South Korea Visa Policy

Familiarize yourself with the visa policy South Korea and discover the visa requirements for your nationality.

Visa Policy for South Korea

The visa policy of South Korea determines the regulations, rules, and requirements that a foreign citizen must meet in order to travel to the country.

South Korean visa requirements state that all travelers entering the country, whether they have a visa or not, need to have a passport valid for at least 6 months that contains between one or two blank pages.

Upon arrival in the country, it may also be necessary to prove that the visitor has enough funds for the stay to gain entry to South Korea.

According to the  South Korean visa law, there are currently around 110 various visa-exempt nationalities for the country. These foreign citizens may enter South Korea for differing periods of permitted stay visa-free.

To access visa-free travel to South Korea, nationals of most of these countries must have an approved K-ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization). This can be used for vacations or business trips for short-term stays.

In addition, travelers eligible for visa exemption for tourism, business, and transit through the K-ETA scheme may have to apply for a South Korean visa for overseas study, corporate investment, foreign language teaching, residency, or other purposes.

Individuals from over 130 countries and territories around the world require a visa to travel to South Korea, no matter the period of stay or purpose of travel.

South Korea currently only offers the option of obtaining a visa through a government diplomatic office, either an embassy or a consulate, as a visa on arrival is not available for the country.

Therefore, applying for a South Korea visa currently involves having to attend an appointment in person and supplying an embassy with a range of supporting documentation depending on the visa type requested.

Find further information about these different types of visa for South Korea below.

Tourist Visa Policy for South Korea

According to the country’s tourist visa policy, foreign citizens from around 110 countries can visit South Korea for tourism without having to obtain a visa in advance.

Most visa-exempt visitors must have an approved  South Korea ETA to enter the country for tourism, no matter the duration of their intended stay. This Electronic Travel Authorization is a multiple-entry visa waiver valid for 2 years from approval. It may be obtained through a simple online application that takes just a few minutes to complete.

The length of visa-free stay for tourism permitted depends on the traveler’s nationality and ranges from 30 days to 3 months. Citizens of Canada may be eligible for up to 6 months.

Although it is not mandatory for around 20 of these nationalities to obtain a K-ETA in advance, we highly recommend it. Applying online in advance removes the need to wait in long queues to complete an arrival card at the border.

All other foreign travelers are required to obtain a tourist visa to enter the country, which at the moment must be applied for at the nearest embassy or consulate of  South Korea.

A consular appointment for a South Korea embassy visa for tourism should be made well in advance of the intended date of arrival in the country, to ensure sufficient time for processing and approval.

An approved tourist embassy visa may be issued as a single or multiple entry visa for a short stay. It is also possible to obtain a tourist visa extension once in South Korea and before the visa expires.

See more information about South Korean tourist visa requirements for your nationality below.

South Korea ETA

The ETA for South Korea, called the K-ETA, is an Electronic Travel Authorization that allows the holder to visit the country without a visa. It simplifies the process of getting authorization to enter South Korea and has improved the country’s border security.

Holders of passports issued by around 110 countries and territories can complete a quick application form online to get a K-ETA for visa-free travel to South Korea. You must be a citizen of that visa-free country. Even if you are a residence permit holder from a visa-free country, your eligibility is determined based on the country that issued your passport.

Once the ETA application is submitted, you cannot edit your personal information. If there are discrepancies between the information provided in the ETA and your passport, you may be denied boarding or entry into the country. If you notice any mistakes in the ETA submission, it is best to submit a new application with the correct information.

The South Korea K-ETA program was implemented on a trial basis for select visa-exempt nationalities in May 2021. From September 2021 onward, it became mandatory for most eligible travelers.

An approved ETA for South Korea  allows the holder to enter the country for purposes of tourism, to visit friends or family, to attend conferences or meetings, or for commercial activities, but not for gainful employment. It is valid for 2 years from the date of issue, and  allows multiple entries to South Korea during its validity. However, suppose the passport used in connection with the ETA application expires in less than 2 years. In that case, the K-ETA approval granted will be valid only until the passport expiration date.

To complete the simple online South Korea ETA form, you need to provide basic personal, passport, and travel information. You must provide a valid email address to which the approved ETA tourist authorization is sent.

Applying for K-ETA at least a week before your intended arrival in Korea is recommended. Most applications are reviewed and approved within 72 hours but it may take longer.

Once approved, travelers are required to print a copy of the approved ETA visa waiver to present to border officials upon arrival in South Korea.

Check if you are eligible to apply for the K-ETA for South Korea by browsing the list below.

South Korea ETA: Country list

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kiribati
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Lesotho
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Nauru
  • Netherlands
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Romania
  • Russian Federation
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Tuvalu
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela

Temporary Exemption of K-ETA for Select Nationalities

From April 1, 2023, until December 31, 2024, it is not mandatory for certain eligible nationalities to have an approved K-ETA to enter South Korea. This exemption is being granted in celebration of Visit Korea Year.

The exemption applies to nationals of:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Macao
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
  • UK
  • US (including Guam)

However, we still recommend that you apply for a K-ETA online in advance. Otherwise, you will be required to queue at the border to complete an arrival card. An approved K-ETA allows you to quickly pass through immigration and saves you time and hassle.

Additionally, if you already have a valid K-ETA issued prior to April 2023, you can still use it to enter the country and avoid the need to submit an arrival card application at a border checkpoint.

South Korea Embassy or Consular Visa Required

There are more than 130 countries that require a visa to visit South Korea, no matter the travel purpose or period of intended stay. ETA-eligible citizens who want to stay in the country in the long term and/or work or study there must also obtain a visa.

This type of document must be obtained from a government office of South Korea well in advance of travel, by making an appointment at the nearest embassy or consulate.

South Korean immigration regulations dictate that it is necessary to have an eligible passport with a minimum validity of 6 months from the intended arrival date, containing at least one or two blank pages, to apply for an embassy visa

You may also need to provide a range of supporting documentation, including proof of funds and round-trip flights, depending on the type of embassy visa you require.

The South Korean embassy visa type required must be indicated on the application form, whether a student visa, business visa, tourism visa, transit visa, work visa, resident visa, or other visa option.

An approved consular travel document for South Korea may be issued as either a single or multiple entry visa, depending on the type of visa and the regulations and agreements that South Korea has with that country.

We recommended you make the embassy visa appointment well in advance of the intended arrival date in South Korea, since processing and approval can take several weeks, sometimes even longer.

If you have a valid visa to Korea, you do not also need to get a K-ETA.

Check the list below to find out if you require an embassy visa to travel to South Korea for your nationality.

South Korea Embassy or Consular Visa Required: Country list

  • Afghanistan
  • Aland Islands
  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antarctica
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bermuda
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Cayman Islands
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Christmas Island
  • Cocos Islands
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Cook Islands
  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • French Guiana
  • French Polynesia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Greenland
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guam
  • Guernsey
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Isle of Man
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jersey
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Martinique
  • Mauritania
  • Mayotte
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montserrat
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Niue
  • Norfolk Island
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Territory
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • Reunion
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Maarten
  • Somalia
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Timor Leste
  • Togo
  • Tokelau
  • Turkmenistan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United States Virgin Islands
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis and Futuna
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Visa Not Required for South Korea

According to the South Korean visa policy, citizens of over 110 countries can enjoy visa-free travel to South Korea for varying periods of stay. You can easily enter the country without a visa with an approved K-ETA.

The K-ETA can be obtained in minutes through a simple online application and is valid for 2 years from approval. It allows multiple entries to South Korea during its validity.

While around 20 nationalities are temporarily exempt from the K-ETA as a mandatory requirement, we strongly recommend you obtain the authorization online in advance. Otherwise, you will need to spend time queuing at the border to complete an arrival card.

Additionally, most foreign nationalities do not need a transit visa to pass through South Korea, if the transit time is less than 24 hours and if they do not leave the transit area, at Incheon Airport.

Travelers arriving at all other South Korean airports may transit without a visa on the same calendar day if they remain within the airport transit area.

Below, you can find a full list of the countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter South Korea.

Visa Not Required for South Korea: Country list

  • Liberia

This content has been reviewed by

Ekaterina Powell

US Immigration Attorney

Ekaterina Powell is a U.S. attorney licensed in the State of California, working in the area of U.S. immigration law for over 12 years. She has been featured as one of the top immigration lawyers in her state and city several times and has contributed to notable industry publications.

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