Exciting news has been going around — allegedly, Filipinos are now eligible to enter South Korea visa-free. But here’s the catch: Individual tourists are NOT qualified for the said visa-free program.
On 12 Dec 2019, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea clarified that “only group tourists with certain requirements” are entitled to enter South Korea without a visa via the new visa-free system. They confirmed that the system will be tested in the first half of 2020.
The confusion of this visa-free South Korea entry stirred when the Embassy of the Republic of Korea released travel information on 7 Nov 2019. According to their announcement, numerous citizens, including Philippine passport holders, were to be allowed to enter South Korea visa-free starting 2020 through the following ways:
1. Transit to third countries
Travellers may enter South Korea without a visa if they are transiting through the country to enter the United States, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. Added to these, 30 European countries also grant Filipinos visa-free transit through South Korea. You may check the full list of countries here. Granted, if you are a Philippine passport holder, you will need a visa to travel to any of the abovementioned destinations.
2. Foreign transfer passengers
Travellers who are part of the Transit Tourism Program may also enter South Korea without a visa through Incheon Airport. General transfer passengers may only stay in the Seoul Capital Area for up to 72 hours.
3. Travel to Jeju Island
Jeju Island has long been visa-free for Philippine passport holders who travel directly to Jeju International Airport. However, there are currently no direct flights from the Philippines to this airport. If you are still interested, you may instead book a flight to another destination, like Hong Kong, that offers direct flights to Jeju Island.
With the new visa-free system, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea also allows certain group tourists to enter South Korea without a visa as long as their final destination is Jeju Island.
Still dreaming of visiting South Korea? Here is how you can apply for an express Korean visa that will bring you to the Land of the Morning Calm. Don’t forget to stay tuned for affordable flights to Incheon here!