My South Korea Adventure was always a cliff hanger. I was never able to pursue my travel there due to series of unfortunate events. I first applied for a Korean Visa before my travel to Taiwan (June 2017) because during that time, Taiwan still requires visa for tourists entering their country. Taiwan provides free visa for those who have OECD visa which includes Korea. Korean visa in the Philippines is gratis for those traveling less than 30 days, whereas Taiwan charges around ₱2,400 for visa application.

My First Attempt

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During that time (May 2017), I was just hopeful to have my visa to Korea to be approved even my bank account has only around ₱9,000 in it and my monthly income was just around ₱11,475. It was also during my application when I saw the promo for BPI Gold Credit Card and BDO Platinum card holder which gives you a multiple-entry visa if you’re a cardholder of one of those by just bringing a copy of your statement of account and photocopy of credit card (until December 31, 2019). But me, being excited decided to pass all my requirements and forget about the credit card so as not to return to the embassy anymore because it is expensive to go back there in Uber.

After 5 working days, I was able to claim my passport back! And guess what? I got denied! Of course it was heartbreaking because it would be a problem for to reapply for a visa for my travel to Korea on October 2017 which was just 5 months away; you can on reapply for visa after 6 months from your last visa denial.

What are the Requirements?

You can only submit your application from 8:30am to 11:00am. So be sure to be there early because there are plenty of applicants like a queue for NFA rice in the embassy.  Sometimes, during peak seasons their cutoff is until 10:00am only. Claiming of passports is only from 1:00pm to 4:00pm only.

From March 26, 2018, all applicants of Windows 1 and 2 (first time travellers who have not travelled as tourist to OECD member countries within the last 5 years) should submit 2316 form if employed with corresponding COMPANY ALPHALIST (Form 1604 CF with BIR received stamp). Also, please highlight your name in the company alphalist.

All self-employed applicants of Windows 1 and 2 should submit BIR FORM with corresponding PAYMENT RECEIPT from BIR authorized bank.

Without these corresponding requirements, visa application will not be accepted.

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Tourist/Business Visa Requirements for Employees

1. Application Form

2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture (Please attach on the application form)

3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6months)

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 only)

6. Original Certificate of Employment

(must include applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number(cell-phone number is not allowed), 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 and Company Alphalist (Form 1604 CF with BIR received stamp / please highlight your name)

10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)

* If personally invited by Korean

. Invitation Letter

. Photocopy of invitor’s Passport or Identification Card

(authentication not required)

* If invited by Company in Korea

. Invitation Letter

. Photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit

(authentication not required)

* Frequent travellers who have travelled as tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR.

■ Processing Time:

3 working days (for those who have been to OECD member countries within 5 years as tourist)

5 working days (for those who have not been to OECD member countries within 5 years)

■ Visa Fee: 59 days (or less) stay in Korea — GRATIS

60 to 90 days stay in Korea — ₱2,000.00

For other information and visa requirements, click here.

There is no need to submit a copy of you plane ticket or accommodation because they will just return them to you. They have no bearing to them.

How to Get There?

Korean Embassy is located at 122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. The most convenient way to get there is through Taxi, Uber, or Grab. You can also ride a Jeepney from MRT Guadalupe Station going to McKinley Hill.

Fast Forward to October 2017

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It was just 5 months yet and I am still not allowed to reapply for Korean visa but I still tried my luck by submitting all the documents including business registration, Japan visa, new bank statement with ₱30,000 in it and a BPI Gold Mastercard statement. It was accepted, but for others who are asking, no, they’re not accepting letters for reconsideration. I was only reconsidered because of my credit card. I submitted my visa application late because I had to wait for my credit card statement which never came so I had to use my old statement. It was really a waste of time that I am still regretting.

After 3 working days plus one holiday in Korea (My original computation was just 3 working days without the holiday and still have a day before my flight), I was left to claim my passport and visa on the day of my travel itself! The good news was, I got approved for a 3-year multiple entry visa. But the the bad news is that they only release visa from 1pm onwards and my flight to Korea was at 3pm and I cannot access the web check-in. I was already crying and panicking inside. After I got my visa and passport, I immediately booked an Uber going to NAIA Terminal 3. We were rushing to reach the airport in a hope to reach on time. I arrived at the terminal 2:30pm, the plane was still there but sad to say, the check-in counter was already closed.

Rebooking flight for the next day would cost me around ₱5,000 and it is way more than I have paid for my round trip tickets to Korea which was just ₱2,000. It was really heartbreaking because I cannot afford to rebook my flight. I just accepted my fate that it wasn’t the right time to be in Korea. So sad, sayang yung ticket and free accommodation via Potluck Trip.

I still have 3 years to plan my Korea trip, and hopefully to book a seat sale again in the nearest future.

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