And so I applied for a South Korean visa a few weeks ago in line with my trip this February 18th till the 26th. It's fairly easy, so I'll share with you some of the requirements and steps needed to lodge your visa application.
The Korean visa requirements are as follows:
1. Application Form with a Passport photo pasted to the form. (you could download the form online or you could ask for one at the embassy and fill it out while you wait your turn)
2. Photocopy of your passport details page
3. Photocopy of your visas from the OECD countries (ie US, UK, Australia, etc) plus entry and exit stamps (travel must be done within the last five years) - this step is only applicable if you had visas to the OECD countries or travelled to them. Skip this step if you haven't.
4. Certificate of Employment - original copy.
5. Bank Certificate - original copy.
6. BIR Form 2316 (photocopy would suffice).
Once you have all those requirements, it's time to go to the Korean Embassy!
I have no clue how to commute there without taking a taxi so I can't be of much help. If your taxi driver does not know how to get there, you could just direct them near Market Market and go down the overpass to C5. The Korean Embassy is the first building you would encounter when you turn going to Mckinley Hill. You wouldn't miss it ;)
Once you arrive, you need to give a valid ID to the security guard and state that you are going to apply for a visa.
They will then give you an ID number and allow you inside the premises. Please note that if you're applying, they process from 9am-12nn on a first come-first served basis.
Once inside, you need to approach another desk. The guard will ask you if you have a valid visa to any of the OECD countries - and would then give you a number accordingly. They have a separate line for frequent travellers to Korea/OECD countries, and another one for first-time applicants.
At the time I applied, I had a valid UK visa, so I was directed to the frequent traveller/OECD visa holder line.
I arrived at 8.30 AM and processing started as early as 8.45AM for the first time travellers. I had to wait a few more minutes for the frequent traveller line processing to start. I didn't mind, I had a book with me to pass the time.
When my turn came, I passed my documents and the consul checked if they were complete. She didn't ask me any questions (the girl before me in the queue was asked a few questions) - so I think it is a case to case basis on what other information the consul would require from you.
The consul then filled out a form with a date - it is the date when you can come back to claim your passport. Do not ever lose this form as you'll need it to claim your passport!
Since I was in the OECD line, it only took three working days for them to process my application.
The application period was less than 30 minutes for me. Easy peasy!
Four days later, I came back to claim my passport. I was on training on the day they were set to release my passport so I came the day after. Not a problem ;)
They normally release passports between 2-4pm and it was also on a first-come first served basis. In this case, it was only one line for everyone.
Same procedure applies: at the gate of the Korean Embassy, they'll ask you to sign in, then once inside, you'll have to surrender your claim stub thingy and they'll ask you to write down your full name and contact number at the back side of the paper then give you a number in return.
Wait for your number to be called - they normally batch the claims (ie numbers 1-20) then you'll fall in line in front of the window.
Once you get your turn in the consul's window, the consul would then ask you for your full name (for verification purposes) and then they'll release your passport.
If you're lucky, you would be granted a visa!! ;)
Single-entry visas are valid for 59 days and are free!
In my case, I was granted a visa, so hello winter in Korea! :)
When you apply for a visa, an airline ticket and accomodation is not required. I did not have any accomodations lined up yet when I applied for a visa, but I do have an airline ticket already (hello Cebu Pacific's seat sale).
However, at the time I applied, I didn't bring a copy of my e-ticket and was not required to show it. Then again, it could be a case to case basis and would not necessarily mean that my case would be the same as yours.
** okay, sorry, I wrote this post before I went to Korea... It's been a week since I returned back to the PH and here's some photos!!**