South Korea Visa Policy

Familiarize yourself with the visa policy South Korea and discover the visa requirements for your nationality.

Visa Policy for South Korea

The visa policy of South Korea determines the regulations, rules, and requirements that a foreign citizen must meet in order to travel to the country.

South Korean visa requirements state that all travelers entering the country, whether they have a visa or not, need to have a passport valid for at least 6 months that contains between one or two blank pages.

Upon arrival in the country, it may also be necessary to prove that the visitor has enough funds for the stay to gain entry to South Korea.

According to the South Korean visa law, there are currently around 110 visa-exempt nationalities for the country. These foreign citizens may enter South Korea for differing periods of permitted stay visa-free.

Depending on nationality, visa-exempt citizens may stay in South Korea from 30 days to 180 days.

However, individuals from over 130 countries and territories around the world require a visa to travel to South Korea no matter the period of stay or purpose of travel.

This applies whether the visitor needs a visa for business, tourism, transit, a working holiday, overseas study, corporate investment, foreign language teaching, residency, or other purposes.

South Korea currently only offers the option of obtaining a visa through a government diplomatic office, either an embassy or a consulate, as a visa on arrival is not available for the country.

Therefore, applying for a South Korea visa currently involves having to attend an appointment in person and supplying an embassy with a range of supporting documentation depending on the visa type requested.

However, an online travel authorization for several eligible nationalities is expected to be implemented in 2021, which will greatly expedite the application process.

Tourist Visa Policy for South Korea

According to the country’s tourist visa policy, foreign citizens from more than 110 countries can visit South Korea for tourism without having to obtain a visa in advance. The length of visa-free stay for tourism permitted depends on the traveler’s nationality and ranges from 30 days to 6 months.

All other foreign travelers are required to obtain a tourist visa to enter the country, which at the moment must be applied for at the nearest embassy or consulate of South Korea.

A consular appointment for a South Korea embassy visa for tourism should be made well in advance of the intended date of arrival in the country, to ensure sufficient time for processing and approval.

An approved tourist embassy visa may be issued as a single or multiple entry visa for a short stay. It is also possible to obtain a tourist visa extension once in South Korea and before the visa expires.

Although the country does not currently offer the possibility of obtaining travel authorization for tourism online, this will change once the ETA for South Korea eVisa is introduced through a simple online application, expected to be in 2021.

See more information about South Korean tourist visa requirements for your nationality. below.

South Korea ETA

Although South Korea’s visa policy currently only permit the possibility of obtaining a visa through a government office, the South Korean government plans to introduce an electronic travel authorization program for a number of foreign visitors that will eliminate the need to visit an embassy in person.

According to ministry officials, the electronic travel authorization or ETA will be introduced in 2021, allowing eligible travelers to obtain an approved visa waiver through a simple online application.

In order to complete the South Korea ETA form, it will be necessary to provide basic personal, passport, and travel information. Applicants will also need to provide a valid email address to which the approved ETA tourist authorization will be sent.

It is expected that it will be necessary for holders to print a copy of the approved ETA visa waiver to present to border officials upon arrival in South Korea.

It has not yet been announced if the ETA eVisa for South Korea will be made available for purposes other than tourism, or how long it will be valid for.

As this information will be published on this site once made available by the South Korean government, those planning to travel to South Korea in the future are advised to periodically check this page.

Embassy or Consular Visa Required

There are more than 130 countries that require a visa to visit South Korea no matter the travel purpose or period of the intended stay. Visa-exempt citizens who want to stay for longer periods than permitted for their nationality must also obtain a visa.

This type of document must be obtained from a government office of South Korea well in advance of travel, by making an appointment at the nearest embassy or consulate.

South Korean immigration regulations dictate that it is necessary to have an eligible passport with a minimum validity of 6 months from the intended arrival date, containing at least one or two blank pages, to apply for an embassy visa.

It may also be necessary to provide a range of supporting documentation, including proof of funds and round-trip flights, depending on the type of embassy visa the applicant requires.

The South Korean embassy visa type required must be indicated on the application form the traveler must fill out, whether a student visa, business visa, tourism visa, transit visa, work visa, resident visa, or other visa option.

An approved consular travel document for South Korea may be issued as either a single or multiple entry visa, depending on the type of visa and the regulations and agreements that South Korea has with their country.

It is recommended to make the embassy visa appointment well in advance of the intended arrival date in South Korea, since processing and approval can take several weeks, sometimes even longer.

Check the list below to find out if you require an embassy visa to travel to South Korea for your nationality.

Visa Not Required

According to the South Korean visa policy, there are more than 110 visa-exempt nationalities for the country. Depending on nationality, these foreign citizens may enter South Korea for a stay of 30 to 180 days.

These same visa not required citizens for South Korea will need a visa if they intend to spend longer than the period of stay permitted visa-free for their nationality. This must be applied for at the nearest South Korean embassy or consulate well in advance of the intended date of arrival.

Additionally, most foreign nationalities do not need a transit visa to pass through South Korea, if the transit time is less than 24 hours and if they do not leave the transit area, at Incheon Airport.

Furthermore, the majority of nationalities transiting through Incheon are also able to participate in an organized transit tour group to Seoul for a small fee. A tour can last from an hour up to 5 hours and can either be organized in advance or joined after the traveler’s arrival.

Travelers arriving at all other South Korean airports may transit without a visa on the same calendar day if they remain with the airport transit area.

Below you can find a full list of the countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter South Korea.

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