The South Korean government says that it will resume issuing short term visas for international travellers starting June 1 after more than two years of discontinuation due to the COVID pandemic.
The justice ministry declared on Thursday that visas for sightseeing, attending meetings, and other activities will be issued again on June 1. The visas allow for a maximum stay of 90 days.
After South Korea eliminated practically all COVID-19 social distancing rules, the decision is designed at bringing in more international tourists to stimulate domestic consumption and revive linked industries, according to the justice ministry.
South Korea. Image from Unsplash
A short-term general C-3 visa permits foreigners to enter the nation for up to 90 days for tourism, transit, visiting family, or other similar reasons.
Over the last two years, the short-term visa has only been provided for diplomacy, government affairs, or other humanitarian reasons.
For foreigners with exceptional talents or group travellers, an e-visa is issued electronically, according to the government.
The embassy says that comprehensive information on the visa application process would be released soon.
Meanwhile, multiple entry visas that were issued before April 5, 2020 and have not yet expired "may be used without reapplication," according to the embassy.
Furthemore, they also said that: “Submission of Consent for Isolation will no longer be required.”
According to their Facebook, the embassy states that travellers must strictly follow all COVID-19 safety mandates.
“Passengers must present either a negative PCR certificate(issued within 48 hours) or a negative RAT certificate (issued within 24 hours) prior to the departure date,” the embassy said.
Meanwhile, “unvaccinated passengers will not be exempted from quarantine while vaccinated passengers will be exempted from quarantine.”
The newest move comes as the number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea has dropped to roughly 30,000 per day, or one-twentieth of peak levels.
Foreign tourists are expected to help reinvigorate linked industries and create additional jobs, according to ministry officials.
Japan and South Korea are in talks to resume regular flights between Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Gimpo Airport in Seoul.
More Japanese tourists are likely to visit South Korea as a result of the measures.
Visitors from other countries must now take a PCR test within one day of entering the country. The deadline will be lowered to three days after arrival next month.
"The influx of foreign tourists will boost domestic demand and invigorate relevant industries, which will eventually help create more jobs and attract foreign talent," said a ministry official, who preferred to maintain anonymity.
In April 2020, the South Korean government had to stop issuing tourist visas. Short-term visas were only issued to persons coming to the country for trade, investment, or humanitarian reasons.
Previously, it has been announced since March 23 by the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) that visitors coming to South Korea who are fully vaccinated will be exempted from quarantine upon entering.
Individuals who have finished their immunisation with a World Health Organisation-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before going "but within 180 days," or who had received a booster dose, were considered completely vaccinated by the KTO.
Tourists must submit their vaccination status on the Q-CODE website before arriving in South Korea and scan the QR code issued at immigration.
Apart from immunisation records, the Q-CODE will require personal information such as the visitor's passport number, as well as entering information such as the visitor's departure country, airline, Korean address, and phone number.