S Korea to issue 10-year visa to highly-educated Chinese tourists

Updated: 2016-01-28 16:10

By Wu Yan(chinadaily.com.cn)

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S Korea to issue 10-year visa to highly-educated Chinese tourists

Chinese visitors at a duty-free shop in Seoul, South Korea. China-South Korea trade reached $274 billion in 2013, a 7 percent year-on-year increase. [Zhu Xingxin/China Daily]

Relax visa issuance to boost economy

Though spending highly when arriving in South Korea, more than 88 percent of Chinese tourists do not revisit, according to figures from the South Korean Ministry of Justice.

The South Korean government regards extending the validity of visas as an important part of "2016 economic policy direction" and plans to improve visa issuance step by step.

According to its plan, Chinese group tourists can apply for e-visas from March. As 2016 coincides with South Korean tourism year, group tourists are exempt from visa fees for the whole year.

The government is expected to issue a new-type visa, Korean Wave visa, which combines the experiences of popular culture, plastic surgery and leisure. Applicants can have lower requirements on economic ability, age, education background and job, as well as enjoy onsite tax refunds in duty free shops

The UK and Australia expected to issue 10-year visas

South Korean's move follows other hot Chinese tourist destinations.

The US has issued 10-year multiple entry visas to Chinese since Nov, 2014. They bring additional benefits as they can enter 15 other countries or regions, including Mexico, the Philippines and Chile visa-free.

Canada also launched 10-year visas to Chinese, but only if an applicant's passport validity is longer than 10 years.

In Asia, Singapore issues 10-year visas to Chinese business personnel who regularly enter the country.

The list of countries issuing 10-year visas is growing. The UK has begun to issue two-year multiple entry visas to Chinese tourists and plans to issue 10-year visas in future.

Australia also pushes the 10-year multiple entry visa and is expected to issue it later this year.