South Korea Visa: How to apply and what to prepare (for Indonesian passport holders)

After reading several blog posts from Indonesians who had succeeded in applying for visa to South Korea, and after reading the information provided in the Embassy’s website, The Mister and I started preparing for the necessary documents. We will be in South Korea from 19 until 30 November 2013, and we plan to apply for our visas on the last week of September, giving it around 2 months before our departure. The short stay visa is valid for 90 days, so make sure you don’t apply too soon or too close to your departure date. Generally it will take 3 working days, but in case of special occasions (like the APEC Summit which was held around our application time), it can take more than that.

Below is the timeline of documents preparation that we went through:

March to September: make sure that the bank account that you will use for guarantee (bank statement, list of transactions) is liquid (normal debit/credit transaction). There is no minimum balance requirements (at least not anywhere that we can read in the Embassy’s website), although various blog posts that we read give different information. We decided that the logical thing is to ensure that the final balance around the time of our visa application at least can cover the expenses that we will incur during our stay in Korea.

(Late) August: request for salary slip (the last 3 months) from your employer (if you are employed like The Mister and me) and statement from your employer.

(Early) September: request for a bank statement and list of transactions for the past 6 months.

Here are the documents that we prepared for our visa application:

  1. Visa application form – downloadable from the Embassy’s website. Don’t forget to sign the form. The space for signature is quite small and obscure, you could easily miss it.
  2. Most recent (less than 6 months old) photograph – to be attached on the visa application form. We took passport-sized photos (3.5 x 4.5 cm, Schengen Visa size), with white background, wearing clothes that are not white (to contrast with the background), forehead and ears visible, spectacles off, neutral face (not smiling, teeth not visible). The information on the website and application form was not clear enough regarding the photo requirements, the website said 4 x 6 cm, the form said 3.5 x 4.5 cm, so we decided to ‘play it safe’ and followed the photo regulation for the Schengen visa application. It turned out that the photo requirements for South Korea visa application is quite lenient. We sneaked a peek at people’s forms (when we were waiting for our turn) and saw various photo sizes and background colors. The form stated 3.5 x 4.5 cm, but the space is actually a lot smaller than that. We had to cut our photos to fit them into the space given.
  3. Passport: original & copies – make sure your passport still has at least 6 months validity at the time of your visa application, or to be even safer (as some countries require so), 6 months validity at the time of your departure. Make copies of the identity page of your passport and all pages containing immigration stamps and visa stickers from all the countries that you have visited. I even included my old passports (and the copies too) that contained stamps and visas from Australia, UK, Singapore, and the Netherlands.
  4. Employer’s statement & salary slip – the employer’s statement should state your name, position, how long you have been employed, your monthly salary, that you are still working there and that you will return to Indonesia and continue to work there after your trip. Print it on your company letterhead and ask for authorized signature and company stamp. The salary slip of course is different for each company, but generally it will contain details of your gross salary, other income and allowances, various taxes, and your nett monthly salary.
  5. Bank statement & list of transactions – the bank statement should mention your name, date of birth, ID card number, address, the balance of your account as of the date when the statement was made, and the statement should be addressed to the Consul at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (include the address). More important that the bank statement is the list of transactions, as it can show how liquid and healthy your account is. For our application, we used one of my bank accounts, which is at BNI. It took 2 working days to process the bank statement and list of transactions. The fee for the bank statement was IDR 150,000 (if I’m not mistaken, I can’t remember right now, LOL) and the fee for the list of transactions was (I think) IDR 15,000 per page (for transactions not older than 3 months ago) and IDR 25,000 per page (for transactions older than 3 months ago). If you a travel agent to lodge your visa application, usually they will tell you to have a minimum balance in your account that varies from IDR 30 million to 50 million per person, but actually it does not have to be that big. The embassy’s website does not state a minimum amount of balance in your bank account, various bloggers give different information. The Mister and I just made sure that the bank account that we used showed sufficient funds to cover our stay. When the bank statement was printed, the bank account we used had a balance of about IDR 60 million, which was enough to cover our predicted expenses (see point 12) for 11 days in Korea. I have a friend who had visited Korea in 2011 and the balance in her bank account when she applied for her visa was only a little over IDR 10 million for her 9-day trip. Another friend was still a university student when applying and she just used her parents’ bank account (and a statement from her university to replace the employer’s statement).
  6. Copy of ID card (KTP)
  7. Copy of birth certificate – don’t bother translating them into English, a photocopy of the original in Indonesian is fine :)
  8. Copy of family registry (Kartu Keluarga) – same as point 5.
  9. Copy of marriage registry (Akta Nikah) – obviously only if you are married, no need to translate it into English.
  10. Proof of flight ticket reservation – we already bought our Garuda Indonesia tickets in April during their promo period, so we included the print out of our flight booking from the airline in our application set.
  11. Proof of accommodation reservation – we have made our accommodation reservations through booking.com so we included the print out of the reservations and attached them to our application set.
  12. Itinerary – it is best if you make a rather detailed itinerary, with dates, name and address of places of interests, even how to get there; so it is clear that at least you have a plan during your stay in Korea and have calculated roughly the transportation expenses that you will incur during your trip.
  13. Expense/budget details – we categorize our predicted spending into: accommodation, meals, local transportation (subway, taxi, bus, train, etc), entrance to places of interest/attractions, and shopping.

The Mister and I took a one-day leave from our work on 26 September to lodge our visa application. The consular section had moved back to Jalan Gatot Subroto Kav. 57, just next to RS Medistra/Medistra Hospital (previously at The Plaza Office Tower at Jalan M.H. Thamrin, near Bunderan HI / next to Plaza Indonesia). We were not allowed to park our car in the premises so we parked at RS Medistra.

The consular section is open for lodging visa application on Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. However, at 8 a.m. there were already several people who had arrived in the venue and besides the security guard, the visa booth officers were still nowhere in sight. The queue number machine was finally switched on at 8.30 a.m. by an employee, and thankfully those who had come were civil enough to actually take the number based on who arrived first. Around ten minutes before 9 a.m. the booths were open and after waiting for about 20 minutes, it was our turn to go to one of the booths and we submitted our documents.

The fee for the visa application was IDR 300,000 per application, so that made IDR 600,000 for The Mister’s and my applications. We paid in cash and were given a receipt, which should be brought along when we pick up our visas. Due to the APEC Summit, the officer who received our application put 11 October as the pick up date, however it turned out that our visas were already issued on 2 October, so really it was only 3 working days. Pick up hours for visa is Mondays through Fridays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Don’t forget to bring the receipt.

-ciciA

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