What is the change? South Korea is now requiring tuberculosis certificates for certain nationals of high-risk TB countries who are applying for long-term visas or extending their visas and applying for alien registration cards. 

What does the change mean? Nationals of the 18 designated countries who also reside in such countries must provide an additional certificate of health when applying at a Korean consulate for a long-term visa (stays of 91 days or more). The requirement also applies to nationals of the 18 countries (regardless of country of residence) when applying in Korea for a change or extension to long-term status or who obtained a long-term visa without being tested for TB and who are applying for an alien registration card.

  • Implementation time frame: The new rule took effect March 2.
  • Visas/permits affected: Long-term visas (stays of 91 days or more), extensions of stay and alien registration cards.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of the 18 designated countries. A national of a high-risk country who does not reside in a high-TB country (e.g., a Chinese national residing in the United States) is not required to provide a certificate if applying at a consulate. The certificate is required for nationals of the high-risk countries who are applying in Korea for long-term change or extensions of status and alien registration cards.
  • Business Impact: The additional documentation will add to preparation time for some foreign applicants.
  • Next Steps: Employers should update their policies and ensure that affected foreign nationals obtain the TB test in advance of filing relevant applications. 

Background: The 18 countries currently on South Korea’s high tuberculosis burden list are:

Bangladesh Cambodia
China East Timor
India Indonesia
Kyrgyzstan Malaysia
Mongolia Myanmar
Nepal Pakistan
The Philippines Russia
Sri Lanka Thailand
Uzbekistan Vietnam

Overseas applicants who are nationals of, and residing in, one of the above countries must submit a certificate of health, including a TB result that is valid for one year and issued by a hospital designated by the Korean diplomatic missions. E-visa applicants must also submit it as a supporting document.

Nationals of the high-risk countries on short-term visas who seek to extend their stay to long-term status in Korea must submit a certificate issued by a Korean public health center. This rule also applies to nationals of high-risk countries who were granted a long-term visa before the requirement took effect and who apply for an alien registration card in Korea.

As of July 1, the new requirement will also apply to applicants for student (D-2) and language study abroad (D-4) visas.

Exceptions include children ages 5 and younger, diplomat (A-1), official (A-2) and agreement (A-3) visas, and others who already submitted a TB certificate.

BAL Analysis: Employers and foreign applicants affected by the new rule should prepare for the additional requirement and factor in additional time to obtain the certificate.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in South Korea. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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