'Hallyu visa' has international hopefuls looking to register
The Ministry of Justice is set to introduce a new visa called the “Hallyu visa” for international students who are hoping to learn more about Hallyu, or the Korean wave, this year.
Foreign students will be able to receive a short-term visa of one to two years by registering at a local private institute such as a dance or drama academy.
Originally, a foreigner can be eligible for a visa by applying at a local university, signing a contract with an entertainment agency like K-pop powerhouse SM Entertainment or getting a job.
The Hallyu visa is receiving a positive response by fans overseas, especially in China where news related to the visa recorded over 3 million search hits in one day.
“I’ve always been bummed at how there wasn’t an opportunity for me to professionally learn [to dance] in Korea,” Yang Xu, a Chinese person who dreams of becoming a dancer in a K-pop group, told the Chosun Ilbo. “But now I would like to register in an institute right away.”
Locals are showing mixed feelings.
“It will be a good opportunity to promote K-pop with [foreigners] coming to Korea to learn about [Hallyu],” Kim Young-jin, who lives in Suwon, Gyeonggi, told Yonhap.
However, others expressed concerns that foreigners may abuse the visa as an excuse to vacation in Korea or that the visa will allow foreigners to reside in Korea “too easily,” according to the Chosun Ilbo and Yonhap.
The Ministry of Justice said that details of the visa, like the date of implementation and eligibility, will be finalized at a later date, after thorough discussions.
BY SHIN MIN-HEE [email@example.com]