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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Leaving (or Arriving) On a Jet Plane

"Don't tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled."

One may ponder the age-old chicken or the egg dilemma when it comes to Korea and travel: has Korea's meteoric rise on the world stage been propelled by rapid increases in the number of outbound and inbound tourists, or, has its rocket-like economic trajectory caused the dynamic growth in travelers both to and from Korea?

In either case, the Korean Immigration Service is certainly thinking globally as it has "devoted itself to simplifying the procedures of issuing visas and handling residency matters with an aim to attract outstanding overseas talents such as foreign investors." If my recent experience at the Daegu Immigration Office is any indication, the Immigration Service is certainly well on its way to reducing red tape and melting away the bureaucracy.

The Daegu Immigration Office is easily accessible by public transportation

I needed to extend my E-1 visa for another year of teaching at Yeungnam University. Fearing the worst, I reserved a good chunk of the day for dealing with the anticipated bureaucratic challenge. My dour expectations were shattered; I was in and out of the Daegu Immigration Office in less than 20 minutes. Buyer Beware: there is certainly no guarantee that your next travel document processing experience will be this seamless, but it may offer signs for optimism. The DIO was bright, organized, and staffed by folks wearing smiles and armed with helpful attitudes.

Inside the Daegu Immigration Office: bright and efficient  

The rapid increase in travel from Korea is likely propelled by a number of factors including increasingly popular low cost carriers which have focused on neighboring countries and other Southeast Asia regions where many Koreans like to visit and spend their holidays. Related factors are longer leave entitlements, the stabilization of the Korean won against the dollar and more diverse sales channels which offer outbound travel opportunities at lower prices. On the other hand, South Korea's easing of visa issuance regulations has also boosted a growth in inbound tourists from the region and beyond.

Happy Customer! Got my E-1 Visa extended

If you need information. documents or visas you can confidently make the Daegu Immigration Office your destination. Their Help-Line is 1345.  Hours: M-F, 9-6 PM and Closed 12-1 for lunch. Open Saturdays 9-1. Closed Sundays ad Holidays.
Address: 1012-1, Geomsadong, Dong-gu, Daegu.
Phone: 053-980-3512
For more information and directions:

As helpful as the Daegu Immigration Office may be, they probably won't tell you this most important piece of travel wisdom offered by Susan Heller:
"When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then, take half the clothes and twice the money."

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