South Korea Visa Policy

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

The government of South Korea has announced the launch of the K-ETA Electronic Travel Authorization in September 2021. (The pilot period for some countries started on May 3) The next article contains updated information: South Korea confirms the launch of K-ETA in September 2021

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 to 180 days. However, from September 2021, travelers from 49 visa-exempt countries must have an approved ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to visit South Korea for the same periods of stay. The remaining 61 countries cannot yet apply for the ETA due the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

Find further information about these different types of visa for South Korea below.

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.

From September 2021, nationals from 49 eligible countries must have an approved South Korea ETA to visit the country for tourism, no matter the duration of their intended stay. This Electronic Travel Authorization is a multiple entry visa waiver valid for 2 years from approval. It may be obtained through a simple online application that takes just a few minutes to complete.

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.

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

South Korea ETA

The ETA for South Korea, called K-ETA, is an Electronic Travel Authorization implemented by the South Korean government to expedite entry for visa-exempt passport holders at border entry checkpoints. It is also being introduced with the aim of pre-screening visa waiver nationals for any infectious diseases before they arrive in the country.

The South Korea K-ETA program was implemented on a trial basis for select visa-exempt nationalities in May 2021. From September 2021 onward, it is mandatory for visa travelers from 49 countries to have an approved ETA upon arrival to enter the country.

An approved ETA for South Korea allows the holder to enter the country for purposes of tourism, to visit friends or family, to attend conferences or meetings, or for commercial activities. It is valid for 2 years from the date of issue and allows multiple entries to South Korea during its validity.

To complete the simple online South Korea ETA form, it is necessary to provide basic personal, passport, and travel information. Applicants must provide a valid email address to which the approved ETA tourist authorization is sent.

Once approved, travelers are required to print a copy of the approved ETA visa waiver to present to border officials upon arrival in South Korea.

Check if you are eligible to apply for the K-ETA for South Korea by browsing the list below.

South Korea ETA: Country list

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guyana
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Caledonia
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Palau
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Romania
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela

South Korea 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. ETA-eligible 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.

South Korea Embassy or Consular Visa Required: Country list

  • Afghanistan
  • Aland Islands
  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antarctica
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bermuda
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Cayman Islands
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Christmas Island
  • Cocos Islands
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Cook Islands
  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • French Guiana
  • French Polynesia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Greenland
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guam
  • Guernsey
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Isle of Man
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jersey
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Martinique
  • Mauritania
  • Mayotte
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montserrat
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Niue
  • Norfolk Island
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Territory
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • Reunion
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Maarten
  • Somalia
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tokelau
  • Turkmenistan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United States Virgin Islands
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis and Futuna
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Visa Not Required for South Korea

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.

From September 2021, citizens from 49 countries must apply for the Electronic Travel Authorization to visit South Korea for the same periods of stay. The K-ETA can be obtained in minutes through a simple online application and is valid for 2 years from approval. It allows multiple entries to South Korea during its validity.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 60 visa-exempt countries are yet not eligible for the South Korean electronic authorization.

These same citizens need a visa if they intend to spend longer than the period of stay permitted with an ETA 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.

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

Visa Not Required for South Korea: Country list

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kiribati
  • Kuwait
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Oman
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Qatar
  • Russian Federation
  • Saint Lucia
  • Samoa
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Tuvalu
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uruguay

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