Monday, April 2, 2012

How to apply for a Korean Visa here in Manila

It's going to be a year from now since I last set foot inside the Korean Embassy. I am a QC resident so getting to the embassy in Taguig was a long travel. But since my brother and I needed a visa for a trip then, we braved the roads towards the south area.

My Kuya, my younger brother and I were invited to partake in Jeonju's International Film Festival, so we made sure to apply for our respective visa's right away. My boyfriend who's been to South Korea several times now (for work purposes), was able to help me compile all of our visa requirements. 

Now, the Korean Embassy has standard requirements. You will find a complete list below:

1) Application form duly filled in and signed. The form can be obtained on this link.
2) One passport sized colored picture
3) Original passport and a copy of the first page (not less than 6 months valid)
4) Photocopy and original of previous and valid visas to U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, or Korea.


Also note that there will be other required documents that may be asked of you by the consulars. And this will solely depend on your occupation and purpose of visit to Korea. So in my case, I would fall under the BUSINESSMEN category, applying for a Tourist or Visitor's Visa.

Now, being part of a corporation required me to show the following documents to the Korean consular:

1) Visa application forms
2) Official invitation letters from Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) including our references, and a copy of JIFF's Business License
3) Business Registration from S.E.C.
4) Mayor's Permit
5) Passport and Passport Photo's
6) Income tax Return

Now, A WORD OF ADVICE. It's best that you've accomplished and gathered all of the important documents before passing these to the consulars, as this will help you avoid the hassles of going back and forth the embassy. I've actually witnessed a few applicants who lacked the necessary documents, so the consulars requested that they just return with the missing papers on their next visit.

Application Procedures

Ok, so when you're done compiling your papers, you may then file your application at the Consular Office from 9-11am only, Monday to Friday. So be sure to come in at an earlier time (we were already in line by 7am). And since the embassy serves on a first come, first serve basis, no appointments are necessary. And upon entering, first time travelers like me, were advised to pass our requirements on either Windows 1 or 2. We were also given a queue number.

Since only one representative was required (the actual applicant need not be present when applying for a visa, just as long as the required documents are passed and completed), I was the one who faced the consular. We talked for a bit, and then she asked for all of our papers, which was then followed by a few reminders. The lady gave me a piece of paper that indicated my return date to the embassy. In our case, we were asked to come back after less than a week. Now, if you're a first time traveler to Korea, it is advised that you personally claim your visa, especially if the Consul requires an impromptu interview with you before releasing both your visa and passport.

Anyway, as for visa application fees, we weren't charged for any since we were only staying for a few days. So if you hold a Philippine Passport, here are the following fees:

59 days (or less) stay in Korea -- GRATIS
60 to 90 days stay in Korea -- PHP1,350.00

More than 90 days stay in Korea (not applicable for tourist visa)
Single Entry -- PHP2,250.00
Multiple Entry -- PHP3,600.00

But if you hold an American Passport, then you'll be required to pay the PHP2,025.00 fee. As for Foreign nationals in the Philippines (those applying for a tourist visa), a PHP1,350.00 will be charged accordingly. 

Anyway, hope this helps in one of your future trips to the Korean Embassy, and of course, to South Korea. Until then... here's a photo of our visas! =)

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