Going to South Korea without visa for Filipinos

I have friends in Manila who loves to travel. When I’m still in the Philippines we used to travel inside and outside of our country together. Last year they planned to travel to Seoul from 11-15 Oct 2013. Fortunately that period is a holiday in Saudi in celebration of Eid-al-Adha so I confirmed to them that i will join them on this trip. I check the websiteΒ http://sau.mofa.go.kr/worldlanguage/africa/sau/main/ for the requirements and procedure. On my previous blog about getting tourist visa at Japan Embassy Riyadh, I’ve mentioned that I applied for Japan visa to visit my aunt, since Japan is near South Korea. When i got the visa from Japan Embassy Riyadh, on that same day I submitted my application for tourist visa at the Korean Embassy Riyadh. Like Japan Embassy you have to leave your belongings at the security, they will give you an ID to enter. When I’m at the visa section there was one applicant before me, when that applicant finish I submitted my application. They checked all my documents thoroughly. That time my remaining balance in my bank statement is only about SR11000. They said it’s not enough, I need to have atleast SR15000 or more eventhough I’ve explained to them I will stay for only 3 days before going to Japan. Also they asked me to request a letter from my employer stating that they guarantee my return to KSA after my trip, which from experience, they will never provide. So I took back all my documents and told them I will try to complete it. I booked and paid my return tickets to Tokyo via Korean Air. I also checked koreanAir website www.koreanair.com for visa information and found out that a Filipino can visit Korea without a visa if one is travelling and have valid visas to Japan, UK, USA, Canada, Schengen area, Australia, New Zealand via Korea and you will be allowed in South Korea visa free for 30 days. During my checkIn at KKIA in Riyadh they ask me if i have visa to Korea, I told a Korean airline staff that I don’t need to since I have Japan visa and travelling to Tokyo via Korea and will only stay in Korea for 3 days. When i arrived at Incheon airport on 13 Oct early morning, the immigration officer checked my roundtrip ticket to confirm i will be going to Japan. He stamped my passport opposite to the page of my Japan visa with entry stamp to Korea valid for 30 days. I met my friends and we enjoyed touring for 3 days. On 15 Oct 2013 we departed Seoul, my friends fly back to Manila while me to Tokyo.


About hunterpm

I'm an Overseas Filipino Worker based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia since January 2007. I love traveling. 25 countries as of January 2019. My favorite countries i visited multiple times are Japan UK France USA. I don't prefer staying at hostel for security & privacy, I'd rather stay at a cheap hotel as long as it has its own toilet and bath. I'm a Top Contributor of TripAdvisor in Riyadh. I used to work in Kapuso network GMA7 in Manila for 6 years before working in KSA. I have this blog to help other travelers the basics & techniques how to apply tourist visas. Hope you enjoy reading my blog... Thanks everyone!!! πŸ˜„πŸ˜˜πŸ˜œ
This entry was posted in Filipino traveler, Tourist visa application, Travel, Visa and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to Going to South Korea without visa for Filipinos

  1. Jeff says:


    Regarding with your ticket that you have shown to the immigration officer. Did you just give the copy of the ticket? How do they check if its real or not? If you really have booking or not?


    • hunterpm says:

      My korean air ticket shows Riyadh-Seoul, Seoul-Tokyo, tokyo-Riyadh itinerary, during my departure checkin at Riyadh airport, the korean air staff asked me if i have visa to korea, i told him i dont need to because i will be travelling to japan with Japan visa on my passport and will stay in korea for 3 days before continuing my journey to Japan, he said ok. When i arrived in Incheon airport, the immigration officer check my passport and asked where is my korean visa, i told him i have Japan visa and i showed him my paid ticket showing Riyadh-Seoul (which was already used), Seoul-Tokyo and Tokyo-Riyadh (which was not yet used), then he stamped my passport with 30 days entry visa to korea. You dont need to give him copy of your ticket, just show him the ticket.

  2. Mariel says:

    Hi! I am also working in KSA, and planning to go to Korea next year after my contract ends. I was wondering if it is possible to get a visa here in KSA, and go home to the Philippines first for 2 months before finally flying to Korea? I could apply for a visa in Manila, but I am afraid I would get denied since I would be considered unemployed by then.

    • hunterpm says:

      Heres a thing Mariel, u want to apply visa before ur final exit in ksa, u need to present documents at korean embassy like exit/reEntry visa but n ur case it will be final exit visa which could result for ur visa being refused as they will ask u additional supporting docs proving u will depart korea after ur trip, unless u can provide them new job offer from another country or new job in pinas, another thing is u want to apply then u will travel after 2months from staying in pinas, remember that once u are issued korean visa u need to use it within 90 days after issuance date otherwise it will expire before u travel.u can try ur luck though.

      • Mariel says:

        Thanks for the reply. I guess I would have to try my luck in the Philippines, and find an alternative to prove I would be back in the Philippines. I have traveled to a few other countries in Asia, but all of them did not need a visa. I also heard that they wouldn’t really take that as support that your only goal of traveling to Korea as a tourist. Thanks for the information in this blog. πŸ™‚

  3. Susan says:

    Hi,im working here in ksa. I have plan to stop over just 1 week and go to philippines to ksa.it is possible

    • hunterpm says:

      It is possible to stay for 1 week if u have korean visa unless u will be traveling from ksa to usa or japan or australia via korea and holding a valid visa from these countries then no need to apply korean visa.

      • rey says:

        I ask sir mam….only exit visa here from saudi arabia end of contract then same option only 1weekz to stay korea then go to Philippines…what we need requirements no need to get visa in korea?

  4. Elen says:

    Hi! I will have my vacation this october, i wanna ask if it is possible that i will apply for korean visa here in ksa then go to the philippines first for 1 week before going to korea? Thanks in advance!

    • hunterpm says:

      Thats possible, just complete all requirements but make sure to show ur ticket ksa-phl then manila-seoul roundtrip, also ur bank statement should be higher than sr15k

      • Elen says:

        I will just stay there for six days and will go back again to the philippines. Is 13k sr enough?

      • hunterpm says:

        When i inquired before at the korean embassy how much money should i show in my bank account if i plan to visit korea for 3 days only, the arab staff told me i should have atleast sr15k otherwise i should ask my employer to provide guarantee letter as additional supporting document, this was in 2013. I told him, i need that much eventhough i basically will just transit korea on my way to Japan? At that time i wasnt aware that i can visit korea for 30days visa free if i hold a valid visa to japan and will travel to japan via korea. Try it this time maybe they change their requirement so its better to ask the korean embassy directly.

  5. Joy says:

    Will it be possible to have an iterinary of Dubai-Japan-Korea-Dubai? or Dubai-Korea-Japan-Dubai? If possible, what type of visa will i get? do i need to get 2 visas per country or will there be a problem if my point of entry is different from exit? as I was planning to have 1week each country coming from Dubai- Thanks

    • hunterpm says:

      Ur itinerary is ok either way. U only need to apply Japan tourist visa which u can use for both korea and japan

      • Joy says:

        Ok, I thought i need to provide a “dummy ticket” as a proof. How much approx do you think will it cost for a 2weeks trip? Do you get like a promo fare for your flights?

        Ideally my iterinary is from Dubai Tokyo-Hokane-Kyoto then to Seoul-Busan back to Dubai- Really appreciate sharing your thoughts.

      • hunterpm says:

        For applying visa to Japan ofcourse u need flight booking as u will write the flight details on ur application form. Im not sure if theres promo fare from dxb, its not like flights from manila wer theres cebupac promo fares. During my time it cost me around SAR4000+ for my korean air ticket riyadh-seoul-tokyo-riyadh. The whole trip cost me around SAR15000 (convert it into AED) as i stayed in 5cities in japan (2nights each city) plus $200 JR tickets valid for 1week unlimited metro/bullettrain ride throughout Japan. In Korea i only stayed 3days. I made my own itinerary.

  6. Noelle says:

    My brother and I are planning to visit S.Korea on December 2016. Right now, we are here in Majmaah City, Riyadh as dependents of our mom who is working as a Professor. I would like to know, if that SR15k minimum pertains only to one person? We were planning to get a multiple entry for S.Korea. Btw, My mom won’t accompany us since classes has just begun here last 18th of September but she’ll be the one to finance our stay all throughout.

    Last questions, does that visa also issued on the day we applied or there is a waiting time? We are far from the Riyadh proper, we are from Majmaah City and roughly it takes 2-3 hours of travel. If it won’t be released on the day we applied, we must get a hotel booking then :))

    Thank you in advance!

    • hunterpm says:

      Student like u have to submit financial guarantee letter along with bank statement of ur parents, it should show the balance well enough to cover ur trip to korea for the two of u. U should also be able to show exit/reEntry visas, u can apply 90 days before ur intended travel dates, take note that the validity of the visa starts on the day of issuance, not on the day of submission, processing of visa apps takes about a week, multiple entry is being given as per Visa Officer’s discretion. Pls visit korean embassy official website for more accurate infos

  7. Anna Camara says:

    Hi, I am planning to visit Korea this October 1st but our visa was denied. So instead of going to Seoul, we decided to go to Jeju Island. Is our itinerary okay, mnl/icn & gimpo/jeju, will the immigration won’t look for a visa if we have this flight? looking forward to your responds.. thank you..

    • hunterpm says:

      I cant confirm if this iti is ok, better inquire at the embassy directly as i heard no visa required if MNL-ICN-Jeju if u will transit on the same terminal and no need to go through immigration at ICN, but since u will arrive at Incheon and connect at Gimpo to catch ur flight to Jeju u need to go through immigration which means u need visa.

      • Anna says:

        okay, so if i have mnl/icn & icn/jeju ticket. i will have no problem if I don’t have visa? it is also okay if the flight are not in the same day? cause I will be arriving at icheon at 9pm and the next available flight after my arrival will be on the next day.
        also, do i need to show them my return ticket? because my plan is to take a ferry going back to Seoul.

      • hunterpm says:

        Theyl not allow u entry if u dont have a return plane ticket, u cannot take ferry coz it means ul be transiting mainland sKorea unless u have a valid korean visa. To avoid any conflict i suggest u find a flight which doesn’t have transit in Seoul.

      • Anna Camara says:

        i see.. so the safest way is to have a ticket from icn/jeju & jeju/icn?

      • hunterpm says:

        My dear icn is in Seoul, i said find a flight which does not have transit in Seoul, there s flight MNL-HKG-Jeju which means transit is HongKong. Since u dont have korean visa u have to avoid Seoul as u only allowed visa free in Jeju.

      • Anna Camara says:

        But since I already have my mnl/icn/mnl ticket.. I book an incheon/jeju flight.
        I also try to search for a fllight from manila to jeju and I saw connecting flights that transfers in Incheon or from incheon to Gimpo Airport.

      • hunterpm says:

        In thats case u need visa since ur ticket MNL-ICN u need to collect ur bag at ICN, u can only do this if u pass the immigration, u can only pass immigration if u have valid korean visa, after u collect ur luggage u have to checkin again for ur flight to Jeju, same procedure for ur return flight. Unless u dont have any checkin bags, just hand carry.

      • Anna Camara says:

        I don’t have checkin bags. I only have hand carry..

      • hunterpm says:

        Still u need to go through passport control at ICN in order for u to fly to Jeju, they will ask u for valid korean visa. ICN-Jeju flight is domestic, they only allow Chinese national to transit to ICN visa free on their way to Jeju. Your only chance is to take MNL-HKG by cebupacific then HKG-CJU by HKExpressAirline and back.

      • Anna Camara says:

        okay.. thank you so much for answering all my questions.. πŸ™‚

  8. Choochoo says:

    Hello Dear, requirements din po ang exit reentry to Riyadh pag mag apply ng south korean visa? Thanks ..

  9. rey says:

    Thank you

  10. rey says:

    Apply visa in Phil…boz if I exit here in saudi we have exit visa…

  11. rey says:

    Sir what do you mean?

    • hunterpm says:

      Unang una hindi ka po kse qualified for transit without visa sa Korea. Requirement po sa pag apply ng visa sa Korean embassy Riyadh ay exit/reEntry visa, since paexit na po kau syempre exit visa lang pwede nyo maipapakita, dahil dito hindi po nila iaapprove ang korean visa mo kase pagdududahan nila na bk magTNT ka sa korea since nagfinal exit kn ng saudi at di nila alam kung may trabaho kang lilipatan sa ibang bansa or trabahong babalikan sa Pinas, kaya po ang suggestion ko mag apply knlang ng visa pag ns pinas kna.

  12. rey says:

    OK sir thank you poh….but sir pwd ako kumuha ng visa to korea tapos mag stay lng ako don ng weeks… OK lng poh bac until sir……kung OK San ako onto do pra mag kuya ng visa to korea sir…do sa riyahd poh…

  13. rey says:

    Pero sir my kaibigan poh kc ako don…at kumuha madin poh ako kc non ng ticket na korea to Philippines….pra Alam tlga nila na stay lng ako for visit lng at uwi ako agad sa pinas…salamat sir sa advice

    • hunterpm says:

      May kaibigan kman o wala sa korea, may tiket kaman pauwi pinas, 1week or 1day kalang sa korea, need mo talagang mag apply ng visa. Ganito nalang po, try nyo nalang mag apply sa korean embassy riyadh kase titingnan nila lahat supporting documents mo at tatanungin ka nila iba pang details or additional documents, be ready to answer or provide supporting documents to show strong ties mo sa Pinas at enough money for ur trip to korea (i think they ask show money of atleast SR15k), ngayon kung masatisfy mo sila then congrats

  14. rey says:

    Sorry sir kc a kalas ko OK mean words na type iba iba pla naka lagay poh…

  15. hi po. I have a plan to got to korea next year and i want to know what will i need on getting a korean visa here is Riyadh, My plan of trip is going first to manila then Korea and back to Manila and later coming back to Riyadh. Kkailangan na po ba ng Exit and Reentry visa if you will submit all your requirements to Korean Embassy.? How many days is the approval?

    • hunterpm says:

      If u r non saudi applying visa to any embassy here in ksa u need to have ExitReEntry visa, pls visit koream embassy riyadh website for updated list of requirements.

  16. elyse17 says:

    Hi, if ever I plan to get a visa from Riyadh, pero i plan to get Japan Visa. is it still ok na Riyadh-Manila, Manila-Seoul, Seoul-Japan? papayagan pa rin ba yun for 30 days? or not? thanks in advance.

  17. Jed says:

    Hi! Just want to thank you first for sharing your experiences. It really helped a lot.

    Ngayon ko lang nakita tong blog mo na to, actually gusto kong bumisita sa Seoul or any part ng SK since last year. Kaso nakalagay sa requirements nila (sa embassy website) na dapat may 30k SAR. Grabe sa laki.

    Tanong ko lang kung may approved akong Japan visa, hindi na ba ako tatanungin sa Immigration ng Incheon kung may 30k SAR ako or kung magkano ang dala kong pero to support my trip? Let’s say, 1 week leisure stay.

    Thanks sir!

    • hunterpm says:

      Please verify with SK embassy. From my last information i got, having Japan visa will no longer allow automatic free visa to SKorea, so verify with them if this rule still being applied.

  18. fian says:

    hi po.. sir ask ko lang po.. i want to go 1wk vecation sa korea.. this coming december 2017. nagwowork po kao dito sa riyadh. pwde po sbhin nyo skin mga requirements sa pag apply para dertso2 po yung gagawin ko pagdating sa embassy.. thanks po sa tulong..

    • hunterpm says:

      Need nyo po: completed visa application form with photo attached, paid plane ticket roundtrip, hotel booking, 6months bank statement SR30k atleast ang last balance (stamped by the bank), exit/reEntry visa, copy of creditcard, payslip, original employment letter with chamber attestation sticker, itinerary, copy ng Iqama, original passport. Call nyo po Korean Embassy Riyadh to guide u about supporting documents and requirements, call tel. 4882211 website sau.mofa.go.kr u can submit ur application 2months before your planned trip

  19. Tommy says:

    Hi hunterpm….hope you can give advise to some of my questions πŸ™‚
    We’re planning to go SK this December…I will get my visa here (Saudi) and my family (wife & 2 kids) in Philippines.

    1. Can I apply solo for my visa, reason is because of that minimum bank money of SR30k.. I believe I can only save up to SR25k-. If I declare I’m going with family i would need more money in the bank 😦
    2. My wife will declare support for our 2 kids.. since I’ve read in some forums/blog that Phils. Embassy require less money in ur bank account..like P30k/day/pax.
    3. My other option is apply for visa in the Phils. during my vacation…I’ll just bring all the necessary documents COE, bank certificates/statements, exit/re entry visa (Saudi). Because I think I’ll get more chance here because of that money requirement in bank which is lesser than here in Saudi.

    • hunterpm says:

      It’s better to apply visa as a family in PH. Just bring the documents with u like COE issued by your Saudi employer, your saudi bank statement, exit/reEntry visa and Iqama with English translation and your roundtrip ticket ksa-ph and your family members ticket ph-sk. Present a letter of explanation why u need to apply in PH. Also explain why u have no ITR copy since you are an OFW, ITR is a requirement when applying visa from PH. I dont really understand why SK embassy in KSA imposed a financial requirement of atleast SR30k in applying Visa, they would probably the only country with such requirement. Even countries in any Schengen or UK doesnt have such requirement. Shame on South Korean Embassy in ksa.

      • Tommy says:

        Thanks for your reply hunterpm πŸ™‚ …. sorry more questions. The ITR thing I’ve read already somewhere how to apply and submit.

        1. Where should I go for my Iqama translation?
        2. Any good ideas to explain why I apply visa in ph and not in Saudi πŸ™‚
        3. Hmm.. now I realize if I’m goin to apply in Phils. I still have to keep my money in Saudi bank before I get the visa?
        4. After I get my bank certificate/statements here in Saudi. Can I withdraw them before I go to PH, since that would be our budget for the tour. I’m afraid they will also call the bank to check the validity of the docs?

        Thanks your blog is very informative πŸ˜‰

      • hunterpm says:

        OFW not required to have ITR if u read other blogs u will know that a letter explaining this matter is accepted by Embassy in visa application. Ang daming translation office sa ksa it cost SR25 per copy, find one nearest to your location. Good to explain that u will be traveling with your family so better apply in PH as a family. Keep a high ending amount on your bank statement then pagnakuha mo na ung statement sa bank mo u can withdraw the money. They can verify the authenticity of your documents but i dont think even the money on your bank account due to bank secrecy law.

      • Elen says:

        Can I share my experience in applying visa here in ksa?
        I applied august last year and went to SoKor last October. I am not really sure if Riyadh and Jeddah embassy requirement is different because when I applied for the visa here in Jeddah, I only have 10k SR in my account and I was granted πŸ™‚

      • hunterpm says:

        That’s great Elen! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • JD says:

      Good day po, to Ms. Elen ,it’s good to know you went to Korea po..I just want to ask if what are the requirements and details on how did you apply. I’m planning po kasi to visit there.
      And ilang days po yung visa na na issue sa inyo..
      THANK YOU po in advance. Dto po kasi ako sa Jeddah.😊

  20. miss danielle says:

    thanks for your informative blog hunterpm, in addition to the advise for Tommy (option 2)…I think it’s better to request the visa as family in Philippines. First, transfer your money to your OWN PH bank and secure a bank certificate and statement from there (if your holding a BDO Kabayan account they need personal appearance for the request of bank cert and statement, it takes one day to process it). For ITR, you can request it in BIR and just update to OFW, so they can give you a certification that you are exempted since you’re an OFW.

  21. Ali Raza says:

    for korean tourist visa it is required to have both 30k sr bank statement as well as guarantee letter from employer or we need one of them ?

  22. debbie says:

    Hello. Im planning to apply for visa for S.Korea here in Riyadh. Requirement po ba ang roundtrip airline ticket and hotel booking?

    • hunterpm says:

      Pls check korean embassy website for accurate list of required supporting documents. Actually po i was able yo travel to S.Korea without visa nung hindi pa nila pinapalitan visa policy nila.

  23. Grace says:

    My question is my husband is working there in STC riyadh and he planning a vacation here for 3 weeks in the Phils on May and we will have a family vacation in South Korea. He want to apply for a korean tourist visa there in riyadh before coming back here. Bale ganito lahat ng salary nya ay remit dto at meron kaming joint account savings pede b humingi dto ng bank certificate then isend ko sa kanya? Kc po wala n syang time mag apply dto pagbalik nya,we already have a RT ticket to seoul. Ano po b the best requirements n need nya pra ma approved sya ng VISA? Maraming maraming salamat po.

    • hunterpm says:

      First of all, required po dito sa KSA bank statement, not bank certificate gaya ng sa Pinas. Since u will be traveling as a family, it would be best to apply together dyan sa pinas. It takes 5working days processing (3working days if meron kang visa to OECD member countries). Dito po kase required na meron syang money SR30k or more sa bank while sa pinas wala ata minimum amount required. Ofcourse

  24. Michael olete says:

    Im working in ksa at mgbabakasyon ako sa pinas balak ko sana mgstay sa so.kor ng 3days to 1wk then balik na ult saudi. Bibili ako ticket ruh-mnla at manila-s.kor-ruh,, need pb mgapply ng visa? If need san ako apply na embassy sa phil or riyadh? Ty

  25. Ching Barrientos says:

    Hi po…. we want to visit Korea this April, everything has been arranged except for the visa (pinaka importante pa ang nahuli), advice nmn po if better and easier to apply for the visa (family) here in KSA, since my family is also here (government hospital po kami ni hubby and si baby is a student in Phil. School) or mas madali po sa pinas?
    Regarding po sa bank statement are they going to ask for more funds (more than 30k sar) since we’re family?
    If dito po sa KSA aplicable po yong no visa fee since phil. passport holder kami? 150-160 sar ang fee, 3x din kaya ang charge?
    THANKS PO!!!

    • hunterpm says:

      Although free of charge po visa pagdito ka mag apply directly from korean embassy, malaki po financial requirement at syempre as family of 3, mas strict po ang non-korean embassy staff nila na nag aassess ng visa application. Sa pinas po mas madali mag apply as family at di masyado strict sa amount, take note that bank certificate po required nila sa PH instead bank statement, although pwede nyo po explain if wala kau account sa PH explain nyo po na bank statement from KSA meron kayo at explain nyo rin po ITR if wala kayo, as OFW u are not required to have ITR instead bigay kayo copy ng OEC exemption nyo. Processing 5working days pag wala kau previous visa from OECD countries, pag meron 3days lang.

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