Visa process simplified for expo-visiting Chinese
By Yi Whan-woo
The country’s immigration office is simplifying the visa process for Chinese visitors for the first time. Chinese visitors to Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea from May 12 to August 12 will have their visas issued upon their arrival at the two main gates to the city, Yeosu International Airport and Muan International Airport.
“We expect our policy will attract more Chinese tourists by saving time and effort in getting visas,” Lee Chang-se, commissioner of the Korea Immigration Service (KIS), said Monday.
Lee added he will also make the entry procedure simpler for expo visitors arriving by cruise ship.
“A Chinese tourist is normally required to visit a Korean consulate in China to acquire a 15-day travel visa (C-3), which can take at least two to three days, and seven days at the most,” said Youn Sang-yong, deputy director of the Border Control Division at the KIS.
“We have begun to receive registrations from travel agencies from May 1, and we hope a number of Chinese travelers benefit from our policy,” Youn added.
Chinese tourists planning to visit the expo will be required to contact one of the 167 travel agencies certified by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, including Hana Tour, a leading travel firm in Korea.
The agencies specializing in hosting group travel are required to submit the names of the individuals to the KIS branch offices in Gwangju and Yeosu.
The immigration officials will review each person’s status for entry. Those qualified will have their C-3 visas issued upon arrival at either of the two airports.
The KIS is running the service in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and China.
The Chinese Embassy in Seoul said it will cooperate with the new KIS policy and anticipates that the measure will “facilitate human exchanges between the two nations.”
The number of Chinese travelers to Korea soared to 7.2 million last year from 4.38 million in 2007.