By Jonathan Hicap
Good news for Filipino tourists seeking to visit South Korea.
The Korean Embassy in the Philippines has announced that starting next month, the waiting time for the processing of visas will be reduced to 10 to 15 days from the current 25 to 27 days.
“The Embassy has allotted additional visa staffs for faster processing of Korean visa applications. Therefore, by the end of February, current visa processing period of 25-27 days will be reduced to 10-15 days,” the Korean Embassy said.
It added that “for those who plan to visit Korea by March-April, please be informed that the reduced processing period will be retained during the peak season (March-April).”
The Korean visa processing in the Philippines took more than a month starting last year due to the rising number of applicants.
Last December, the South Korean government announced that it was planning to expand the visa-free policy that will allow Jeju-bound group tourists from the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia to stay at regional airports for up to 72 hours without a visa. Filipinos can visit Jeju Island without a visa by taking direct flights or ships.
The Korean Embassy in the Philippines explained that “the visa-free system, which is scheduled to be tested on the first half of next year (2020), is for group tourists who have scheduled flights to enter Korea with the final destination of Jeju Island (using domestic flights).”
“Therefore, individual tourists are not eligible. And only group tourists with certain requirements will be given these benefits,” it said. “Currently there is no final decision on matter and it will be further discussed with the related ministries in Korea until February 2020. We will notify you as soon as the details are finalized.”