Visa requirements for South Korea

Few countries have the views/size ratio of South Korea. You can get from one corner of the country to the other in just two and a half hours, and in between you’ll find mountain trails leading to Buddhist hermitages, super-spectacular K-Pop concerts, pubs serving artisan rice wines, enchanting bamboo forests and much more.

Getting the most out of a visit here starts with getting your entry requirements in order, a fairly simple process for most travelers. Here are the basics on who needs a visa for South Korea and how to apply.

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Who can travel to South Korea without a visa?

Many travelers – including those from the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries – can visit Korea for up to 90 days without a visa. Canadians can do it for up to six months, while South Africans have 30 days. To check the latest requirements for your country, visit the Korean government website. Visa portal and enter your information in its Visa Browser.

Although you may not need a visa, you will need to apply for a Korean Electronic Travel Authorization (₩10,000) on the K-ETA website or K-ETA app (for iOS and android) at least 72 hours before your departure. Once you have applied, you should receive your results by email within 24 hours. Your K-ETA will remain valid for two years from the date your application is approved, which means you do not have to reapply if you visit this window multiple times.

Citizens of many countries do not need a visa to enter South Korea, but still need to fill out an online form in advance © Kosamtu / Getty Images

Who needs a tourist visa for South Korea?

Citizens of countries that do not have a visa waiver agreement with South Korea or Korea does not grant visa-free entry will need a visa, which is usually for a single entry and allows stays of 90 days.

If you need a visa, after entering your information in the Visa Browser, select the visa you’re applying for (most likely Ordinary Tourist or C-3-9), then find the eligibility criteria that apply to you (most likely “holiday or leisure travel”). Complete your online application (Electronic form) or by hand (Downloadable PDF) then visit a Korean embassy or consulate with your application or a printed copy of your completed electronic form, your passport, a 3.5cm x 4.5cm (1.4in x 1.7in) passport photo and any other required documents. The Registration fees for a basic tourist visa is $40, although this may vary by country.

Horseback Riding Near Udo Lighthouse, Jeju-do, South Korea
Jeju-do has a ‘Special Tourist Zone’ designation, so visa rules are different © Joel Carillet / Getty Images

Jeju-do visa exception

Jeju-do Island is a designated special tourist area, which means that many (but not all) citizens of countries that require a visa for South Korea do not need one to visit Jeju- do for up to 30 days. Note that you must arrive in Jeju-do by ship or direct flight from overseas; you cannot connect through another South Korean airport.

Extend your stay in South Korea

In almost all cases, if you are visiting South Korea as a tourist, you are not allowed to extend your stay. If you need to stay longer due to an emergency, contact the Korean Immigration Service. The Hi Korea The website provides immigration information to international visitors and residents.

Visas to work and study in South Korea

Thanks to its conquering pop culture and vibrant economy, South Korea is an attractive destination for international students and professionals, and a wide range of visas are available for those wishing to study or work in the country. The first step is to figure out which visa you need, whether you’re looking to enroll in a Korean university, teach English, or do something else. You can sort options and get details on eligibility and requirements at Visa Browser to place. Work and study visas generally allow stays of up to two years, with one year being the most common duration.

Neon lights on a street in Seoul, South Korea, East Asia
Certain nationalities are eligible for working holiday and student visas in South Korea © Diego Mariottini / Getty Images

Working holiday in South Korea

South Korea offers one-year working holiday visas to citizens of 25 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many European countries. Travelers on a working holiday visa are allowed to work up to 25 hours per week and can also study Korean language at private academies and university programs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Working Holiday Information Center and Working Holiday Guide provide detailed information on who can apply, what are the restrictions and resources for work, study and housing.

Visas for people of Korean descent

If you are of South Korean descent, you will likely be able to apply for a Korean overseas visa, colloquially referred to as a gyopo Visa. These are available to people who were born in Korea but acquired citizenship of another country or whose parents or grandparents were Korean citizens. These visas allow initial stays of up to two years and offer great flexibility in what you can do for work or study.

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