All you need to know about Visa Requirements for South Korea
An ultimate ancient-meets-modern destination, South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is an East Asian nation that rests on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. Home to many sub-tropical islands and high-tech cities like Seoul and Busan, South Korea boasts an abundance of thematic travel opportunities like city escapades, temple-stay programs, performing arts tourism, tourist trains, ski & snow, and so much more.
Commercially, technologically, culturally and naturally rich, South Korea tourism has seen a surge in recent times. If you are planning to visit South Korea for tourism purposes, this Korean visa guide will help you understand the visa documentation requirements, if any, that you will have to start working on, depending on your country of permanent residence.
Whether or not you need a visa to enter South Korea depends on a variety of factors like your nationality, the purpose of visit and expected the duration of stay. But the general guidelines for visiting South Korea are as below:
1. Countries that do not require a visa to enter South Korea:
Foreign nationals planning to enter Korea are required to have a valid passport and a Korean visa (prior to their arrival) issued by the Korean embassy or consular offices in their respective country. However, citizens from certain countries are now permitted visa-free entry into South Korea for a limited period under certain conditions. A total of 107 countries are under a Visa Waiver Agreement with Korea. Depending on nationality and passport type, visitors can visit South Korea for the purpose of tourism without a visa for a period ranging from 30 to 90 days.
- Countries with visa-free entry for general, diplomatic & official passport holders as follow:
Japan (90 Days), Hong Kong (90 Days), Macao (90 Days), Taiwan (90 Days), Kuwait (90 Days), Brunei, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, United States (90 Days), Canada (6 Months), Argentina, Honduras, Paraguay, Ecuador (90 Days), Guyana, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Cyprus, Albania, Croatia (90 Days), Slovenia (90 Days), Vatican, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia (90 Days), Montenegro, Australia (90 Days), Guam, Fiji, Nauru, Palau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tuvalu, Tonga, Republic of South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Botswana.
*Countries with no time period specified have a limit of 30 days.
- Countries with visa-free entry for diplomatic & official passport holders only:
2. Countries that require a visa to enter South Korea:
Afghanistan, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin*, Bhutan, Bolivia*, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameron, Canada (OTTAWA), Cape Verde Island, Central African Republic*, Chad, China, Comoros Island*, Congo Island*, Costa Rica, Côte D'ivoire*, Djibouti Republic, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, French Guinea, French Polynesia, French West Indies, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana*, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea (Rep)*, Guyana*, Haiti*, Honduras, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mali*, Mauritania*, Mayotte, Mexico, Moldava (Rep.), Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal*, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Niger*, Nigeria*, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby), Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Reunion, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone*, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United States Of America, Uzbekistan, Virgin Islands, Yemen Arab Rep, Yemen (P. Dem. Rep.), Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro), Zaire (Rep. Of)
* Countries Classified Under Yellow Fever Infected/Endemic
3. Which passport holders can avail visa-on-arrival?
The tourist visa has to be obtained before visiting South Korea. The Republic of Korea does not allow visa-on-arrival for a majority of the countries.
4. How much is the South Korea Visa Fee?
Tourist visa fees for South Korea will change as per your country of residence and duration of stay in South Korea. Visa fees are payable in cash only and are non-refundable. Different fees are applicable to certain countries, but unless specifically mentioned, visa fees for South Korea (as of 01 Jan 2019) are as follows:
- Single entry <90 days – USD 41.30
- Single entry >90 days – USD 61.99
- Double entry – USD 72.25
- Multiple entry – USD 93.03
To check the exact visa fee for your country, you can visit the nearest South Korean Embassy/Consulate or check their official website.
*A single-entry visa is valid for 3 months from the date of its issue.
5. How to apply for a South Korea tourist visa?
Make sure you follow the below steps in order to obtain a South Korea tourist visa
- Download the visa application form
- Fill up the visa application form in upper cases (unless specified). Incomplete applications are not accepted
- Gather the relevant documents for visa application
- Provide a recent (not older than 6 months) photograph for your visa application
- Check the visa application fee as per your country of permanent residence
- Submit your visa application form at the Embassy of South Korea/Consulate General of the Republic of Korea
- Pay the required visa application fee
- Collect your visa (once issued)
6. What are the documents requirements for a South Korea visa?
Below is an exhaustive list of documentation required if you are applying for a South Korean tourist visa:
- Original passport with a validity of 6 months and at least two blank pages
- Duly-filled visa application form
- 2 recent photographs: 35x45 mm, on a white background, with a matt finish, showing 80% face size
- Hotel Reservation
- Confirmed Return Air ticket
- Original personal bank account statement presenting the turnover of the last 6 months, duly stamped and signed by the bank
- Income Tax Returns for last 3 years
- Covering letter
- Profession proof
7. Jeju Island Visa Information
All ordinary passport holders except the ones from the below-mentioned countries can stay visa-free for 30 days in Jeju Province, provided they directly travel to Jeju International Airport or Jeju International Passenger Terminal (via planes or ferries) for the purpose of tourism ONLY.
Excluded countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Macedonia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Cuba, Palestine, Gambia, Senegal, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Cameroon, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Egypt
Dos for South Korea Visa:
- Allow ample time for visa processing. It is advised that you start your visa application process at least 4 weeks in advance of your planned travel date
- Fill up the visa application form accurately and carefully
- Bring all the documents in original and also carry photocopies of all supporting documents
Don’ts for South Korea Visa:
- Do not present fraudulent documents
- Do not hide any information/lie to the consul general
8. Other types of visa to enter South Korea
- D-2 Student Visa
- C4 Temporary Work
- Military Dependent
* South Korea is also referred to as ‘Korea’ by many English speakers.