As applications for South Korean tourist visas continue to be a game of luck for many Pinoys, the country's Ministry of Justice has opened up more ways for K-drama fans, K-poppers, or regular travel junkies to visit the highly coveted tourist destination.
On June 27, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines announced that it has opened applications for e-group visas for regular tourists.
As the name suggests, the South Korean e-Group Visa is suitable for those who will visit the country in groups of at least three people, including incentive tour groups and education tour groups below the collegiate level.
According to the Embassy, the difference between this type of visa and that of a regular tourist is that group members must enter and exit the country with the same vessel, flight, or other scheduled means of transportation, as well as roam the country with the same tour package or land arrangement throughout your stay.
Another difference is that Pinoy tourists applying for the South Korean e-Group Visa can only course their application through accredited local travel agencies in the country. These travel agencies (listed below) will submit the applications through the Ministry of Justice's visa application website and arrange your tour package.
Unlike the regular tourist visa which has a validity of three months, the e-group visa's duration solely depends on the number of days you're staying in the country.
South Korea e-Group Visa requirements
Similar to the process of applying for a regular South Korean tourist visa, each member of the group must supply the following to their travel agency:
- Original passport with six months validity prior to the last day of your trip
- Five copies of duly accomplished application form which will be sent to you by the travel agency. Answers must be printed in Arial font type, font size of 12, and in all caps.
- Original copy of employment certificate, which should include the applicant's position, date hired, compensation, office address, as well as the landline number and e-mail address of your company's human resources department
- Photocopy of your latest income tax return form from the Bureau of Internal Revenue
- Bank certificate issued at most 30 working days prior to your application
In addition to all these, group members below 18 years old are required to submit their birth certificate, while married couples must supply a copy of their marriage certificate both coming from the Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA).
Meanwhile, those who are not employed or working must provide the agency with a Letter of Support from another member of the group who has a source of income.
The group must also assign a team leader who is not above 58 years old.
TIP: Want to have a higher chance of getting your visa approved? Make sure that no one in your team had their South Korean visa application denied before and/or currently has a record of overstaying in Korea.
Processing time and fee
Since there is still a surge in tourists wanting to fly out to SoKor, it is advisable to submit your application at least four weeks prior to your desired departure date.
The application process usually takes 10 to 15 days but still varies depending on the Ministry of Justice in Korea, where approvals come from.
Processing fee is P1,000 and will be added to the tour package you will avail of from your travel agency.
Accredited travel agencies
Here is the list of local travel agencies you and your team can submit your applications to, according to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines:
- Airmark Tour and Development. Contact nos.: 02-8566-0020, 02-8566-0085
- Ark Travel Express - 02-8810-4520
- Marsman Drysdale Travel - 02-8887-0000 local 375
- Rajah Travel Corporation - 02-8894-0886
- Rakso Air Travel and Tours - 02-8651-9000
- Horizon Travel & Tours - 02-8521-2586, 02-5328-3388, 02-5310-2308 to 09
- Island Resort Club Tour Services - 02-8708-9999
- Pan Pacific Travel Corporation - 02-8243-6666
Grand Hope Travel - 032-231-7955, 63917-324-3373