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U.S.’ New Visa Policy Should Deal with Aversion in Korea

U.S.’ New Visa Policy Should Deal with Aversion in Korea

Posted October. 24, 2003 22:41,   


William C. Oberlin, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, urged on October 23 to take measures to reduce Korea’s aversions to the new procedures for the issuance of U.S. entry visas.

“We strongly urge the U.S. State Department to positively explain about the new visa policy to the Korean people and make efforts to diminish possible repulsions among Koreans,” said Oberlin who attended as a testifier at a hearing dealing with the subject “Visa Reforms and New Technology in the aftermath of 9.11 terrorist attacks.”

“We are losing business partners, tourists, overseas students, and more seriously, we are losing our friends and influence in Korea. The U.S. can’t afford these losses,” Oberlin said, adding, “Korea is a crucial trade partner of the U.S., the world’s 12th biggest economy, and also an important ally in dispatching troops to Iraq. Approximately 700,000 Korean people travel to the U.S., but we are risking these large revenues due to the new visa policy.”

“The new visa policy of the U.S. may unfortunately foster anti-U.S. sentiment in Korea amid many foreigners’ view of U.S. in a more skeptical way,” he continued. Korea is the fifth ranked in total number among countries whose citizens visit the U.S. following Britain, Japan, Germany, and France. The U.S. however, doesn’t require tourist visas for citizens from those other four countries to enter the U.S., and therefore Korea is the largest country which still needs tourist visas. Last May, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced a new program to the U.S. embassy in Korea in which the rate of people who have to pass the interview to get visa increased from 35 percent of total applicants to 70 percent.