Over the course of six months, I applied for a US VISA twice, but to no avail, both ended in vain. It could have possibly been a Grand Reunion for the immediate family, however, as a full-time student at age 21, with no source of income, the results weren't surprising.
My aunt had plans of stopping over at Incheon for a couple of days before going back to the US. Given that USA is an OCED country, travelers who will be going to any OCED country as their final destination are granted the privilege of staying in Korea for a certain number of days.
My family was clear to go, I clearly wasn't. Since the entire family was bound for the US in a month, I hastily applied for Korean Tourist Visa.
How to Apply for a Korean Tourist Visa
First of all, a disclaimer: I will only be talking about the process of claiming a Single Entry Tourist Visa for Dependents/Students. Please take my advice with a grain of salt and tons of research before plunging forward and proceeding to the Embassy.
You would have to print and fill out forms which you can download from here:
You will also be able to check under which category you fall under and what the requirements are.
As I said earlier, being a student, most of the documents I presented were documents from my parents. Please take note that some documents HAVE to be ORIGINAL copies.
Here's a list of the documents I presented:
* Certificate of Employment (Both Parents)
* Official Bank Account Statement (Mine and my Dad's)
* Birth Certificate
* School Certificate
* Plane Ticket Booking
* Hotel Reservations
* Extra 2x2 Photos
* School Registration Form
* Recent Income Tax Return (Both Parents)
* School ID
* Passport (First Page)
Create as many backup copies as possible. I had made 3 sets of photocopies myself, you'll never know what might happen.
The Korean Embassy is located at 122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
They process applicants on a "First come, First served" basis, so try to come at the earliest time possible. We left Pampanga at 4:00 am and arrived the location around 7:30. Upon arrival, you will need to sign their log book and will be given numbers for queuing. When the gate opens at 9:00, numbers will be called individually.
The entire process takes approximately an hour and 30 minutes, depending on how early (or late) you arrived. It will practically be a long queue until you get to the consul, who will then check your documents. No interview.
The consul returned certain documents which she deemed unnecessary, but please bear in mind that some applicants aren't accepted because they lack certain documents. Do come prepared.
Single Entry Visas for less than 59 days are free. Single Entry Visas beyond 59 days cost 1,500php. Double Entry Visas cost 3,000php while Multiple Entry Visas cost 4,000php.
Claiming your Visa/Passport
When the consul accepts your documents, you will be handed a claim slip with the date of your return to the Embassy, which is usually 5 working days from your date of application. The worrisome part here is that you won't be told whether you will get a visa or not. Just imagine the anticipatory anxiety!
On your date of return, come as early as you possibly can, releasing time is from 2:00pm -4:00pm only. I had arrived at the Embassy around 3:00pm that day and got my visa at 3:40pm!
All in all, the process is quite anti-climactic as opposed to other Visa Application processes for other countries. Though it is easy and quick, not everyone is granted a visa. I have heard stories of people leaving it to travel agencies to apply for them, however, despite of their great economic standing and stability are still denied of a visa. Come with a complete set of documents and be prepared for whatever the outcome may be.
So what did I see/do in Korea?
Changing of the guards
Is this a Cherry Blossom? :P
Met Royalty (not, they're actors)! Haha... Incheon is such an amazing airport.
Although I look like a mess for most part of the trip, plus I didn't think it would be tremendously cold :P I had an amazing time!