SEOUL, Oct. 9 (Korea Bizwire) – A recent legislative change will make it easier for an immigrant spouse to acquire a South Korean visa if his or her Korean partner is willing to learn the spouse’s mother tongue.
The Ministry of Justice announced Monday that the Korean language qualification required for a marriage visa will be waived for immigrants whose South Korean partner has completed a three-month course in his or her spouse’s native language or has passed a basic level exam on the language.
Currently, foreign spouses must pass level one of the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) or complete at least 120 hours of Korean language education offered by a designated institution.
However, the new policy will do away with the Korean language proficiency requirement and replace it with an interview at the South Korean mission in the foreign spouse’s country as long as the South Korean partner proves that he or she has completed a course on the spouse’s mother tongue.
Previously, this rule applied only to pregnant immigrant spouses or those who gave birth.
The Ministry of Justice said that the new policy “recognizes the effort of a South Korean spouse to learn the native language of his or her partner, that he or she is sincere towards marriage alongside with pregnancy and delivery,” adding that “deeper understanding can come with our citizen trying to learn the spouse’s native language, rather than forcing the immigrant partner to learn Korean.”
The ministry also lifted restrictions on visa reapplications for those who prove that they have been living together for more than six months after registering for marriage, a step forward from a previous policy originally designed to prevent international “speed marriages” by preventing foreign spouses from reapplying for six months once a visa has been rejected.
H.M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)