S. Korea suspends automatic re-entry for foreign residents

04-Jun-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Foreign residents of Korea will now need a re-entry permit if they wish to go abroad and return to Korea on the same visa as of June 1.

The rule applies to foreigners with family in the country and permanent residents, while excluding holders of A-1 diplomatic, A-2 official, A-3 treaties and F-4 overseas Korean visas.

The permits are issued at local immigration offices and applications must be made before departure. Leaving the country without a permit will result in cancellation of registration as a foreign resident. The Ministry of Justice plans to offer a service for re-entry permits on its website hikorea.go.kr starting later this month.

While overseas, foreign residents must undergo a medical examination within 48 hours before returning home. They must receive a diagnosis report issued by an authorised medical institute in the country of travel, to be presented when boarding a flight to Korea. The report should be signed by a doctor and written in English or Korean. It should also include the date of examination and presence or absence of fever, cough, chills, headache, breathing difficulty, muscle pain, and pulmonary symptoms. The issuing medical institute must be recognised by local Korean embassies or consulates.

Foreigners who hold an Isolation Exemption Certificate issued by a Korean Embassy or Consulate are exempted from the medical examination and the obligation to submit a written diagnosis.

“Long-term foreign stayers in Korea have recently been found to have re-entered the nation being infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19),” the Ministry of Justice said in a statement, “This has raised the need to strengthen the requirements for re-entry into the ROK from high-risk countries for COVID-19 infection.”

On returning, foreign residents will undergo COVID-19 testing and a mandatory two-week quarantine at their homes.

A petition posted on the Cheong Wa Dae website has received 8,234 signatures as of June 2 at 3:15 p.m. It criticises the harshness of the measure, questions why permanent residents require re-entry permits and asks for clarification on the medical report required for re-entry, especially for people visiting non-English-speaking countries.

“Exactly where is logic, why F5 (holders) who are permanent residents have to get while F4 don’t?” a Facebook user asked. “And for example if a person had F4 and then got PR he/she also has to get the re-entry permit…That’s ridiculous.”

Meanwhile, to make foreign residents feel more welcome in Korea, the alien registration card will be renamed the “foreign national card” or “foreign residence card.”



Category: Korea

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