Tuesday, 25 Jun 2019
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TRAVELTOURS

South Korea to stop issuing five-year visas to citizens outside major cities

Updated at Tuesday, 11 Jun 2019, 15:32
The Hanoitimes - This is the latest change in the five-year visa program for Vietnamese passport holders who do not reside in the country`s three largest cities.
South Korea has halted the issuance of five-year visas to Vietnamese people who do not reside permanently in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City starting June 10, VnExpress reported.
 
Thousands of people lined up outside the South Korean Consulate General in Hanoi to apply for five-year multiple entry visas in April 2019. Photo: Giang Huy
Thousands of people line up outside the South Korean Consulate General in Hanoi to apply for five-year multiple entry visas in April 2019. Photo: Giang Huy
From June 10, the South Korean Embassy to Vietnam only grants five-year visas to Vietnamese citizens having permanent residence registrations in the three major cities of Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.
This is the latest change in the five-year visa program for Vietnamese passport holders. Accordingly, the temporary suspension follows an upsurge in visa applicants using fake temporary residence books as well as five-year visa holders overstaying in South Korea.
In April 2019, the consular section of the South Korean embassy in Hanoi was plunged into chaos as thousands of Vietnamese queued to apply for five-year multiple entry visas. The consulate issues some 300 waiting numbers each morning, much lower than the number of aspirants.
South Korea in December 2018 adopted a relaxed visa policy for Vietnamese citizens who either temporarily or permanently residing in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.
Both permanent and temporary residents in these cities could apply for five-year visas from December 3 last year, allowing them to enter Korea for unlimited times and stay there for a maximum of 30 days.
Most Vietnamese visa applicants to South Korea came from rural areas of Hanoi, including Quoc Oai, Thach That districts.
Roughly 441,827 Vietnamese traveled to South Korea in the first ten months of 2018. During the same period, around 2.6 million South Koreans visited Vietnam. In the first five months of 2019, 1.7 million Korean tourists visited Vietnam, up 22.4% over the same period in 2018, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
Mai Nguyen
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