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11.20.2015

Seoul Searching | My Korean Visa, finally! (Tips, How To's, and FAQs)

I'm still recovering from a bad case of blogger burnout (hence the lack of updates in this blog), but I have a bit of news that's too good not to share. Drumroll, please... I'll be flying to South Korea next month! Yes!!! I will finally be setting foot in the Land of the Morning Calm, one of my dream destinations here in Asia!

Of course, this trip would have not been possible if not for this one very important thing - a Korean C-3 visa, otherwise known as a tourist visa. My son and I were lucky enough to have been granted not just an ordinary tourist visa, but a multiple entry visa valid for three years! How awesome is that?! :)
Early birthday gift for me!!! :)
I know there are many of you who share the same dream as I do (hello, fellow Kpop fangirls and Kdrama addicts!) so I thought of sharing my experience in this blog post. Hopefully, you might find this useful when you apply for your own Korean visa.

Basically, here are the documents that you'll be needing if you're an employee:
1. Application Form (which you can download here)
2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture
3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)
4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
5. 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)
6. Original Certificate of Employment (must include applicant's position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number, HR e-mail address)
7. Original Personal Bank Certificate (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
8. Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
9. ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy
10. Copy of PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) Card or IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines) Card (If applicable only)
My little traveler. :)
If you'll be travelling as a student, or with a child (as in our case), here's what you need to prepare:
1. Application Form
2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture
3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months)
4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
5. 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)
6. Original School Certificate
7. Photocopy of School ID
8. Photocopy of NSO Birth Certificate of an applicant
9. Parents' Documents
- If employed: Original Certificate of Employment 
- If self-employed: Copy of Business Registration from SEC or DTI, and copy of Business Permit or Mayor's Permit
- Original Bank Certificate 
- Bank Statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months)
- Copy of Income Tax Return (ITR)
- Copy of NSO Marriage Certificate
This  boy is finally flying to Seoul!
Processing time is 3 working days for frequent travelers (those who have been to OECD member countries within the past 5 years) and 5 working days for first-time applicants and travelers who have not been to any OECD member country. Visa fee is FREE for those who plan to stay in Korea for 59 days or less. For those who plan to stay for up to 90 days, a visa processing fee of Php 1800 is required.

Now here are some tips:
1. Fill out the form neatly, completely, and with no erasures. Do not leave any item blank. Put N/A if not applicable.
2. For your address/telephone number in Korea, you may write down the address/telephone number of the hotel where you plan to stay. In my case, I wrote down the address and phone number of a guest house in Hongdae, as recommended by my friend who has previously traveled to South Korea.
3. For the estimated travel costs, write a realistic amount that would be equal or less than the amount reflected in your Bank Certificate/Bank Statement. For instance, if you have Php 100,000 in your Bank Statement, it would be safe to declare $1200 as your estimated travel cost.
4. As to who will pay for your travel-related expenses, you can simply write 'myself' or the name of the person funding your trip. In my son's application form, I wrote my name and in the 'type of support', I wrote 'financial'.
5. Bring your old passports, if you have any. I brought mine, just in case the consul would need to check the stamps from my previous travels abroad.
6. For your Certificate of Employment, make sure that it includes your company's landline number and e-mail address. You'll never know if the Embassy will really call your workplace to verify your existence/employment details.
7. For the Income Tax Return, you can request this from your HR.
8. Now for the Bank Certificate/Bank Statement and the amount of money that you need to have... I'm not really sure. I guess it would be safe to have around Php 85,000 as your Average Daily Balance (ADB) for the last six months.
9. Plane tickets and itineraries are not required. I know of people who booked tickets prior to visa application, but I did not want to take the risk. I only booked our plane tickets as soon as I got home from the Embassy. :)

And here's a bonus for BDO Gold/Elite and American Express cardholders:
Promo has been extended until December 31, 2016!
BDO Gold cardholders can get a multiple entry visa valid for 3 years, while BDO Elite and American Express cardholders can get a multiple entry visa valid for 3-5 years. This is actually the secret to our Multiple Entry visa. Along with the aforementioned documents, I also presented my American Express card and submitted my card's Statement of Account from the previous months. BDO Gold and Elite cardholders are also exempted from submitting their Bank Certificate and ITR's. I wanted to be on the safe side, so I submitted a Bank Certificate and ITR nonetheless.

*edited 04 February 2016*
BPI Gold and Platinum cardholders are now also eligible for multiple entry visa South Korea. Same requirements apply.

Other things you need to know:
- The Korean Embassy is open daily from Mondays to Fridays, except on holidays.
- Applications are done in the morning from 8:30 am to 11 am only.
- Releasing of passports are done in the afternoon, from 1:30 pm to 4 pm.
- Once you enter the Embassy, your documents will first be reviewed by the security guards/personnel. You will then be given a number and will line up at either Window 1 (first-time applicants) or Window 3 (frequent travelers/BDO or AMEX cardholders).  Don't worry, the lines are not that long, and there are no queues that go on forever. It took me less than ten minutes to complete the entire application process. 
I said a little prayer before I handed our documents over. :)
- After the consul has reviewed and verified your documents, you will then be given a piece of paper which you need to present upon claiming your passport. I'm glad that our visas were processed after three working days. I had not been able to sleep soundly during those three days of waiting so imagine what state I would be in had I waited for five working days! Haha!
Claim Stub.
- Applying for a visa through a travel agency is alright, but I see it as a waste of money. After all, the documents will still be coming from your end.

Oh, and before I forget, here's the complete address of the Korean Embassy:
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center,
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634, Philippines
Korean Embassy.
This pretty much sums up my Korean Embassy experience. If you have questions, please feel free to ask. I would be more than glad to answer them! :)

For more information on Visa Requirements, and for the latest Visa Announcements, visit the official website of the Korean Embassy.

15 replies:

Erica Villas said...

Did you already have your plane tickets purchased when you applied?

Czjai Reyes-Ocampo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Czjai Reyes-Ocampo said...

Hi Erica! I bought tickets after our visas were released. I just didn't want to take the risk. :)

Learn2Free said...

Wow That's Great Information. I like it. Thanks for share IT

Learn2Free said...

Hey That's Great Information. It is very helpful I like It. Thanks for IT

Rom said...

Hi, I'm planning to apply for a Korean Visa next week and I'm quite confused at some parts of the application form. Glad I read your blog post.
I just want to ask some question.
I assume you used the new 5-page application form:)
1. Do I still need to put N/A in parts stating "if 'Other' please provide details ( )" even of my answer to the initial question is not 'Other'?
2. In section 10.2(c) Should I put "Financial" as the type of support?
3. In section 3.4, what should be the passport's Place of Issue? Manila, or DFA Manila? :)
4. In sections 9.4-9.5, can I put the hotel's address and contact number even if I still haven't booked it yet?

Sorry for the questions. I just want my application form to be perfect. Haha!

All the best,
Rom

Rom said...

Hi, I'm planning to apply for a Korean Visa next week and I'm quite confused at some parts of the application form. Glad I read your blog post.
I just want to ask some question.
I assume you used the new 5-page application form:)
1. Do I still need to put N/A in parts stating "if 'Other' please provide details ( )" even of my answer to the initial question is not 'Other'?
2. In section 10.2(c) Should I put "Financial" as the type of support?
3. In section 3.4, what should be the passport's Place of Issue? Manila, or DFA Manila? :)
4. In sections 9.4-9.5, can I put the hotel's address and contact number even if I still haven't booked it yet?

Sorry for the questions. I just want my application form to be perfect. Haha!

All the best,
Rom

Czjai Reyes-Ocampo said...

Hi Rom!
Glad you found these information useful. :)

As for your questions:
1) No need to write N/A if you answered 'Other'
2) I did write 'financial' in that part.
3) I wrote DFA Lucena on my application form.
4) Yes, it's okay even if you haven't booked a reservation. :)

Good luck on your application!

Jessica Harlow said...

Your excitement is contagious! I hope you have a wonderful trip with your son. What an amazing destination!

Linda said...

Really great information you've posted. I'm sure there are many people who could benefit from your experience. Nice job!

Mai C. said...

Sounds like a trip to look forward! It's always nice to visit a country you've always wanted to go to. I wish you luck and have fun! Thanks for the tips on getting a visa!

Erinn Sluka said...

I h e never applied for a passport but sounds like quite a process

Katrina Gehman said...

great information. I hope everyone has an amazing time!!!! that's awesome

Mariana said...

How exciting! I'm sure some wonderful adventures await you all! Safe travels!

Aqssa Sahi said...

amazing

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