By Jonathan Hicap
South Korea’s Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has confirmed that the Philippines will be a new beneficiary of its electronic visa (e-visa) policy for group tourists that will be implemented in the second half of the year.
The ministry issued its “2017 Action Plan for Immigration Policy” that aims “to attract foreign tourists for boosting domestic economy, to secure overseas human resources, and to facilitate the local economy.” The Korea Immigration Service department is under the MOJ.
Under the MOJ plan, e-visa will be expanded and will be issued to group tourists from the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia in the second half of 2017. Currently, the e-visa is given to group tourists from mainland China, the main source of tourists of South Korea.
“With this measure, the economy will be more actively supported with diversified market in group tourism,” the ministry said.
It also said the exemption from the payment of group visa fee will be extended up to this year.
Earlier, Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul Hernandez told Manila Bulletin that the Philippines is included in Korea’s new e-visa policy and also in the five-day visa-free stay in mainland Korea for Southeast Asian nationals who are visiting Jeju Island via Incheon or Gimhae airports.
Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) explained that under the e-visa policy, “group tourists will not have to go to the Korean Embassy to get a visa, if your country is eligible for electronic visa, since it can be issued through the accredited travel agency.”
Under the current Korean immigration rules, Filipinos can visit Jeju Island without a visa but they need to apply for one at the Korean Embassy if they want to visit Seoul or other areas in the mainland.