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Seoul to extend visas for ethnic Koreans stranded by coronavirus

A teacher checks a first grader's temperature at Dongdo Elementary School on May 27, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Nov 17, 2020, Yonhap. Ethnic Koreans of foreign nationality stranded in South Korea due to the protracted outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic will be allowed to extend their stay here more conveniently, the Ministry of Justice said Tuesday, Yonhap News Agency reported.

According to the Korea Immigration Service under the ministry, only one member of an ethnic Korean family can now leave the country and visit their home country as a representative before applying for visa extension for the rest of his or her family members.

Previously, all family members had to leave for their home countries to extend their visas in South Korea.

Under the temporary deregulation, only one family member with the H-2 work and visit visa can make a round trip to his or her home country for extension of stay here on behalf of other family members, the agency said, adding those visas can be extended for up to 90 days.

The special measure came as some ethnic Koreans of foreign nationality have been stranded in South Korea due to global travel restrictions caused by COVID-19 and are in danger of slipping into illegal status.

The agency explained that the special measure will be applied to H-2 visa holders’ spouses and underage children who are residing here with the F-1 family visitor visa.

If the family representative fails to return with a new visa within 90 days, however, the remaining family members will not have their visas extended and will be asked to leave the country, it noted.

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