South Korea To Release Special Visa For K-Culture Enthusiasts 

South Korea recently announced that it would be granting special visas to non-Korean individuals undergoing K-culture training. 

The Hallyu wave doesn’t seem to be fading, as more and more people are falling head over heels for one of South Korea’s biggest exports and assets: their culture and entertainment industry. Nowadays, no matter where one is in the world, they can feel the country’s soft power through its widely-popular K-pop, K-dramas, and manhwas (the country’s comics), as well as the cultural traditions that these forms of media have promoted. Ask any fan of K-culture, and chances are they’ve included visiting and even living in South Korea in their bucket list. 

Foreign K-culture enthusiasts enrolled in South Korea’s government-accredited arts academies can apply for a Hallyu visa that grants a two-year stay
Foreign K-culture enthusiasts enrolled in South Korea’s government-accredited arts academies can apply for a Hallyu visa that grants a two-year stay/Photo by Kseniya Petukhova via Unsplash

Fortunately, this may become an easy goal to achieve, as the country recently announced that it would be launching special visas for K-culture enthusiasts specifically. According to a report from Forbes, South Korea’s upcoming “Hallyu Visa” (also known as “K-culture training visa”) will grant foreigners a two-year stay in the country, provided that they’re registered in local, government-accredited performing arts academies. 

“True Beauty” is a popular Korean comic that recently got its own equally popular K-drama series
“True Beauty” is a popular Korean comic that recently got its own equally popular K-drama series/Photo from the Amazon website

READ ALSO: Pop Pride: Filipina Talent Sophia Laforteza To Debut In HYBE’s K-Pop Girl Group, KATSEYE

More Specifics to Come

At present, more details on the eligibility requirements of the Hallyu visa aren’t available. However, Philstar Global writes that South Korea will be providing further information on the visa later in 2024. 

KATSEYE is HYBE and Geffen Records’ international K-pop group that’s already gaining thousands of fans around the world
KATSEYE is HYBE and Geffen Records’ international K-pop group that’s already gaining thousands of fans around the world/Photo via Instagram @netflix

What’s clear is the country’s determination to bolster its arts and culture sector, which contributes significantly to its GDP. In a column for Korea JoongAng Daily, Lee Young-ryeol—a professor at the Seoul Institute of the Arts—cites that global Hallyu fans increased to 156.6 million in 116 countries in December 2021. In 2022, K-pop sold more than 80 million albums around the world. It’s a billion-dollar industry that continues to grow as borders are taken down thanks to online streaming services and social media. 

K-pop boy group BTS has contributed an estimated $5 billion to the South Korean economy annually, as per NPR
K-pop boy group BTS has contributed an estimated $5 billion to the South Korean economy annually, as per NPR/Photo from the Big Hit Music website

In its 2023 Business Plan, South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism discussed its goal of supporting young artists and strengthening the capability of college students majoring in the arts, with an allotted budget of ₩5.8 billion (roughly $4.4 million). 

South Korea’s Netflix show, Squid Game, garnered international fame and acclaim when it launched in 2021
South Korea’s Netflix show, Squid Game, garnered international fame and acclaim when it launched in 2021/Photo from IMDb

The government also intends to promote its literature distribution through their KLWAVE platform, bring their content firms to 15 overseas locations, and host 100 K-culture events, with roadshows in 15 cities worldwide. Based on its ambitious plans, the country is certainly on the path to continuing and cementing its powerful K-culture legacy through younger generations—both foreign and Korean. 

Banner photo by jet dela cruz via Unsplash

Order your print copy of this month's LIFESTYLE ASIA Magazine:
Download this month's LIFESTYLE ASIA digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]