South Korea’s making it easier for certain Filipinos to get a visa

If South Korea’s on your bucket list, you might just get a shot at getting your visa easier.

Effective today until the December 31, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines will simplify the visa application requirements for applicants—but only those who meet certain conditions. 

The embassy identified four specific groups that are exempted from submitting certain financial documents such as bank statements, income tax return forms, and the like. Here are some details from the official website: 

Professional license holders: those holding a valid PRC license ID (IBP ID for lawyer) with a profession of physician, dentist, lawyer (including judge, prosecutor), certified public accountant, pharmacist, and veterinarian.

BDO Gold or BDO Elite Credit Card Holders: attached below is the list of applicable cards.

Elected politicians: members of the Senate, Members of the Congress, Governors, Provincial Board Members, and Mayors (City or Municipality).

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.

The immediate family of these following groups are also covered by the exemption. However, they are all still required to submit other documents such as the general application form, proof of relationship (for traveling families), and the like. The embassy did not disclose the reason behind the exemptions.

Several users on social media have expressed their desire for the ease of restrictions to also apply to a broader set of people. Based on testimonies by previous applicants, getting a Korean visa approved in the Philippines is a little bit more tedious and challenging because of the volume of applications year-on-year. 

Prior to the pandemic, South Korea received over 500,000 Filipino tourists in 2019. While this is less than the millions of visitors coming from Taiwan, China, the United States, and Japan, it’s large enough for the country to figure into the top 10 list of foreign arrivals in South Korea. The numbers are driven by the massive influence of Korean culture, from K-pop to K-drama, among Filipinos. 

On the flipside, South Korea still dominates foreign arrivals in the Philippines. As of January 1, 2024, the country welcomed over 1.4 million South Koreans in 2023—that’s 26.41% of the total visitor arrivals for the year. Locations like Cebu, Bohol, and Palawan—all of which have direct flights to South Korea—reign supreme, with visitors looking for beach and diving experiences. 

Alona Beach in Panglao, Bohol. A popular destination for South Koreans, Panglao hosts direct flights to Incheon.
Features Associate

The new lifestyle.