(Case) I am a foreigner wanting to receive medical treatment in Korea. I understand that there is a medical tourist visa available for foreign patients. How can I get a medical tourist visa and what documents do I need to prepare to apply for the visa?
(Answer) There are three ways to apply for a medical tourist visa (C-3-3, G-1-10).
① First, a patient can apply for a visa directly at a diplomatic office.
- Since a patient directly applies for his or her visa application in person, the patient can provide his or her medical information and circumstances more accurately. However, there is an inconvenience for the patient to visit the embassy when applying for and receiving the visa. .
② Second, an organization providing medical tourism services to foreign patients can apply for a visa on behalf of a patient by submitting a “Certificate of Visa Issuance.”
- The visa application is reviewed in Korea (Immigration Office under the Ministry of Justice) rather than at the embassy of the patient’s country and the result is sent to the embassy. Then, the embassy attaches the visa to the patient’s passport.
- The patient does not need to visit an Immigration Office. When the application and attached documents are submitted online, the Ministry of Justice reviews them and sends the results of review online to the respective embassy.
- However, since the embassy attaches the visa to the patient’s passport, the patient does need to visit the embassy.
③ Lastly, the patient can apply for an electronic visa.
- Unlike the “Certificate of Visa Issuance,” an electronic visa is a complete visa. Patients do not need to visit a diplomatic office of their respective countries. They can simply print out the electronic visas issued to them.
- However, only organizations with excellent records of medical tourism services to foreign patients as designated by the Ministry of Justice can apply for an electronic visa.
(Case) I am working for an institute that provides medical tourism services to foreign patients. I wonder if we can apply for a visa on behalf of a foreign patient.
(Answer) In the case of an electronic medical tourist visa, which is issued by the Ministry of Justice, the “organizations with excellent records of medical tourism services to foreign patients” can apply for the visa on behalf of their foreign patients. If your company is categorized as an organization with an excellent record of medical tourism services to foreign patients, you can apply for an electronic visa on behalf of your foreign patient.
- The Ministry of Justice examines the rate of illegal stays, invitation performances and other details (medical tourism induction records, business plans and excellent attracting cases) and selects “organizations with excellent records of medical tourism services to foreign patients”.
- Then, the Ministry of Justice authorizes the selected organizations to apply for an electronic visa.
- Submission of evidential documents relating to the patient’s financial abilities can be omitted.
- In addition, benefits including conferment of a certificate of designation as a skilled physician by the Justice Minister (in five languages) are provided. To find out if your company qualifies as an organization with an excellent record of medical tourism services to foreign patients, check out Announcement -> Notice menu in the Hi KOREA website (www.hikorea.go.kr).
(Case) I am a foreign national who came to Korea for the purpose of receiving medical treatment. I heard that there is an alien registration system. I'd like to know who needs to register and if it also applies to the foreigners who came to Korea with a medical visa. If I'm required to register, where can I do this? I would also like to know if I can receive health insurance benefits after alien registration.
1. Alien registration is a system to administer the overall matters regarding foreign nationals who are staying in the Republic of Korea for longer than 90 days such as their (Immigration Control Act)
2. Specifically, those who intend to stay in Korea for more than 90 days from the date of their entry or intend to do so by changing their status of sojourn are required to submit the alien registration no later than 90 days (or the date when their status change was approved in case of changing their status of sojourn) from the date of their entry to the Korea Immigration Service or immigration office of their residence.
- Note, however, that alien registration shall not apply to those who perform duties in terms of diplomatic/official agreement, their family members, and others who are deemed to be exempted from alien registration by the Ministry of Justice.
- This strictly applies to foreign nationals who entered Korea with a Medical Visa (C-3-3 or G-1-10) for the purpose of receiving medical treatment. If you plan to stay in Korea for 90 days or longer, you must complete alien registration.
3. Those who complete alien registration are considered eligible to be insured by Korean health insurance. This does not apply to foreign patients who entered Korea for the purpose of receiving medical treatment (C-3-3 or G-1-10).
(Case) I am planning to use a skin care /cosmetic surgery service in Korea during vacation, but the specific fees tend to vary between medical institutions and. In particular, there is a difference in fees between what my Korean friend told me and what I was offered. Am I being charged more because I'm a foreigner? If so, isn't it unfair to discriminate against foreign nationals compared to residents in Korea?
1. You are not a Korean national or a registered foreigner who is eligible for national health insurance of Korea. This means that you are not covered by the benefits of national health insurance, hence the application of additional medical fees.
2. The medical costs charged out to foreign patients who are not insured by national health insurance are not predetermined by lists containing medical fees or information brochures. This means it is at the respective medical institution's sole discretion to decide the fees as they desire.
- Note that the medical fees for skin care / cosmetic surgery services are one of the medical fields not covered by national insurance and are subject to value-added taxes. So there are many variables that affect the medical expenses of skin care / cosmetic surgery services (e.g., land value of the medical institution's location, difference in the quality of the facility/standards of equipment and medical staff, treatment material being applied, difficulty level of surgical treatment/surgical operation, etc.).
3. In other words, the medical institutions have the right to decide the medical fees according to their standards on foreign nationals who don't possess national health insurance.
4. For your information, please refer to the medical fees posted on the homepage of medicalkorea website regarding skin care/cosmetic surgery. The data posted here pertain to the range of medical expenses according to eight body parts and 45 fields, descriptions about surgical procedures, required period and recovery period according to review by the Korean Society of Plastic Surgeons. * Check the medical expense guide on skin care / cosmetic surgery services for foreign patients.