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Korea to grant visa reprieves

Yonhap
Yonhap

The Ministry of Justice said Monday that it would extend the period of stay for some 90,000 registered foreign residents and overseas Korean (F-4) residents whose authorized stay in the country is set to expire soon.

The measure, effective the same day, will grant them an extension of stay for three months as part of efforts to prevent the community spread of COVID-19 as the nation raises its social distancing rules to the toughest level in the four-tier system for Greater Seoul.

The ministry’s decision aims to curb local travel among registered foreign residents who otherwise need to travel in their communities to extend the stay as their permission approaches the expiration date.

Individual applications for permission account for more than 20 percent -- some 2,200 on a daily average with 552,043 cases processed in 2020 -- of all applications filed by foreign residents in the nation. The government expects this measure to significantly decrease the visit volume by individuals at local immigration offices across the nation.

“This policy will be particularly effective in limiting the virus transmission in local communities by reducing public transportation usage, given that it requires more than two hours of travel to visit a jurisdictional immigration office depending on foreigners’ place of residence,” the ministry’s spokesperson said.

Out of registered foreigners who are legally staying in Korea as of July 9, around 90,000 foreign nationals whose period of stay comes to an end between July 19 and Sept. 30 will be granted a three-month extension of stay from the original date of expiration.

Nonprofessional (E-9), maritime crew (E-10), work and visit (H-2) and miscellaneous (G-1) status holders are, however, excluded from the above measure, as their status cannot be extended by the authority under the relevant laws and regulations, the ministry said.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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