you can find announcements related to processes like selection of designated travel agencies, revision of schedules, as well as BPI and BDO cardholder benefits, etc.
- Visa requirements – This is where you will find the complete list of requirements for each type of visa application.
- Visa Application Form – This is the direct link to the visa application form. It is a PDF file that you need to print and fill out personally. You don’t need to type out the entries; handwritten form is fine. Just be sure to use block letters or what you call plain capital letters when filling it out.
- Download – This is where you will find downloadable forms like the visa application form, guarantee letter formats, etc.
What's New? What Has Been Changed?
Visa Applications Should Now Be Done Through Designated Travel Agencies
This means that walk-in applicants will no longer be entertained. But take note that this is only for tourist visa applications.
The embassy will allow walk-in applicants only for spouses and children of Koreans, holders of visa issuance number, government employees with official business trip, and for those with humanitarian reason to travel to Korea urgently.
Who Are The Designated Travel Agencies?
You can download the list HERE.
What Are The Reminders For Family Applications?
- For family applications, documents for proof of relationship is a must. (eg. Marriage Contact, Birth Certificate)
- Family applications should be filed together at the same time. One member of the family may file the visa applications of all family members.
When Should You Apply For A Visa?
The validity of a single-entry tourist visa is only 3 months from the issue date. Do not apply more than 3 months prior to the date of travel.
Does The Embassy Accept Group Visa Applications?
Yes. The Embassy as of July 24, 2018 has accepted Group Visa Applications.
But hold your horses because this is only applicable for groups of at least 5 members as a company incentive tour group, or an educational tour group of below secondary level and collegiate level, who plan to enter and exit with same vessel, flight, or other same scheduled means of transportation.
Thus, barkada applications are not covered here.
Group Visa applications must be done through designated travel agencies. And as of this update, there are only 10 of them. See the list of agencies HERE.
Company Alpha List Is No Longer Required
I know a lot of you have had issues with this requirement. Thankfully, this was removed effective July 1.
BPI and BDO Credit Card Promo
Many of you would like to avail of the BPI or BDO credit card promo. I hope the information I would share in this section will answer your questions.
- The latest original credit card account statement and photocopy of the credit card should be submitted during visa application.
- The original credit card statement is the one in the official letterhead of the bank. If you are receiving statements by email, you need to request your bank to print your latest statement in the official letterhead. A simple printed copy of the emailed statement will not be accepted.
- The credit card must be in the name of the applicant. If it’s not under your name, don’t insist on availing of the credit card promo.
- The original credit card must be presented to the visa officer.
- The only documents dispensed with by the submission of your BPI or BDO credit card are the Bank Certificate and Income Tax Return. This meanss that if you have a BPI or BDO credit card, you don’t need to submit those two. But you still need to submit all the other requirements like Certificate of Employment, etc.
- The BPI and BDO credit card promo is extended until Dec. 31, 2019.
What Are The Qualified BDO Credit Cards?
- BDO Gold Credit Cards: Gold Visa Credit Card, Gold MasterCard Credit Card, Gold UnionPay Credit Card, Gold JCB Credit Card
- BDO Elite Credit Cards: Platinum Visa Credit Card, Titanium/Platinum and World Elite MasterCard Credit Card, Gold/Platinum/Cathay Pacific and American Express Charge Cards issued by BDO, Diamond UnionPay Credit Card, Diners Club Premiere
What Are The Qualified BPI Credit Cards?
- BPI Gold Master Card
- BPI SkyMiles Platinum Master Card, BPI Amore Visa Platinum Card, BPI Signature Card
- Gold BPI Express Teller Debit Card
Visa Requirements for Employees
I am not going to list the requirements here because this is a massive wall of text already. Besides, I want you to take the time to really read up on the requirements as stated by the Embassy so that nothing gets lost in translation.
Here is the link to the requirements:
Take note that to be qualified for the OECD application, the passport should have the arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years. Also, do note that an original COE is required, not photocopy. And the COE must include the position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR email address, and the landline number.
Visa Requirements for Professionals or Businessmen
Here is the link to the requirements:
If you are managing/operating a registered business or a professional firm or a law firm, then you will need to submit copies of registration documents like DTI registration, SEC registration, and Business/Mayor’s Permit. These documents are in addition to your PRC or IBP card. However, if you are into solo practice, i.e., you don’t have a firm, you only need to present your PRC or IBP card. Take note that the Embassy only requires photocopies of registration documents, not originals. And again, to be qualified for the OECD application, the passport should have the arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years.
Visa Requirements for Retired Senior Citizens
Here is the link to the requirements:
These requirements apply only to retirees who are senior citizens and who do not have any source of income. If a retiree acts as a business owner, he/she must still submit the documents required for businessmen as shown above. Similarly, if the senior citizen is a professional earning income, he/she must submit the requirements for professionals.
What is important here is the submission of a copy of the senior citizen’s ID as well as proof of ownership of bank accounts. If the bank account is a joint one which is under the name of spouses, then the retiree-applicant must show proof of relationship by submitting a Marriage Certificate. If the retiree has no bank account but, for example, a child will support his travel, the retiree-applicant must submit his/her child’s bank account documents plus proof of relationship such as the child’s Birth Certificate. You do not need to submit the original Marriage Certificate or Birth Certificate. Photocopies are allowed.
Visa Requirements for Toddlers, Pre-schoolers, Minors, Students
Here are the requirements for students:
If your child is a toddler or a preschooler enrolled in a playschool or daycare, then you don’t need to submit a copy of the school ID. But if your child is of school age and is going to school, then you will need to submit his/her school ID.
So for minors, you basically need to submit the same supporting documents required of the parents. If the parents are employed, then you submit the requirements for employees. If self-employed, then you submit the requirements for businessmen or professionals. What is important is that you submit a copy of the parents’ Marriage Certificate plus a copy of the child’s Birth Certificate. Those are needed to establish relationship.
Visa Requirements for Housewives, Househusbands, Unemployed Individuals
Here is the link to the requirements:
For housewives, househusbands or unemployed individuals, what is important is for the applicant to submit supporting documents pertaining to the person who will sponsor his/her visa and trip, as well as proof of relationship. For housewives or househusbands, they need to show documents pertaining to the employed spouse or the spouse doing business. In addition, they need to submit a copy of the Marriage Certificate.
To give another example, suppose that you are unemployed and your brother or sister will support your trip. In that case, then you need to submit documents pertaining to your brother or sister’s employment or business. In addition, you need to submit a copy of your parents’ Marriage Certificate, and copies of your Birth Certificates (applicant’s Birth Certificate and brother/sister’s Birth Certificate).
Again, the crucial element here is establishing the relationship between the unemployed applicant, and the person sponsoring his visa/trip.
Visa Requirements For Household Staff, Yaya, Nannies
There’s no specific section for this in the Embassy’s website. But I have brought my son’s nanny with me to Korea, Taiwan (when a visa was still required), etc. I also got a visa for a member of our household staff and I attended Food Week Korea with him last fall.
If you need proof, please feel free to read my old blog posts or check my Instagram account.
Again, there’s no specific set of requirements for them. I just followed what I knew based on my experience as a lawyer handling immigration cases.
We submitted our own documents because we sponsored their visas. In addition, we also submitted an Affidavit of Support and Undertaking. What is important is that you have to establish a compelling reason why you need to bring them along with you.
Visa Requirements for Freelancers, Virtual Assistants
I am adding it here because I have clients who fall under this category.
If you have all the requirements of an employed individual except for the certificate of employment, check if your client is willing to issue one. Draft it to include all the important information needed by the Embassy, and explain the nature of your engagement. That will take the place of the COE.
If your client does not issue one, then you can work around it by submitting screenshots of your active contracts from the freelancing platform you’re working on, and a printed certificate of earnings or any proof of earnings. Supplement that with a letter, although I prepare affidavits for my clients, to explain your freelancer status and the reason why you have incomplete requirements.
And that’s it! I hope you are able to figure out the requirements for you. If you want to read my old Korean Visa for Filipinos post, you can read it in my old blog:
BEFORE YOU GO...
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- AREX Incheon Airport Express Train One Way Ticket
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- Discover Seoul Pass. This is an essential Seoul attraction and transport pass for foreign tourists. The pass functions as both an admission ticket and transportation top-up card (T-Money).