South Korea Reopens Visa-Free Travel to Hong Kongers with K-ETA

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Hong Kongers can now enjoy visa-free travel to South Korea with the K-ETA visa waiver once again.

The Republic of Korea suspended its visa waiver program in April 2020. Hong Kong passport holders have been unable to enter the country without a visa for more than 2 years.

From July 1, 2022, visa-free entry to South Korea resumes for Hong Kongers who hold Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) or British National (Overseas) passports.

As before the suspension of the visa waiver, visitors from Hong Kong will need to apply online for the South Korean Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA).

South Korea Reopens Visa-Free Travel to Hong Kongers with K-ETA

When Can Hong Kongers Visit South Korea Visa-Free?

The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong announced on Monday, June 20, 2022, that the K-ETA system would resume accepting applications from Hong Kong residents from June 30.

Entry to South Korea would be permitted without a visa from July 1.

The statement from the consulate also advised travelers to apply in good time before their trip to South Korea, predicting high volumes of applications once visa-free travel reopens:

“There may be some delays in K-ETA application assessment due to increased applications… so please apply for your K-ETA at least 72 hours before boarding the flight.”

The K-ETA is required whether traveling to South Korea by air or by sea. It is valid for 2 years from the date of issue and allows Hong Kongers to visit the country multiple times during this period.

Who Can Get a K-ETA from Hong Kong?

Residents of Hong Kong who hold the following types of passports can get the K-ETA online to visit South Korea visa-free:

  • HKSAR passports
  • British National (Overseas) passports

Hong Kong is now one of over 100 countries and territories whose citizens can once again visit South Korea with the K-ETA instead of going to the trouble of getting a visa.

The Republic of Korea began reopening to visa-free travel from April 1, 2022. Nationals of several countries have been able to use the K-ETA system since then. Malaysia and Thailand are among those nations who were given access to the Korean visa waiver program in April.

Hong Kong has had to wait a little longer, but now residents of the HKSAR with Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passports can now take advantage of the K-ETA as well.

South Korea Reduces COVID Measures for Hong Kongers

South Korea continues to de-escalate its anti-coronavirus measures for visitors from Hong Kong and other parts of the world.

On June 8, 2022, the republic lifted its quarantine regulations. Previously, international passengers had been required to undergo quarantine upon arrival, before this was reduced to only travelers who were not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Now, there are no quarantine requirements for any traveler, regardless of vaccination status.

However, there are still some COVID-19 travel restrictions in place, including testing both before traveling from Hong Kong to South Korea and again on arrival. Anyone who tests positive will still have to quarantine.

As the situation continues to improve, it is expected that South Korea will continue to lift these measures.

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