South Korea is partially open to international tourism. As most foreign visitors are denied entry into the country, there are some exceptions. Foreign nationals on long-term visas and nationals of countries covered by the new K-ETA policy are allowed to enter South Korea subject to self-quarantine.
South Korea travel status
|Open for tourism
||Yes, partially (since Sep 2022)
||Unvaccinated visitors only (14 days)
|PCR test before departure
|PCR test on arrival
|% of population vaccinated
|Official travel advisory
South Korea visa-free entry (K-ETA)
In May 2021, South Korea launched a pilot project for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for visa-free entry for foreign nationals. It will be followed by full implementation from September 2021.
Currently, only citizens of the 21 visa-exempt countries will be able to apply for an ETA to South Korea: US, UK, Mexico, Nicaragua, Dominican Federation, Barbados, Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Malta, Ireland, Guyana, Monaco, Vatican City, San Marino, Andorra, Albania, Slovenia, Guam, New Caledonia, and Palau.
Travelers are required to apply for the ETA through the government K-ETA online portal at least 24 hours before boarding their flight. Once approved, the ETA will be valid for 2 years. It will permit multiple short stays in South Korea for purposes of tourism, family visits, or conducting business activities.
All foreign nationals arriving in South Korea by air are required to provide a printed negative COVID-19 test taken at most 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point. Also, health screening and health questionnaire are mandatory for visitors from all countries.
14-day quarantine rules apply to all international passengers entering Korea. Foreign travelers must present a Self-Isolation Exemption Certificate issued by the Embassy of Korea or, alternatively, must agree to quarantine at a government facility at a cost of KRW1,400,000 (A$ 1750 / $1150).
All visitors must install the self-quarantine safety protection mobile app.
No quarantine for vaccinated travelers
Starting 2 July 2021, visitors who have been vaccinated overseas against COVID-19 are exempted from the mandatory 14 days quarantine upon arrival in South Korea. To be qualified for the exemption, travelers have to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before entering the country. They still need to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result though.
When will South Korea open its borders?
With the introduction of the new K-ETA policy, South Korea opens its borders to 21 countries in September 2021.
As the worldwide situation regarding COVID-19 eases, visitors from around 90 other countries for which visa-free entry is currently suspended, will become eligible for the K-ETA. The South Korean government has announced plans to include the European Union countries in the K-ETA program from 2022.