South Korea Visa Refusal – It’s Heartbreaking but Time to Move On

I’ll share my experience about this South Korea Visa Refusal. It was May 2016 when I booked a promo flight to South Korea. I was waiting for this because I wanted to experience winter in South Korea which is just a 4-5 hours flight from Cebu. On January 25, 2017, I went to the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu. My scheduled trip is from February 15 to 22, 2017.

Visa Requirements for Filipino Businessmen

  1. Application Form
  2. One piece of Passport-size colored picture
  3. Original passport (valid for more than six months)
  4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
  5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps of OECD member countries for the past five years (if applicable)
  6. Photocopy of Business Registration from SEC or DTI
  7. Photocopy of Business Permit or Mayor’s Permit
  8. Original Personal Bank Certificate (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
  9. Bank statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last three months)
  10. Photocopy of ITR or Form 2316 (checked by BIR with Stamp)
  • If personally invited by Korean: Invitation Letter & Copy of inviter’s passport
  • If invited by Company in Korea: Invitation Letter with company stamp & Copy of Korean Company Business Permit
  • Visa fee: 59 days or less stay in Korea – GRATIS; 60 to 90 days stay in Korea – PHP 1,800

Also read: Go To Boracay – Moving on from a Failed Winter Trip

Requirements I Submitted as an Independent Contractor and Solo Traveler for South Korea Visa without Income Tax Return

I submitted my application on January 25, 2017, at their office. Their address is:

Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu

12/F Chinabank Corporate Center

Cebu Business Park, Cebu City

6000 Philippines

  1. Application Form
  2. One piece of Passport-size colored picture
  3. Original passport (valid for more than six months)
  4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
  5. Two arrival stamps of Japan visa which Japan is part of the OECD member countries
  6. Original Personal Bank Certificate (must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB)
  7. Bank statement (original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last three months)
  8. Letter of Explanation
  9. Certificate of Work Contract as I am an independent contractor.
  10. Stock Certificate from COL Financial Philippines
  11. Certification of Involvement in a Non-Profit Organization

South Korea Visa has stricter visa requirements. I got request for Additional Document(s) for Visa Application

I received an email on January 30, 2017, that I was advised to submit two (2) guaranty letters.

  1. Filipino guarantor must be (1) government official or officer, and (1) your company owner, department head or HR manager;
  2. Guarantor must duly accomplish the Letter of Guarantee (see attached form); and,
  3. A letter must be submitted together with Guarantor’s Passport bio-page copy (if available), a Photocopy of the Guarantor’s government office ID (for government officer guarantor) or company ID (for company guarantor), front and back.

In addition to the guaranty letters, you are required to submit an explanation letter describing the following:

  1. Exact Annual Income
  2. Companions to/in Korea

What Went Wrong with my Visa Application?

To be honest, I am sad by the fact of the refusal, but I already expected this when I received an email for additional documents. Here are some of the reasons what went wrong:

  1. I don’t have a Filipino guarantor (a government officer) to sign the guarantee letter. I mentioned in the letter that it’s a personal expense, a gift to myself.The reasons for having a Filipino guarantor to sign the letter is that:
    (a) the guarantor ensures that the applicant abides the laws and regulations of Korea,
    (b) the guarantor will shoulder the travel expenses for the applicant’s return if he/she is unable to pay them,
    (c) the guarantor shoulders the expenses arising from the applicant’s stay or detention in Korea if he/she is unable to pay them.
  2. I don’t have any companions to/in Korea as I mentioned again and again that I am a solo traveler.

My Speculations for Denied South Korea Visa

Since I’ll be traveling solo, maybe the embassy thought that I would illegally stay in South Korea and look for a job which I don’t have a plan. My only ultimate goal is to experience winter.

Remember my Denied Canada Visa Application? It was also my chance to experience winter last January 2015, but it never happened. No more winter experience for me.

Reason for a South Korea Visa Refusal

You read it right, “You and/or your family failed to prove strong economic ties to the home country.

My affiliation with a non-profit organization I am involved with is not considered a strong economic tie to the home country.

My Travel History

As a Filipino traveler, you might ask where I’ve been. So yeah, I’ve been to Five Countries in 2015Β including Japan and Taiwan. But then, wherever I’ve been to, it’s useless. Sad.

Well, maybe South Korea don’t need Filipino tourists because of the stricter rules of visa requirements. Perhaps, I’ll just say goodbye to my wasted ticket to South Korea, will never experience snow and maybe avoid to visit this country for now.

Well, I am heartbroken since this trip to South Korea is a gift to myself for a solo traveler like me. I’ll just shaveΒ ice and eat halo-halo instead.

Somehow, I was able to Go to Boracay – Moving on from a Failed Winter Trip.

Roxanne is an aspiring digital nomad. A virtual assistant since October 2009. She is a hobbyist blogger, photographer and travels a lot.

84 thoughts on “South Korea Visa Refusal – It’s Heartbreaking but Time to Move On

  • I want to let you know that you have to remember that there is a strong reason behind every failure, soon enough you will realize why it did not happen (your trip to korea) and by then you’ll realize that God has a better plan for you. πŸ™‚

  • Sad to hear that po ., but dont worry po spend winter in japan instead next time.. I actually submitted also my korean tourist application yesterday. Will see and pray if granted or not,, like you i want to see a real snow and experience winter,, im scared that they are more strict now., good luck to me

  • Thanks God I was approved for my Visa for my Korea trip this Feb 3-8
    One of my friends friend was also denied to got her visa in Korea sadly the ticket was cost a little bit expensive.

  • I’m also a businessmen category and I will be traveling by April 9 to April 15. I don’t have ITR yet for my business since it was just started last December 28, 2017. I do have ITR for my previous employer though. Can this be valid and be approve?

  • This would devastate me, to be honest. I’ve been to Korea twice, and I am grateful that they granted be single-entry visas. I’ve yet to go to Japan, though. Why not spend a winter in Japan instead? I really hope you don’t give up on going to Korea. How about going to Jeju? I heard you don’t need a visa to go there. Cheer up!

  • so sad to hear that you were denied. Keep trying with other countries visa, then go back with Korea and hopefully you can get approve.

  • My gosh, I’m a little bit nervous about my visa application. I booked my flight to Korea this November which is Autumn dun, I’m from Davao pa – I know it will be hard to apply for a visa in my part since wlang Embassy yung Korea dito sa Davao so I have to fly over in Manila or Cebu just to submit my application. But i’m also considering if I could just ask for help sa mga tour agency. But what made me nervous is baka ma deny din ako. I’m a full time employee sa isang private company – not sure if this will be an edge to get my visa approved? Korea is not my first country- been to Malaysia, SG, Hongkong and Macau pero non-visa yun lahat. Eh ikaw nkapunta ka na nga ng Japan pero so sadden to hear that you weren’t granted a visa to Korea. That’s why I’m also worried now. πŸ™ Anyways, oo, balik ka Japan – bongga din snow nila ata dun.

    • Hi Shiela,

      Since you’re working in a company, who knows you’ll be granted for a visa? 😊 let me know if you’re granted to have one. Good luck. As long as you meet all the requirements.

    • Sheila, just apply. I was granted visa twice for SK. I had no employment the second time I applied and I explained in my letter that I resigned from my job and I am transitioning to a home based job. I just declared my salary in my explanation letter. My employment certificate was a self certified letter that I am doing home based job as a virtual assistant. I got my visa naman.

      • Hi Bela,

        Hope you don’t mind me asking: did you submit an ITR when you sent your application? I have the same situation with you. I’m working at home and the company has a certification of earnings (proof of employment). Let me know please. Thanks

        • Nope. I did not submit an ITR. That time, they don’t need ITR if you have previous SK visa already. You can make an explanation letter and tell them that you are a sub-conractor/partner of the company you are working with and you are not an employee that is why your company doesn’t deduct taxes, sss, philhealth and pag-ibig. Just show proof of remittances if you are being paid through paypal. If not, then get a printout of your bank statement to show the money being deposited in your bank as your salary. I don’t know really but the embassies are logical. Every document you show has to make sense. I wish you luck!


    • Because we are a third world country and aminin na natin na some filipinos ay TNT sa ibang countries. That is why they are strict.

  • May japan visa po ako at onward ticket going to japan mag apply ako ng korean visa ma approve kaya anyway my last destination is japan from mnl kor jpn phl. Denied din kasi ako 1st apply ko sa taguig kaya try kojan cebu embassy tnx in advance…

    • If ma approve ka ng visa, ikaw na bahala ano gagawin mo. Minsan kasi may chance din ma lost ka so hindi naman lahat ma susunod ang itinerary. hehehe! Pray ka lang na ma approve yan. πŸ™‚

  • Hi Roxanne, just want to share same sentiments here. We were also denied last weeek.. Family kme and i believe we submitted complete docs kase dentist and businessman naman husband ko. Unfortunately, nakabile na kme tickets kase promo but still sayang pa din πŸ™ Birthday gift namin sana yung trip sa daughter namin kase she’s fond of korean novelas.. Like you ayoko din ng credit card, ayaw ko may utang πŸ˜‚

      • same here family din kami (4) my husband and my 2 kids graduation gift sana with honors lalo na yong daughter ko kasi avid fan sya ng KPOP denied din… tour package yun dapat tour namin last April 6-9, 2017 tiempo ang cherry blossoms kaya lang sad to say and i cried a lot for that…sabi agency complete naman mga docs namin at ok naman lalo na bank statement namin.. for the reason na ” you failed to qualify to the visa category that you have applied for..

  • Hi Roxanne, I chanced on your blog while browsing to different Korean visa applic experiences. My friend and I got a promo for SoKor dated June 21 to 24 via tour package pero til now wala pa update regarding our visa application. Inclusive of the package is our visa processing. We complied all docs last March 17 pero til now wala pa raw feedbacks from the embassy according to our agent. Naprapraning na ako. Do you think it’s normal na wala pang feedbacks? I’m getting nuts 😣

    • Hi Shelly,

      I got my feedback within 5 days since I applied on my own at Korean Consulate in Cebu. But I don’t know with your travel agent hopefully they’re legit.

      • I checked naman po and I know someone na rin who availed their service. Successful naman sila kaso for Japan sila. I am really getting praning na. This morning I spoke again to the agent ff up daw nila again next week. I am really getting praning na. Thanks for your comment 😊😒

          • Hi Ms Rox, i have an update na sa Visa. They are asking for new COE & Bank Cert kasi expired na daw. Both are dated Jan 30, 2017. Now I’m wondering may expiration pala? 😣

          • Bank certificate should be within 3-6 months from your application. For the new COE, when did your employer gave to you your COE just to clarify?

          • Bank Certificate attached showed ADB 5 mid-high figures plus dollar account. Attached photocopy pa of passbooks latest 3 months.And for COE sana they could have called our HR. I am employed by 1 of the top 10 corporations in our country. I cannot understand what they are looking for. I am thinking of backing out since nagdududa naman pala sila 😒

      • January also this year. Im a bank officer and nothing has changed naman sa position ko. 10 years employed same employer …

        • Hmmm they want you to reproduce another copy, seems like they’re not convinced with the documents you showed. Tsk tsk

  • Hi! I’m a newly licensed physician and currently unemployed because I plan na magrest muna and travel before working. And I’m quite confused kung saang category ako magffall dun sa list of requiremnts for visa application ng Korean Embassy. Do you have any idea what are the requirements for unemployed adult (and also single) like me? Thanks!

  • Hi can I ask for a copy of the format of Guarantee Letters? Thank you πŸ™
    I’m quite anxious because I’m currently Unemployed, Single and No ITR. My dad will shoulder my expenses.

    • Hello, the Consulate gave me the format of Guarantee Letters. Just write a letter of explanation about your guarantor. Thanks.

  • Hello, I got denied too. A bit upset and disappointed. I bought a roundtrip ticket for June, luckily, the officer at the Embassy told me that I can reapply next week so, I am going to try it again. I will ask a visa sponsor this time. Perhaps, the Consul is afraid that I might just look for a job there coz I am an ESL Teacher. Anyway, let’s just try and try until makuha natin gusto natin sa mabuting paraan. We don’t have any control of it. They evaluate our application according to their standard.

  • I don’t know why the Korean embassy in my country doesn’t give a reason for a visa denial even for students in my country?

  • When filling the visa application form, there’s an instance where one is asked of the total cost of travel. Does that includes your flight, tuition fee, lodging or …. Please help

  • TIP: it’s easy to apply when you have BDO gold credit card or other card below..Try to apply BDO credit card or BPI first before applying for Korean Visa..Less requirements needed when you have and my whole family grant a multiple visa because of this credit card

    Korean Visa Multiple Entry Privilege
    Promo is extended until December 31, 2017 ; i think it was extended up to 2019

    Qualified Cards:
    Mastercard: Gold, Titanium, Platinum and World Elite
    Visa: Gold and Platinum
    JCB: Gold
    UnionPay: Gold and Diamond
    Diners Club: Diners Club Premiere
    American Express: Cathay Pacific, Gold, Platinum and Charge Cards

    Enjoy up to 5 years Multiple Entry Visa to Korea and be exempted from submission of Financial Documents and ITR with your BDO or American Express Gold and Elite Credit Card.

    Pag Gold 3 yrs multiple visa
    pag Diamond Platinum..etc.. 5 yrs multiple visa…try nyo po

  • Hi I just got home from the Embassy at denied din po ang Visa ko. Nakakalungkot. I was planning to give an appeal letter though. Galing din ako ng Japan last January. =(

  • Hi everyone!

    Been to SoKor twice. Visa processing usually takes 3-5 days especially if you’ve been to OECD Countries. The main reason on whether your visa will be denied or accepted is:


    Korean embassy wants a guarantee that you will be returning back to Ph. RT Flight tickets are not a guarantee. If you are going to Korea for a personal travel, it is best to have a Korean resident who will invite you going to Korea. With this, an invitation letter is needed.

    Also, a really strong financial statement will be really helpful. ITR is not required if you’ve been to OECD countries. Also, SoKor is a bit careful with self-employed applicants. They will really call your employer so better be truthful with all your requirements.

    Korean embassy is really strict when it comes to requirements as compared to the Japanese embassy. You may also try to write a letter of appeal. A friend of mine wrote to the Ambassador himself for his appeal and luckily it was granted.

    Korea is really a nice country! Hope you can visit it soon! πŸ™‚

  • I have the same reason na kung bakit ako denied sa visa application.. planning to reapply this October.. sana ma approve na this time ..😐

  • Hello, I’m a student. Me and my friend are planning to apply for Korea Visa. I just wanted to ask if individually po ba yung application form or magkasama na yung amin sa iisa?

  • Hi po, ask ko lang how much ang money mo sa bank nung nag apply ka po for the korean Visa? Thank you ☺️

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