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

I’ll share my experience about this South Korea Visa Denial. You read it right, I’m sharing with you my South Korean visa denied story. 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.

South Korea Visa Requirements for Filipino Businessmen

  1. South Korea Visa 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), a bank certificate for visa is a must at least PHP 50,000.
  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 a 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 South Korea Visa Application?

To be honest, I am sad by the fact of the South Korean visa denial, 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.

South Korean Visa Denial Reasons

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.

South Korean Embassy Philippines Address

Korean Consulate in Cebu
Address: 12F, Chinabank Corporate Center, Samar Loop, Hipodoromo, Cebu Business park, Cebu city, 6000 Cebu

Korean Embassy Manila
Address: McKinley Town Center, 122 Upper McKinley Rd, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila

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 doesn’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.

Check out the comments below as you can also read other people sharing their South Korean visa denied stories.

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

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

  • Hi!planning on a trip pero yung binigay ng company na ITR(2017) has no stamp unlike last year.sabi ng HR un lang daw binigay ng BIR sa company.and a bir staff said daw na its not neccessarily needed na kasi may bago daw sila memo etc. I don’t know if it was a mistake or misunderstanding ng HR/BIR. Un din talaga fear ko kc baka isipin nila it was just made up,thou nakalagay sa 2316,ung payment and signed by the president of the company i work for. Parang ITR’s are so hard to get.

  • Hi Yui.

    Based on my experience okay lng po na wlang stamp ng BIR. We applied din last Feb 8 w/o BIR stamps approved naman po visa namin. (It’s our first time travelling abroad) Im sure nag-ve-verify din sila sa BIR bsta make sure lng may TIN # indicated da form.

    Sana nakatulong πŸ™‚

    • Hello. I just got my visa denied πŸ™ Now, I am trying to appeal it to Consul. First time traveler din ako and i dunno bakit na-denied ang visa ko. I am pretty sure naman na yung laman ng bank ko is sufficient. Pero How much ang required amount? Any idea?

  • Hi, I’m planning to go to Korea this April and planning to apply visa this march. I am worried because I will use separate bank account. I mean, I open and account for my travel to Korea, and it’s 6 months already. Is that okay? my friends are using payroll accounts.

  • Hi! Me and my friends are planning to go to Korea this april and the ITR that was given by the HR has no BIR stamp, will that be accepted? And also, do we need to submit a bank statement or a bank certificate alone would be ok? Thanks

  • Hi! Me and my friends are planning to go to SK this april but the ITR that was given to us by the HR has no BIR stamp, will that be ok? Also, do we need to submit bank statement or a bank certificate only is ok?

  • Hi! We’re planning to go to SK this April? Which one do we need to submit for visa application? The Bank statement or bank certificate OR do we need to submit both of it? Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

  • hi. we are planning to go to korea this coming march 13 pero ang release palang ng visa is march 12. ang worry namin kasi yung napasa naming bank cert ay nasa 20k lng laman ng account namin since di na kmi nakapagrequest sa ibang banks namin. possible kaya kami madeny pa?but all other requirements are complete

  • Hello po, ask ko lang po kasi sponsored po ako at niece ko ng sister ko pag nag travel kami sa korea this May, do I have to request multiple copies of documents like COE, Bank Cert, Bank Statement and etc? we are planning to apply for a visa as a family po.

    Thank you in advance.

      • Thank you for your reply, Miss Roxanne.

        One more thing, (If you have an idea lang naman po) kasi yung niece ko may used Oecd visa na siya tapos ako wala pa since visa-free countries pa lang po napupuntahan ko, paano po yung sa pagpasa sa window ng requirements? magkaiba parin po ba or same parin since family application po kami? Sorry, I really don”y have an idea kasi paano kapag family application ng korean visa and tried asking friends also pero walang mga reply.

  • I’ll be using my payroll account for mu bank cert kaso di daw nila malalagay ung ADB since payroll account sya and may standard template na daw sila. Okay lang po kaya un? Thanks.

  • ilang days po binigay ng consulate para dun sa follow up requirements?? via email po ba pagsend nyo ng requirements?

  • Hi po, planning to go din po sa SOKOR this june .so nagopen po ako ng separate bank accnt para dito kaya lang po last dec lang yun. Do i have to wait for 6 months ba before I apply for the visa? Or okay lang po na kahit wala pang six months ung new bank accnt ko?. Thankyou so much po. 😘😘

  • Hi,ask ko lang kasi nag apply kame ng anak ko ng korean visa, nagwowork ako kaya lang hindi pa ko nakakuha ng employment cert and itr, ang ginamit ko yung sa mr ko as housewife, kaso hindi nila tinanggap yung employers cert kasi walang nakalagay na compensation, pero me dala akong bank statement ok nman yung savings ko, at meron din ako affidavit of financial support galing sa anak ko sa Canada, ibinalik nila yung documents pinalalagyan lang ng salary compensation,wala naman binigay sakin ng denied slip, pwede kaya ako ulit mag apply gamit na yung my my own documents like employers cert and itr form. Balak ko bumalik next week.

  • Umiiyak ako kagabi noong inabot skin ng bf ko ung passport ko dhil denied ang VISA application ko, im not qualify dw sa visa category that im applying for. Hay! i dont know what went wrong. Im a financial Advisor sa Philam Life, i submitted certification that i am a financial advisor, ITR, BANK CERT and Bank statement, I have previous travels just last January HK and Macau, my funds where just enough for 7 days trip to SK, my Bf is a businessman and nilagay ko pa sya as financer ko if ever.. But sadly, sya lng naapproved…. Here I am researching kung may pag asa pa πŸ™

  • Hello! Ask lang po ako kc aalis kmi this april sa SK. Naapprove ung visa nmin lahat except my partner’s visa. Is there any way na mgappeal sa embassy pra mareconsider ung visa nya? thank u

  • Ask ko lang po kung may sapat na budget naman para sa korea trip for newly weds, accept kaya Nila kahit walang bank account, ITR.. Pero gagawa nalang ako ng Cover letter.. Sariling ipon kasi namin yun..

  • hi! I will be applying for Korean visa next week pero natatakot ako kasi i do not have ITR since I am unemployed. Bank cert, previous travel to visa-free country and letter of explanation lang yung bala ko πŸ™ kakakaba! ask ko lang po if you have any idea what will they consider as strong ties dito sa Philippines? Thank you!

  • hi applying for a tourist visa. kakaopen q p lng ng online business q recently planning to travel by june 2018, DTI and Business Permit ,Bank certificate and travel once in OECD country ang meron na q.tatanggapin kaya un kahit walang ITR/BIR? thanks

    • Hello, you can write a letter of explanation that your business is just new. Of course, show your DTI and business permit. Try Nyo po. Let us know for updates. 😊

  • Hi, Good afternoon po! I will be applying for a Korean Visa Next month po by June, kaso nagwoworry po ako if madedeny ako or maaprove kasi first time ko pong nag apply for a tourist visa. Before po nakapag travel na ako sa Europe pero fiance visa po yun, and way back 2012 po yun to 2013. Now po i have a regular job as an ecommerce assistant australian company for 1 year na po by this june. I will be using my payroll account/savings account for applying! And i will be traveling alone and planning to visit korea for 5 days! Please help naman po ng mga suggestions. πŸ™ Im so worried!

      • Yes i have already an ITR given to us this January! And for the bank certificate i will deposit this month and also for the next month for the money i will be using for my travel, because i am using only a payroll account which also was informed to me that can also be a savings account.

      • What i actually do is that every month of my salary i withdraw all of it getting scared my ATM will have a problem and charge me without my consent. I think most of my workmates do that! So I guess I don’t have a withstanding daily balance as they say!

          • Would you suggest i should book for the flight and hotel or wait for the visa first just in case?

  • Hello! I would just like to share my experience with getting a SK Visa. My father and I applied for a visa. I am currently employed while he is a senior citizen. I have only 60k in bank and he has 40k. We processed them though agency here in Davao, particularly in Rakso Davao. He only showed his senior citizen ID and COE for me. the Embassy required an additional requirement which is the alphalist of BIR form 1604E along with the BIR from 2316 for employees. I requested mine to our HR but unfortunately, they did not provided me with the BIR form instead, just an excel file with only my name including a separate appendix for the BIR stamp. the agency advised me to write an explanation letter for the alphalist. and it worked! I got mine approved and for my dad too!

      • I declared 3 days only tho I will be staying for 5 days. it won’t matter as long as your balance in your bank account exceeds your declared travel costs. This is my second time to get approved. my first one, I declared USD 600 for 3 days. bank account balance is 70k. then the second one is the same declaration but with only 60k in bank. My only real money is like 30k only so what I do, I borrow money from family and friends then after I got approved, I just returned it. and also, you could check for hotels/guesthouses to where you will stay in korea. they needed an address and a contact number to where you will be staying in korea so I would recommend in you don’t need to pay for it. you can just book it then pay at the property so you can cancel it if you don’t feel like staying there. I chose namsan guesthouse 2.. perfect for travelers and they got free breakfast and at such affordable price. like 2700 for 3 days 2 nights.

        • Thank you very much for the info its very helpful! and by the way what about the plane ticket you haven’t yet booked it without the visa right? I was thinking of declaring to stay for 5 days but I might as well try the 3 days, the one that you said.

          • just put it for 3 days for conservatism. they will give you 59days stay anyways when you got approved. and for travel costs, budget it 10k per day as long as your bank balance is more than your declared travel cost. other said they budgeted 25k for a 3-day trip.
            I am an auditor. I don’t really make much tho. haha..As long as you have completed your requirements, you would be fine. if not, an explanation letter can save you too!

    • Hi Prey! I will be using my payroll account. Ang kaso every sahod winiwidraw ko lahat kaya walang natitira. Questionable po ba kung ideposit ko ulet ung mga winidraw ko ng minsanan? Tia

    • Hi Prey. I will be using my payroll account sa bpi. Ang kaso every sahod winiwidraw ko lahat walang natitira. Ok lang kaya kung ibalik ko ung mga winidraw ko sa isang deposit lang? Hindi po kaya questionable un? Thank you sana mapansin mo po.

  • Yes, I will do! I’ve been reading a lot of blogs advice on the website how to get approve and why others got denied. But as I observed there are no apparent reasons, sometimes it’s unexplainable. Some people who tried applying has a really good job, background and etc but still got denied. I’m just 25 years old who wants to travel and experience Korea, might be a birthday gift for me this coming July! I don’t earn much though just an average I guess if you compare to the normal salary here in the Philippines! But your response really does ease the paranoia inside me. Haha! And before I forgot when it comes to the plane ticket should I book it already before the visa so I can declare that I have a date to go back to the Philippines, is that what you did? I got so much questions. hahah please bare with me. πŸ˜€

    • it is okay. it is nice to share experiences too! we all love korea..haha.. actually booking a plane ticket before going to apply for a visa is unnecessary. when I got mine on the first try, I did not book yet since im also same as you, paranoid I might not be approved. as long as you have the requirements you will be fine. also, a lot of people advise to have atleast 50k in bank account, that would be the conservative balance esp us who do not earn much. just don’t put a lot of money in your bank for the sake of getting a higher balance since they will also check your monthly salary too written in your COE and ITR. also any dates will do. as long as it is within your planned date of travel. And don’t worry, they wont ask you when you will be back. Your COE, proof of your employment will let them know you got a job waiting for you to go back here in PH. πŸ™‚ and regarding the bank balance, ADB must be 6 months. So I started saving and putting money by batches, say 10k per month. to reach 50k. don’t put 50k in one deposit only and if your salary say, only 15k a month, they will raise questions on the consul. that is the reason why they required ADB. to know if you can personally afford your trip or you just borrow money for visa purposes only. so I advise if you wanna go somewhere, plan ahead especially for those countries with visas. hope this helps!!

      • Yes, it does help! I will be using my payroll/saving account! And it is active for 11 months now! Actually in regards for my bank before im actually keeping my money inside but there was news that there might be a leaked on the ATM so I got scared so everytime I got the monthly salary I withdraw all of it starting late last year. I will actually deposit half of my money this week and the rest of next month! Because I am planning to apply June 16 next month!

  • Hi! My student is inviting me to go to Korea. Their parents will be sponsoring my trip including round trip airfare, food and accommodation and other expenses that I need during my stay there. I plan to stay there for 5 days. My question is, is this an advantage for my Visa getting approved? They are doing this as a sign of gratitude for being their children’s tutor in the last 6 months.

  • Hello good day! Ang dami ko pong nakukuhang ideas sa mga shineshare nyo.. my sister and I are planning to go to korea sa Jan. And Im a fresh grad and im about to start working na po, but the problem is, wala po akong ITR since walang tax yung salary ko, around 8k lang po, so nabasa parang I need to write a letter about my reason na bakit wala ako ITR. And one thing, ano po yung sa Alpha list? Medyo confusing lang po.. Salamat po sainyo!

    • Alphalist doon nakalagay lahat name ng mga employees na nagwowork sa company detailing their salary every month and also their taxes. Usually hindi binibigay ng Employer yun kasi confidential, yun ang nangyare skn pero gumwa ng explanation letter company ko kung bakit and also they provided me the BIR transmital confirmation na sinubmit nila sa BIR and my name only together with my TIN. Hope this helps, i will be apply this coming july first week nireready ko nlng mga requirements.

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