Keep your fingers crossed, travelers! There may be hopes of entering South Korea without going through the current long visa process.
In an article by the Philippine News Agency, Philippine Ambassador to Korea Noe Albano Wong reveals that the push for Filipinos to gain visa-free entry may be brought up at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit, to be held on November 25 and 26.
“I am sure maybe our Tourism department might raise that issue because I talked about that subject with the DOT Seoul in charge here,” Wong said.
At present, Korean nationals may enter the Philippines visa-free for visits not longer than 30 days, while Filipinos have to wait at least 15 to 45 days to get a decision on their South Korean visa. It's an issue that's sparked several complaints from Filipino tourists in the past, according to Wong.
The final decision ultimately won't come out of the summit immediately, however. Providing background for the debate, South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man clarifies that the policy may only be passed after the issue of having over 15,000 Filipinos who've gained illegal access to South Korea has been properly accounted for and resolved.
The possible discussion comes in hopes of rectifying the disparity of Korean visitors entering the Philippines, as opposed to the lesser number of Filipinos allowed into Korea. According to Wong's statistics, there is currently an estimated total of 93,000 Koreans living in the Philippines, in comparison to the 58,000 Filipinos staying in Korea.