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South Korea Experiences Over 100% Surge in Chinese Visa Applications After Lifting Covid-19 Restrictions

The number of Chinese citizens applying for short-term visas to visit South Korea has more than doubled since Seoul lifted its Covid-19 related entry restrictions on February 11, according to the country’s embassy in Beijing.

The surge in applications is being driven by Chinese tourists and ethnic Koreans living in China who want to visit home, particularly those based in Beijing and Shanghai. In the first week of resumed visa issuance, an average of 2,430 applications were submitted every day between Monday and Thursday, up 116% from the previous week’s daily average of 1,123. Demand for visas may also be coming from Chinese students studying at South Korean universities before classes resume in March.

The South Korean consulate general in Shanghai received an average of 560 applications per day last week, a 250% increase from the previous week’s average of 160. The steep increase in applications during the first week could be driven by pent-up demand, an unnamed South Korean embassy official told local media. South Korea is aiming to gradually increase the number of international flights between itself and China from 62 per week to 100 per week.

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