I arrived at embassy around 9:30 in the morning and was so worried about the long line. Even feared that I might not even make it on time since the processing of visas is only from 9-11am. But to my surprise, I finished in less than 30 minutes. There were no lines at all! I got in and immediately had my documents reviewed by the staff inside. After they finished checking my papers, they stapled it all together and gave me a number for window 3.

If you’ve visited any OECD member countries, you will be accommodated in window 3. The processing time will be shorter (3-5 working days). For first-time travelers and non-visa holders of OECD member countries, the processing time will take about 5 working days and will have to apply at windows 1 and 2. It should be noted that unused tourist visas from OECD countries will be processed like first-time travelers.

I fall under the EMPLOYEE CATEGORY so I passed the following documents:
If you fall under a different category, you can check your requirements here.

  • APPLICATION FORM – Download it here.
    There were clear directions on how the form should be filled out.
    ‣ You must fill out this form completely and correctly.
    ‣ You must write in block letters either in English or Korean.
    ‣ For multiple-choice questions, you must check [√] all that apply.
    ‣ If you select ‘Other’, please provide them with more information in the given space.I wasn’t sure if I could type in my answers (update: apparently they allow it) so I just filled out my form using a black pen and wrote in block letters. I was careful not to make mistakes so I intentionally left some fields blank since I wasn’t sure what to write. It was recommended to write ‘NA’ instead though.
  • A PASSPORT SIZE COLORED PICTURE
    The picture should be taken within the last 6 months and glued to the form.
    Full face, front view against white or off-white background only.
  • PASSPORT and PHOTOCOPY OF PASSPORT BIO-PAGE
    Aside from the original passport, the embassy also requires to have the bio-page photocopied.
    It’s the page where your picture and all of your information are printed. Page 2.
  • PHOTOCOPY OF VALID VISA/S AND STAMPS TO OECD MEMBER COUNTRIES (if applicable)
    I brought my old passport with me during the application since I have visas stamped there from other OECD member countries (Japan and Turkey) for the past 5 years. I also printed copies and included them in my file. It helps when you’ve been granted a visa before since you’ll be considered for expedite processing.
  • CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYMENT
    I asked our HR a few days before my application for a copy of my CoE. Although it doesn’t specifically mention that CoE must be less than a week old, I thought that it would be better to get a recent copy. I also advised our HR to include the following details in my CoE: position in the company, date I was hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number and e-mail address.
  • ORIGINAL PERSONAL BANK CERTIFICATE
    In my case, I requested mine from BDO. They have a ready-made template for those applying for a Korean tourist visa. I paid Php 100 for a copy and got it the next day. It had all the information about my account in BDO – type, current and 6 months average daily balance and opening date. My friend Kat, who I applied with, was also granted a visa and she had Php 50,000 in her account. I had about the same. It was enough to present for our planned 5-day stay in Korea.
  • BANK STATEMENT *NEW*
    Effective March 1, 2015, the Korean Embassy also made it mandatory to submit a bank statement or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months. I was told by the lady banker in BDO that they don’t issue certified true copies so I just requested if they could print out my account’s transaction history. I had to pay Php 100 for it as well.
  • ITR (INCOME TAX RETURN) or FORM 2316 COPY
    It was actually mentioned in the website that frequent travellers who have travelled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR. I still handed mine in just in case they look for it.

 
When it was my turn, I went to window 3 and handed my file to the officer. There weren’t any questions asked. The officer just brushed through my papers to see if it all were valid and complete. I was given a claim stub and asked to come back on Wednesday (I applied on a Friday by the way). I didn’t have to pay for anything since I was only planning to visit Korea for 5 days. The rule is if your duration of stay is 59 days or less, the Korean tourist visa is free. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay Php 1,800 pesos if you’re planning to stay for 60 to 90 days.

Please take note that the Korean Embassy only releases passports in the afternoon. So come back with your claim stub at around 1 to 4 pm. And if you’re going to the embassy by car, be reminded that they have no dedicated parking space for applicants. You either have to park inside Mckinley Town Center or the gas station across the embassy.

SOUTH KOREAN EMBASSY
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634, Philippines
Telephone: +(632) 856-9210 | E-mail Address: ph04@mofa.go.kr (Consular Section)