South Korea (ROK)

South Korea (ROK) map

Region: East Asia

Pandemic Travel Alert

OPEN: to international leisure travel

Updated: 2020-08-19


General Policy
  • Effective August 10, the entry ban on travellers who visited or travelled to Hubei province in the preceding two weeks and the ban on holders of visas issued by Hubei authorities are both lifted.

(Source: "Korea to lift restrictions on arrivals from China's Hubei from Monday" )

Business/Employment Travel
  • Fast Track Procedure
    The government has introduced a “fast track procedure” (a streamlined arrival system) which aims to alleviate hurdles faced by business travellers, thus guaranteeing essential economic activities, while curbing the spread of COVID-19. This procedure allows measures such as minimizing the quarantine period, under the condition that the traveller is invited by an enterprise or a government agency. The fast track procedure has been implemented with the following countries/regions:
    1. China (PRC), since 1 May 2020
    2. United Arab Emirates (UAE), since 5 August 2020
    3. Indonesia, since 17 August 2020
    4. Singapore, since 4 September 2020
    5. Japan, since 8 October 2020
  1. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea: Fast Track Procedure available for applicable Koreans Entering China for business purpose
  2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea: “Special Entry Procedure for Korean and Japanese Business People” to be Implemented from Oct. 8

Entry Requirements

  1. Starting 13 April 2020:
    • All valid short-term visas (single and multiple) that were issued on or before 5 April 2020 will be temporarily suspended. This will not apply to long-term visas and short-term employment visas (C-4)
    • Visa-free entry and visa waiver programs for 90 states will be suspended. The states affected are those that are imposing entry bans on travellers from South Korea: 34 in Europe, 23 from the Americas, 18 in the Asia-Pacific region, 9 in the Middle East, and 6 in Africa. USA will not be affected.
    • All diplomatic missions will enhance the screening of new visa applications. Applicants will be required to submit documents such as a medical certificate issued within 48 hours before visa application, and an agreement to quarantine.
  2. Starting 9 March 2020, the visa waiver program for Japan is suspended, in retaliation to Japan's entry restriction on travellers from South Korea.
  1. Announcement on Suspension of Visas and Visa-Waiver
  2. "Korea to suspend visa waiver program for Japan"
  1. Starting 15 April 2020, COVID-19 diagnostic tests will be conducted for all passengers arriving from the United States:
    • Korean nationals, and non-Koreans on long-term stay: Self-quarantine after arrival, testing for COVID-19 within 3 days of arrival
    • Non-Koreans on short-term stay: Testing for COVID-19 after arrival at the airport's open screening center, and facility quarantine.
  2. Starting 22 March 2020, COVID-19 diagnostic tests will be conducted for all passengers arriving from Europe. Travellers with symptoms will be tested at the quarantine facility in the airport's quarantine station, and asymptomatic individuals will be tested at the temporary accommodation facility.
  1. Incheon Airport: Exhaustive Testing of COVID-19 for Passengers Entering from the United States
  2. Incheon Airport: Exhaustive Testing of COVID-19 for Passengers Entering from Europe
Data Collection
  • Starting 3 March 2020, all arriving travelers must: (1) complete and submit a health questionnaire and travel record declaration, and (2) install a self-diagnosis application in their personal device.

(Source: Incheon Airport: Special Arrival Procedure)

  1. Starting 1 April 2020, all arriving travelers are subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days from the day after entry. Travellers who are long-term or residential will be required to self-quarantine at their own residences.
  2. Short-term travelers without a confirmed address in Korea are subject to quarantine at a facility designated by the Korean government. The quarantine facility is allocated randomly and cannot be changed for personal reasons. Transportation from the airport to the facility will be provided. The total expense for facility quarantine is KRW 1,680,000/US$1,414 (KRW 120,000/US$101 daily). The expense must be paid before entering the facility. The expense is not refundable as discharge is not possible during the quarantine period. The expense includes costs for accommodation, meals, etc. Flight passengers are required to complete and submit the Agreement to Facility Quarantine prior to boarding. Otherwise, if the passenger does not submit the agreement, entry to Korea will be denied.
  3. Note that rates given in government sources below are outdated: rates have been raised.
  1. Incheon Airport: Special Arrival Procedure
  2. Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA: Notice for Travelers [PDF download]
  3. "Tight surveillance, thorough health checks ensured at quarantine shelters: officials" [Quarantine facility rates raised]
  • New Regulation on All Foreigners Diagnosed with COVID-19
    The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA informs: "Until recently, the Republic of Korea has paid for the cost of hospitalization and treatment of all foreigners who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 virus. accordance with the principle of reciprocity, all hospitalization and treatment expenses of US nationals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days of entry to the Republic of Korea, but [sic] will be the responsibility of the US nationals who have been infected. This new regulation will enter into effect beginning with those who enter the Republic of Korea in August 24, 2020.
    Also, the cost of hospitalization and treatment of all foreigners, including US nationals, who are infected with COVID-19 due to their violation of COVID-19 preventive measures implemented by the Korean government such as quarantine measures and limits on group activities, and those who submit false COVID-19 examination (PCR) results, will not be provided by the Korean government beginning August 17, 2020.
    Therefore, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea recommends to US nationals, when possible, to be appropriately insured with COVID-19 treatment coverage before trip to Korea".

(Source: Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA )


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Pre-pandemic visa rules


Passport Validity
Valid at time of entry
- Holders of confirmed onward tickets through Seoul Incheon (ICN), are permitted transit without visa in international transit area for up to 24 hours.
Dual Nationality
U.S. policy on dual nationality can be found here.