Usually, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. I'm not a duck, but neither am I British, despite the evidence to the contrary. If you are indeed British then visiting Korea for tourism is actually really easy - just buy tickets and pay for accommodation and you'll be on your merry way! Do check whether you need an ETA-style authorisation though.
For weak passport-holders however, here are some things to know as I personally found the information lacking.


For tourism, you want to remember visa type C-3-9. There are a few different categories in the "Short Term Visit" section here, but C-3-9 was most applicable to me. You'll need to add this on the envelope which you use to send your documents to KVAC UK, as well as the email confirmation of payment.


I've found paying the Korean government quite strange compared to how we make payments here in the UK. Payments in Korea itself are quite different - there is no chip-and-pin but rather the worker takes your card and puts the chip into a payment terminal. If the amount is larger you'll be asked to sign your signature on a digital screen on the terminal, otherwise the payment will just go through. A few places accept contactless payment, but nothing in comparison to what we're used to in say London.
Back to paying for the visa, you have to first find out how much you have to pay, which is dependent on visa type and nationality. On top of this, you have to pay a processing fee of EUR60. This is done by bank transfer, much like the TOPIK test. I used Revolut which had the added benefit of allowing me to see when the transaction had completed - important because you can't send your documents to KVAC before this point.
You then have to email with your name, visa type and "proof of payment" as the subject (e.g. "Madhanga, Luke / C-3-9 / Proof of payment"). The body of the email needs
  • Your name as shown in your passport (Passport Number)
    • "Joe Bloggs (GB123456)"
  • Nationality
    • "Venezualen"
  • Visa type and amount of entry
    • "Muli-entry C-3-9"
  • Fees paid
    • "Visa fee €81, processing fee €60"
  • Attached proof of payment from your bank


I found this information really lacking and is the main inspiration for this post. Missing documents will cause your application to KVAC to be delayed, in my case adding a whole two weeks to the process.
I submitted my application on the 23rd of April, got a reply on the 29th saying that I was missing documents. I submitted those documents and then got another reply on 6th of May saying that I was missing something else.
Korean visas aren't processed in the UK but rather in the Korean Embassy in Germany. My application changed status to 'Under Review' (which means that the application was with the embassy) on the 13th and approval was given on the 14th. At this point, I received an email from KVAC saying I could go and collect my passport which I did the same day. You cannot collect your passport without this email.
These are the documents I ended up submitting, with two extras. Only your passport is required as an original document, all of the rest must be sent as photocopies as you will not get them back.
  • Completed application form
  • A consent form which I never saw listed anywhere!!
  • Payslips for the last six months
  • Bank statements for the last six months
    • Now this is a really weird one. Public information suggests that the most recent bank statement has to have been dated within the last 18 days from the date of application. Looking at the screenshots sent back to me from KVAC it appears their guidance doesn't mention this 18-day rule, but do keep this in mind for when you choose to apply.
  • UK Visas covering three years, even if you have indefinite leave.
    • If you were granted ILR four years ago, then a photocopy of your ILR is enough.
    • However, if you were granted ILR say 1 year ago, you have to send photocopies of your previous Visas, covering up to 3 years. If you do not have this, you'll need to fill out this form. The guidance says to email them this scanned as a PDF, but it may be helpful also to add it to the list of documents that you post.
  • Passport photo, but it looks like this was unused
  • A rough estimate of where you plan on staying. I put a hotel near Seoul station but ended up staying in an Airbnb. You are advised NOT to book tickets or accommodation before applying for a Korean visa. You will need a return ticket and proof of accommodation in order to pass immigration at Incheon though.
  • Proof of employment, although I added this as an extra
  • TOPIK 1 certificate, although I added this as an extra
You then post this with a return address and visa type (e.g. C-3-9) on the envelope to
KVAC London Address, International Organization For Migration, 1st Floor, Heron House, 10 Dean Farrar Street, London, SW1H 0DX
This package has your passport in it so needless to say you should use a signed-for service!
Checking Application Status
You can look here to check the status of your application. Ensure you have "Diplomatic office" selected and that you write your name in "Family name, Given name" format, e.g. "Bloggs Joe". The statuses go
  • "신청완료 (Sincheong Wanryeo)" (Applied)
  • "접수 (Jepsu)" (In Application)
  • "심사 중 (Simsa Jung)" (Under Review)
  • "보완 서류 요청 (Bowan Seoryu Yochong)" (Additional Documents Requested)
  • "발급 완료 (Balgyup Wanryo)" (Approved)
  • "거절 (Geojeol)" (Rejected).
Collecting your passport
Once the application has been approved, you'll receive an email from KVAC saying that you can collect your passport during the 30-minute window between 3-3:30 pm when this is possible. You'll need original ID in order to collect your documents.
And that should be it! Do I get commission from MOFA for this?