Rules on Marriage Visa will be tightened

Here is something that we’ve been expecting since the news of a young Vietnamese who was killed by her mentally ill husband after just eight days living in Korea came out in July. I wrote a draft on it but I’ve been too busy to finish it. A few days after the incident happened, the government cracked down on illegal matchmaking agencies. It was reported that Korean men spend as much as 8 million won (about 7,000 USD) for the whole package of meeting, traveling to a southeast Asian country and marrying a bride they barely knew.

Starting on Oct. 6, Korean men will have to enroll in a state-administered education program on interracial marriage in order to get a visa which would allow their foreign spouse to enter the country, said government sources, Wednesday.
Also, the government is considering barring Koreans from getting married to foreigners if their earning ability, mental and physical health condition, criminal status and other factors affecting married life fail to meet a guideline set by the Ministry of Justice, they said.
Full story: Rules on marriage visa will be tightened

In the Philippines, women who are married to foreigners and planning to live in their husband’s country are required to attend seminars. Those who are marrying (or are married to) Japanese and Korean are required to attend a two-day seminar where they are supposed to learn about their husband’s culture.
Korea is a patriarchal society which has a 5,000 year history (according to them). People here are proud of their history, way of living and traditions. For this reason, a foreign bride should not expect her husband to adapt to her ways and customs even if it’s really necessary for a Korean husband to learn about his wife’s culture so they could better understand each other. I think the move by the government to educate its citizens about inter-cultural marriage is just a way to save face. I don’t know how much they could learn in just four hours. And is it just applicable to Seoul? In the end, it’s still about the image of Korea.

To get a visa inviting an overseas wife to Seoul, would-be husbands are required to undergo one session of the program — each session runs for four hours.

There is no formula in a successful marriage. That is true whether one is marrying a foreigner or not. Or whether the couple are coming from a whirlwind romance or a long-term relationship. I just don’t believe that women should marry someone whom they would not be able to communicate with. I also don’t think it’s bravery to marry someone from another culture and move to another country. Let’s be honest, the only reason a young woman from our side of the world would marry someone she doesn’t know and someone she can’t communicate with and who is the same age as her father is for financial reasons or to have a better life. If not, then what else could be the reason? I have a very good friend who is not afraid to admit that she married her Korean (ex)husband for financial reasons and we all love her. She’s now happily married to someone she loves but who isn’t as well-off as her ex. However, just to be fair we all want to marry someone better than us, don’t we?
Hopefully, the government’s plan would work and it would someone prevent violence against women. In fairness, the Korean government has been working to make the lives of foreign immigrants better. When I first came here, it was illegal for Filipino F-2-1 visa holders to work as English teachers. There are more centers for immigrant women where we could learn the language and the culture for free. They have also provided trainings for those who’d like to join the workforce. There are also some programs specifically made for multi-cultural families. Women who wants to marry Korean men should know what they’re getting into. Education is the key ;p This is a proud country with thousands of years of history and traditions; and it will not change just for our sake.


  1. That’s the hardest part. Marrying someone you barely knew and even if you knew the person well, its still different when you start living with him/her under the same roof. Worse is that the tradition and culture is different. One cannot truly know a person just from seeing him/her on webcam or even chatting for several hours.
    When my Korean bf came to live with me for a few months, it was quite hard but not as hard as the first time he lived with me in the past years. We would argue everyday, as in everyday. Small differences would cause arguments. I tried to tell him that you are not in your country so try and understand the culture of the country where you are now. He had so many complaints. And then one day, we came to an agreement na no more arguments. Sabi ko, you came here at hindi kita pinilit so bear with it. Kagustuhan mo yan, kaya manigas ka.
    I was working, he was studying. And worse, sa umaga lng kmi ngkikita pgdating ko from work and sa weekend. But we make it a point na tuwing weekend is for bonding moments. Movies and gala sa mall ang hobby namin. Minsan, cia magluluto for me at mghuhugas ng pinggan. Pero syempre kelangan din pgsilbihan. After work, daan muna ko palengke tas luto na for breakfast at lunch. Minsan, i make ‘kimbap’ for baon nya sa school.Kumakain naman cia mag isa pg lunch kc ako tulog na for my shift sa gabi. Mahirap na masaya. At least ngayon may idea nako kung ano magiging buhay ko pg mag asawa na kmi.Though magiging iba na priority ko at iba na ang mundong gagalawan ko. Hindi madali pero kakayanin. Mahirap nga lng minsan kung ang kalaban mo ay ‘computer’. Grabe kung maglaro ng computer games. Now im used to it.
    So sa mga gustong mag asawa ng hindi Pinoy, think about it a lot of times. Mahirap mapasubo. At try to learn the culture and tradition na rin.Tama Ate Betchay?

    1. *i’m pretty sure that no one is interested about what em I gonna say but, i still want to say it..I have many foreign friends and I’m very happy to be with them I never stop learning a lot, digging with their rich culture is very fun learning for me.I also have many relatives married with Americans & Korean and fortunately they didn’t need them just for convenience and I’m happy that they’ve been all together 4 decade now,they’re asking me “gusto mo Korean mapangasawa or American??”” I don’t have an answer and they suddenly drop the statement “Mahirap na masaya, you have to embrace their culture as much as you can,with all your heart” so well I guess LOVE will keep you up all night and survive all this things.

    2. Pag foreigner pumupunta sa ‘tin sinasabihan natin na mag-adjust… pag tayo naman pumupunta sa ibang bansa ganun din. Kahit naman sa Pinoy din ang pag-aasawa ay hindi rin dapat basta-basta. Pero kung pupunta ng ibang bansa para mag-asawa, dapat buo ang loob at i-educate ang sarili para handa sa kung anuman ang mangyari.
      Naaawa naman ako sa mga southeast asian na nag-aasawa ng Korean lalo na kung hindi nila kilala or hindi nila makausap yung asawa nila. Iba naman kasi yung mga babae na nakapag-aral mas malakas ang loob nila. Gaya na lang ng maraming Pinay na kakilala ko, hindi sila takot so mas kaya nila ang buhay dito.

      1. that’s true, then dapat, expected nila na dalawa lang pwedeng mangyari kapag nag-asawa sila. dahil. maaaring maganda ang background ng napangasawa nila or hindi, educated or not. etc. at andoon talaga ang mag-aadjust sila, kahit kapwa nila ang kanilang napangasawa, once na nagpamilya sila. The most important, she should educate herself in everything, mostly, sa PAG-AADJUST, dahil imposibleng sa kanila agad (korean)manggaling ang pag-aadjust. at Ang pinakasusi pa para sa maayos o madaling pag-aadjust, sabayan ng pag-aaral ng lengwahe nila. maraming mga Tulong, kumpara nong year 2000 ng dumating kami rito.

  2. true..even young elementary school students tell me about their 5Kyears of history and ask about Philippines’ history..kkk…
    i also hope this 4-hour session would somehow make a difference and prevent such violence against women.. they will not surely change but hopefully they’d show a little more understanding and compassion to their young foreign wives…

  3. that’s why i got a call from immig this morning.
    theyre gonna supervise the said program and theyre asking me to do 40~50 minutes of the 4 hour session. actually we had been advocating for these kind of programs so that learning goes both ways. am also trying to push a new segment for love in asia that doesnt concentrate on the wives but on the husbands, hope that works out too…
    according to them(immig) the sessions will be on every 1st and 3rd wednesdays of the month. For many 4 hours might not make a difference but it’s a start, positive thinking na lang po! ^^
    so gals, if you think theres something that future husbands out there should know then speak out! ^^ pwede here, or on my blog, or through sey.jeez(at)gmail

      1. i’ve met two filipinos who are married to korean women… both complained that it’s so difficult to find a job that they like and that pays enough to support their families…

        1. there’s a korean woman in our compound married to a Filipino. she just gave birth last nov. 16. she approached me and invited me over to their house but i’m still shy to go there.. siguro sa Christmas na lang, kkk…

  4. hi miss betchay.isa po akong filipina,now korean citizen.divorced na po ako sa asawa kong korean.
    ung ex husband ko ngpakasal na po uli sa gf nyang filipino din.
    now ako nman po ay may bf na nsa pinas na po kc tnt sya dati at nag-avail ho sya ng voluntary exit program,bale 4 years 8 months ho sya ng-tnt sa korea.
    ang tanong ko po,kung ikasal ho ba kmi sa pinas,mkkabalik ho ba sya dito?ano hong visa?please help po.wait ko po ang inung reply.slamat po..

  5. good morning ms. betchay greetings in peace,
    i want to ask a question if there’s also “fiance visa” & what are the requirements, terms & conditions.
    im asking this because i applied for tourist visa last october but unfortunately i was denied & at this point we are thinking of some ways on how to improve my chance of getting visa to visit my korean girlfriend in korea. any help & advice are highly appreciated, thank you very much & God bless

    1. Hi Carlo! There is no “fiance visa”. Your only option is tourist visa and since you got denied, you’ll have to wait until March to apply for one again. Sorry pero wala talaga, unless pumunta siya ng Pilipinas at pakasalan ka.

      1. thank you for the advice maam betchay, i will just focus on applying for the visa after few months & lots of prayers for it.

        1. hi carlo… kung balak mong pakasalan ang gf mo eh paghandaan mong mabuti… hindi madali para sa babaeng mag asawa ng Korean… mas lalo na sa pinoy na may asawang korean…

  6. hi buhaykorea…bilang isang filipina ako rin po nagtataka sa mga nakasama ko umattend ng seminar sa cfo bago ako napunta d2 sa korea,lahat po cla karamihan ay iisa at paulit ulit lang ang kwento, kinasal sa lalaking hindi nila mahal at masmatanda pa sa sarili nilang magulang, para po sakin ang pag aasawa ng ibang lahi para makarating sa ibang bansa ay hindi talaga madali lalo na kung ang pagsasama nyo ay masasabi nating hindi dumaan sa pagliligawan o hindi kayo umiibig sa isat isa…harapin natin ang katotohanan na problemang financial ang kinahaharap ng mga kapwa natin filipina na nasabak sa sitwasyon na ganun, sana lang po isipin din ng iba nating kapwa pinay na ang pag aasawa na walang halong pagmamahal ay para lang silang nag papakamatay at maari nilang pagsisihan pagdating ng araw na nandito na cla….maliban nlang po kung sa pagsasama nyo bilang mag asawa ay mainlove kayo sa isat isa at magiging happy hanggang sa huli ang buhay pag aasawa nyo…sana po ay maging aral na sa bawat isa satin ang napunta sa hindi magandang kalagayan…salamat po…

  7. hindi naman cguro fiancee was 31 and im 27 and we love each other so much..we hope his company let him to have a vacation na so that we can get another legal capacity expired kc too much busy nia kc..but i just prayed that makasal na kami .i knew his family bakcground,,and his father was not against with us..i saw in interview that some was really old man and ung iba they just met only one day so denied cla..natutuwa nga me kc mahigpit na ung embassy para sa proteksyon nang mga filipina..its better to marry someone you love than makisama sa hindi mo mahal at mas matanda pa sa parents mo…..i really againts fix marriages..hindi kc nila iniisip ung mangyayari sa kanila after…hindi ba ang kasal ay for better or for worst so for me marriage is im happy that i will marry the one that i love and not an older man just for money..masarap bumuo nang pamilya pag mahal nio ang isat isa.

    1. hi alexa! true ka, pero sadly hindi lahat ng couples eh idealistic… sana nga makakuha ng vacation fiance mo, pero mahirap kasi kumuha ng matagal na vacation sa korea… yung husband ko nag-resign talaga sa work niya para makapag-pakasal kami sa pinas… hindi naman madali naging married life namin at first… may mga pagkakataon pa na walang-wala kami… pero okay na lahat now… ngayon nag-iipon na kami to celebrate our tenth year wedding anniversary ;p

  8. i just hope tumagal kami nang ganyan po..until now i wait him..kung di lang mahirap kumuha nang tourist visa cguro dun nalang kami nagpakasal kaso main problem namin i understand korean a little lang and he barely speak english so communication talaga nahirapan ako.i plan to study korean language lesson class naghahanap me nang school hindi kc me nakaabot sa Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines sa da fort sayang only materials fee lang po un they had korean cooking lesson year pa ulit enrollment ….so i study alone korean language i can write alphabet palang po..but i hope makapag study talaga me so that hindi kami hirap mag usap nang bf ko….he ask his friend to read my email to him sometimes goggle translator nia pa..but we tried our best to understand each other.i prayed to god nalang na maging ok ung relationship namin kahit minsan nag tatalo kami..hirap kc ipaliwanang ung culture natin sa kanila…its different talaga..but we never give up coz mahal namin ung isat isa….just hope nalang na dumating na xia.4 months na kaming di nagkikita kc so nakakamiss na..t.t…t.t..

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