South Korea waives visa application fee for Vietnamese tourists

By Nguyen Quy   October 2, 2019 | 01:25 am PT
South Korea waives visa application fee for Vietnamese tourists
Foreign visitors flock to the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan City, South Korea. Photo by Shutterstock/Andy Tran.
South Korea has temporarily waived visa application fees for all ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, from October 1 to December 31.

The waiver only applies to C-3 short-term visit visas to South Korea. The C-3 visa is valid for three months after the date of issue. During the three-month period, Vietnamese visa applicants are not required to pay the $20 admission fee, the Korea Visa Application Center in Ho Chi Minh City said on its website, citing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The 10 ASEAN members are: Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Brunei.

However, Vietnamese visa applicants still have to submit their applications at the Korea Visa Application Centre in their own cities and pay an administration fee of approximately $15, it said.

The policy is aimed to give the tourism industry of South Korea a fillip during the peak travel season and contribute to improving ties with Southeast Asian countries in the context of the upcoming ASEAN- Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit on November 25-26 in Busan City.

In 2018, tourists from ASEAN countries to South Korea reached 2.44 million, an increase of 15 percent from a year ago.

More than 450,000 Vietnamese visited South Korea last year, a 40 percent rise year-on-year, making Vietnam the nation’s largest seventh tourism market, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.

In another move to boost tourism and attract more Vietnamese visitors, the South Korean government had last December agreed to issue five-year visas for permanent residents of Vietnam’s three biggest cities, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang, for stays of up to 30 days.

Vietnam is a leading tourism choice for South Koreans, ranking third after Japan and mainland China, with the number of visitors expected to increase by 30 percent this year to four million, according to Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI), published last July by Mastercard.

A 15-day visa waiver for South Korean tourists to Vietnam and an increase in the frequency of direct flights connecting major cities in both countries have also contributed to making Vietnam a leading choice for South Korean tourists.

Last year, more than 3.4 million South Koreans visited Vietnam for a 44 percent year-on-year rise, accounting for more than one fourth of total international arrivals to the country (15.5 million), according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

In the first nine months of this year, Vietnam welcomed 3.1 million South Koreans, up 22.5 percent year-on-year.

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