Free Multiple-Entry South Korean Visa for Philippine Passport Holders

On my previous post on visa-free and no visa fee countries open to Filipinos, I included South Korea on the list. South Korea is quite special in that there are several conditions wherein a Philippine passport holder can enter without having to undergo an arduous visa application process. First, visa is not required if arriving in and departing from Jeju Island only. Second, the tourist visa needed for stays in South Korea lasting 59 days or less is free of charge. Third, there are ways to obtain free multiple-entry South Korean visa for Philippine passport holders, without having to submit financial documents such as bank certificates or income tax returns (ITRs). Curious? Find out more below.

 

Free Multiple-Entry South Korean Visa for Philippine Passport Holders

Single-Entry South Korean Visa for Philippine Passport Holders

 

A. Complete your requirements – Depending on your situation (employee, businessman, student, etc.), there are requirements specific to you. For the ordinary employee, here is the list:

  1. Application Form – click here for a copy.
  2. 1 passport-size colored picture – to be affixed to the application form
  3. Original Passport – valid for more than 6 months
  4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page
  5. Original and 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 the following information:
    • applicant’s position,
    • date hired,
    • compensation,
    • office address,
    • HR landline number (mobile number is not allowed),
    • HR e-mail address
  7. Original Personal Bank Certificate – must include the following information:
    • 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 CopyFrequent travelers who have traveled as a tourist to OECD member countries within 5 years are exempted from submitting ITR.
  10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only)

Additional requirements for those personally invited by a Korean:

  • Invitation Letter
  • Photocopy of invitor’s Passport or Identification Card
    (authentication not required)

Additional requirements for those invited by a company in Korea

  • Invitation Letter
  • Photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit – authentication not required

 




B.  File your application – After you have completed your requirements, file your application and pay the applicable visa fees (FREE for stays of 59 days or less!) at the South Korea Consular office located at:

  • In Manila: 122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city 1634
  • In Cebu: 12th Floor Chinabank Corporate Center, Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5, Cebu Business Park, Mabolo, Cebu City

Note: Representatives may file the applications as long as the documents are complete.

The Consular Office is open from 8:30-11:00 am only, Mondays to Fridays. The Consular Office requests applicants to arrive before 10:30 am to allow enough time for processing as those who arrive after 10:30 am may not be accommodated.

Note: Visa application is on a first come, first served basis; no appointment is needed.

At the Consular Office: Upon arriving, a document checker will check your documents and arrange them according to the required order. He/She will be the one to assign you which window you will queue to. Here is the breakdown:

  • Window 1 or 2: Those who have no previous tourists visits within 5 years to OECD member countries.
  • Window 3: Those a.) who have previous tourist visits within 5 years to OECD member countries, b.) who have at least 2 tourist visits to Korea, and c.) seafarers who plan to transit to Korea.

Read more: Schengen Visa Application via the French Embassy


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C. Claim your visa – For those who filed their applications via Window 1 or 2, processing will take 5 working days while it is only 3 for those who filed via Window 3. Special applications may take longer depending on the Consul’s decision. Visa releasing time is only from 1:30 to 4:00 pm, Mondays to Fridays.

At the Consular Office: Upon arrival, you will be asked to sign the logbook. This is where they get the names of the visa claimants for the day. If you arrive well before 1:30 pm, expect a crowd standing under the harsh noonday heat (there’s hardly any shade and absolutely nowhere to sit) in front of the guard house. When the clock strikes 1:30 pm, you will be ushered in to the waiting area where passports will be distributed one by one.

Single-Entry Visa to South Korea is valid only for 3 months from the date of issue. Therefore, do not apply more than 3 months prior to the date of travel.


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Free Multiple-Entry South Korean Visa for Philippine Passport Holders

Now that we are familiar with the application procedure for single-entry visa, we now go to the promised FREE multiple-entry South Korean visa for Philippine passport holders. Read: You don’t have to pay the P4,050 multiple-entry visa fee. Plus, you can do this without submitting financial documents. Who are eligible? Those who hold the following credit cards*:

Eligible for 3-year Multiple-Entry Visa:

  • BPI Gold Master
  • BPI SkyMiles Platinum Master Card
  • BPI Amore Visa Platinum
  • Gold BPI Express Teller Debit
  • BDO Gold – Gold Visa Credit Card, Gold MasterCard Credit Card, Gold UnionPay Credit Card, Gold JCB Credit Card

Eligible for 5-year Multiple-Entry Visa:

  • BPI SkyMiles Platinum Master Card
  • BPI Amore Visa Platinum
  • Gold BPI Express Teller Debit
  • BDO Elite Cardholders – Platinum Visa Credit Card, Titanium/Platinum and World Elite MasterCard Credit Card, Gold/Platinum/Cathay Pacific and American Express Charge Cards issued by BDO, Diamond UnionPay Credit Card, Diners Club Premiere

If you hold any of these credit cards, not only are you eligible for free multiple-entry South Korean visa, you are also exempt from providing a bank certificate (save money and time!) and an ITR. In lieu of these documents, you must present the following:

  • original credit card
  • latest original credit card account statement – applicants who receive their statements through email are required to visit the bank to acquire the original copy. But me, I only printed the attached statements to the emails I get from BDO.
  • photocopy of the credit card

Note: All the other documents listed above are still required.


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My experience: Because I am a BDO credit card holder, and I have already been to Japan (an OECD country) at the time of my visa application, I had the swiftest visa application ever at the South Korea Consular Office. The document-checker assigned me to Window 3 and there were 7 people ahead of me. After waiting for 10 minutes, I was called and after about 20 seconds I was given my claim stub. Three days later I found myself chasing what available shade there was in front of the guard house at the consular office. This was because I arrived there too early. Not five minutes after they opened, I had my passport together with my 3-year multiple-entry South Korean visa . I did not pay a single cent – except for my Uber rides. I wish the Korean Consular Office would start offering courier services, I wouldn’t mind paying for that.

 

Read more: How to apply for a Japan visa

 

Other notes: Securing a free visa to South Korea can lead to other savings. For example, in my previous post on visa-free entry to Taiwan for Filipinos, I mentioned that Philippine passport holders are eligible for the ROC Travel Authorization Certificate if they own a valid visa from OECD countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States within the past 10 years. Obtaining an ROC Travel Authorization Certificate, instead of the General e-Visa will lead to savings of at least P2,400. Not to mention the zero processing time since you print out your travel certificate as soon as you finish the online application.

For travel inspiration, visit my friend’s blog on her trip to South Korea.




*Promo available until December 31, 2019. Read more here and here.

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Jayce Cairo

Jayce is a linguaphile who speaks four languages and currently works as a translator to finance her various interests. Scoring very high on “Openness to Experience” on the Big Five Personality Test, she is an avid globetrotter who aspires to retire at 35 and travel for the rest of her life.

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