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South Korea visa policy
6 min read
Updated on May 14, 2024

Visa Policy for South Korea

South Korea visa policy outlines the regulations, rules, and requirements a foreign citizen must meet in order to enter the country. South Korea requires that all travelers enter the country with at least a six-month passport that contains at least one blank page. Visa applications do not apply to travelers without visas.

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South Korea visa policy requires visitors to prove they have sufficient funds for their stay when they arrive in the country. Around 110 nationalities are currently exempt from visa requirements for South Korea according to its visa law. Foreign nationals may visit South Korea for a variety of visa-free stays based on their countries of origin.

Citizens of visa-exempt countries can stay in South Korea for a period ranging from 30 to 180 days. The same travelers who visited South Korea in the past will be required to have an approved ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) from September 2021 onwards.

South Korea visa policy requires a visa for all individuals traveling regardless of their period of stay or the purpose of their trip, regardless of which country they are from. Visas are needed regardless of whether the visitor is traveling on business, for tourism, transit, a working holiday, an overseas study, an investment opportunity, or to reside in the country.

At present, South Korea only offers the option of obtaining a visa through a diplomatic office such as an embassy or consulate, as visas on arrival are not available for this country. Consequently, if you wish to apply for a visa to South Korea, you will need to attend an appointment and provide an embassy with varying supporting documentation. Listed below are more details about the South Korea visa policy.

Tourist Visa Policy for South Korea

The South Korean government has a policy prohibiting foreign citizens from obtaining a visa prior to visiting the country for tourism. Foreign visitors from more than 110 countries are allowed to visit South Korea without a visa. According to the traveler's nationality, the length of visa-free tourism stays is 30 days to 6 months.

No matter how long a visitor intends to stay in South Korea, they will need to have a South Korea ETA approved from September 2021. Upon approval, this Electronic Travel Authorization waives multiple entry visa requirements for two years. It can be obtained by completing a simple online application.

For all other foreign visitors to the country, a tourist visa is required, which must be obtained at the nearest embassy or consulate of South Korea. To ensure that your visa application is processed and approved in time for your intended date of arrival in South Korea, you should make a consular appointment well in advance of your intended arrival.

Tourist embassy visas are usually issued for a short stay both as single and multiple entry visas. Upon arrival in South Korea and before your visa expires, you can apply for an extension.

South Korea ETA

The Electronic Travel Authorization for South Korea, known as the K-ETA, is used by the government to expedite entry at border entry checkpoints for visa-exempt passport holders. As part of the initiative, nationals who are eligible for visa waivers will be screened for infectious diseases before they arrive.

Several visa-exempt nationalities will be eligible for the K-ETA trial program beginning in August 2021. To visit South Korea, travelers with ETAs are required to have them by September 2021.

An ETA for South Korea entitles the holder to enter the country for purposes of tourism, visiting friends or family, attending conferences or meetings, or for commercial purposes. A valid South Korea tourist visa gives you multiple entries during its validity period. It is valid for 2 years from the date of issue. The South Korea visa policy is somewhat flexible towards travel and tourism.

You will need to provide personal, passport, and travel information in order to complete the simple online South Korea ETA form. The ETA tourist authorization application must also be submitted with an approved email address.

When an ETA visa waiver is approved, travelers are required to present a printed copy to border authorities when they arrive in South Korea. You can check if you are eligible for the Korean ETA by browsing the list below.

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Barbados
  • Dominica
  • Guam
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • New Caledonia
  • Nicaragua
  • Palau
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • San Marino
  • Slovenia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela

Learn more about the South Korea ETA

South Korea Tourist Visa

South Korea visa policy demands a visa from more than 130 countries regardless of the purpose of travel or duration of stay. A citizen who is eligible for the ETA must also obtain a visa in order to stay for a longer period of time than allowed for their nationality. To obtain one of these documents, you will need to make an appointment with the nearest South Korean embassy or consulate well in advance of your travel date. If an embassy visa is required, South Korean immigration regulations stipulate that the applicant's passport must contain at least one or two blank pages, and be valid for a minimum of six months from the date of intended arrival.

You may also need to provide supporting documents, such as proof of funds and round-trip tickets, depending on what kind of visa you need.

A traveler must indicate on the application form the type of South Korean embassy visa they require, whether it is a student visa, a business visa, a tourist visa, a transit visa, a work visa, a resident visa, etc.

According to the South Korea visa policy and agreements between South Korea and a country, a consular travel document for South Korea can be issued as a visa for a single entry or for multiple entries.

If you are planning to arrive in South Korea soon, you should schedule an embassy visa appointment well in advance, since processing and approval may take several weeks, sometimes even longer. If you are not sure whether a visa is required for your nationality, please check the list below.

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  • Aland Islands
  • Algeria
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  • Angola
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  • Armenia
  • Aruba
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  • Bhutan
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  • Bonaire
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  • 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
  • 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

Learn more about the South Korea tourist visa

Other Visa Information for South Korea

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

To visit South Korea for the same period of time from September 2021, it will be mandatory for these same nationalities to obtain an approved Electronic Travel Authorization. With just a simple online application, you can obtain the K-ETA in minutes and it is valid for 2 years. Multiple entries are allowed to South Korea during the validity period of the document. A visa will be required for citizens intending to spend more time in the country than allowed by their ETAs. In order to obtain this, please consult the nearest South Korean consular or embassy well before you plan to travel.

The additional requirement that foreign nationals do not leave South Korea's transit area during transit of fewer than 24 hours does not apply to most foreign nationalities. If a traveler remains within the airport transit area on the same calendar day as arriving, they will not require a visa to transit.

Check if you need a visa to enter South Korea

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