First and foremost, this blog post is just for reference and not a standard procedure if you want to make an appeal.
We applied for our South Korea Visa last October 23, 2017. There were only two of us traveling so we applied separately and not as a group. Honestly, I wasn’t at all nervous about applying for this visa since I have already traveled to Europe and based on the stories having an OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) approved Visa almost always gets you approved.
They have three windows where you can submit your Visa application:
*Frequent travelers who have previous tourist visits within 5 years to OECD member countries, those who have at least 2 tourist visits to Korea, and seafarers who plan to transit to Korea should apply at Window 3. The processing takes 3 business days.
*Those who have no previous tourists visits within 5 years to OECD member countries, and holders of confirmation of visa issuance number must present their documents at Windows 1 or 2. The processing takes 5 business days.
My passport was scheduled to be picked up on November 26th and Nov 30th for my partner since I submitted my documents on Window 3 and she was on Window 2. We figured it’d be better if we picked it up together which turned out to be a pretty good idea.
We arrived at the Embassy around 2:00 PM. The window number 3 always had shorter queues even when submitting documents therefore I got mine first than my partner. Lo and behold, it was denied. My passport had a little paper in it encircled with failed to qualify to the visa category that you have applied for. I was speechless and dumbfounded by the decision. I had some ideas of what to do but good thing I was with my partner to keep me sane and not be discouraged.
We thought about several options and also read articles about appeals made in the South Korean Embassy while we were still there. I actually went several times to the lady at Window 3 and she would always say, “No appeal.” I told her my partner got approved and she then asked if we were married. When I answered no, she said it doesn’t matter even if my companion gets approved and I don’t. (So if you got denied and your wife/husband got approved, you also got a higher chance of making an appeal).
I never left the Embassy without a proper conversation with the lady at window 3 since some of the blogs that I have read were successful in applying for appeal. My edge was having a OECD Visa.
Honestly, you have to be assertive and confident when you ask them for an appeal. So, for the last try that I went to the lady at window 3, I spoke with a firmer voice saying I have to make an appeal because I have been to several countries in Europe at my own expense. I asked her strongly as to the reason for the denial of the entry Visa.
SHE THEN FINALLY TOOK MY PASSPORT and checked my name in the system. After looking at my file, she confirmed that I wasn’t financially capable to do the trip. I then explained again that I honestly thought the application was going to be easy and that I didn’t show a lot of money since I already have an approved EU Visa. I told her I could prove that I am financially capable. She then told me to come back the next day and pass “all” my documents again including the documents that show I am financially capable.
Too bad for me, it was holiday for October 30th and November 1st. So she asked me to come back on November 2nd. I actually came back on the 3rd of November because I had to complete my requirements again. This time, from my original PhP 30,000, I raised my funds to PhP 150,000.
Why just PhP 30,000 at the initial bank statement? It was actually my budget in Korea excluding the Wifi egg, Airbnb and flight fare that has already been paid for. It was the amount in USD that I had in put in my application. Little did I know that they are actually looking for your overall financial capability just like applying for Visa in US or EU countries.
Me and my partner concluded that we needed to show I’d be capable of at least spending PhP 10,000/day at our activities in South Korea and would still show I won’t go broke, meaning a sustainable money left on your account after your trip. I didn’t also submit a credit card or that I am a supplementary of someone else’s credit card (although they prefer Gold Cardholders of BDO and BPI to which I don’t have) as it still doesn’t show financial capability and would only mean that you’ll be doing loans just to make the trip happen.
I came back at the embassy on November 3, a day later than advised but at least I already have all my documents including my most updated bank certificate and bank statements with a letter of appeal and printed copies of my flight, Airbnb and wifi egg rental.
I saw some samples online of appeals that have been made. They seemed generic and uninteresting for someone who’s going through letters of appeal each day. So I tweaked mine here and there.
The submission process was same as usual. But when she got my passport she removed the slip that indicated I got denied initially and arranged my papers accordingly.
The weekend passed by along with the entire Monday, it was excruciating waiting for the result. Apparently, South Korea is really efficient and has an online website (Visa.go.kr) that not too many know where you can check beforehand your Visa application status. We checked Tuesday noon and my status was still under “Application Received”.
How to navigate the website:
1) Go to website https://www.visa.go.kr
2) Select English for the Language
3) Click on Check Application Status
4) Choose Check Application Status & Print
5) Select Diplomatic Office option on Types of Application
6) On the drop down menu select Passport No.
7) Enter you name. Must be in this format — LAST NAME <SPACE> FIRST NAME
8) Select your birth date.
9) Press Search.
By the time it was past business hours, around 7PM, my partner checked again the website. She started sending bombarding me with so many messages…
I GOT APPROVED!
I hope this helps and goodluck!
Feel free to comment and asked if some details aren’t clear to you.
Update: As of today, we are already finalizing our itinerary for the trip on November 25 to December 1.