Tuesday, 25 Jun 2019
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TRAVELTOURS

Chaos seen as Vietnamese rush to apply for South Korea visas

Updated at Wednesday, 10 Apr 2019, 15:53
The Hanoitimes - The majority of the visa applicants are tourists because South Korea is becoming an attractive destination for Vietnamese travelers.
The consular sector of the South Korean embassy in Hanoi has been plunged into chaos as thousands of Vietnamese have been lining up to apply for five-year multiple entry visas while there are only two Koreans and 10 Vietnamese of the section attending them, Tuoi Tre Online reported on Tuesday.
 
thousands of people  lined up outside the South Korean Consulate General in Hanoi to apply for five-year multiple entry visas. Photo: Tuoitre.vn
Thousands of people lined up outside the South Korean Consulate General in Hanoi to apply for five-year multiple entry visas. Photo: Tuoitre.vn
According to Park Yongseong, representative of the South Korea embassy in Vietnam, the consular section is overloaded, as the number of applications for five-year multiple entry visas has peaked to around 2,000 at the same time. Many of these are tourist visas because South Korea is becoming an attractive destination for Vietnamese travelers.
On April 8, many queued from 3:00 am outside the the embassy's consular section to sumbit their documents, most of them are tourists and students, local media reported. Many of them had been waiting for days to get in.
The consulate issues some 300 waiting numbers each morning. However, the calling order is different each time. Some days the numbers were called from top to bottom and some days it was vice versa. This method is aimed to prevent cases where people sell first places in the line.
However, some people still take advantage of the situation to sell a place in the queue for VND1 million to 3 million (US$43 – 129).
In 2018, the South Korea embassy in Vietnam announced that the C-3 visas would be granted to permanent residents of Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. The visa holders can stay in South Korea for up to 30 days, with no restrictions on the number of visits during five years.
Since the new visa policy took effect, there have been an increasing number of Vietnamese people applying for visas to South Korea.
The embassy representative attributed the surge in visa applications to rumors saying that the visa policy will be revoked soon. This speculation is groundless, he asserted.
Several tour operators have had to cancel tours to South Korea and pay compensation as they could not get visas for their customers. 
Roughly 441,827 Vietnamese traveled to South Korea in the first ten months of 2018. During the same period, around 2.6 million South Koreans visited Vietnam. Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang ― are deemed to boast relatively high consumption trends and their citizens are eligible for South Korean new visa policy. Ho Chi Minh City had an average annual income of US$5,538 in 2017 and Hanoi US$3,500, while the national average was US$2,300, according to Korea Times.
Mai Nguyen
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