Visa Consul and Immigration Attache of the South Korean Embassy in Ulaanbaatar Yun Byung-seung gave the following interview to detail on recent changes made to visa requirements for Mongolian nationals. These changes will become effective on September 16.
Can you tell us how South Korea has changed its visa requirement for Mongolians?
First of all, self-employed people who didn’t you pay social insurance premium and earned less than 500,000 MNT a month had to have at least five million MNT in their bank account to apply for a visa. We viewed that this wasn’t important and changed this into a review of the person’s bank statement for the last six months. We’re discussing the amount needed to be in the individual’s account. However, people, who are employed and receive monthly wages of more than 500,000 MNT, can prove their income by showing their statement of insurance premiums. In this case, the individual is required to have worked for a set amount of time in one organization.
Secondly, there are many people living and working in South Korea with a work visa. Usually, their families also apply for a visa. Therefore, we added a new requirement for these people, which is to submit their bank statement of the money they received from their family member in South Korea along with their visa application. Only the mother, father, siblings, spouse and children are included in the term “family”.
Thirdly, we now have a fast track service dedicated to issuing visas quickly for people who are highly unlikely to overstay, cause trouble or commit a crime, traveled to South Korea multiple times in the past and/ or is going to South Korea for work. This means people who have a clear motive for their travel and a specific length of stay will get their visas within 10 days.
Can people applying for visa for the first time receive this fast track service?
People traveling to South Korea for an official business can apply for this service. We will issue visas within 10 days for people who have a definite reason for travel and a stable job in Mongolia.
Will the fast track service use the national information exchange Khur system?
We’re planning to adopt the Khur system into our services. However, we must get permission from the governments of both countries because it means we’ll get access to the private information of Mongolians. If we introduce the Khur system into our services, the visa processing, and stamping can become quicker. In other words, people will not have to spend so much time compiling all of the required documents because it can be completed with just the scan of a fingerprint. This system doesn’t have to be used if you don’t want to disclose private information. But this work is being discussed.
The embassy reported that it will take action for submission of illegitimate documents. Can you clarify what this action will be exactly?
We’re being cautious of the possibility that a higher number of people will attempt to get a visa with illegitimate documents now that the span of time for visa processing has shortened. We have signed contracts with 10 companies. We receive information on how many of the people these companies sent have overstayed in South Korea. If this happens, we take administrative measures for the respective company.
Moreover, applicants are not allowed to reapply for a visa for three months after their rejection. We extended this period to six months. However, if the Khur system is incorrectly used or illegitimate document is submitted, we will strip that person’s right to apply for a South Korean visa for three years. If that person makes the same violation again, they will not be allowed to apply for a visa. In other words, their right to apply for a visa will be stripped for life. This is the fourth change we made.
Probably, many applicants will have been rejected by September 16 when the new regulation enters into force. Can these people reapply after three months or do they have to follow the new regulation?
Visa processing will be carried out in accordance with the new regulations starting September 16. This means that people applying for a visa from then on are required not to have applied within the last six months. If they had applied, then their application will be rejected automatically. However, people who applied three months prior can reapply by September 15.
Apparently, there are many people who haven’t received a response for quite some time since applying. What’s the reason for this? Will the embassy be able to decide whether to grant or refuse visa application within 10 days when the new requirement is enacted?
There could be a number of reasons for the delay in response. We’re planning to finish reviewing all of the materials gathered at the embassy by the end of the year. So far, we have received over 25,000 visa applications. Therefore, our staff might not be responding to people who submitted invalid documents because our staff is checking it again.
Applicants must not misunderstand that they’ll all get their responses on September 16. This could cause problems. For instance, it might take longer to review visa applications of people who submitted their materials before September 16 as we’ll have to respond to applications submitted after September 16 within 10 days. We’re working to grant or refuse applications as soon as possible. For example, we have increased the number of visa departments. We used to have two departments that processed visa applications but we added another department. Another will be opened in late-October.
This year, 700 to 800 people are applying for South Korean visa a day. This is so much more than we used to get in previous years and so it’s hard to cope with the workload. We need to increase our staff.
How many people have submitted illegitimate documents?
I don’t know the specific number. All kinds of documents are being forged in Mongolia. We have taken legal action against individuals who repeatedly submitted forged documents to the Consular Department or one of our 10 representative offices. It’s possible to get a visa within 10 days if all of your documents are authentic and correct. In order to reduce attempts of forgery, we’re discussing to adopt the Khur system. As we’ll get access to private information of Mongolians through this system, it’ll make it possible to shorten visa processing time.
As I mentioned before, the two nations are still discussing this matter as it concerns private information of the Mongolian population. Introducing the Khur system doesn’t mean we’ll have access to everybody’s private information. If you don’t want to use this system, you can simply submit the required documents. We will review it according to the law.
Also, many people think that we’ll grant their visa quicker if it is submitted through a high-ranking official in the embassy but this isn’t true. As we adhere to the law, we don’t do this so people should stop believing this would work. We hope people will be more sensible when applying for a visa.