Korea and immigration

Sport Business News

The visa requirements for companies providing goods and services for events in the Republic of Korea are outlined for MEI readers by ASG Immigration's Cameron Stone.

The Republic of Korea (Korea) is one of the world's manufacturing and technology powerhouses and has held many large scale events. Given that Korea is a very advanced nation (it has one of the highest per capita broadband usages in the world), this is possibly not surprising. Major sporting events hosted by Korea in the past include the 1988 Summer Olympics, the Asian Games in 1986 and 2002, and the Asian Winter Games in 1999. Korea also co–hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Japan. In the future, Korea will host the Formula One Grand Prix for the first time later this year, and the Asian Games once again in 2014. In addition to international visitors coming to watch these major events, there are many visitors arriving for the purpose of temporarily supplying goods and services to the spectators, event participants, journalists and others. General visa requirements for large–scale eventsEntry requirements for people providing goods and services at major events can vary significantly for different countries. Work permission is generally required if a person is working in a foreign country, however short periods of work can sometimes be allowed on visit (non–work) visas. It is also the case that special arrangements are sometimes made for large–scale events. Korea's visa requirements It is important to note that Korea has different visa types for short term stays. The 'Short Term Visit' (C3) visa, which allows stays of up to 90 days, is for tourism purposes and also allows general business activities such as attending conferences and meetings. Like many other countries, Korea has a system whereby certain nationalities are required to obtain a visit visa before they travel there; whilst other nationalities are granted this visa when they arrive in Korea. This includes nationals of the UK, most European countries, Australia and the USA. Nationals of these countries are all allowed to land in Korea and stay for up to 90 days. Nationals of certain other countries are allowed to stay for a period of either 30 or 60 days upon arrival, unless they apply for this visa in advance (in which case they can stay up to 90 days). Nationals of the remaining countries must obtain this visa before arriving. Where Korea differs from many countries is that it has short term (90 day) visas which allow work for the duration of the stay. The 'Short Term Business' (C2) visa allows work, as long as the visa holder remains employed by and is paid from his/her 'home' country. The 'Short Term Employment' (C4) visa allows work where the visa holder is employed by a Korean entity. There is also the Temporary News Coverage (C–1) visa for journalists. Nationals of all countries must apply for these visas at the relevant consular post in which they are resident before travelling to Korea. For periods of work exceeding 90 days, there are a range of other work visas. Generally speaking, the employer in Korea must apply first to the Ministry of Justice in Korea for a 'Certificate for Confirmation of Visa Issuance'. Once the application is approved, a certificate is issued to the employer in Korea. The employee then applies for a visa at the relevant consular post with the required application form and supporting documents. Although the certificate of confirmation of visa issuance is not necessary for certain work visa applications, and appropriate documentation suffices, all work visas must be obtained by the employee before entering Korea to commence work. In terms of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), Korea is a signatory country and has arrangements in place which facilitate entry of service suppliers for the purpose of negotiating and/or entering into a contract for the purpose of supplying a service in Korea (in any case Korea's relatively liberal short term entry visa conditions allow options for service suppliers wishing to supply services on short–term visits, as described above). Korea is also a member of the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card Scheme, which facilitates business entry for nationals of member countries by removing the requirement to apply for a Business Visit visa. Holders of APEC cards also enjoy fast–track arrival and departure procedures at airports. Other APEC Business Travel Card Scheme members are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China and Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and Vietnam. Korea's visa requirements for suppliers for large–scale events Whilst it is too early for Korea to have developed any special visa or streamlined processing arrangements for the 2014 Asian Games, the current visa categories are to be used relating to entry for the October 2010 Formula One Korean Grand Prix. As the Grand Prix is a professional rather than amateur event the participants will most likely require Short Term Employment (C4) visas, as they will be vying for prize money. At the Asian Games, where the competitors will be amateurs, the Short Term Business visa will likely suffice, as competitors will not be eligible for such prize money. For companies supplying a service at a major event on behalf of or at the invitation of the Korean Government, the Short Term Employment (C4) visa, discussed above, is the appropriate visa and allows entry for up to 90 days. A recommendation letter would generally be provided by the relevant government department in this case. Needless to say, companies wishing to supply a service or goods at a major event in Korea are advised to commence planning their immigration arrangements well in advance. Cameron Stone works for ASG Immigration Limited in London and advises on global immigration as their International Specialist. He is a qualified Australian immigration adviser (MARN 0853023) and can be contacted on +44 20 7299 3330 or via e–mail at cameron@asgvisa. com. This article is not intended to be a complete statement of the law relating to the subject matter. Advice should always be taken on specific matters and no responsibility can be accepted by ASG Immigration Limited for action taken based on the content of this article.

Additional information