Foreigners staying illegally in South Korea will go through a tighter inspection process before they are allowed to leave the country, the Ministry of Justice announced Sunday.
According to the ministry, the rules will change so that people residing here without permission can no longer leave the country the day they report their departure plans to the authorities, but will have to make the report three to 15 days in advance.
The new rule takes effect Oct. 21 and is being put in place to prevent foreign criminals from fleeing.
People in these circumstances will have to submit their passports and flight tickets when they report their departure, after which they will not be able to adjust the date.
On the scheduled day of departure, the immigration office located at the port of departure will clear the applicants to fly only if they are not wanted by the police for any crimes.
If there is an urgent reason the person must leave the country sooner -- for example, exceptional circumstances such as the death or grave illness of a family member -- he or she will have to present supporting evidence to the immigration office.
The ministry will be receiving applications for the new departure process starting Oct. 14 through www.hikorea.go.kr or the Immigration Service Office website, www.immigration.go.kr.
A national of Kazakhstan fled the nation last month, 18 hours after causing a hit-and-run accident involving a 7-year-old boy in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province.
The Justice Ministry has requested the extradition of the suspect, and the two governments are still in negotiations.
By Choi Ji-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)