VTL Travellers to South Korea Must Now Present a Vaccine Pass

VTL Travellers to South Korea Must Now Present a Vaccine Pass During Their Stay

Come prepared since some locals might not be.

Due to the Omicron variant, South Korea is requesting incoming foreign travellers to abide by its new rules. As of now, these will mainly affect Singaporeans who share a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) with South Korea. On 5 Dec 2021, Singaporean Jannah Monijat and her husband landed in South Korea, but were greeted by the newly-imposed “vaccine pass” system the day after. 

Also read: South Korea Has Cafes Where Stressed Customers Can Just Stare and Do Nothing

Using a vaccine pass in South Korea

Image credit: Yonghyun Lee

South Korea’s vaccine pass is basically a system to be followed in restaurants, cafes, libraries, and theatres. It requires travellers in groups of two and above to show proof of their full vaccination before entering any establishment. This system was originally limited to high-risk venues like gyms and bars, but health authorities suggested expanding the list of public places in light of the Omicron variant. 

In an interview with Straits Times, Monijat shared that she had to bring along an English-Korean info sheet everywhere she went so that she could show business owners how to scan her vaccination certificate QR code before entering an establishment. This info sheet is given to VTL travellers at the Incheon Airport for their guidance. The vaccine pass can be accessed using the smartphone app COOV.

Current inconveniences in South Korea

Image credit: Patrick

“Not everyone is aware of the VTL and how to check our vaccination status, so they might think we are trying to scam them,” Monijat told Straits Times. This issue has actually negatively affected the experiences of some Singaporeans who weren’t able to enter establishments. However, showing their Singapore vaccination certificate or Trace Together app seemed to work sometimes.

A Singaporean cafe owner in Hongdae remarked that local rules change so quickly that South Koreans can’t keep up with everything. “Everyone should be informed of the important changes in regulations so there is no misunderstanding. But sometimes things change too quickly and we are not informed clearly what to do, and that can cause inconveniences,” he told Straits Times.

“Our advice is to stay calm and don’t let it dampen your entire trip, because there are always alternatives such as ordering takeout so you can enjoy your meal at the park or at your accommodation,” shared Monijat. 

Also read: What It’s Like to Live in South Korea as a Foreigner

So there you go, something for VTL travellers to keep in mind before landing in SK. Prepare your South Korea vaccine pass and don’t forget to acquire your English-Korean information sheet at the airport!

Featured image credit: Bundo Kim | Unsplash

About Author

Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.