South Korea tourist visa process & experience: Bengaluru - eNidhi India Travel Blog

South Korea tourist visa process & experience: Bengaluru

This post shares my South Korea tourist visa experience. Part of my experience is NOT applicable now as the process is now handled via VFS. I will share the current process first, which will be useful to those applying for South Korea tourist visa and in second half you can read my personal experience.

South Korea tourist visa process for Indians

South Korea tourist visa process is pretty standard similar to Schengen or UK or Canada visa you might have applied. Basic info below

  • South Korea visa Process is handled via VFS in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi or Kolkata. People from other cities will have to travel to any of the 4 cities and submit application in person
  • VFS is currently allowing walk in customers for South Korea visa. No prior appointment needed. However this may change if number of people applying for South Korea visa increases significantly
  • Application form can be downloaded or filled on
  • You will need all standard documents
    • Proof of travel: Return tickets, hotel bookings, itinerary
    • Identify proof: Leave approval, Bonafide letter from employer, job offer letter copy
    • Proof of funds: Bank statement, Salary slip and ITR
    • Photo as per specifications
    • 3-4 blank pages in passport with 6 month validity
    • Last 5 year travel history- each country visited with entry and exit dates- I had 34 entries to make.
    • Proper cover letter- highly recommended
  • VFS checklist had an extra item- Medical declaration form.
  • I had offered some additional documents- previous passport pages, marriage certificate, future flight details etc, VFS refused to accept them saying these are not in checklist and they won't accept
  • Processing time is said to be 10-15 working days. But if any additional documents are asked, clock resets and another 10-15 working days will be needed once you submit the additional document asked. So plan to apply at least 1 to 1.5 months in advance. Max 3 months early you can apply
  • Single entry visa may be granted for up to 90 days validity
  • Visa fee will be almost 5000 INR (Consulate fee 3000+ VFS Fee 1400+ 550 courier fee etc). If you miss a print out or xerox, be ready to pay 150 INR per page in VFS.
  • I had applied at VFS Bengaluru on Sep 01, day 01 of their opening services for South Korea visa- probably helped them with production testing. I am sure they might have refined the process a bit by now.
  • In my case an extra document was asked- had to make another trip to VFS to submit the same
  • VFS Support system is decent. They were fair and prompt. They have a well oiled mechanism, just that VFS don't have any control how much time consulate takes or what decision they make.
  • Got my passport just in time, with less than 10 days to spare. I had started making plan B where else to go if visa doesn't come in time. When I got my passport via courier it had no visa stamp, no print out. I might have panicked that visa is rejected, but I knew how to check visa status on so I could see that visa was granted and could download the grant letter. They had missed including a print out of the same with my passport- few other friends did get a print out with their passports

Now that the main process is clear, let me share my experience

Be advised that Visa experience will vary from person to person. What I went through may not apply to you. Getting Visa is NOT a right, but a privilege. If a country doesn’t deem us fit to visit them or don’t want us to visit them, the only thing we can do is to cut our losses and move on. Use this post for reference only.

I had booked my ticket to South Korea back in January 2023 without even knowing the visa process. Later when I researched about South Korea visa, I learnt that only VFS Delhi & Kolkata are handling South Korea visa. Based in Karnataka, it would have been a big travel for me to just apply for Visa.

I asked few travel agencies I knew of if they handle South Korea visa- all said No.

Then I realized that there is a South Korean consulate in Chennai. I mailed them if I can walk in and apply in person. Got a reply that I can walk in. But that was in April 2023.

A month later it was announced that from September 2023, VFS Global Bengaluru and Chennai centers will handle South Korea visa application. But in August I was in Bengaluru and it was easier for me to go to Chennai and apply in person.

I thought applying in person gives some benefits

  • My experience visiting Japanese embassy for visa was excellent (this was in 2016, now Japan visa is also via VFS)- hoped similar one at Korean consulate
  • I could save VFS fees
  • I thought visiting in person might be better for everyone as we skip a middleman

But my attempt to visit and apply in person failed.

The South Korean consulate in Chennai allows only 17 applicants per day. Security guard would check your documents and give a token, if you are one among the early birds and all paperwork is deemed good. People queue up at midnight to get within first 17, still entry is not guaranteed. I heard many people were sent back and asked to come the next day due to minor issues such as one checkbox was not ticked or things like that. This token information was neither published online, nor I was informed when I had emailed the consulate asking if I could walk in. Consulate neither has an appointment system, nor I can take a token for say next week so that my entry is guaranteed- people need to try their luck each day. I tried for 2 days and decided the probability is so poor, I will wait for VFS service to begin.

From Sep 1, 2023 VFS Global has been engaged to receive visa applications in Bengaluru and Chennai. VFS charges about 1400 INR + 550 courier fee (2000 INR extra) for their services but VFS has a well established process to receive applicants, their applications, do basic scrutiny and submit the applications to consulates. Printout, xerox everything is 10x normal price inside VFS. At least VFS has got a decent process compared to waiting from midnight in front of consulate for a chance to get in.

I also noted there were multiple discrepancies, but I am sure this will be streamlined over time

  • Official checklist has no reference to Medical Declaration form but VFS Staff insisted on the same because their checklist had it. There was no clarity from where to get the form as nothing was listed on official websites. I managed to get hold of a form from internet, print it paying 150 INR to VFS and then fill and submit
  • Official checklist insists on a handwritten application, but there is a provision to fill it online and print it out. VFS people are fine with it while security guard at Chennai Consulate would send people back if they don’t have handwritten application
  • Two categories- B2 (Tourist/transit) and C2 (temporary visit) feel the same. Couldn’t understand the difference between deciding which one to choose. Eventually I learnt that either one is fine.
  • The online application has a field called “Funds available” when I fill it and print, print out shows “Trip Expenses”- both are different.

All is well that ends well.  I got my visa in time, could travel as per the plan and am back home safe and sound. So no issues on the Chennai experience.

There was one stamp on passport upon entry into South Korea, but internal travel and exit had automated validations and no physical stamp.

Similar: 2023 Schengen visa process * UK BIVS Visa process


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