What you need to know before going to Jeju, South Korea

If you intend to ONLY visit Jeju, South Korea, a visa is NOT needed. However, this comes with one condition:

You must book a direct flight to and from Jeju only, otherwise you’ll be asked to present a visa.

(For Philippine passport holders only.)

I certainly know it because my husband unfortunately cancelled our trip to Jeju this morning due to this rule that turns out we weren’t aware of. Not that we didn’t check beforehand. We did. He read it somewhere online (I didn’t mind to ask which site, it was in Korean and I believed it was a reliable source.) 

For you to understand what I mean, this was our flight:

February 24, 2017=     Japan ➡ Jeju

February 27, 2017=     Jeju ➡ Gimhae (International Airport) ➡ Japan

We believed that a visa was not required (for me) even for our trip back to Japan since it was supposed to be a layover. And I happened to read this part from the embassy of Korea in the Philippines website:

Visa exemptions are as follows:

If transiting only and going to the U.S., Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.  But must not stay beyond 30 days and with confirmed onward ticket to the 3rd country.

I read this again and again on our way back home with a heavy heart. Now that I am a little calm, I realize that I misunderstood the 2nd sentence. As I read “3rd country”, I instantly referred it to Japan which I forgot (or just missed the point) that it isn’t included on the list in the 1st sentence. How on earth did I miss that? No wonder why the airline staff seemed to be surprised when I told her that I read the rule just a few days ago. With her calmness and professionalism, she stood by her previous statement that I needed a visa. She even tried to help us out by suggesting something that’s impossible for the husband to do. Change our flight on the 27th. He just can’t compromise his work which I totally understand.

It’s such a shame that I missed the trip to the place I’ve been meaning to visit. Again. Yeah, this isn’t the first time. Wanna know what happened before? 😀 Kindly read it here.

I said to myself,

“Again? Maybe Jeju isn’t for you. Stop dreaming about it already. You’ve been to Korea anyway. That’s enough.”

Self-comforting, man! Haha! I think, the key is…. don’t be stupid. LOL 😜

Shit happens. Life goes on. Plan another trip. Smile, because tomorrow is another day! 🙂

I hope this will serve as a lesson for you and me. 😀

Author: Sheryl Gim

1990 | Wondering wanderer | Chocolate addict

29 thoughts

  1. Hi! I’m a resident visa holder here in Japan too.

    I just want to clarify, is it possible to go to have a flight from Japan to Jeju, go to other places in Korea like Seoul, etc and then come back to Japan? I’m having trouble understanding rule too.

    Thank you po!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am surprised the Travel Agent was not aware of the policy. Of course, we can’t always depend on others to have our best interests at heart. Reminds me of one of my advisors in college. She had to sign off on all of my schedules, yet she didn’t know the general degree requirements, just those within the major. I am glad I read the fine print!

    I hope S. Korea relaxes their visa restrictions for the Philippines, yet you can travel to China easier than an American. – Peace


    1. We didn’t have any travel agent. We did all the bookings by ourselves. I hate it but I have to admit it was my fault.
      Yeah I hope so, especially when one only transits. To China? Really? Wow! We’ll check that out. Thanks! 🙂


  3. Everything happens for a reason. Ok lang na. Lesson learned and I’m sure someday you’ll be able to visit Jeju without a problem next time! 힘내 🙂


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