Applying for visa is a pain, with ridiculously long list of requirements.. That is why I find ways to minimize visa applications, or avoid it if possible.
South Korea is one of those countries which Filipinos need a visa to visit.
Did you know that there are certain instances when you don’t need a visa?
That is not just for South Korea, but for other countries that require visas as well. I call these “visa hacks” 🙂 , particularly helpful to travellers with ‘third-world’ / weak passports. A good example of this is when you have a US Tourist Visa, there are 20+ countries you can visit without needing to apply for a visa for each country.
Do you need a visa to South Korea?
Some time ago, I researched about South Korea and it’s visa-free travel conditions. At that time, I was planning on going to Australia from Japan, transiting’ through South Korea. While that trip didn’t materialize, I was intrigued by the idea of visa-free travel 😉
Here’s what I found.
You don’t need a visa if:
- You’re only visiting Jeju Island (either arriving by flight or ship).
- You have a valid visa for the these ‘advanced countries’ (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), and have a confirmed onward flight to said country within 30 days.
*Note: Japan used to be included, but as of May 2016, Japan visa holders are not eligible anymore for visa-free entry. Read the announcement here: [Announcement on revision of visa-free entry for transit tourists bound for another country 상세보기]
But I saw a post online saying Filipinos can now travel visa-free to South Korea.. Is it not true?
When my cousin told me this, I thought maybe it’s one of those fake news about visas recently. But when I did my research, there’s apparently some truth behind it.
Yes, Filipinos and nationals of other Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia and Vietnam) can travel visa-free..
But there’s a catch.
You must enter the country through YangYang airport, which is near PyeongChang.
This is an effort by the Korean government to boost tourism during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. It must be working well though, as they have extended this policy until December 31, 2018. (It was originally until April 30, 2018)
Currently, there are no direct flights from Philippines to YangYang Airport, only to Busan and Incheon.
What about frequent travellers to South Korea?
Those who visited Korea more than 4 times in the past 2 years or have visited Korea more than 10 times in total used to enjoy visa-free entry.
Frequent visitors to South Korea had that privilege before. But starting March 2017, they need to apply for a multiple entry visa. Read more here: [NOTICE ON REVISION OF VISA-FREE ENTRY POLICY 상세보기]
Can I visit South Korea with my valid US Tourist visa?
No. You need to apply for a South Korean tourist visa.
Unless you visit South Korea BEFORE you travel to the US, and stay for less than 30 days.
Take note that you need to have a confirmed flight to the US.
The same thing applies if you have valid visa/s to Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
To get visa-free entry, you need to be in “transit” / pass through South Korea before going to any of these 4 countries mentioned above.
So, do you need a visa for South Korea?
Here’s a step by step guide on how to apply for a visa to South Korea.
Hope it helps!
Any questions, comments or reactions, let me know in the comments. 😉