Korean Law Demystified!

Denial of Entry (to South Korea)


I recently read in the news that “pickup artist” Julien Blanc might be denied entry to South Korea. That the Korean Ministry of Justice are mulling “denial of entry” should he (try to) come.

In Korea, Article 11 of the Immigration Control Act (출입국관리법) deals with “denial of entry” (입국거부). I have colored below the most often-cited causes.

FYI, Article 11 applies only to foreigners. In principle, (South) Koreans cannot be denied entry to (South) Korea.

Unlike many other articles of the Korean Constitution which apply to both Koreans and foreigners, Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees only to Koreans the “freedom of residence and the right to move at will” (거주이전의 자유).

Anyway, Article 11 of the Immigration Control Act below.

Article 11 (Prohibition, etc. of Entry)

(1) The Minister of Justice may prohibit any of the following foreigners from entering the Republic of Korea:
1. A contagious patient, a narcotics addict or other persons deemed likely to cause danger and harm to public health;
2. A person who intends to enter the Republic of Korea unlawfully carrying firearms, guns, swords, explosives, etc. prescribed in the Control of Firearms, Swords, Explosives, etc. Act;
3. A person deemed highly likely to commit any act detrimental to the interests of the Republic of Korea or public safety;
4. A person deemed highly likely to commit any act detrimental to the economic or social order or the good morals;
5. A mentally disable person who is void of a capacity of discriminating sense and has no person to assist his/her sojourn in the Republic of Korea, a person who cannot afford expenses related to sojourn in the Republic of Korea, and other persons in need of relief;
6. A person for whom five years have not elapsed after departure from the Republic of Korea under a deportation order;
7. A person who took part in the slaughter or cruel treatment of people on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, political opinion, etc. under instructions from or in liaison with any of the following governments from August 29, 1910 to August 15, 1945:
(a) The Japanese government;
(b) Any government which was in alliance with the Japanese government;
(c) Any government on which the Japanese government exercised predominant influence;
8. A person comparable to any those under subparagraphs 1 through 7 whose entry into the Republic of Korea is deemed inappropriate by the Minister of Justice.
(2) If the home country of a foreigner who intends to enter the Republic of Korea refuses the entry of a national of the Republic of Korea for any reason, other than those referred to in the subparagraphs of paragraph (1), the Minister of Justice may refuse the entry of such foreigner for the same reason.

– Translation by KLRI (Korea Legislation Research Institute)

In a nutshell, Article 11 pretty much gives carte blanche to the Minister of Justice. You can pretty much fit anything in. In a way, this is not too unusual as “denial of entry” is essentially a matter of state sovereignty.

Korean singer Lee Seung-chul was recently denied entry to Japan (at Haneda Airport). According to reports, Japanese officials (ambiguously) cited “due to recent events (regarding him)” as the reason. Many here believe it was because Lee had performed one of his songs in Dokdo (Island) last August.

DID YOU KNOW? In the last 3 years, 4069 (South) Koreans were denied entry to the U.S.

Thanks for reading!

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