Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan all require individual tourist visas for us Filipinos, but with exemption rules and easing of requirements, a trip to these East Asian countries is now possible with just one visa. So instead of the usual Southeast Asian hop, there’s now a new oriental backpacking trail that Filipinos can easily do and explore. Read more…
Kevin who writes at The Travel Guy Shops and owns Avenix Travel, an agency that likewise does visa assistance, recently came up with an article discussing South Korean tourist visa exemptions and this three-country trip. According to his post, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea said that those who fall under the following may enter without a visa:
1. Frequent visitors who made more than four visits to Korea in the past two years or more than 10 visits overall may enter Korea without a visa as long as they have no immigration offense or other criminal records (except Chinese, Macedonians, and Cubans).
2. Travelers with a valid visa or a re-entry permit to the United States of America, Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and traveling to any one of those countries through Korea. They must have a confirmed onward flight ticket for departure within 30 days after entering Korea, in addition to having no criminal offense.
3. Travelers who will arrive directly to Jeju Island by flights or ships for 30 days stay.
Aside from the South Korean visa exemptions above, here are relevant announcements regarding Taiwanese and Japanese visas for Filipinos from the respective governments:
1. Effective August 08, 2013, Philippine passport holders are exempted from visa and are allowed to stay in the Republic of China (Taiwan) for 30 days provided that they have never worked in Taiwan as blue-collar workers and are currently holding valid visas or permanent resident cards of USA, Canada, Japan, UK, EU Schengen, Australia, and New Zealand.
2. For nationals of the Philippines, multiple-entry visa requirements to Japan is substantially relaxed, and requirements for single-entry tourism visas is relaxed to a quasi-exemption-equivalent level when applied via specified travel agencies.
HOW TO DO A TAIWAN-SOUTH KOREA-JAPAN TRIP WITH JUST ONE VISA
1. Apply for a Japanese visa. Through an accredited travel agent, submit your tourist visa requirements. According to feedback, Japan is indeed relaxing visa approvals, long as the requirements are complete. Note that first-time applicants are usually granted a single-entry visas, while those previously approved for a tourist visa may be awarded a multiple-entry.
2. Obtain a travel authorization for Taiwan. Upon approval of your Japanese visa, obtain and print a Travel Authorization Certificate for entry to Taiwan. This can be done through the following website: niaspeedy.immigration.gov.tw/nia_southeast.
3. Book flights. Flights are not required for Japan visa applications, so you may opt to book your flights after approval. For a trip to the three countries, four one-way flights are needed: Philippines-Taiwan, Taiwan-South Korea, South Korea-Japan, and Japan-Philippines.
Note that since these are one-way flights, meaning they do not have corresponding return flights, low-cost carriers are preferred over full-service carriers. This is because low-cost flights cost the same for both one-way and roundtrip, whereas full-service carriers most of the time sell flexible (read: less restrictions) but costly tickets for one-way journeys.
For the Philippines to Taiwan leg (e.g. Manila or Kalibo to Taipei), Cebu Pacific Air and AirAsia Zest are preferred, although Philippine Airlines also sells one-way tickets cheap.
For the Taiwan to Korea leg (e.g. Taipei to Seoul or Busan), Scoot, Eastar Jet, T’way Airlines, and Air Busan are preferred.
For the South Korea to Japan leg (e.g. Seoul to Tokyo or Osaka), Eastar Jet, Jeju Air, Jin Air, Jetstar Japan, Peach, T’way Airlines, Vanilla Air, and Air Busan are preferred.
For the Japan to Philippines leg (e.g. Tokyo to Manila or Cebu), Cebu Pacific Air is preferred, although Philippine Airlines also sells one-way tickets cheap.
4. Fly and travel. The most logical sequence of traveling would be as follows: Philippines to Taiwan using the travel authorization, Taiwan to South Korea with an onward flight and unused visa to Japan, then lastly, South Korea to Japan using the approved tourist visa.
Photos courtesy of Japan National Tourism Organization.