The processing time for Korean visa applications regularly changes, but expect to wait for 10 business days in 2020.
- The Embassy announces regular changes to its Korean visa processing time.
- Here’s the most recent update: if you’ll apply for a tourist visa, you’ll have to wait a maximum of 10 working days (or 2 weeks) to get a result from the Korean Embassy in Manila.
- Those who will submit their Korean visa application in Cebu via the Consulate will also be subject to a 10-day processing time.
- In previous years, the standard lead time to process Korean visa applications in Manila was 3 to 5 working days. However, in the last quarter of 2019, weekly changes on the Korean visa processing time were made and most Filipinos had to wait for 28 business days on average. (Note that this does not include the time needed by the travel agency for internal processing.)
- If you do not have WAUG on your phone yet, download out the app here and start browsing the best activities that you can book for your trip to Korea! Also consider the exciting experiences that await you in Osaka, Boracay, Singapore, Hong Kong, and other destinations!
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 Single-entry Korean visas that were issued on or before April 5, 2020 are no longer valid.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.
Korean Visa Processing Time in Manila
Thinking of applying for a tourist visa to visit Seoul, Busan, or Daegu in 2020? With regard to the processing time, here is the most recent announcement from the Embassy in Taguig as of publishing:
Korean visa applications that will be received by the Embassy will take 10 working days to process. The estimate release date is from March 30-April 3.
To find the latest announcements, read on further below.
Korean Visa Processing Time in Cebu
If you will personally submit your tourist application at the Consulate in Cebu, or if your chosen travel agency forwards applications to Cebu, here is the most recent update regarding their Korean visa processing schedule as of publishing:
Like the Embassy in Taguig, the Korean Consulate in Cebu needs 10 working days before releasing the applicant’s passport.
Is the Korean visa worth the wait?
As you can see, the processing time for tourists’ Korean visa applications takes a couple of weeks in both Manila and Cebu offices. However, if you consider the following activities in Seoul, you might just realize that it’ll be worth it (It definitely is!):
- Hanbok & Wedding Cafe – wear various types of hanbok and get your professionally-taken photographs!
- DMZ Walking Tour – learn about the heartbreaking war that divided Korea
- Han River E-Land Moonlight Cruise – enjoy a romantic guitar performance befitting the moonlit river
If you have not signed up for WAUG yet, you can do so here. You’ll get an additional discount coupon as a new member!
How to Get the Latest Korean Visa Processing Updates
To get the most recent announcements from the Korean Embassy in Manila from 2020 onwards, click here. The announcements regarding the Korean visa processing time usually have this title format: Releasing date as of this week (Month. Date-Date, 2020), i.e. Releasing date as of this week (Feb. 3-7, 2020). Other information for applicants is also posted in the same link.
Those who want to know how long it takes to process South Korea visa applications in Cebu may click here.
Average Korean Visa Processing Times in Manila & Cebu 2019
Since the lead time for the Embassy started to change weekly in the last quarter of 2019, we thought of getting the average number of days that it took the Embassy of Korea in Metro Manila to process visa applications. From October to December 2019, we found that it took them 28 days on average, which excludes the additional time needed by the designated travel agency to submit your requirements and return your passport.
Furthermore, the most number of days that visa applicants had to wait in Q4 of 2019 was 36 days (those who submitted their requirements on November 18 to 29, 2019) and the least was 25 days (December 23-31, 2019).
Unlike the Embassy of Korea in Taguig, the Consulate of Korea in Cebu did not post weekly updates regarding their Korean visa processing time. However, in October 2019, they posted two notices, which stated that it will take 10 business days (October 1) and 24-26 business days (October 7-11) to process applications.
Previous Korean Visa Processing Updates
February to April 2020
The Embassy in Manila announced its plan to hire more staff who will process Korean visa applications. By the end of February through April 2020, expect the lead time to be reduced to 10-15 business days.
November 2019 to January 2020
- November 18-22, 2019 – 28 to 36 business days
- November 25-29, 2019 – 26 to 36 business days
- December 2-6, 2019 – 26 to 31 working days
- December 9-13, 2019 – 26 to 29 business days
- December 16-20, 2019 – 25 to 29 working days
- December 23, 2019 – January 3, 2020 – 25 to 28 business days
November 18, 2019
Korean visa processing took 28-36 business days, with frequent travelers getting priority once more.
In Cebu, Korean visa processing increased two times, i.e. from 7 to 10 working days and from 10 to 24-26 business days.
September to November 2019
- September 16, 2019 – 13 business days
- September 30, 2019 – 24 to 30 business days
- October 7-11, 2019 – up to 26 business days
- October 14-18, 2019 – 33 to 35 business days
- October 21-25, 2019 – 32 to 33 business days
- October 28-31, 2019 – 34 working days
- November 4-8, 2019 – 34 working days
- November 11-15, 2019 – 32 business days
Sep 2019 onwards
From Sep. 12, 2019, the visa processing period of temporary visitor’s visa (C-3) will increase from 10 days (for both first time and frequent travelers) [and over] due to an increase in number of Korean visa applicants. We will announce the release date on the Embassy homepage every Monday. Also ask the agency about the exact release date on the claim stub after applying.
But the following applicants can apply for the express visa with visa fee P1,000 and [it] will take 5 working days to get the result.
- The applicant who is invited by the Korean government and public agency
- The applicant who is invited by a Korean company, school, and organization
- The family members of Korean (parents, spouse, children, family of spouse, etc.)
- The direct family members of [a foreigner who stays] in Korea with registered alien card
- The applicant who needs urgent medical treatment, with accidents and with humanitarian reason
- The applicant who has an official request from the Philippine government office
- The applicant who [does not] belong to #1-6 but recognized [urgent] matter for the better diplomacy relationship
For those who wish to apply for a Korean visa, please consider the changed processing period and submit your visa applications early.
For tourists in the Filipinos, what the 2019 announcement means are the following:
- There is no longer a standard number of days for Korean visa processing because the Embassy will change it regularly.
- Unless you’ll do a walk-in application in Cebu, you are expected to inquire from your travel agency about their working lead time. (They add in a couple more days for internal processing.)
- If you do not qualify for the Express Visa service, you are unable to request expedited processing even if you’ve already purchased your flight tickets.
Korean visa processing time was increased from 7 to 10 business days.
The lead time was increased to 7 working days regardless of travel history.
Up until March 31, 2019
The lead time was 3 business days for frequent travelers and 5 days for first-time travelers. Those who availed the Express Visa option got a result in as little as 2 working days.
If you would like to inquire about the Korean visa processing time or the entire application process, you may contact your preferred travel agency or the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu via firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, feel free to post your questions in the comments below so the good Samaritans can help out! Hope your visa application turns out well!