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Living areas explanation

This information is drafted as of April 15, 2014.
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 Entry into, departure from, and sojourn in the Republic of Korea by Korean nationals residing abroad
Korean nationals living abroad may enter into and depart from the Republic of Korea with a valid passport, etc. as they are ROK nationals.
Departure from Korea
Departure Inspection
- Any national of the Republic of Korea (hereinafter 'national') who desires to depart from the Republic of Korea to an area outside the Republic of Korea (hereinafter referred to as 'departure'), shall hold a valid passport and undergo a departure inspection conducted by the immigration control official at the entry and departure port from which the national is to depart: Provided that, if it is impossible to depart from the entry and departure port for any inevitable reason, he may depart after undergoing the departure inspection conducted by an immigration control official at a place other than the entry and departure port with permission of the head of the competent Immigration Control Office (hereinafter referred to as the 'head of the office') or the head of the competent branch office of the Immigration Control Office (hereinafter referred to as the 'head of the branch office') (Article 3.(1) of the 「Immigration Control Act」).
- Any person who has departed from the Republic of Korea without undergoing the departure inspection shall be punished by imprisonment with or without labor for not more than three years or a fine not exceeding KRW 20 million (Article 94.(1) of the 「Immigration Control Act」).

Legal Term Explanation

▷ The term 'passport' means a passport or refugee travel certificate issued by the Government of the Republic of Korea, any foreign government or competent international organization, or any other certificate equal to the passport which the Government of the Republic of Korea acknowledges valid (Subparagraph 4, Article 2 of the 「Immigration Control Act」).

 

▷A “passport for residency” refers to a type of ordinary passport that is issued for residence purposes to an emigrant under the 「Emigration Act」(Nevertheless, those Korean nationals who have resided abroad since before August 15, 1945, stayed in the Republic of Korea for no less than 90 days each year for the last three years, made a contribution to an educational foundation or social welfare foundation, and runs such corporation are included) (Article 6-2.(1) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Passport Act」).

 

▷ The term 'entry and departure port' means a place that falls under any of the following(Subparagraph 6 of Article 2 of the 「Immigration Control Act」 and Article 98(1) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Immigration Control Act」):

 

· International airports

 

· Panmunjeom, Gyeongui Line train and vehicle operation office located on Mt. Dora, and Donghae Line train and vehicle operation office located in Sacheonri, and other places designated by the Minister of Unification as deemed necessary for the promotion of inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation;

 

· Open ports, and

 

· Osan Military Airfield, Daegu Military Airfield, Gwangju Military Airfield, Gunsan Military Airfield, and Seoul Airport

 

Prohibition of Departure
- The Minister of Justice may prohibit the departure of Korean nationals for up to six months when they fall under any of the following (Article 4.(1) of the 「Immigration Control Act」, Article 1.(3) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Immigration Control Act」and Article 6.(2) of the「Enforcement Regulations of the Immigration Control Act」):
1. A person who is undergoing a criminal trial;
2. A person whose penal servitude or imprisonment has not yet been completed;
3. A person who has not paid the fine of no less than 10 million won or additional charge of no less than 20 million won;
4. A person who has not paid the national tax, customs or local tax in an amount of not less than 50 million won by the due date without any justifiable reasons;
5. A person of any of 1 through 4 above whose departure is deemed inappropriate because it is believed that their departure could damage the national interest, public safety or economic order of the Republic of Korea for any of the following reasons:
· A person whose release from call or enlistment to supplemental service or public service is cancelled pursuant to Article 65.(6) of the 「Military Service Act」;
· A person who got exemption from military service, or got assigned to the Second Militia Service or supplemental service, using a false or fraudulent means and such military exemption or assignment are thus cancelled;
· A person whose draft physical examination or conscription was postponed but the postponement is cancelled pursuant to Article 128.(4) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Military Service Act」;
· A person whose entitlement to exemption from military service is cancelled pursuant to Article 65.(4) of the previous 「Military Service Act」(before amended by Act. No. 7272 on 31 December 2004) (excluding those who have declared permanent return);
· A person who has not fulfilled his military duties as specified in Paragraphs of Article 76.(1) or Article 76.(3) of the「Military Service Act」;
· A person who has fled or gone into hiding to avoid, or get exempt from, military duties in breach of Article 86 of the 「Military Service Act」;
· A person who is under a tax investigation on suspicion of evading national tax due in an amount of no less than 200 million won;
· A person who is under a tax investigation for a charge of issuing fake tax invoices or invoices worth 2 billion won or more;
· A person who tries to depart or enter the nation via the ports prescribed in Article 98 of the「Enforcement Decree of the Immigration Control Act」using a passport issued under another person's name or a false, or fraudulently altered, passport;
· A person who is under an audit by the Board of Audit and Inspection for a charge of 30 million won or more of embezzlement of public funds or bribery; or
· Any other person whose departure is deemed, by the Minister of Justice, likely to cause a significant harm to national security or foreign relations.
The Minister of Justice may prohibit certain persons from departing from Korea for up to one month when their departure is deemed inappropriate for reasons of criminal investigation. Nonetheless, for those who fall under any of the following sub-paragraphs, their departure from Korea is banned for a period as follows (Article 4.(2) of the 「Immigration Control Act」):
- A person who is under a stay of prosecution as his whereabouts are unknown or in case there are difficulties to continue such investigation because of special causes like his being at large: for up to three months
- A person who is under a stay of prosecution and whose warrant of arrest or detention is issued: for the valid period of such warrant.
※ “Stay of prosecution”: When a prosecutor is not able to complete an investigation for reasons such as the suspect's whereabouts being unknown, he or she may decide to temporarily suspend prosecution till such causes are resolved (Article 73 of 「Prosecutory Affair Regulations of the Prosecutors' Office」).
Entry into Korea
Entry Inspection
- If a national desires to enter the Republic of Korea from an area outside the Republic of Korea (hereinafter referred to as 'entry'), he shall hold a valid passport, and undergo an entry inspection conducted by an immigration control official at the entry and departure port through which he may enter the Republic of Korea: Provided that, if it is impossible to enter the Republic of Korea through the entry and departure port for any inevitable reason, he may enter after undergoing the entry inspection conducted by the immigration control official at a place other than the entry and departure port with the permission of the head of the office or branch office. (Article 6.(1) of the 「Immigration Control Act」).
- A person who has entered the Republic of Korea without undergoing the entry inspection shall be punished by imprisonment with labor for not more than one year or a fine not exceeding KRW 10 million (Subparagraph 1 of Article 95 of the 「Immigration Control Act」).
- If a national desires to enter the Republic of Korea without holding a valid passport due to loss of it or for any other reason, the immigration control official may allow him to enter through a procedure of confirmation (Article 6.(2) of the 「Immigration Control Act」).
Permanent Return from Abroad
In the event a person who has emigrated abroad and obtained permanent residency or other equivalent long-term residency intends to return to the Republic of Korea permanently for such purposes as earning a living in the country, the person shall report to the Minister of Foreign Affairs by filing a copy of documents substantiating revocation of his or her permanent residency or other equivalent long-term residency as well as a residency passport (Article 12 of the 「Emigration Act」 and Article 3-3.(1) of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Emigration Act」).
Upon receipt of a report on permanent return to the Republic of Korea, the Minister of Foreign Affairs shall issue a certificate of permanent return (Form 15 of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Emigration Act」) (Article 3-3.(2) of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Emigration Act」).
※ Immigration inspection by digital equipment
- Immigration inspection of a national may be replaced by immigration inspection by digital equipment (hereinafter referred to as “automatic immigration inspection”)(Article 6.(3) of the 「Immigration Control Act」, Article 1.(2) of the「Enforcement Decree of the Immigration Control Act」and Article 1.(2) of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Immigration Control Act」).
· A national who wishes to undergo an automatic immigration inspection shall meet all of the following requirements:
1. A person who possesses a valid multiple passport
2. A person who has submitted the application for registration for an automatic immigration inspection to the head of the competent immigration control office or the head of a branch immigration control office and voluntarily offered information regarding fingerprints and face(provided, however, if deemed necessary by the Ministry of Justice, a person may be required to apply for automatic immigration inspection using information device.)
3. A person who is not prohibited from departure or emergency departure and falls into one of the following.
√ A person who is 17 years old or older who has received a resident registration certificate (domestic residence report certificate if Korean living abroad)
√ A person who is at least 14 years old but less than 17 years old who has received a resident registration certificate (domestic residence report certificate if Korean living abroad) and have registered information regarding fingerprint and face with parental consent.
4. Other than these, a person who does not need to be inspected by a immigration control official due to possession of a passport whose use is limited or which is ordered to be returned under the「Passport Act」, etc.
- As for a person who has completed an automatic immigration inspection, a departure inspection seal or entry inspection seal may be omitted(Article 1-2.(2) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Immigration Control Act」).
Visit to North Korea by Korean Nationals Residing Abroad
Visit to North Korea
- Where a person who falls under any of the following (hereinafter 'a Korean national residing abroad') travels between a foreign country and North Korea, he shall report thereon to the Minister of Unification or the head of a Korean diplomatic mission abroad: Provided that he travels directly between South and North Korea without passing through a foreign country, he shall carry a certificate of visit (Article 9.(1) of the 「Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」) (Article 9.(8) of the 「Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」):
· A person who acquired permanent residency or a corresponding long-term sojourn permit from a foreign government
· A person who is hired by a foreign corporation based overseas and other such parties and visits North Korea for business purposes
- A Korean national residing abroad who intends to make a report on travel between a foreign country and North Korea shall submit the following documents to the Minister of Unification or the head of a diplomatic mission abroad by three days before departure or within ten days after return (Article 14.(1) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」).
√ A report on the visit to North Korea (Form no. 7 of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」); and
√ Other materials that the Minister of Unification or the head of a diplomatic mission abroad deems necessary (passport, entry and departure report).
- Punishment for violation
· A Korean national residing abroad who has traveled between a foreign country and North Korea without making a report to the Minister of Unification or the head of a diplomatic mission abroad or made a false or other unlawful report shall be punished by a fine for negligence not exceeding KRW 3 million (Article 28-2.(1).1 of the 「Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」 )
※ Details about imposition of negligence fines and appeals can be found at the 『Payment of negligence fines』 section of this Web site (http://oneclick.law.go.kr).
Application for a Certificate of Visit to North Korea
- Application for a certificate of visit to North Korea by Korean nationals residing abroad
· A Korean national residing abroad who travels directly between South and North Korea without passing through a foreign country shall submit the following documents to the Minister of Unification not later than seven days prior to the visit: Provided that where he has submitted in advance a document concerning the applicant himself in order to visit a resident of North Korea who is a family member (referring to relatives in blood and law within third cousin relations, spouse, or ex-spouse; hereinafter the same shall apply), documents about matters of identity need not be submitted (Proviso of Article 9.(8) of the 「Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」 and Article 12.(1) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」):
√ Application for a certificate of visit to North Korea (Form no. 1 of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」);
√ Matters of identity about the applicant (Form no. 3 of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」);
√ One copy of his photograph to be used in the certificate of visit (referring to a color photograph of the upper half of the body taken with his head uncovered within three months before the application, with the size of 3.5cm in width and 4.5cm in length);
√ Written permission for overseas travel (Article 70 of the 「Military Service Act」 (Provided that this shall apply only to a person who visits North Korea for not less than sixty days);
√ Documents or materials confirming the intention of invitation of the North Korean authority, organization, etc.; and
√ Other documents or materials as prescribed by the Minister of Unification.
· If a Korean national residing abroad desires to apply for a certificate of visit, he may submit the application documents to the head of a South Korean diplomatic mission abroad instead of the Minister of Unification. In this case, the head of a South Korea diplomatic mission abroad shall send the application documents to the Minister of Unification without delay (Article 13 of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」).
· Where an agent applies for a certificate of visit to North Korea, he shall submit a power of attorney of the principal or any documents or materials that can stand in lieu of a power of attorney (Article 34 of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」).
Visit Permission
- The Minister of Unification permits a visit to North Korea by overseas Koreans by issuing a certificate of visit. The certificate of visit shall contain the following (Form no. 4 of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」):
√ Name and date of birth of the applicant, organization where he belongs, and his status there;
√ Name of the person to visit, organization where he belongs, and his status there;
√ Purpose of visit;
√ Area to visit and period of visit;
√ Visit route;
√ Permission conditions; and
√ Valid term of a certificate of visit.
- Period of visit
· Where the Minister of Unification issues a certificate of visit, he may grant a period of visit of up to one year (Article 9.(4) of the 「Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」 and Article 12.(5) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」).
· A person with a certificate of visit can visit North Korea one time during the period of visit (Article 9.(5) of the 「Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」).
- Permission conditions
· The Minister of Unification may attach the following conditions when issuing a certificate of visit (Article 9.(4) of the 「Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」 and Article 12.(6) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」):
√ Restriction or change of the purpose of visit, person to visit, area to visit, visit route, etc.;
√ Submission of a schedule for accessing the Military Demarcation Line if that is the case;
√ Submission of a report on visits results;
√ Completion of training on visiting North Korea (Article 6 of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」); and
√ Other conditions deemed by the Minister of Unification as necessary for promoting inter-Korean exchange and cooperation and maintaining order.
- Issuance of a certificate of visit
· The Minister of Unification issues a certificate of visit when permitting a visit (Article 12.(3) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」).
· A certificate of visit shall be either a certificate of a single visit to North Korea that can be used only once or a certificate of multiple visits that can be used several times until the valid term expires (Article 9.(2) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」).
· Valid term of a certificate of multiple visits
√ The valid term of a certificate of multiple visits shall be five years and may be extended up to an additional five years (Article 9.(3) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」).
- Re-issuance of a certificate of visit
· If a person to whom a certificate of visit has been issued falls under any of the following, the certificate may be re-issued (Article 15 of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」):
√ Where there is a need to correct or change a matter recorded on the certificate;
√ Where he losses the issued certificate;
√ Where the issued certificate is so worn out as to be unusable; and
√ Other cases deemed by the Minister of Unification to require re-issuance of the certificate for unavoidable reasons.
Contact Report
- If a resident of South Korea who is currently abroad desires to have a contact with a resident of North Korea, he may submit the following documents to the Minister of Unification or the head of a Korean diplomatic mission abroad. In this case, the head of the Korean diplomatic mission abroad shall without delay forward such documents to the Minister of Unification through the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Article 16.(1) of the 「Enforcement Decree of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」):
√ A report on contact with a resident of North Korea (Form no. 9 of the 「Enforcement Rule of the Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」)
√ Matters of identity of the applicant; and
√ Other documents as deemed necessary by the Minister of Unification
※ Details on inspection during entry and departure and entry into and departure from the country by nationals who intend to come and go between South and North Korea or enter into and depart from the country via North Korea under the 「Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Act」 shall be defined by the Guidelines on Inspection of Entry and Departure and Entry into and Departure from the County for People Coming and Going between South and North Korea」(Ministry of Justice’s Directive No. 752; Proclaimed and enforced on January 1, 2010).
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