South Korea from December 3 started issuing five-year visas to Vietnamese passport holders with fewer conditions, having removed the requirement that visa applicants prove their sources of income.
Anyone who resides in three major cities—Hanoi, Danang and HCMC—is eligible to apply for the five-year visa. Those who are not residents of the three cities but have lived and worked there for a long time and have temporary residence books can also benefit from the new Korean visa policy.
These visa holders will be permitted to stay in Korea for up to 30 days following entry.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s new visa policy also grants 10-year visas to skilled workers, including doctors, lawyers, professors and directors of private and State-owned companies whose capital investment is not less than VND100 billion, as well as to those who intend to study for four years in South Korea. Depending on the job, the visa applicants are required to submit their professional certificates to prove their qualifications.
The fee for the new visa is US$80, and the processing time for the visa is eight business days.
Several days ago, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in Vietnam announced that the new visa policy favored permanent residents of the three cities if they have stable sources of income. These visa applicants would have had to prove their annual income of US$7,000 to US$11,000. But now, the requirement has been lifted.
For years, visa applicants to South Korea have had to prove their financial status by proving that they have savings accounts holding at least VND100 million or that they have valuable assets, such as houses, land and cars. The new visa policy has removed this requirement for people living in the three cities.
Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, director of public relations for KTO in Vietnam, said the organization had just received the information this morning and was surprised by the development. “The new policy has removed almost all barriers for visa applicants living in the three cities,” Ha noted.
Asked about the impact of the new regulations, Ha pointed out that the number of Vietnamese tourists to South Korea might rise sharply in the near future, thanks to the new visa policy.
“We will launch some tourism products and media campaigns to promote the new visa policy,” Ha said, adding that the Vietnamese tourism market had posted strong growth in the past three years.
According to the KTO in Vietnam, some 429,000 Vietnamese tourists have traveled to South Korea so far this year, marking a year-on-year rise of 42.7%.