Posted September. 26, 2008 07:35,
Koreans are expected to be able to travel to the United States from January with no visa.
Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in Washington Wednesday agreed on Koreas inclusion in the U.S. visa waiver program at a working-level meeting.
The following is a Dong-A Ilbo question-and-answer section on the visa waiver program.
Q: If the program is implemented, will all Koreans going to the United States not require a visa?
A: No, the program allows citizens from certain countries to visit the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without a visa. A Korean who wishes to study in or immigrate to the United States must get the proper visa. Stays of more than 90 days even for tourism or visiting a relative will require a visa. The visa waiver program also does not apply to tourists entering U.S. territory via boat or land.
Q: Is an electronic passport necessary for no-visa travel to the United States?
A: Yes. Those who want to travel to the United States must have electronic passports, even if their existing non-electronic passports remain valid. An electronic passport is a de facto electronic travel authorization prior to boarding a U.S.-bound flight containing information such as name, passport number and facial features. The Korean government began issuing electronic passports late last month.
Q. Will the personal information of Korean nationals be shared with the U.S. government?
A. In the final working-level negotiations, Korea decided to offer limited information in case of felonies such as murder, rape, arson and burglary. Thus the automatic review does not disclose insignificant information such as record of traffic accidents. Since specific crime records will be shared, most Koreans will not be affected. And since the information exchange is based on reciprocity, Americans entering Korea will also undergo the same review process.