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The History of Korea Immigration Service

For the past half-century, Korea Immigration Service has been providing convenient immigration service, adapting to the fast changes both at home and abroad. Korea Immigration Service will continue its role as a stepping stone in creating a safe, harmonious, and prosperous society for foreigners and nationals alike.

1961~80

1961 - Cross-border travelers at around 38,000
- Ministry of Justice took over the responsibility for border control and foreign registration from Ministry of Foreign Affairs

1962

- Signed Korea’s first visa waiver agreement with West Germany (as of oct. 2011, Korea reached visa waiver agreements with 93 countries)

1963

- Enacted Immigration Control Act

1976

- Completed the foundation of Gimpo International Airport Complex

1984

- Established online network system among local immigration offices nationwide.

1986

- Hosted 10th Seoul Asian Games

1988

- Hosted 24th Seoul Olympic Games

1990

1991

- Introduced Industrial Trainee System

1992

- Joined Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees

1993

- Created provisions and procedures on refugee recognition on Immigration Control Act

1998

- The first entry/departure clearances for Mt.Kumkang tourists at Dong-hae port

1999

- Enacted Law on Immigration and Legal status of Overseas Koreans

2000~2009

2002

- Renewed Alien Registration Card and Certificate of Residence
- Newly devised Permanent Residence status

2003

- Enacted Act relating to Employment of Foreign Workers
- The first overland entry/departure clearance between North and South Korea in Go-sung

2004

- Implemented Employment Permit System(EPS)

2005

- Introduced MRP (Machine Readable Passport) system and APIS (Advanced Passenger information System)

2006

- The number of cross-border travelers at 35.85 million
- Established Council on Protection of Human Rights & Interests of Foreign Nationals

2007

- Launched H-2 Visa (work visit)
- Launched Korea Immigration Service (1 commissioner,2 director generals, 10 divisions)
- Enacted Foreigners Treatment Act
- Received 2007 UN Public Service Award for KISS (Korea Immigration Smart Service)
- Reached 1 million foreign residents in Korea

2008

- Launched comprehensive foreigner support service(www.hikorea.go.kr) and the Immigration Contact
- Held commemoratory event for the 1st Together Day
- Started Automatic entry/departure clearance services
- Held the Grand Festival for Multiple Ethnicities and Cultures Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Establishment of Korea (joint wedding ceremony for internationally married couples)
- Held 4th Immigration Policy Commission meeting and finalized 1st Basic Plan for Immigration Policy

2009

- Ranked 1st for 4 consecutive years in ASQ global airport service evaluation
- Launched Social Integration Program

2010~

2010

- Revised Nationality Act relating to multiple nationality
- Implemented Guidance Program for International Marriage
- Established and Implemented 1st stage of fingerprint verification system for foreigners
- Supported a successful host of G20 Seoul Summit

2011

- Ranked 1st for 6 consecutive years in ASQ
- Implemented fingerprint registration system for foreign residents

2012

- Mutual use of Korea's SES and USA's Global Entray Program initiated
- Biometric Identification System Initiated
- Total number of entry and departure reaches record 50 million
- The Second Basic Plan for Immigration Policy finalized

2013

- Number of foreigner residents in Korea reaches 1.5 million
- The Refugee Act enforced

2014

- Ranked 1st for nine consecutive years for the ASQ Award for best airport service

2015

- Ranked 1st for ten consecutive years for the ASQ Award for best airport service
- Number of cross-border travelers reaches 60 million

2016

- Ranked 1st for eleven consecutive years for the ASQ Award for best airport service
- Total number of foreign residents reached 2 million
- nitiated mutual use of Korea’s SES and Macao’s APC Program
 
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