Tourist travel to South Korea has opened up! If you are planning a leisure trip to South Korea, there are some things you need to prepare or take note of. This article will highlight all South Korea entry requirements you need to know before flying.
1) Vaccination Status
As of 8th June 2022, there is no requirement for you to be vaccinated to enter South Korea quarantine-free.
2) K-ETA/Visa to enter South Korea
Depending on your nationality, you may either enter South Korea visa-free OR apply for a valid tourist visa.
First, check if you can enter South Korea visa-free by checking if your home country appears on this list.
|If your country appears on that list||If your country DOES NOT appear on that list|
|You can enter South Korea visa-free! Apply for your K-ETA (Korea Electronic Travel Authorisation) here. It costs 10,000 won (~USD$10) to register and is valid for three years from the date of authorisation.||You will need to apply for a tourist visa at a Korean Embassy near you. Please Google “MOFA Korea (your home country)” for more information.|
Apply for your K-ETA early, preferably about 1 month before your departure date! Approval times vary so apply early to avoid disappointment.
NOTE: Starting from April 1 2023 to December 31, 2024, visitors from 22 countries, such as Australia, Canada, Japan, and EU nations, won’t require a K-ETA before entering South Korea. However, visitors from these countries can still apply for it if they want to. With the K-ETA, you will not need to fill in and submit the Arrival Card at the port of arrival in Korea.
The 22 countries are Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Macau, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UAE, United Kingdom, United States (including Guam)
3) Register for Q-code ALL travellers regardless of age are required to register for Q-Code no more than 3 days before departure for Korea. Go to this website and apply for a Q-code. During the registration process, you will be uploading certain documents and information like your pre-departure test results, passport number, health declaration etc. so they can generate a QR code for you which will be used during the immigration process in South Korea. This generated QR code will allow the officers to check your documents quickly so you can clear immigration without hassle.
UPDATE: Q-Code registration will no longer be required to enter Korea, effective July 15, 2023
4) Take a COVID-19 Pre-Departure Test (PDT) For PDT, you can either take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test OR a Rapid Antigen Test (ART or RAT). Both tests have to be administered by a medical institute or professional. Check your local Korean Embassy’s website for a list of approved test providers. Children under the age of 6 (as of entry date) accompanied by fully-vaccinated adults who submit valid negative test results can be exempted from PDT.
UPDATE: Inbound travellers will no longer be required to take a PDT to enter Korea from 3 Sep 2022 onwards.
1) Face Mask Requirements
Wearing of face masks is required only for people at medical institutions, general pharmacies and other vulnerable facilities from 20 Mar 2023 onwards.
2) Take an On-Arrival Test (OAT) within 1 day of arrival After arriving in South Korea, all travellers are required to take an on-arrival PCR test within 1 day of arrival (e.g. if a traveller arrives on 26 July 2022, he/she will have until 27 July 2022, 11:59 pm to get tested) at the testing centres located at Incheon Airport (click here to book), Gimhae Airport (click here to book), or Jeju International Airport (click here to book) or at medical institutes near their accommodation (list of approved medical institutes). The OAT costs must be paid by the traveller. Tourists are NOT ALLOWED to take their OAT at Health Centers (보건소). It is recommended for travellers to stay in their accommodations until they receive a negative PCR test result. If the test result comes back positive, Koreans and ARC holders must self-quarantine at their own accommodation while tourists and short-term visitors must quarantine at an allocated quarantine facility for 7 days.
UPDATE: Travellers no longer have to take an on-arrival test from 1 Oct 2022. As a result, uploading of OAT results will also not be required.
3) Upload your OAT result onto the Q-code system within 3 days of arrival Starting from 14 July 2022, all travellers entering South Korea may upload their OAT results onto the Q-code system, regardless of whether they have registered and used the Q-code to enter the country. Go to this link to upload your results. You may submit a screenshot of the text message with the result received from the test centre, provided that your name, test centre name, and the result are visible. If, for any reason at all, you are unable to upload the result through the Q-code system, please contact or visit your local public health centre to submit your result.
The above are the things you need to take note of before you travel to South Korea. This post will be updated along the way as South Korea entry requirements change so check back here if need a refresher or check your local Korean Embassy website for official updates.
Are you looking for some travel recommendations? Check out our Travel Page right here!
(Updated as of 24 Aug 2023)