Rights body asks immigration to take cards

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Rights body asks immigration to take cards

A government civil rights watchdog said Thursday that it has asked the Ministry of Justice to allow foreigners staying in Korea to use their credit cards to pay immigration fees.

The requirement that foreigners pay fees related to immigration and nationality in cash only causes them inconvenience, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission said.

The fees include 50,000 won ($44) to 100,000 won for an application for a reentry permit, 120,000 won for an application for a permit to engage in activities not covered by one’s status of sojourn, 100,000 won for an application for a permit to change one’s status of sojourn, 300,000 won for an application for a naturalization permit and 20,000 won for a report of nationality acquirement.

The commission said its website has received numerous complaints from foreigners, with one of them saying, “I applied for a permit for naturalization but was told that the service fee of 300,000 won cannot be paid by credit card and only cash is accepted.”

It said all immigration offices nationwide and other public offices dealing with foreigners should accept both cash and credit cards for the payment of fees related to immigration and nationality.

The watchdog agency also urged the justice ministry to address the lack of space on the certificate of alien registration for a person’s place and period of stay to help foreigners avoid unnecessary expenses and trips to the immigration office.

According to government data, about 2.32 million foreigners were staying in Korea as of the end of September. Of them, 1.65 million are long-term residents intending to live here for over 90 days.

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