The South Korean Government announced that they will begin to roll out an electronic travel authorization system for foreign visitors that can currently travel to the country visa-free. This move is an effort to strengthen border control. This new electronic system will require that citizens from visa-waiver countries provide their personal details and travel information before traveling to the country. By completing the travel authorization online the traveler would gain approval to visit South Korea before leaving their country of origin.
During an interagency meeting officiated by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon policies about visitors and foreign workers were discussed. The decision to launch an electronic travel authorization system was made during this meeting. The South Korean Government plans to reinforce checks on foreign visitors to investigate whether there are unpaid taxes, fines, or other possible crimes. The Korea Herald reported that "the government will also restrict employers with a record of sexual crimes from inviting foreign workers." Officials said that the government will also increase demerit points to those citizens with a history of covering up workplace accidents, therefore they will be at a disadvantage when the government assigns foreign workers.
South Korea Visa Policy
At the moment, South Korea has a visa waiver agreement with 117 countries. Countries not included in this list must require a visa to travel to the country. Furthermore, foreigners who wish to work, study or live in South Korea must apply for the appropriate visa before engaging in any activity in the country.
Among the countries that can travel to South Korea visa-free are Canada, Australia, Singapore, China, Peru, New Zealand, and most EU countries. The time allotted to each nationality will vary according to the traveler's citizenship. For instance, Canadian citizens are granted a stay of up to 180 days, meanwhile, citizens of Albania can stay in South Korea up to 30 days. Any South Korean embassy or consulate can provide travelers with further information regarding the maximum stay in the country based on their citizenship.
Foreign nationals entering South Korea are required to have a valid passport upon entering the country. A visa will be necessary if the traveler's passport is not from a visa waiver country.
Electronic Travel Authorization System for South Korea
The Government of South Korea will gradually roll out the electronic travel authorization system for citizens of visa waiver countries. This is meant to improve and strengthen border control and security. Many countries across the world have launched similar programs in order to have better control of its foreign visitors. The United States launched the ESTA, an electronic travel authorization system, in 2009 in order to monitor travelers from visa waiver countries. Brazil just recently established an electronic visa system for citizens of Canada, Japan, US, and Australia.
Several countries have created an electronic travel authorization system, the list below provides you with some examples.
- eTA for Canada
- e-Visa for Vietnam
- e-Visa for Egypt
- eVisa for Kuwait
The goal is that the traveler completes their registration on the electronic travel authorization system before departing to their destination. Applicants are required to provide their personal details, passport information, and travel plans.