Is it going to be "Annyeong, Korea!" for you soon?
After allowing walk-in and mail options, the South Korean government has unveiled a new policy, making visa processing easier for Filipinos.
The South Korean Embassy in the Philippines on Tuesday, Jan. 30 released a new set of "simplified" visa requirements for those intending to visit the country.
Starting Feb. 1 until Dec. 31, 2024, travelers who fall into certain categories may no longer need to secure financial documents such as bank certificates, bank statements, and income tax returns, when applying for a tourist visa. They include:
Members of the Senate, members of the Congress, Governors, Provincial Board Members, and Mayors (City or Municipality) are given this perk. As such, this opportunity extends to their immediate family members such as their parents, parents, spouse, minor children (applicable for adult children who can prove to be students through documents), and their spouse's parents.
While they are exempted from submitting financial documents, they are required to provide an original certificate of employment or certificate of appointment and proof of relationship.
Some government officials
Persons with a rank higher or equal to Assistant Secretary of the Executive Branch of the Philippine Government, and Brigadier General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines/Philippine National Police, excluding ones in acting duties, can also benefit from this new policy.
Like elected politicians, the courtesy also extends to their immediate family members such as their parents, spouse, minor children (applicable for adult children who can prove to be students through documents), and their spouse's parents.
Though they are not required to submit their financial documents, they must provide an original certificate of employment, specifying the affiliated organization, working period, position, and salary.
"If the relevant information is omitted or cannot be verified due to a lack of contact with HR, disadvantages may be given to the applicant," the advisory read.
Professional license holders
Those holding a valid PRC license ID (IBP ID for lawyers) with a profession of physician, dentist, lawyer (including judges and prosecutors), certified public accountant, pharmacist, and veterinarian may simply submit a copy of their PRC or IBP ID for validation.
They must also submit proof of relationship if they are bringing their immediate family members with them.
BDO Gold or BDO Elite credit card holders
Are you a primary cardholder of a BDO Gold or BDO Elite credit card? Congrats, you are also exempted from submitting bank certificates, bank statements, and ITRs when applying for a visa!
For BDO Gold credit card holders, here are the types of cards that qualify:
- Mastercard Gold Credit Card
- Visa Gold Credit Card
- JCB Gold Credit Card
- UnionPay Gold Credit Card
- Diners Club International
- American Express Cashback Credit Card
- American Express Explorer Credit Card
Here are the types of cards that qualify for the elite level:
- Mastercard Titanium, Platinum and World Elite Credit Card
- Visa Platinum Credit Card
- JCB Platinum Credit Card
- UnionPay Diamond Credit Card
- Diners Club Premiere Credit Card
- American Express Platinum Credit Card
- American Express International Dollar Charge Cards (platinum, gold, and green)
This courtesy is also extended to immediate family members such as their parents, spouse, minor children (applicable for adult children who can prove to be students through documents), and their spouse's parents.
To prove financial capability, one must submit a copy of the front of the credit card with complete information and the latest three months' credit card account statements. Proof of relationship must also be included if immediate family members are joining.
The Embassy noted that applicants who fall under these categories are still welcome to submit their financial documents if they feel this will help their visa approval. They stressed that other general visa application documents such as a valid passport, passport-sized photo, application forms, and employment documentation are still required.
ICYMI, the Korean Embassy also recently allowed applicants residing in Palawan and Mindanao to send their visa applications via mail starting Feb. 1.
In July 2023, the Korean Embassy in the Philippines announced that they would no longer be accepting visa applications or releasing visas in their Taguig office. Instead, submission and release of passports will only be available at KVAC, which started operating on Aug, 29.