Applying for a Visa is always a nerve-wracking experience for me. It always feels like applying for my first job.
My friends would always assure me that I can easily get a VISA because of my travel history. But I never get too confident.
I was surprised to receive a Multiple Entry Korean Visa on my first application. If there is anything that helped me get an approval, I think it is my credit card history and my BDO Gold Credit Card. You see, it does pay to have a good credit card history and standing.
When applying for VISA, I always make sure that I submit all the documents and that I do not give the consul a reason to deny my application. Here are the other factors that probably affected the decision on my VISA application:
1. I have traveled to OECD countries (I have a valid US Visa, Canada, Schengen and UK).
2. I have presented proof of sufficient fund to support my travel.
3. My credit card is always current – paid in full and on time.
If there is anything that bothers me whenever I apply for a VISA, it is my “unemployment” and work as a “blogger”.
Somehow, it stirs a question that there is a chance for me to overstay in the destination country. But gladly, I am able to defend my case.
For those who are planning to apply for Korean Tourist Visa, here are steps and tips for you.
Requirements for Korean Tourist Visa Application + Tips
1. Application Form
2. 1 piece Passport size colored picture – make sure that you are wearing something with collar.
3. Original Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months) – I also brought my old passports with VISA and stamps on it.
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. – there is only 3 rows in the application form, feel free to use another sheet to list down the countries you visited. I wasn’t able to list down all travels for the past 5 years though. Make sure that you list OECD country.
6. Original Personal Bank Certificate and Bank Statements (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB) – for those who are wondering how much should be in the bank, Php 100,000 is a safe amount. I read some blogs that there are those with only Php 30,000 that got approved. If your bank cannot provide a bank statement, you can bring your passbook.
8. Most Recent BDO Credit Card Statement and photocopy of Front and Back of Credit Card – don’t forget to shadow the CVV to prevent unathorize use. Bring the credit card with you during application as they would validate it. See the promo details here.
7. SEC Registration – I printed a support document that shows that my business name is registered in SEC. It is not specifically noted in the requirements, but I am glad I did bring it because they asked for it during my “interview”.
How to Apply for Korean Tourist Visa
The Korean Embassy in McKinley is open from 8:30 to 11:00 AM. On our first visit, we arrived at 9:15ish and there was already a long queue outside. It appeared that you have to come early to sign in at the log book. At 9:30ish, the guards announced that they could no longer accommodate applicants and we have to come back the following day.
They do accommodate those who are traveling from provinces.
On our next try, we made sure we came really early. My friend and I planned to come before 6. I came at 6:10 AM and the guard asked me to sign in. I was number 123 (I also got a number for my friend who came 10 minutes after). The guard said that they would start the roll call at 7:30 AM. This would give you time to eat breakfast at Jollibee. Haha 😀🍟🍔🍝
6:10 AM scene
At 7:30 AM they started calling out numbers. They accommodated around 300 applicants that day. The others who didn’t make it to the cut were asked to fall in line. Shortly, they once again announced that they could no longer accommodate applicants.
7:30 AM scene
The waiting game begins.
My friend who is always visiting Korea told me that it used to be a breeze to apply for a VISA. Sometimes they would go at 7:30 and they could get inside and be seated. That’s no longer the case.
When we got to the Guard’s Desk, he checked the passport and gave number based on your credentials. I think they categorize applicants into 3:
1. First Time Travlers
2. Frequent Travelers with no OECD country visited.
3. Those with OECD countries visited.
My friend and I were given different queue numbers.
I was asked to go to Interview Room 1. When my number was called, the lady just checked my documents and listed that I have a Canada VISA (the guard clipped my papers in that page of my passport– I wish he did so in my US VISA which is still valid).
She quickly scanned the documents. She asked a support document for my business (I provided SEC registration proof – whew!), and asked for my credit card (to validate the Credit Card statement I passed).
I was done in 30 minutes. I was given a claim stub. I waited for my friend who got to finish after a few minutes.
After 3 business days, I went back to the Korean Embassy to collect my passport/s. Claiming of passport is from 1:30 to 4:00 PM. I arrived around 1:10 AM but it took longer to get my VISA.
When I got to Window 3, the Korean Lady opened my passport and showed me the VISA – telling me “we give you 3 years multiple-entry Visa”. Yay!
I was so happy; but somehow, I didn’t know why I got worried if my friend would got his.
Korean Visa Application in the Philippines Timeline
October 11, 2017 Wednesday | First attempt to apply. Arrived at 9:00ish but were asked to come back the following day.
October 13, 2017 Friday | Arrived at 6:10 AM. Got inside the Embassy at 7:30 AM. Embassy opened at 8:30 AM. Finished at 9:20 AM.
October 18, 2017 Wednesday | Returned to Korean Embassy to get Visa/Passport. Arrived at 1:10 AM. Finished at 2:30 PM.
Korean Visa Processing Time: 3 business days (for those who have traveled to OECD countries); 5 business days (for first time applicants)
My Korean Visa Application is a smooth and easy process in terms of the application itself. The biggest challenge is waiting and falling in line. This is so far the easiest Visa applications I have experienced. But of course, the decision will always depend on your documents.
I thank the Korean Embassy for granting me a visa, but they still broke my heart.
(…to be continued)
We flew to Taiwan instead.
We flew to Taiwan instead.
Got questions? Drop them on the comment box below. 😊
Korean Embassy in the Philippines
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city 1634, Philippines