South Korea has visa waiver agreements with over 100 countries. This means that most visitors are able to enter without obtaining a conventional visa for limited periods.
There are also a number of different types of visas available for different purposes. These include work visas, study visas, and residency visas. The South Korea eVisa will launch over the coming months.
There are also other schemes, such as the APEC Business Travel Card, which allow certain groups of visitors to enter without a visa. This guide will give an overview of South Korea’s visa policy.
Holders of passports issued by 135 countries or jurisdictions can enter South Korea for limited periods without a visa. The amount of time which a visitor can enter depends on their nationality. Check South Korea visa requirements by country of origin.
Canadians can enter visa-free for the longest period of time (180 days). Citizens from the US, all EU countries (except Cyprus), Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Japan and many more countries can enter for up to 90 days without a visa.
There are also nationalities which can enter for up to 60 days, such as Russia and Lesotho, and for up to 30 days, such as Cyprus, Oman, and Qatar. Travelers who are not from visa-exempt countries need to obtain a visa from an embassy or consulate to be able to enter the country.
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- St Vincent & the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United States
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Marshall Islands
- New Caledonia
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- Vatican City
Non exempt countries
Special Immigration Policy For Jeju Island
If traveling by air to Jeju island via Busan, Cheongju, Muan, Seoul, and Yangyang, Chinese citizens, traveling as part of a group with an authorized travel agent can stay in mainland South Korea 5 days and in Jeju for 15 days.
South Korea Online Tourist Visa
The South Korea Tourist Visa which is due to launch in 2021 will allow tourists from elegible countries to obtain travel authorization without visiting an embassy or consulate. The online eVisa application form will just involve entering some basic information and paying a fee using a credit or debit card. Applications will be quickly processed and approved visas will be sent by email.
Visitor Visas for South Korea
There are various types of visas which can be obtained from South Korean embassies and consulates. The type of visa which a visitor needs depends on their reason for visiting.
Here are some of the most typical types of visas for South Korea:
Working Holiday Visa (H-1)
For young adults from certain countries (who have a reciprocal agreement with South Korea). These visas allow visitors to enter for up to one year and engage in work and /or education.
Overseas Study Visa (D-2)
Issued to foreigners who plan to study at undergraduate level or above.
Corporate Investment Visa (D-8)
Granted to foreigners who will own and manage a small or medium-sized business. Individuals must invest at least 50 million won.
Foreign Language Teaching Visa (E-2)
For foreign language teachers who work in South Korea. Applicants must be native speakers of the taught language and hold a bachelor’s degree.
Residency Visa (F-2)
Issued to spouses of Korean nationals or holders of the F-5 permanent residency visa. Applicants must prove financial ability and relationship.
APEC Business Travel Card
Visitors who possess an APEC Business Travel Card, who are from certain countries, can enter South Korea for business trips for up to 90 days. ABTCs are issued to citizens of the following countries:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
Can You Transit Through South Korea?
Generally speaking, travelers do not need a visa to transit through South Korea as long as the time spent at the airport does not exceed 24 hours and they stay within the transit area.
However, citizens from the following countries need to obtain a visa to transit:
All passport holders, except the the following, can stay for up to 30 days visa-free in Jeju Province.
- North Macedonia
- Sri Lanka
However, the above nationalities are eligible if they hold a Certificate of Invitation issued by Jeju Island Immigration Office or have visited South Korea on at least 3 occasions since 1996 or once since 2006 while holding a permanent residence permit issued by Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States.