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FYI: Prepare Yourselves For Longer Korean Visa Processing Time

Start filing for your visas early!
PHOTO: istockphoto

If you're planning a vacation to South Korea anytime soon, then we suggest you start filing for your visas early! The Korean embassy has recently announced on its website that they will be increasing the number of days to process the visas.

Visa processing for a temporary visitor's visa (C-3)—both for first-time and frequent travelers—used to take only 10 days. But since the "increase in number of Korean visa applicants," the embassy advises that it will now take longer periods for visa processing and release, effective Sept. 12, 2019.

However, the Korean embassy assures that they will be announcing the release dates for the week on the Embassy's homepage every Monday. It is also wise to ask your travel agency about the "exact release date on the claim stub after applying," the Korean embassy says.

Based on their previous weekly bulletins, visa processing can range from 13 days up to 30 days. You can have your application expedited to just five days by applying for an express visa. An express visa has a P1,000 fee and can only be availed by the applicant on the following conditions:

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  1. The applicant is invited by the Korean government and public agency.
  2. The applicant is invited by a Korean company, school, and organization.
  3. The applicant has Korean family members (parents, spouse, children, family of spouse, etc.).
  4. The applicant has direct family members who reside in Korea with a registered alien card.
  5. The applicant needs urgent medical treatment, concerning accidents or for a humanitarian reason.
  6. The applicant has an official request from the Philippine government office.
  7. The applicant doesn't belong to #1-6 but has a recognised urgent matter for a better diplomatic relationship.
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This change in the visa processing time is the longest duration adjustment that the embassy has made. Just last April 1st, the embassy announced that the "visa processing period of temporary visitor's visa (C-3) will be increased from three days (frequent travelers) and five days (first-time travelers) to seven working days (same for both first time and frequent travelers)." The embassy also reasoned that the new policy was triggered due to the sudden influx of applicants.

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