If you’re missing a Korean visa requirement like the ITR, write a cover letter that’s addressed to the Embassy.
- Submitting a cover letter is an optional step in the Korean visa application process.
- It may help you explain why you have an additional document to submit (e.g. a notarized affidavit) or why you have no ITR to include in your set of requirements.
- Some Korean visa applicants also send in a cover letter to clarify their circumstances, such as their source of funds, travel history, occupation, or family background.
- The goal of submitting a letter of explanation to the Embassy is to outline important information about your application. Be sure to compose one that goes straight to the point.
- While having a cover letter can be beneficial, know that it won’t automatically guarantee visa approval.
- When you’re done using our sample, check out this Nami island tour and this mobile attraction pass from WAUG! You can find out more about Korea’s #1 travel activity booking platform here.
UPDATE: June 13, 2020
Who can I apply for a Korean visa? To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines currently only accepts applications for long-term visas. Tourist visa processing (C-3) is still on hold pending the easing of travel restrictions in the Philippines.
What are the enhanced visa criteria? Those who are eligible to apply for a Korean visa must comply to these requirements and mandatory quarantine. Moreover, successful applicants will no longer be issued a visa sticker in their passport beginning July 1. Upon arrival in South Korea, they must present a printed copy of their visa grant notice instead.
What if I have a valid Korean visa? Single-entry Korean visas that were issued on or before April 5, 2020 are no longer valid. You will need to apply for a new one. However, if you have a valid short-term multiple-entry Korean visa (5 years), you do not have to reapply. Conditions permitting, it can still be used in the future. For reference, you can read the Embassy’s detailed explanation here.
Writing a Cover Letter to the Embassy of Korea
There are two main reasons why Korean visa applicants write a cover letter to the Embassy: they are lacking a requirement or they feel the need to explain some things about their situation. Here are some of the common scenarios:
For Employees, Freelancers, & Self-Employed Professionals
- They have no ITR to submit.
- Their Certificate of Employment (COE) lacks particular information, like a landline number.
- They are a remote or home-based worker for an overseas company that cannot provide a COE that’s signed by hand.
- They are a business owner who is unable to send in their ITR or Form 2316 with receipt from an authorized bank.
For Students, Recent Graduates, & Unemployed
- They are a student whose parents are unable to provide their ITR.
- They recently graduated from school and are currently looking for a job.
- They cannot submit their valid visa/s and arrival stamp/s from the past 5 years because they lost their old passport.
- There’s a discrepancy between the name on their birth certificate and other documents.
- They wish to explain their relationship with the person who will pay for their trip.
- The applicant would like to explain why they included supporting documents in their Korean visa application, such as photos of their recent trip, credit card billing statements, a notarized affidavit, and the like.
- They were previously denied a visa and would like to relay some changes to their circumstances.
If you find yourself in any of these scenarios (or similar), please know it does not automatically mean that you need to submit a letter. This step is completely optional. In fact, some applicants write one even if they have a complete set of requirements. That said if your gut tells you that explaining something to the Korean Embassy will help strengthen your application, go for it. You can use the template below as a guide.
Sample Cover Letter for Korean Visa Applicants
Before you write to the Embassy, keep this in mind: make sure your cover letter is concise. Those who go over visa applications do not have the time to read long paragraphs, so stay on their good side by keeping it short and sweet. Here is a sample that helped me obtain my Korean visa when I first applied:
1. Date, Address, & Salutation
In the first few parts of your cover letter, include the date when you plan to submit your visa application, the address of the Embassy, and the salutation. Here’s how it would look like:
Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Republic of the Philippines
122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City 1634 Philippines
If you or your travel agent will submit the application at the Consulate in Cebu, here’s the appropriate opening:
Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu
12/F Chinabank Corporate Center, Lot 2, Samar Loop cor. Road 5
Cebu Business Park, Mabolo, Cebu City Philippines
Briefly state what you are writing about. Keep it 1-2 sentences short so that the visa officer will know your intent right away. Below is a sample:
Good day! I am writing this letter to explain why I failed to submit my Income Tax Return (ITR) for my visa application.
In the succeeding part, explain why you are lacking a requirement or your particular situation. If you do not have an ITR, you may also want to assure the visa officer about your plan to obtain one in the future, like I did below:
I started my new job as a freelance video editor two months ago, and I have yet to process my ITR. However, my target date to secure this document is in April 2020.
4. Supporting Documents
You can then inform the visa officer about the relevant documents that you have prepared.
For your reference, you will find attached the latest project contracts that I have with my client.
5. Purpose of Travel
The final part of your letter of explanation is where you want to establish that you’ll travel to Korea for leisure. If you have visited other countries in the past as a tourist, it will be good to include them here. Name the most recent ones if you’ve visited a lot. Moreover, if you are fond of Korea, you can also talk about it in this section. (Just resist the temptation to talk about your favorite drama or bias!)
In the past five years, I traveled to Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as a tourist. If given the opportunity, I hope to explore Seoul for 5 days and visit the likes of Gyeongbokgung, Lotte World, and Nami Island.
6. Closing & Name Block
End the body of your cover letter by thanking the visa officer and adding a complimentary close.
Thank you for taking the time to review my application.
Print the cover letter of your Korean visa application on an A4-size paper, then sign using a black pen.
Specifying the Purpose of Travel in Your Cover Letter
You’ve got to admit — while writing a cover letter can seem daunting, the part where you clarify your purpose of travel can be quite fun. After all, this is where you can get personal. If you would like to express your (or your family member’s) interest in Korean culture, products, destinations, and others, do so. Just remember to keep it short. The more you share a bit about your interests and itinerary (specific attractions and activities), the more it may help the visa officer learn what you have in mind.
If you’re not that familiar with the experiences that await you in Korea, here are some tours that you may want to consider for your trip:
- Seoul Palace Tour – an enriching 3-hour historical tour that will take you to Gyeongbok Palace, Jogye Temple, and National Folk Museum of Korea
- Seoul Cooking Class & Food Tour – a satisfying class for foodies that was featured in the hit Korean TV show Welcome, First Time in Korea?
- WAUG Pink Jeju Island Bus Tour – a specially curated tour that will bring you to the must-visit and Insta-worthy spots in Jeju Island!
Plan your trip with WAUG!
Whether you’ll travel to Seoul, Taipei, Tokyo, New York, or any other destination, you’ll find the best experiences on WAUG! Download the app here.
Download Sample Cover Letter
Click here to get our sample cover letter for Korean visa applicants.
When applying for a tourist visa, your goal should always be to demonstrate that you have strong ties in your home country and that you have the capacity or sources to finance your trip. If you think that you are not able to prove these criteria at the moment, you have two options: you may postpone your application to a later date (until you have all the necessary documents or change in circumstances), or you can write a short and honest letter about your situation. Whatever you choose, I wish you all the best! Oh, and if you have any input or success stories to share with those who will write a cover letter for their Korean visa application in the future, please comment them below!