New Simplified Korea Visa Application Process for Filipinos

Applying for a visa to visit Korea from the Philippines has recently become much more straightforward and convenient with the introduction of the mail-in visa application service. With this recent update, let’s explore the new process step-by-step, discuss the costs involved, and look at some tips to ensure your application is successful.

Whether you’re planning a tourist visit or sending an application on behalf of someone else, understanding the new process will help you navigate the updated system with ease.

KVAC mail-in visa applications
Credits: Lucky Oreza / Google Maps

Introduction to the New Mail-in Visa Application Service

As of May 1, 2024, the Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC) in the Philippines has expanded its services, allowing visa applications to be submitted by mail nationwide. This new service is facilitated through a partnership with W-Express, formerly known as DHL Philippines. This change means that applicants no longer need to submit their documents in person at KVAC centers or designated travel agencies, saving time and reducing hassle, according to this report by Philstar.

Significance of this Update

The new mail-in Korean visa application system in the Philippines, starting May 1st, 2024, signifies a shift towards a more convenient application process for Filipino tourists. 

While the latest data on the exact number of Filipino tourists applying via mail is unavailable yet, we can look at pre-pandemic statistics. 

In 2019, over 1.7 million Filipinos visited Korea, highlighting the significant interest in Korean travel. 

This mail-in system, alongside the simplified visa requirements announced by the Korean Embassy in January 2024, could streamline the application process and boost tourist arrivals.

Who Can Use the Mail-in Service?

The mail-in service is exclusively available for Filipinos applying for a Tourist Visa (C-3-9). 

Unfortunately, non-Filipinos and applicants for other types of visas will still need to apply in person. 

The expansion of this service is particularly beneficial for residents outside the previously serviced areas of Palawan and Mindanao, now making it accessible to applicants nationwide.

Simplified Visa Requirements

In a welcoming move for travelers, the South Korean government has streamlined visa requirements, making them less daunting and more accessible. This simplification is in effect from February 1 until December 31, ensuring a smoother process for many potential visitors from the Philippines.

What Do You Need to Submit?

To begin your visa application, visit the nearest WExpress branch with your national ID and other required documents. WExpress will handle the mailing of your application to the KVAC for a combined service fee of P1,900.

What Is the Timeline for Visa Processing?

The entire visa processing is expected to take about 14 days. During this time, you will receive updates via SMS and email about your application status. If additional documents are required, you will be notified and given seven (7) days to submit the necessary paperwork.

When Should You Plan Your Trip?

The KVAC advises applicants to plan their trips at least four (4) weeks prior to their intended departure. This time frame allows ample opportunity for processing the visa and addressing any issues that might arise.

Exceptions to Mail-in Applications

This mail-in service is exclusively for Filipino nationals applying for tourist visas. If you are a non-Filipino or applying for other types of visas, you must submit your application in person.

Step-by-Step Process for Mail-in Applications

1. Gather Your Documents

Before you begin the application process, ensure you have all the required documents. These typically include your passport, completed application form, photographs, and any additional supporting documents specified by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea.

2. Submitting Your Application

Once your documents are prepared, send them via W-Express. Your documents will be delivered to the Korea Visa Application Center within three (3) working days.

3. Processing and Waiting

After your documents arrive at KVAC, the evaluation and visa processing will take approximately seven working days. It’s important during this period to be patient and ensure that your application package is complete to avoid delays.

4. Receiving Your Visa

Once processed, your passport with the stamped visa will be mailed back to you. This step takes about three (3) additional working days.

Costs Involved

Applying through this new service incurs specific fees:

  • KVAC Service Fee: P900
  • WExpress Service Fee: P1,000

The total cost of the service amounts to P1,900.

Can Someone Else Submit My Application?

Yes, family members or co-workers can submit applications on your behalf, provided they have proper proof of relationship. For family submissions, a copy of a birth or marriage certificate is required. For co-workers, a copy of both the applicant’s and the representative’s company ID or Certificate of Employment must be included.

Important Tips for Applicants

  • Plan Ahead: Ensure you allocate sufficient time for your application. The process, including mailing and processing, takes about 13 working days.
  • No Fast-Tracks: Pull-outs and fast-tracking are not available with this service, so it’s essential to submit your application well in advance of your travel date.
  • Document Accuracy: Double-check that all required documents are included in your application to prevent any delays.

Recent Updates

Korean Air Optimistic About Tourism Demand and Youth Travel to the Philippines

Korean Air anticipates flying approximately 1.7 million passengers to and from the Philippines this year, as the demand for tourism remains strong among the younger generation. The airline exceeded this number in 2023 and expects to maintain similar figures in 2024, as both Filipinos and South Koreans continue to show interest in air travel. The bulk of the demand comes from South Korean youth, who are drawn to the Philippines for water activities and prefer exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations. (Philstar Global)

DOT Leads Philippine Team to Korea & United Arab Emirates Travel Fairs to Boost Tourism

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is spearheading the Philippine delegation’s participation in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai and the Seoul International Travel Fair (SITF) in South Korea. These travel fairs present valuable opportunities for promoting Philippine tourism and forging partnerships in the Middle East and South Korean markets, which are significant sources of inbound visitor arrivals. (PageOne)

This Article in a Nutshell

We looked into the new mail-in system for Korean visa applications in the Philippines, implemented in May 2024. We explored the potential benefits for Filipino tourists, citing pre-pandemic travel data to illustrate the strong interest in visiting Korea. By unpacking the announcement from the Korean Visa Application Center (KVAC) alongside simplified visa requirements from the Korean Embassy, we explained how this mail-in system could streamline the application process and lead to a rise in Korean tourism.


The new mail-in visa application service is a significant improvement for Filipinos planning to visit Korea, offering a more convenient and efficient way to obtain a tourist visa. By following the outlined steps and preparing properly, you can look forward to a smooth visa application process as the first exciting step towards your Korean adventure.

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