If you are an Indian national planning to visit South Korea for tourism purposes, you will need a tourist visa to enter the country. Here's everything you need to know about getting a South Korea single entry tourist visa as an Indian citizen:
VFS Global is usually the agent you'll apply via but these things keep changing often. Contact VFS Global and ask them if they're accepting applications from your city or not.
As of writing this post, it looks like VFS is only accepting South Korea visa applications in New Delhi and Kolkata.
Since I live in Bengaluru, unfortunately VFS was not accepting South Korea visa applications at the time. (This might change in the future so please confirm before applying.) They informed me to contact Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chennai.
My second option was to apply via VFS from Delhi since I have family in Delhi and I visit frequently. But I decided to apply from the Chennai Consulate instead. This meant that not only I had to go to Chennai to apply and pay for hotel stays, I had to visit again to collect my passport since they didn't have a passport delivery facility in place unlike VFS. This added to the cost of the visa application.
So make sure you choose the right application center for yourself and that you're also eligible to apply from that city/consulate.
The Chennai Consulate takes walk-in applications from 9AM. You can visit their website for more information to view the updated rules. If you're applying via VFS or some other consulate, check their respective websites for the correct timing.
People start lining up outside the Chennai Consulate building by 8:30AM since there are only limited number of spots everyday. From one Google Maps review, I came to know that in busy seasons, people start queueing up as early as 6AM. Fortunately, when I was applying, it wasn’t busy at all.
You need to bring in the following documents for a single entry tourist visa:
- Passport that is valid for at least another 6 months
- One recent photograph with white background (3.5cm X 4.5cm)
- Filled visa application form in your own handwriting. View the form here
- Covering letter written in one's own handwriting and signed.
Here's a sample letter that you can use:
Date: 11 February 2023
The Visa Officer
Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chennai
Subject: Request for a Tourist Visa
Dear Sir / Madam,
I, ______, holding passport number, ________, would like to travel to South Korea
for tourism purposes for [X] days ([Start Date] to [End Date]).
I work as a ________ and all the expenses will be borne by me on this trip.
I look forward to experiencing the beauty of South Korea in the cherry blossom season. I am planning to visit _________.
I have attached the itinerary of my trip along with the documents.
Please find the visa application form duly filled and signed along with the valid passport,
photographs and the relevant documents for your perusal.
Kindly consider the application and grant necessary visa.
- Employed letter from your employer if you're employed (not required if your're self employed or a freelancer)
- Last 6 months attested bank statements. You have to visit your bank’s nearest branch and they’ll give you the sealed statements to you.
- Last 2 years ITRs
- Booked accommodations for the entire trip
- Daily itinerary. You can also use ChatGPT to create a custom one for you. You can use the below format for the itinerary:
- Confirmed air tickets (round trip)
To be on the safer side, create cancellable bookings or atleast flexible bookings to minimise your losses in case of a rejected application.
You can view and download the latest visa checklist from here. The Chennai Consulate asks you to bring this checklist along with your documents too! You can check with your application center if there are any other requirements.
On the day of the appointment, arrive at the application center atleast 15 minutes in advance.
At the Chennai Consulate, the staff will check your documents and the checklist at the gate itself. If there’s anything missing, you will not be allowed to enter! So make sure you have all the documents in place and order. Once you enter, you’ll be given a token and sent upstairs to the office. There you’ll have to submit your documents and the fees (IN CASH!). I paid around Rs 2800. If you apply via VFS, you might have to pay the VFS fee as well.
After that, you'll be given a receipt that you must keep safely since you’ll be asked to present it while collecting your passport.
After 15 days, you can check your application status online on http://visa.go.kr/.
- Go to "Check Application Status & Print".
- Select "Diplomatic Office".
- Select "Passport No."
- Enter your details.
- Your status will be shown.
South Korea does not provide a sticker visa but a visa certificate that you can download from here itself and carry with you when you're travelling. Once your application is approved, you can go back to the consulate to collect your passport.
The passport collection time is between 3PM and 4PM for the Chennai Consulate. Don’t forget to bring in the receipt at the time of collection.
Please note that the above is based on my experience with obtaining a South Korea single entry tourist visa. Please take everything in this post as advise and do your own research before applying.