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It’s often said that it’s hard to visit countries that require a visa prior to entry. It’s fortunate that South Korea isn’t super strict in issuing visa to Philippine passport holders. In fact, South Korea will relax its visa application requirements for Philippine Passport holders who wish to visit.

Since I reside in Cebu, I will be explaining the process on how to apply for a South Korea Visa in the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu. Applicants who wish to lodge their application in Cebu City can go directly to the Consulate Office located in 12th Floor China Bank Corporate Center, Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City.

On the other hand, those who plan to lodge their application in Manila should go to an accredited travel agency as the embassy no longer accepts walk-in visa applications for tourists.

Table of Contents

  1. Visa Requirements for Employees
  2. Application Process
  3. Claiming of Passport
  4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Visa Requirements for Employees

These are the requirements for employees who wish to apply for a South Korea Visa.

  • South Korea Application Form – Download Here
  • 1 Piece Passport Size Colored Photo
  • Original and Valid Philippine Passport – Passport’s expiration date should be more than 6 months from the date of application
  • Photocopy of Passport Bio-page – Page 2 of your Philippine Passport
  • Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years – List of OECD Member Countries
  • Certificate of Employment (Original) – This should include applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number (cell-phone number is not allowed), and HR email address
  • Bank Certificate (Original) – This should include account type, current balance, account opening date, and average daily balance (ADB).
  • 3 Months Bank Statement
  • Photocopy of Income Tax Return (ITR) or BIR Form 2316

Keep in mind that this set of requirements is not intended for applicants who were personally invited by a Korean or a company in Korea.

The estimated processing time for a South Korea Visa is 7 working days. You don’t need to pay any fees if you are staying for 59 days or less. If you are applying to stay for 60 to 90 days, you need to pay a visa fee of PHP 2,000. You should also make sure that your financial documents reflect your capacity to stay for this long.

Application Process

Once you have all the requirements stated above, plan your visit to the Consulate Office in Cebu. There is no need to set an appointment as all applications for tourist visa should be done walk-in. Keep in mind that the consul will only accept applications for visa from 9:00AM to 11:00AM Monday to Friday except holidays.


Enter the door on the left side of China Bank in the China Bank Corporate Tower in Cebu Business Park. Once inside, inform the receptionist that you are going to the Consulate of the Republic of Korea. You will be asked to leave one valid ID (don’t leave your passport as you will submit this to the consul).

Take the elevator to the 12th floor and turn right when exiting the elevator. Submit your bag (if any) for inspection before entering the consul. Once inside, inform the personnel at the table that you are applying for a South Korea visa. The personnel will ask for your mobile phone to cover the cameras with a white sticker. You will then be provided with a priority number.

Wait for your number to be called. There are a lot of benches where you can sit while waiting. The waiting time wasn’t long at all. It only took me about 20 – 30 minutes of waiting before my number was called. 

When your number is flashed on the screen, proceed to the specified counter. Be sure to prepare your application requirements before your turn to speed things up. Hand over your requirements to the visa officer. The officer will review your documents and when everything seems good, the officer will provide you with a claim slip.

The releasing date of your passport (whether granted or denied with a South Korea Visa) is indicated in the claim slip. Keep this as you will need it when claiming your passport.

Claiming of Passport

7 working days passed and the releasing date came. Releasing of passports is done from 2:00PM to 4:00PM Monday to Friday except holidays. I got my passport with an approved South Korea Visa in it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How soon should I apply for a South Korea Visa?

Whether applying for Single or Multiple Entry, you should apply at least 90 days prior to your intended date of departure. A Single Entry visa is only valid for 90 days from the date of approval. Even when applying for a Multiple Entry visa, there is no assurance that you are going to be granted with one since the final decision is made by the consul. This is why it is best practice to apply at least 90 days prior to your intended date of departure.

How much money should I have in the bank?

The embassy nor the consul did not specify an amount that should be in your bank when applying for a South Korea Visa. However, a good way to get a rough estimate on how much show money you need to cover your daily expense is to multiply PHP 3,000 with the number of days that you will be staying in South Korea. The amount I indicated above should only cover your food and transportation allowance. This means that you need to add your hotel and airfare costs.

Here’s a sample computation for your convenience.

Food and Transportation Expenses = 5 days x PHP 3,000 = PHP 15,000
Airfare = PHP 3,000
Accommodation = 5 days x PHP 900 = PHP 4,500
Total = PHP 22,500

With the above sample computation, you should have at least PHP 23,000 in your bank account by the time you apply for a South Korea visa. You have to make sure that you’ve maintained the amount for at least 2 months prior to your application since the bank certificate reflects the average daily balance (ADB) of your account. Depositing large amounts days or weeks before will only raise suspicion since you will also be providing your bank statement.

To whom should I address my Certificate of Employment when applying in the Consulate Office in Cebu?

You may address your COE to

Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu
12th Floor China Bank Corporate Center, 
Lot 2, Samar Loop Cor. Road 5, 
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City

Should I submit a handwritten or computerized application form?

Either of the two should be fine. Keep in mind to not have any form of alterations or erasures in the application form.

What should I do if an item in the application form is NOT APPLICABLE to me?

Put N/A on items that are not applicable to you. 

Do I need to book a flight and/or hotel accommodation prior to the issuance of a visa?

A flight booking and/or hotel accommodation booking is not a requirement but if you are able to get cheap plane tickets, it’s best to book it even before applying for a South Korea Visa. Do take note that you shouldn’t submit your flight booking and/or hotel booking when applying for a South Korea Visa. The visa officer will just remove these from your pile and return it to you.

do i need to submit my birth certificate?

No, birth certificate is not a requirement when applying for a South Korea Visa.

To know more on how I spent my weekend getaway in Seoul, South Korea, watch out for next week’s blog! For questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below or send me an email at jasper.g.m.ramirez@gmail.com.

Don’t forget to check my other blogs at JasperRamirez.com!

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8 Comments

  1. Hi Jasper I am an avid fan of your blogs. May I ask if the salary is a big impact when applying for visa? Because I think it will reflect to ITR?

    1. Hi, Rapunzel! Your monthly salary does not have a direct impact when applying for a South Korea Visa. However, the amount in your bank account should match your salary. What I mean is that if you earn PHP 15,000 a month and you’ve only been employed for over a year, your bank account should not have PHP 500,000 as it will raise suspicion in the embassy’s end.

      1. Thank you for the reply. Did the officer in the SK embassy interview you or you will just hand the documents to them and wait for their decision?

        1. You will just handover the documents to the visa officer and they’ll provide you with a claim slip which indicates the claim date of your passport whether approved or denied. I haven’t heard of anyone who was invited for an interview, but that’s in the sole discretion of the embassy if they think an interview is necessary or not.

  2. Thank you for the reply. Did the officer in the SK embassy interview you or you will just hand the documents to them and wait for their decision?

    1. Hey! I replied to this comment above. Just in case, here’s my reply:

      You will just handover the documents to the visa officer and they’ll provide you with a claim slip which indicates the claim date of your passport whether approved or denied. I haven’t heard of anyone who was invited for an interview, but that’s in the sole discretion of the embassy if they think an interview is necessary or not.

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