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Archive for the ‘General Info’ Category

After seeing one of the most popular South korean actor of all time Lee Min Ho last night (he was in Manila for the Kyochon Phillipines Grand Launch) this news just hit me in the heart as a person who dearly loves and promotes everything about Korea. A post of a friend in Facebook of which came from Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines and Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines Facebook pages said that there are new requirements needed to get a South Korean Visa that will be effective by March 1, 2015.  Below is the original post in Facebook coming from the said Korean entities. Click here (Item No. 20) for reference on the original announcement.

Based on the announcement, they have added Bank statement for the last 3 months as a requirement in addition to Certificate of Employment (COE), Bank Certificate and ITR copy.  A more detailed Bank Certificate is also required now that should include account details such as type, current balance, account opening date and 6 months ADB (average daily balance). In addtion the COE requirement now has to have these details: applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, address, office landline and email address (I’m assuming these contact details pertains to employer’s).

For someone who has applied twice for a South Korean Visa and being approved on both cases my first impression here is really why are they somehow more keen and strict on adding these requirements. After relaxing the requirements on multiple entry visa in 2013 (see my blog post here for this) this is the next big shift from their original protocols.  Securing a South Korean Visa is by far one of the easiest to get compared to Japan or China mostly in terms of the bank and show money requirements but with this it seems the three now requires a detailed ADB meaning your account should really be active for some time. In a more positive note I think they have carefully thought of this and just want to be sure that tourist will come back home in the Philippines with the surge of Filipinos wanting to go to Korea both for vacation and work (I admit, myself included, its a dream LOL).

Just to share some light that in my personal experience I think having your bank account for some time and having your money intact for several months before applying for a Korean Visa did help me secure my very first SK visa. With only Php 25,000 show money back in 2010 that I opened around 9 months before Visa application I was approved and granted a Single-entry visa (Disclaimer: This amount might not be applicable for now as it is 5 years ago).  I was clueless then and that was all I have prior to application and surprised but yes I managed to be approved by just that. I think I got approved because I was working for around 5 years already with the same company and as far as I have researched employment is one the things they are looking into to determine if you really will go back to your home country more than the show money (strong economic and family ties with home country). Read this post (Item No. 7) on Visa denial reasons also from the Korean embassy website as reference.  And I have friends who got rejected because they are new to their job and still on a probationary level (less than 6 months with the company). What I’m saying is that more or less these details were already looked on before but are just formalized now.  I have  also read it before that date of account opening is a must in the Bank Certificate though my bank didn’t put it in the certificate I requested and mentioned that the Korean embassy are just calling them for more details during the application screening process. And the compensation and date hired in COE is already part of the required details before. For the 2 times I have applied what I have been providing contains all of the details mentioned (except for the address and see I got approved) and maybe they just aid them in verifying my employment. See this post (Item No. 4 – Updated Visa Requirements) on the detailed process and guidelines which is what’s been in effect prior to the announcement, also from the Korean embassy website.  Please refer to the last slide for reference on the examples I gave.

In the midst of this lil’ tightening or should I say expanded tourist Visa requirements to enter the land of k-pop and korean dramas I’m so thankful that my multiple entry visa that I got last October 2013 is still valid up to Oct of 2016, waahh! But of course I wanted to help and get more info on this to help friends and all those asking me tips on how to apply for a South Korean Visa and get approved.

I really don’t know the rationale for these new requirements, how will they evaluate the detailed Bank Certificate and Statements and what would be the impact to the % of approved Visa for Filipinos. I will try my best to get first hand info regarding this and share tips  in the coming days once it is already in effect by March, wahh! We all can do this, we will get an approved South Korean Visa if we will follow and submit all the requirements needed. After all one has to have savings aka extra money to fly to Seoul. Aja! 🙂

Disclaimer: Info above except for the news/announcement/links part from the Embassy of South Korea in the Philippines are just my opinion and not full proof that you will get approved of a South Korean Visa.  Its best to submit all the requirements and fill out the application form leaving no blanks (put N/A if not applicable) for great chances of having your application approved.

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Some weeks ago I saw this press release post by Korea Tourism Organization Manila Office (KTO Manila) in their Facebook page.  My heart seemed to leap when my eyes came to these words: Filipinos who have visited Korea at least once are now eligible for a one-year multiple-entry visa under the new rules.”  OMG! I’ve been to Korea once in 2010 and I’m planning to visit again by end of this year.  So this is really very good and timing news not just for me but to all Filipino Korea lovers out there.  I think this is the time to visit Korea again and tag along first timers.

Read on the full article below on relaxed South Korean Visa rules.  Credits to KTO Manila Facebook page.  As I googled more about it I discovered that it has been out in Philippine publications websites as well since the latter part of August this year.

“Press Release: Pinoy tourists to South Korea expected to increase following relaxed visa rules

When the South Korean government relaxes its visa rules starting September 1, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Manila Office expects more Filipino tourists to Korea.

Filipinos who have visited Korea at least once are now eligible for a one-year multiple-entry visa under the new rules.

Those who have visited Korea more than twice are eligible for a three-year multiple-entry visa.

And visitors who previously held a three-year multiple-entry visa can now obtain a five-year visa.

Rules have been relaxed for Chinese and other Southeast Asian nationals, too.

Mr. Sangyong Zhu, director of KTO Manila, is positive that easing visa rules will translate to more visitors to Korea.

“Korea is always ahead in visa processing compared by other countries. We are confident that visitor arrivals to Korea will surpass more than 12.5 million visitors again this year, “he said.

From January to July 2013, Korea welcomed more than 6.3 million visitors.

This year, tourists from Philippines alone increased by 61.5% in March, 8.5% in April, 12.1% in May, 47% in June, and 74.4% in July compared to 2012.”

Isn’t this info so adrenaline-rushy? 🙂 I personally called the KTO Manila office and posted a question on this post. I asked them if I’m eligible for a one-year multiple entry even when my first visit was 3 years ago and they replied back that “Yes you are eligible, but it still depends on the Consul’s decision”.  So that explains it, it’s not a 100% guarantee but still the chance of a multiple entry is there and it’s easier now compared to before that you have to have visited SK multiple times in two years (as far as I know and have read in blogs).  And they also mentioned that the visa application procedure is still the same, they just relaxed the multiple entry visa eligibility.  Just a disclaimer though that KTO Manila is not in any way responsible for approving or granting South Korean visa.  The application is made through the Embassy of Korea in the Philippines.  You can refer to this link for the requirements and procedure.

I can’t wait to go to the Korean embassy to apply for my second South Korean Visa.  I might be given a multiple entry for a year, and so that means I can go back and forth next year to experience the different seasons and at the same time to wave goodbye to my well loved k-drama and k-pop celebrities who are rumored to enter the military by 2014, hahaha, OMG!!! So excited, but then again I’m just praying for an approved visa may it be single or multiple.  I do really hope to see and feel Seoul again, the happiest land for a k-fangirl by heart. ♥ Hwaiting! 🙂

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[Another repost, this time from my facebook http://www.facebook.com/reg.cagampan.  This is my most favorite piece of all time.  My friends immediately told me to start a writing career as a contributor in a local newspaper or even Readers Digest!  Happy reading guys :)]

Last February 8 was my DFA appointment for passport renewal. For some reason I am excited on that day, getting up earlier than usual and put on my best casual and comfy outfit. I can’t explain if I feel thrilled, happy or simply refreshed because it’s a day off from work. I just found myself drafting this blog while waiting for my turn in the crowd of applicants. Just some thoughts and tips to share, hoping to inspire my blog followers. Some may already be clichés but nevertheless it’s healthy to get reminded of 🙂

1.  It’s necessary to be prepared for things inevitable.

Before going to the DFA office please make sure to have all the requirements needed from original passport and photocopies of the selected pages to the processing fee to be paid (Php 1,200 for express 2-weeks lead time). Oh there’s one more, don’t forget the directions on how-to-get there just in case you are not familiar with their new building near SM Mall of Asia. Reminder: you needed to be present 30 minutes before your appointment time. Surely you should be aware and be prepared since you would not want wasting your time getting an appointment (which already takes a month’s queue getting it online) and going all the way to Pasay and not getting your application done. Just the same, there are things that are predictable and controllable in our daily lives. It’s as simple as bringing an umbrella during the rainy season. Don’t get caught off guard and find yourself wet and sick just because you forgot that essential thing in your bag.

2.  Live life and get excited, everyday.

I came here like a newbie job applicant dressed in my best casual. I know it’s just passport renewal but like getting up each morning it’s a new ordinary day to live and celebrate. And I tell you it’s one of my proven and tested therapy to dress up and look good. Trust me it makes wonders that when you look good you can feel good about yourself. You just have to add a dash of positive thinking. It’s an ordinary day at DFA but it’s my passport to travel more and see the world outside my box so it’s best to look forward to this new day right?

3.   Maximize every bit of your time.

I heard exaggerated stories of long waiting time from colleagues. They didn’t disappoint me, it’s very true. I’m on the third and last step of the application. After securing a queue number the guard says that it will be around 40 minutes before I get served. An hour has passed but there are still around 200 numbers before my turn, and I haven’t taken my lunch. Instead of wailing and ranting what time I should be finished, I thought of why not use it on something productive, on what you can’t do during your busy work days. I am so relieved that I have a notebook and pen with me, I then drafted this blog piece. It’s weird that as I enjoyed writing I didn’t notice that my turn is coming (hahaha, nabitin pa ko).

 Who says you always need an ambiance for creative writing (just turn your headsets on)? Who says you can’t squeeze in doing what you love most on a couple of hours in between everyday tasks? Just do it, no time will be wasted if you will stop complaining and start moving.

4.  Dream and hope for the best, but don’t forget to start your Step1.

Looking around my co-applicants, I noticed that most of them secure a passport for work purpose while I’m ticking the box for Travel/Tour. Yes I don’t know what’s out there for me, or if I could really get what my heart desires for so long. I don’t know if I could write and publish a novel or an inspirational book in a quiet place of my own across the Metro, or while living in the familiar streets of Seoul or while I’m in the romantic city of Paris. I don’t know if I could find my soul mate while I’m on a serene beach, or feeling the snow of winter, or working on another Asian country or just by staying here in my comfort zone. But still I continue to dream and may it be here or abroad at least I’m ready. I have my passport, my Step 1 to welcome opportunities ahead.  So guys don’t just stop on the dreaming part, you have to start some baby steps.

5.  Expect some difficulties, unexpected nuisance along the way.

It took me almost 2 hours to get to DFA. I’m thankful that I anticipated a tight traffic jam going there and still arrive in time for my appointment. This traffic jam along with a surge of people, irate and irresponsible applicants and a lot of waiting time — these are the things that I endured just to get my application queued and logged on DFA’s system. I bet my close friends expected me to get pissed of and be my usual mataray self when confronted with these crowd. Yes, I won’t be a hypocrite here, I did give in to my temper (but just once, hahaha) on a girl who refused to move when all of us are waiting behind, hahaha. But after that instance I just feel tired of minding the people around me. I just turned my headset on and listened to my favorite playlist as I patiently waited for my turn on the application window. It would really be help to expect some difficulties along the way. What’s important is at the end of the day all of us there will get our passport renewed. Just like reaching for our own dream, it won’t be a walk in the park. Expect some pain, tears, hard work and sometimes getting tired of it. But you will get there for sure.

So are you ready to get your passport renewed? Just follow my tips above. They can be of help to your everyday life too. =)

PS. To get an application appointment online please visit this website http://epassport.com.ph

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