85 Koreans denied entry to the U.S. for visa error

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85 Koreans denied entry to the U.S. for visa error

Eighty-five Koreans were recently denied entry to the United States as their stated purposes of visit were different from what they reported before leaving for the country, the Foreign Ministry here said Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Korean Consulate General in Atlanta was notified on Monday that 85 Korean passport holders were refused U.S. entry at Atlanta International Airport in Georgia on Sunday and ordered to leave the country.

“As soon as the incident was reported, we sent our consul to the region to figure things out by meeting the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel and airplane officials,” a ministry official said.

“It was found that their stated purposes of travel [at the airport] were different from what they had specified through ESTA beforehand,” he added.

ESTA stands for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, designed to let Korean citizens travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without a visa. The travelers, who arrived at the airport via two separate flights, sought to enter the country through the program.

The ministry official said that the travelers consisted of people mostly in their 70s and 80s, and came from a private organization.

However, he declined to disclose the name of the organization and the identities of the individuals for protection of their privacy. He also did not provide the purposes they stated in their entry review process at the airport.

The ministry refused to give the details of their visiting purposes, citing privacy reasons.

It is rare for such a large number of Korean travelers to be denied entry to the United States. The foreign ministry said that it will work hard to prevent similar incidents from taking place again.

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