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Did you know? Filipino transit passengers can stay in South Korea even without a visa

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Dec 07, 2023 3:54 pm

Dreaming of stepping into the beautiful country of South Korea, but don't have the visa to fulfill your wanderlust? There's actually a way to get around that! In case you didn't know, Filipinos may be allowed to stay in South Korea visa-free as long as they are transit passengers.

This was announced through a notice published by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines, wherein the Ministry of Justice announced that the visa-free entry permit system for foreign transit passengers resumed last April 30.

Filipinos can stay in the country for up to 30 days without a visa, however, there's a catch: You must have a visa (re-entry permit, permanent residency) to enter the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any of the 32 European countries and transiting to those countries via Incheon International Airport.

The European countries include Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Rumania, Luxemburg, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Malta, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Iceland, Ireland, Estonia, United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Czech, Croatia, Portugal, Poland, France, Finland, and Hungary.

Travelers must have not been denied entry into South Korea in the past three years and have not received a deportation order for violation of law.

Transit tours

What if travelers are going to another country aside from the ones listed above? They can still visit South Korea for up to three days provided they participate in a Transit Tourism Program recognized by the Korean government.

Transit tours are free of charge except for those with entrance fees. They are offered to those who have a few hours to spare before their next flight. 

Do note that tours come on a first come first served basis, so travelers must register online or at the transit tour information desk upon arrival.

There are several tour courses to choose from, depending on the day and time (morning or afternoon). Tours are conducted for over an hour to five hours.

Keep in mind that transiting passengers are not allowed to go outside the metropolitan area.

Depending on the travel itinerary, a tourist may still be denied to participate in the Transit Tourism Program if they see that they are at risk of non-compliance.

If they choose not to participate in the tour, however, then they must stay in the transit area as a visa is required to leave the airport or pass through immigration.


If the passenger is transiting for more than 24 hours but not more than 72 hours, they are also given the option to join a Package Tour or do a Self-Guided Tour.

Package Tours start from $80 (P4,422) to $394 (P21,781), and already include accommodation, transportation, meals, travel insurance, concierge service, and an itinerary.

Meanwhile, Self-Guided Tours go from $70 (P3,869) to $220 (P12,162). It includes accommodation, a Korea Tour Card with load, travel insurance, and concierge service.

Interested transit passengers may book online and go to the registration desk upon arrival.

But if you're determined to get a visa to truly enjoy the wonders of Korea, then you may want to the Korea Visa Application Center in Taguig, which has opened its doors for walk-in applicants in August to streamline the visa application process for travelers from the Philippines.

This means that you would no longer have to book an appointment online for your visa. KVAC is accepting all types of visa applications with a service fee of P900. Processing usually takes seven to eight days to be completed.

Headed to South Korea soon but want to go outside Seoul? Visit Yeongwol: A hidden gem in South Korea filled with colorful scenery, rich history, and culinary delights.