How to visit Korea without a visa
People, specially Filipinos, have been asking me how to get a tourist visa so they could visit Korea. Unfortunately, the Philippines doesn’t have a visa-waiver agreement with Korea (we used to have before 1994). Is it possible to enter and visit Korea without a visa? It is.
From Korea’s government website:
– Applicable to all countries (save for China, Cuba, and Macedonia) that are not granted visa-free entry into Korea.
– Applicable to those who made more than 4 visits to Korea in the past two years, or more than 10 visits overall may enter Korea without a Korean visa as long as they have no Immigration offence or other criminal records.
Tourists bound for another country.
– Applicable to those with a visa or a re-entry permit for US, Japan, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand (5 countries) and traveling to any one of those countries through Korea.
– Those traveling from any one of the five countries mentioned above, whose final destination is not Korea.
– Must have a confirmed onward flight ticket for departure within 30 days after entering Korea, in addition to having no record or criminal offence in the five countries mentioned above.
Special entry arrangements for Jeju Island
– Eligible foreigners: nationals of all countries not allowed visa-free entry into Korea (except for Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Cuba, Syria, Macedonia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Ghana) that enters via Jeju airport for tourism or transit.
– Duration of stay: up to 30 days
– Permitted area/range: Jeju Island
– Conditions of entry: those that arrive directly into Jeju island by flights or ships
Re-entry permit holders
– Registered foreigners with re-entry permit that enters Korea within the given re-entry date are allowed to enter without a visa.
APEC Business Travel Card
– Eligible countries: Australia, France, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Papua New Guinea.
– Eligibility: APEC Business Travel Card holders are given Short Term Business (C-2) visa status, and are allowed to stay for up to 90 days.
One of my friends’ aunt (Pinay) has visited Korea as a tourist four times within two years. When she applied for a tourist visa again for the fifth time, she didn’t receive a visa on her passport but a stamped “Documents Accepted” (which usually means “Denied”). Her niece (my friend) called up the Korean Embassy in the Philippines and asked why she had been “denied.” She was told that her aunt doesn’t need a tourist (C-3) visa anymore to travel to Korea. They were skeptical at first but she booked a ticket anyway. She traveled to Korea a month later and told the Immigration office at Incheon Airport that she’s been to Korea four times and was allowed entry. On her second visa-free entry, she was asked to show her return ticket. She has one and was allowed entry again without a visa.
My mother is a Philippine passport holder and a US resident. I wanted her to visit us before she travel back to the US. I asked the Immigration office yesterday if it’s possible for her to travel without a visa under her circumstance. After several pauses and “wait a minute”s, I was told that she could come to Korea without a visa as long as her outbound ticket is for the US and she could stay up to 30 days.
For Pinoys who would like to visit Jeju Island, one travel agency I know that offers this tour is Horizon Travel (nope, I’m not connected in anyway and they don’t know that I’m posting this). You may visit their website or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org