MANILA - (UPDATE) Filipinos hoping to visit the land of K-dramas, K-pop and samgyupsal can expect an easier route to South Korea as the Asian country relaxes visa requirements and eases the application process, South Korea's envoy to the Philippines said Sunday.
South Korean ambassador Han Dongman said they are simplifying the process of visa applications to encourage more Filipinos to visit South Korea.
Half a million Filipinos visited Korea in 2018, Han said during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Filipino-Korean diplomatic ties in Manila.
Visa applications can now be coursed through travel agencies to reduce the lines at the South Korean embassy, Han said.
The Embassy now allows for express visa processing for urgent visa requests.
They are also decreasing the volume of documents needed, especially for qualified professionals such as lawyers, physicians, media, and high ranking government officials.
Han said these sectors will be eligible for multiple-entry visas valid from 5 to 10 years.
"For those qualified for the multiple visa, they can submit only one paper saying I am working for this company," Han said.
Since May 2018, the Embassy has been requesting for only certificate of employment for employees of selected top 100 companies or certificate of enrollment of students in local top 10 universities.
It added that the South Korean government is gradually expanding the scope of eligibility for multiple-entry visas.
Meanwhile, the Embassy clarified that the list of requirements for visa applicants still differ depending on the occupation of the applicant. The list can be viewed on their website.
Aside from that, South Korea is also doubling the number of scholarships offered to Filipinos to also get more to study there.
"We are encouraging people-to-people exchange, not only tourists but also students. So we are inviting many Korean students to study in the Philippines, and also we are inviting many qualified, talented Filipinos, in particular, university students to get scholarship," he said.
At the same time, Han said South Korea will work to increase the amount of trade and visitors from Korea to the Philippines, aiming to reach up to 2 million arrivals this year.
Koreans have topped the list of foreign tourists arriving in the Philippines for the past 10 years, Han said.