South Korea is one of the favorite travel destinations in Asia. No wonder, because the country is home to rich history and unique culture. It also boasts stunning landscapes, great shopping districts and a haven for food lovers.
Visiting foreign nationals entering South Korea are required to secure a visa from Korean Embassies and Consular Offices. But there are countries that enjoy visa- free entry for a limited period under conditions of the bilateral agreement with the South Korean government.
Here’s a guide on how to apply a South Korea Tourist visa:
Before going to details on how you will apply for South Korea Tourist visa, first, check out the below list of the countries with bilateral agreement with the country, whose citizens will not be required to secure tourist visa:
Asia and the Pacific:
Australia, Brunei, Fiji, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Macao, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga and Tuvalu
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Vatican City and United Kingdom
West Asia and Middle East:
Bahrain, Kuwait, Israel, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates
Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Morocco, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, and Tunisia
Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Guatemala, Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela
If you are a passport holder of a country not on the list above, prepare the following requirements or documents when applying for a South Korea Tourist Visa, in nearest South Korean embassy or consulate:
1. Filled out visa application form. Put N/A if not applicable and make sure you do not leave anything blank.
2. Colored passport photo with white background to be attached in the application form. Size: 35 mm x 45 mm
3. Passport or travel document with a validity not less than 6 months
4. Photocopy of passport bio page
5. If applicable, original and photocopy of valid visa(s) and arrival stamps to OECD member countries within the last 5 years
Additional documents depending on your status:
1. Certificate of employment
2. Copy of proof of business registration
3. Bank certificate and statements / passbook
4. Proof of Income Tax Returns
4. Original school certificate
5. Copy of birth certificate
6. Copy of school ID
7. Parents’ supporting financial documents
8. Copy of senior citizen ID
9. If invited by a Korean national, invitation letter and copy of the inviting party’s passport or ID card
10. If invited by a company in Korea, invitation letter and copy of the Korean company’s business permit
11. If travelling with a spouse, copy of marriage certificate
Processing of the South Korea tourist visa application will be dependent on your country. There are countries where applicants can process it directly in the embassy or consulate, but there are countries where applications are processed only by accredited travel agencies.
Remember, it is important to visit the website first of the South Korean embassy and consulate. You can check it, here.
Fee for the tourist visa application varies from which country you are applying from. Again, equip yourself enough knowledge by visiting the website of the South Korean embassy and consulate in your country. You can check it, here.
Usually, waiting time before the result of the visa application comes out takes 3- 5 business days. But there are chances where it takes 10- 20 days. It is important that you apply 2- 4 weeks before your travel departure or travel dates. Also, the application can possibly go through unexpected delays, so save yourself the hassle and send in an application as early as possible! The South Korean embassies and consulates allow applicants to apply as early as three months prior their planned trips.
You can also read more about visiting South Korea, by going to its official Tourism Board website, here.
Remember: Additional documents may be required by the attending consular officer/s, if deemed necessary.
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