How to Apply for a Korean Tourist Visa in the Philippines


One thing I don’t like about traveling is the logistics involved. All that planning! Which hotel should I book? Which airline should I use? How much money should I bring? And dun dun dun dun, how do I friggin’ get a visa?! It’s such a daunting task that sometimes, I wish I could just magically transport myself to another country without having to go through all the hassle. But such is a traveler’s life, and if a girl wants to travel, a girl’s gotta get that visa.


I recently just applied for a Korean Tourist Visa and I was given one. It was kind of a relief because I had already purchased a round-trip ticket and booked a hotel for 7 days (which is not advisable, by the way). I am amazed by how fast and easy the process was. I think I spent a total of just about an hour and a half in the Korean embassy to submit my application, and to claim it 3 business days after. The commute from Quezon City to McKinley took longer. Pfft.

Here are the steps I took to apply for my tourist visa: (Note: I am an employee. There are additional requirements for applicants who are business owners)


This, I think, is the most difficult part (and it’s not even that hard!). The good news is, once you’re done with the first step, it’s going to be pretty much a walk in the park. For tourist visa applicants who are employees, the following documents are required:

1. The application form. (You can download it here.)

Fill out the form legibly using block letters. I used black ink on my application. Put N/A on blank spaces or for questions that are not applicable to you.

2. 1 passport-sized colored picture

I had mine taken in a photo studio. The usual passport requirements apply: visible ears, no earrings, no smiling with teeth, and use shirt with collar. The picture should have a white background.

There’s a box in the application form where you need to attach your picture. You can do it beforehand using glue or paste or you can do it at the embassy as paste is provided for the applicants on the writing desks there.

3. Original passport (must be at least 6 months valid)

Do not forget to bring your passport! It’s very important as you will need to leave yours at the embassy so that they can affix your visa once your application is approved.

4. Photocopy of passport bio-page

The bio-page is the page where all your details are. It’s the one with your picture on it. (But you already know that. Moving on!)

5. Original and photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past five years (Korean visas not counted)

OEC… The what now? OECD stands for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. If you have been to any of the member countries, you need to provide the original and photocopy of your visa/s and arrival stamps. Here is a list of the member countries:


6. Original certificate of employment

If it takes a long time for your company HR to provide COE, I suggest that you request for one way ahead of your travel date. Your COE must include your position in the company, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number, and HR email address.

7. Original personal bank certificate

The bank certificate is proof that you have means to travel and you can pay for your expenses. You can get this from your bank for a small fee. My bank is UnionBank and I paid PHP150 for my bank certificate. The process took less than 30 minutes. The certificate must include your account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB (average daily balance).

There is no known set amount for the required current balance in your account. I personally do not have a lot of money in the bank account I used for my application. It’s my payroll bank account and I think it’s the best one to use as the bank statement will show that I get paid a certain amount regularly as an employee.

8. Bank statement (original or certified true copy)

There are a number of ways to get your bank statement. You can go to your bank and request for one (I did this and paid PHP50 for it at UnionBank), or you may already have it if you get your statement every month via mail, or you can print it out from your bank’s online banking facility. If you’re going for the third option, you may need to have it certified as a true copy. You are required to submit your bank statement for the last three months.

9. ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy

If you’re a frequent traveler and had been to any of the OECD countries listed above in the last 5 years, you are exempted from submitting an ITR. I personally did not submit one as I had already been to Australia which is an OECD member. Yay!

If you haven’t been to any OECD country or are a first-time traveler, you may request an ITR copy from your company HR.

10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (if applicable)

If you are a professional and have a PRC card or an IBP card, you need to submit a copy as well.

11. Additional requirements

If you have been invited by a Korean:

  1. Invitation letter
  2. Photocopy of invitor’s passport of identification card (authentication not required)

If invited by company in Korea:

  1. Invitation letter
  2. Photocopy of Korean Company Business Permit

TIP: I suggest holding off booking hotels and tickets as visa approval is never guaranteed. I know it’s quite tempting to buy tickets before getting a visa thinking it might help your case (especially when there’s a sale going on!). I did so and printed copies of both for submission, but they returned them to me and only took the requirements listed above.


Now that you have your documents, it’s time to head over to the Korean Embassy to submit your application at the following address:

McKinley Town Center, 122 Upper McKinley Rd, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila

The location is quite easy to spot. On both times I went there, my Uber driver didn’t have problems getting to the place. Although, if you’re coming from the north, allot a couple of commute hours (or more, if you’re going on a Friday) to account for the time you’ll spend stuck in the horrendous Manila traffic.

The windows are open from 9am to 11am, but they are accepting applicants as early as 8:30am (or earlier, I got there at 8:30am and there was already a queue for the initial screening and issuing of queue number).

Check your application just to make sure everything is in order. Even though the line was long, it was moving quite fast and before I knew it, it was my turn. I handed over my papers for initial screening, the officer took a look at my documents (this is where the officer returned my ticket and hotel booking printouts), and stapled them before handing them back to me. He then gave me a number and directed me to Window 3. (First time travelers or applicants who have not been to any OECD countries are directed to Windows 1 and 2). After a few minutes, my number was called and I submitted my application.


If you’re staying in Korea for 59 days or less, the visa is free. For 60-90 days stay, the fee is PHP1800.

Waiting time

I was given a claim stub which had the details as to when I should go back to claim my passport (being issued a claim stub does not guarantee that your passport will be returned with a visa). As I had already been to an OECD country, I was given 3 working days to wait before returning. For first time travelers or applicants who have not been to any OECD countries, the wait is 5 working days.


Once the waiting is over (finally!), it’s time to return to the Korean Embassy to pick up your passport. Claiming times are from 1:30pm to 4pm. I got there at 1pm and people were already queuing. I lined up as well and was given a number to claim my passport at Window 3. After a few minutes, my number was called, I got my passport, checked to see if it had a visa, saw it, smiled, did a celebratory dance (in my head, of course), and went home.

I am so excited for this trip as I had always wanted to visit Korea. I was a K-pop fangirl years ago (way before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon). And now, I’m finally going and I’m spending my birthday there. Yay!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a visa expert nor a travel agent. I am merely a person who loves to travel and I’m just sharing my visa application experience to those who want to know more information about the process. Going through the same steps as I did does not guarantee the approval of your visa application.

Raia Goes Places Globetrotter Giveaway

As a way of saying thank you for having reached 6K+ followers on Instagram, I am giving away this cool Globetrotter World Traveler Watch to one lucky follower. (Note: This giveaway is not sponsored by the watch manufacturer.)

When I saw this watch on my Facebook feed, I loved it and I know you guys would too! (I particularly like the airplane that serves as a second hand. It moves, you guys! So cool. 😍)


  1. Follow @raiagoesplaces.
  2. Repost this image on your IG account. (Make sure your post is public so I can see it. No need to tag my IG account.)
  3. Tag 5 (or more) of your travel buddies.
  4. Use the hashtag #RGPGlobetrotterGiveaway (Reposts without this hashtag will not be counted.)


  1. You can only enter once. (Multiple entries will only be counted as one)
  2. This giveaway is open to everyone.
  3. The winner will be picked randomly using an online random picker tool and will be done live through Instagram Stories.
  4. A formal announcement will be made through an IG post.
  5. The winner will also be informed via IG DM. If he/she does not reply within 72 hours, a new winner will be picked.
  6. If you win, you will need to give me your name and address so I can send you the watch.
  7. This giveaway will end on October 8, 2016, 11:59PM October 20, 2016 at 9:59PM (Manila time). The winner will be announced immediately.
  8. Good luck and thank you!!! 😘🤗

Instagram Changes

Cleaned and purged my Instagram
My new Instagram, TA-DA!

The KonMari Method

About a couple of months ago, I read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I’ve since been obsessed! I cleaned out my room (even went to the extent of re-painting it), threw and gave away a lot of the stuff that did not spark joy. So now, I have a space devoid of clutter, everything has its own place. I am really happy.

So, in an effort to apply the KonMari method to everything in my life, I’ve moved to cleaning out my digital space. I started with my devices. I deleted apps and files I no longer use, games I don’t even play. I’ve turned off notifications for practically everything. I don’t get notified for anything unless I open the app myself.


And just a couple of days ago, I took my obsession to Instagram. First of all, let me just say that Instagram in itself is a bundle of joy and I will never, ever get rid of it. Not for a very long time at least. It’s my favorite social media platform and is the only one I’m very active on. But when I looked closer at my feed, I saw a lot of things that do not spark joy. I’ve always felt like my posts were all over the place. There was no coherence and it’s basically just not visually pleasing (to me, at least). So, I went on a delete spree. I think I was at around 600 posts, and I’ve gotten that down to 150. I’ve decided to delete all posts relating to calligraphy and lettering, selfies, and chose to just stick to one theme, travel photography. I figure, with my love for traveling and photography, I will never run out of pictures to post. Besides, sea, nature, architecture, streets, all in my feed? Ah, that’s all the joy I need.

A Better

And with this, I am also changing a few things on the blog. I still haven’t done anything yet, but I will get to it in the days to come.

So where did my lettering and calligraphy posts go?

Nowhere yet. I’m in the process of launching a new account and a website which will hopefully happen sometime soon. Target of completion is before June this month. I’m still deciding whether to migrate old posts or just make new ones for a more coherent account. Marie Kondo, what have you done to meeee?

Growing up

I have to admit, this is not brought about entirely by my KonMari obsession. Part of it is because I think I’ve grown up. I feel like my life is slowly changing and I can’t contain my excitement. Seriously, I’m losing sleep over it.

This is all I can say for now. Thanks for reading through my mini update. See you around!

What I think about the Logitech K480

I work from home, and it can get quite boring at times, so I travel a lot too. This brings up a need to always update my gear to make transit as painless as possible. I own a 15-inch laptop and lugging it around isn’t always the best option.

I had been interested about bluetooth keyboards for quite a while as I thought working from my iPad mini is much more convenient for travel. I was shopping with my friend in Megamall when I stumbled upon the Logitech K480 in Octagon. So, I had one of the guys there test it out on my iPhone, and needless to say, I walked out of the store carrying the thing.

The Logitech K480
The Logitech K480

Features I like

  1. It allows for three device connections and it’s easy to switch from one device to another. This is especially convenient for when I’m working and Viber-ing at the same time. I can switch from my iPad to my iPhone and type out a reply without having to pick it up.
  2. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android.
  3. It is lighter than my laptop.
  4. It fits in my purse.
  5. It is relatively easy to use.


  1. It uses AAA batteries which last for about 8 hours if used continuously. So that’s about 2 AAA batteries daily if I were to use it for a day’s work. Your next best option is to invest on rechargeable batteries which is expensive. Plus, most of the chargers come with 4 AA batteries, so you have to buy your AAA batteries separately.
  2. Lag time.I find that there’s a bit of delay when I’m typing and it could get really frustrating especially if you’re on a deadline. And the back key is ultra sensitive that it goes back two steps instead of just one when pressed. I have to really be careful not to make spelling mistakes to avoid hitting the back key. It’s that or I have to hit it really gently.
  3. The keys are noisy. I don’t mind it, really. In fact, I hadn’t even noticed until one day when I was working with my friend and she said she couldn’t concentrate because my typing was too loud.
“And the back key is ultra sensitive that it goes back two steps instead of just one when pressed.”

4. It doesn’t have a trackpad. It’s annoying to have to constantly touch the screen if I want to go somewhere on my document, or my iPad. I think it kind of takes away a major chunk from the usefulness of this product. But I’m still getting the hang of all the shortcuts. Maybe it just takes a little getting used to.


I feel that I have not used it to its fullest to make a sound conclusion. So far though, I think it’s useful enough to use for short trips or for working in coffee shops. For longer travel though, I still need to bring a laptop as some of my work requires stuff that only an actual computer can do (which is more of a limitation on the iPad and not the keyboard).

To know more about its specifications, click here.