Korea New Visa-Free Program for Big Southeast Asian countries – Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia

Starting next year (2020), group tourists from three major Southeast Asian countries — Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia — will be able to travel inland in South Korea with visa-free. It will allow airports such as Seoul, Incheon and Busan to stay adjacent for up to five days in the process of transferring to Jeju Island as the final destination.

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Korea New Visa-Free Program for Big Southeast Asian countries - Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia

According to related ministries such as the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the Ministry of Justice on the 12th Dec, South Korean Government is planning to prepare ‘Plan for Promoting Foreign Tours’ and unveil them in ‘Economic Policy Direction’ that will be announced this month.

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“We discussed easing visa issuance requirements and simplifying immigration procedures for tourists coming from Southeast Asia in order to diversify the country’s tourist attraction, and decided to expand the five-day visa-free entry for Chinese tourists to Jeju Island to the three Southeast Asian countries,” a Justice Ministry official said.

Korea Visa-Free entry

The transfer program for group tourists is a system that allows them to enter airports in inland areas such as Seoul, Incheon and Busan for up to five days without obtaining visas if Jeju is to be their final destination.

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Until now, visa-free entry for group tourists in Southeast Asia has been allowed only in Jeju, where foreigners can tour without having to get a visa. Southeast Asian tourists who arrived at an airport in inland areas and headed to Jeju had to get visas due to possible illegal stay. However, as visa-free entry is allowed in inland areas other than Jeju Island, group tourists from Southeast Asia will be able to travel in inland areas such as Seoul and Busan without a visa starting next year.

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The government’s tourism market diversification of the core policies of the Moon Jae-in is Vietnam and the Philippines and Indonesia in the New new southern policy of key countries in the station. The number of tourists visiting Korea in these countries has increased recently, but the government has decided to allow visa-free entry as more and more people cancel their trips at the last minute due to delayed visa issuance due to a lack of staff at the embassy.

However, there are concerns that more and more people will enter the country for the purpose of staying illegally. According to the Ministry of Justice’s current status of illegal immigrants by nationality, the number of illegal Vietnamese nationals came to 42,056 last year, ranking third after Thailand and China. The Philippines and Indonesia also made the top 10 list among countries with many illegal immigrants in the country with 13,020 and 8,110 respectively.

“There are not many Chinese group tourists who have been allowed to enter the country without a visa,” a Justice Ministry official said. “If the number of illegal travelers exceeds a certain level, we will immediately restrict travelers’ invitation or prohibit travelers from entering the country.”

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