As of the 2nd week of November 2008, Korea and the USA have entered into agreement to allow each others’ citizens to visit “visa free” up to 90 days. Americans don’t have many restrictions, but Koreans have to check with the U.S.’s Homeland Security 72 hours before they depart. More about the changes below (originally published in the Korea Times):
|Americans Can Visit Korea Visa-Free for 90 Days|
By Kim Rahn
U.S. citizens will be able to stay in Korea for up to 90 days visa-free starting today, a reciprocal measure of the U.S.’ visa waiver program for Korea, according to the Ministry of Justice Sunday.
Korea is one of seven countries newly included in the program, along with Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Nationals of the nations can stay in the U.S. for a maximum of 90 days without a visa starting Nov. 17.
Based on the principle of reciprocity, the ministry is extending the period of visa-free stay for Americans to 90 days from the current 30 days.
The program applies to those visiting Korea for tourism or short-term business. Those wanting to stay here for employment or profit-making purposes or stay longer than 90 days need to obtain a visa.
Koreans wanting to visit the U.S. visa-free are required to hold electronic passports and get prior approval for entry to the country from the Web site of the Department of Homeland Security, https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov, at least 72 hours before departure.
The visa waiver program is expected to increase the annual number of Korean visitors to the U.S. to 1.2 million by 2011, a 50 percent growth from 2007’s 800,000, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.