South Korea Travel Restrictions: What to Know Before Visiting

South Korea Travel Restrictions: What to Know Before Visiting

One step closer to saying "annyeonghaseyo" again!

Update as of 30 Sep 2022: Starting 1 Oct 2022, South Korea will remove all travel restrictions related to COVID-19. However, travellers will still need to have an approved K-ETA (further details below) upon entry. 

Having enforced strict travel restrictions since the start of the pandemic, South Korea is further easing its entry requirements. As of 3 Sep 2022, all travellers — regardless of vaccination status — will no longer have to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test.  

If you’re planning to travel to South Korea, here’s what you should know.

Note: This article was originally published on 19 Oct 2021. It will be updated regularly for any new developments on Korea travel requirements. 

Pre-arrival required documents for travel to South Korea

travel to south korea

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Before you travel to South Korea, here are the documents you must secure.

1. Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) or Korean visa

If you’re a visa-free foreign traveller, you’re required to obtain an approved Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) before you travel to South Korea. The K-ETA is valid for two years from the date of approval. Each application costs 10,000 KRW (US$8.42) and is non-refundable even when declined. You may see the current list of countries eligible to apply for K-ETA here

Foreigners who are not covered by K-ETA may apply for a Korean visa instead. ​Tourism visas will be issued in single-entry and are valid for three months. 

2. Booking confirmation of on-arrival RT-PCR test

Despite being a quarantine-free trip, all fully vaccinated travellers will be required to take an RT-PCR test within one day of entry from Incheon Airport. You must pre-book a test via the Safe2GO pass website and bring your booking confirmation with you to Korea. 

3. Travel insurance (optional, but strongly recommended)

While purchasing travel insurance is not mandatory to enter South Korea anymore, it’s still a good idea to keep yourself covered. We recommend purchasing travel insurance with a minimum coverage of ₩30,000,000 (US$25,284.47), which include COVID-19-related medical expenses. Bring along a physical copy of said insurance. 


south korea travel

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All arriving passengers can expect to undergo health screening tests, including temperature scanning, questionnaires, and COVID-19 tests. Travellers will also need to submit their documents, including the vaccination certificate. To ease this process, travellers are advised to visit the Q-code website and register their personal information and vaccination certificate on the Q-code System. 

Travellers may also be required to download a Self-Check Mobile App, which would serve as their daily health status record for 14 days.

If you’re going to remain in South Korea for eight days or more, you will need to take a self-administered RAT on the sixth or seventh day of arrival. (As of 10 Mar 2022 onwards, this rule replaces the previous requirement of an RT-PCR test at a medical institution). 

During the stay

south korea open for tourism

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As of writing, there are no restrictions on domestic travel in South Korea. Once you’re in the country, you’ll find most places in South Korea open for tourism.

South Korea requires everyone to wear face masks in enclosed environments and on public transportation. Those who fail to properly wear a face mask to cover both nose and mouth will be fined up to ₩100,000 (US$84.28). Social distancing is also expected.

Restaurants, bars, and other entertainment facilities in South Korea are open with restrictions. 

Those who are suspected of having COVID-19 and refuse to get tested will be fined up to ₩10 million (US$8,428.16) or one year of prison. If you need to get tested for COVID-19 during your stay in Korea, refer to this list of medical institutions.

Return travel

Planning to finally make that much-awaited trip to South Korea? Click here for more travel inspiration. Also, take the time to check out the travel requirements for other countries, too!

 With travel restrictions always changing, we advise you to stay informed by keeping up-to-date on official sources!

Featured image credit: SeanPavonePhoto via Canva Pro

About Authors

Danielle Uy
Danielle Uy

If Disney were creative enough to let Mulan and Melody procreate, Danielle would be that child. From an early age, she has dreamt of becoming a purposeful revolutionary... and an unruly mermaid. While Danielle hasn't held a sword in her lifetime, she feels powerful enough with her byline. Her creative energy is fueled by many things: the quiet right before the rest of the world wakes up, the orange sky as the sun rises during an uncrowded morning surf, the beautiful bitter taste of black coffee, and the threatening reminder of a pending deadline.


Cassandra Nerva
Cassandra Nerva

Cassandra seeks comfort in warm blankets, period dramas, and all things hazelnut. If she's not getting carried away with a wartime novel or decorating her house with plants & fairy lights, she's uncovering hidden gems around her as she continues to embrace her keen sense of adventure.