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Information on Medical Insurance for Foreigners

Dear AMCHAM Members: Many foreign residents in Korea choose to opt out of Korea’s National Health Insurance (NHI) and receive coverage from foreign insurance policies. It has come to our attention that the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) has recently begun to enforce a change to the opt-out policy that could result in significant financial penalties for AMCHAM members if not followed. Rules for Exemption from NHI Coverage Under the National Health Insurance Act of Korea as amended in 2016, foreign residents are no longer eligible to opt out of NHI after they have established their residency in Korea. If a foreigner working in Korea wishes to be exempted from NHI coverage, he or she must have private insurance coverage and apply for such exemption before establishing residency in Korea. Once exempted from NHI coverage, an individual must renew such exemption by applying to NHIS every year and receive approval. To apply for or renew an exemption from NHI coverage, please visit your local NHIS Center for Foreign Residents (LINK) or call the NHIS Call Center (Korean: 1577-1000; English: 033-811-2000). Penalty for Non-Payment of NHI Fees If an individual fails to obtain an exemption from NHIS and does not pay the requisite insurance fees (6.86% per annum divided equally between the employer and employee), NHIS may confiscate the unpaid amount. AMCHAM understands that the Korean government has recently begun enforcing this regulation in earnest. We have recently been notified by members whose private accounts were frozen and funds deducted because they failed to confirm their exemption from NHI coverage. We Value Your Input AMCHAM strongly encourages all of our members to work with their company’s HR teams to ensure that they and their employees are in full compliances with Korean regulations. If you have any questions or concerns regarding health insurance coverage for foreigners in Korea, please share them with the AMCHAM Government & Corporate Affairs Team (Email: gov@amchamkorea.org). Thank you.  AMCHAM Korea 

2021.08.03

Quarantine Exemption for Travelers Vaccinated Abroad

Dear AMCHAM Members,  Sarting today, individuals vaccinated abroad who are visiting immediate family members in Korea will be eligible to apply for an exemption from the 14-day mandatory quarantine. This expands on the existing policy of exempting those vaccinated in Korea or those visiting for essential buseinss, humanitarian or academic purposes.  ​The application for quarantine exemption must be made by email to the Korean overseas mission whose consular jurisdiction covers the area of the departure airport. Non-Koreans and individuals whose place of residence in in Korea are also eligible to apply. Please note that each application will be reviewed by the responsible overseas mission on a case-by-cae basis and there is no guarantee that an application will be accepted.  ​Please refer to the details below and to the website of the ROK Embassy in the USA (LINK) for further information.  ​Who is Eligible 1. A person visiting an immediate family member in Korea. - Immediate family includes spouse, parents/grandparents, spouse's parents/grandparents, children/grandchildre. A person visiting a sibling is not eligible to apply.   ​2. Vaccinated with the recommended number of doses of a WHO-approved Vaccine* at least two weeks before entering Korea. - As of June 28: Pfizer, Janssen, Moderna, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Covishield (AZ Serum Institute of India), Sinofarm and Sinovac.  ​​3. The vaccination must be completed in the country of departure, not in a third country. - For example, a person vaccinated in the U.S. cannot apply for the exemption if he/she is traveling to Korea from Singapore.  ​​​4. The qurantine exemption will not apply to travelers from countries with active spread of variant strains, such as the South Africa and Brazil variants. - As of June 28: South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Equatorial Guinea, Brazil, Suriname, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina and Malta.  ​​​​5. A person who meets the above conditions can apply regardless of their citizenship or place of residence.  ​​​​​6. Accompanying children up to 6 years of age can be exempted from quarantine even if they are not vaccinated.  ​How to Apply 1. You must apply to the Korean overseas mission whose consular jurisdiction covers the area of the departure airport.  ​2. Application and issuance of quarantine exemption will be through email only. Please check the website of your embassy or consulate (as per the attachment) for the appropriate email address.  ​​3. The application must be submitted during the appropriate time period as below. ' ​ AMCHAM has continously advocated for Korea to lift the quarantine requirement for vaccinated travelers regardless of where they were vaccinated. We applaud Korea for taking this positive step toward normalization and will continue to work with the Korean government to alleviate the qurantine on inbound travelers as quickly and safely as conditions allow.  ​Thank you. 

2021.06.28

Important Information on COVID-19 Vaccination

Dear AMCHAM Members, As Korea’s vaccination campaign continues to gain pace, many AMCHAM members will be applying for and receiving vaccinations in the coming months. AMCHAM is grateful to the Korean government for making vaccines available to all residents of Korea on a non-discriminatory basis regardless of nationality. Please note the important information below regarding vaccination. Special Instructions for Individuals Not Enrolled in the National Health Insurance (NHI) Enrollment in NHI is not required to be eligible for vaccination. However, if you are not enrolled in NHI, you can only be vaccinated at a Community Health Center (보건소) rather than a hospital or other facility. Please refer to the attached document (page 23, section 나) for details and inquire to your local Community Health Center for additional information. Real-Time Application for “No Show” Vaccines While at-risk groups continue to have priority for vaccination, starting today anyone over 30 years of age may now apply for “no show” vaccinations. Please use Naver or Kakao to search for available vaccinations near you. Note that you must be enrolled in NHI to take advantage of this option. 14-day Quarantine Exemption for Vaccinated Travelers At present, Korea only recognizes vaccinations conducted entirely in Korea. AMCHAM continues to advocate to the Korean government for recognition of U.S. vaccinations. Until such recognition is granted, you may apply to the Business Travel Support Center operated by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) for exemption from the 14-day quarantine upon return to Korea. AMCHAM is committed to supporting our members and Korea’s return to normalcy by providing information and support on vaccination and travel. If you have any questions, please refer to the AMCHAM Government Affairs Team for assistance (email: govcorp@amchamkorea.org).  

2021.06.04

Update on Travel Regulations for Foreigners

Dear valued AMCHAM members: This is to inform you of an important change to Korea’s rules regarding registered aliens who re-enter Korea after traveling abroad. As previously notified on May 29, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) implemented new regulations effective June 1 that require resident aliens who travel abroad to obtain a medical certificate within 48 hours before re-entering Korea. Registered aliens who seek to re-enter the Republic of Korea within 3 weeks after departing from the country are eligible to apply for an Exemption from Medical Examination if they are traveling for the purpose of business/investment activities, journalism, or academic/research activities. Today, the Korean government informed AMCHAM of revised rules to extend the scope of eligibility for an Exemption from Medical Examination to family members. Under the revised rules, a resident alien who is traveling for one of the aforementioned purposes may apply for an Exemption from Medical Examination for family members accompanying him/her by submitting a letter of explanation and (if required) proof of family relationship. Please see the attached document for the updated application procedure with the relevant changes highlighted in blue. AMCHAM will continue its close dialogue with the Korean government to further alleviate restrictions on travel by foreign residents of Korea. Please contact the AMCHAM Government & Corporate Affairs Team (govcorp@amchamkorea.org, 02.6201.2240) should you have any questions. Thank you. AMCHAM Korea

2020.06.11

Important Notice: Recent Travel-Related Regulations for Fore…

Dear AMCHAM members: On Monday, May 25, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) announced that effective June 1, Korea would implement new requirements for Korean visa holders to re-enter Korea after travel abroad in order to prevent inflow of COVID-19 from overseas. The originally announced measures are outlined below: 1. Korea will require re-entry permits for long-term visa holders (excluding A-1, A-2, A-3, and F-4 visas). If the permit is not obtained at a local immigration office before departing Korea, the resident visa status will be cancelled. 2. When returning to Korea, a foreign resident must undergo a medical examination 48 hours prior to departure and present a signed certificate issued by an authorized medical institution to immigration officials upon arrival. 3. Returning long-term residents must still be tested upon arrival and submit to a mandatory two-week quarantine. Immediately after these measures were announced, AMCHAM’s Government & Corporate Affairs Team led by Joon Huh met with senior officials in various agencies to address concerns of our members, and the burden this unnecessarily placed on personal and business travel. As a result of these consultations, the officials agreed to provide alternatives. On May 29, the relevant officials from the Korean government visited AMCHAM, and we are pleased to inform you that after careful consideration of concerns raised, MOJ has agreed to modify the new requirements as follows: 1. Korea will establish an on-line application system so that travelers can easily obtain re-entry permits by mid-June. Approval will be given within 15-30 minutes of application. 2. When traveling on official purpose (business/investment, press, academic/research) for less than 3 weeks, the requirement for a medical certificate 48 hours prior to departure will be waived. The traveler needs to apply for the waiver from the Immigration Office in advance, prior to leaving Korea. 3. For non-official travel, one should still undergo a medical examination 2 (extendable up to 3) working days prior to departure for Korea. A Korean-language summary of the modified requirements can be found on the MOJ website. These decisive actions are an indication of the Korean Government’s willingness to fully listen to concerns and to take immediate action as necessary. We know that these actions may not satisfy 100% of the concerns that you may have. However, this is a GREAT first step. AMCHAM will continue to monitor this issue and take necessary and appropriate action to protect the interests of our members. Thank you for you continued support. Regards, James Kim Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Jones Chairman of the Board of Governors

2020.05.29