By the end of the year 2021, Croatian passport holders will have a new visa policy available in Korea, which means they will be eligible to apply for a visa waiver before visiting the country.
Travel authorities are currently working to roll out an electronic travel authorization (eTA) that will be available to citizens of over a hundred countries. Although Croatians currently do not need a tourist visa to enter South Korea for visits of up to 90 days, they will need to apply for the new eTA when it is officially ready to go.
Do Croatians Need a Visa or Visa Waiver to Visit Korea?
Currently, Croatians do not need a visa to Korea if they are visiting the country for tourism purposes and for less than 90 days. If they must enter the Republic of Korea for other reasons and/or for a longer period, then they will have to request another type of visa that fits their needs.
However, Korean authorities are now developing a new electronic travel authorization (eTA) which functions as a visa waiver that will be mandatory for those countries that are currently visa-free in Korea. In other words, As of the end of 2021, travelers from Croatia who want to enter South Korea will need to obtain a visa waiver first.
Through this online eTA system, South Korea is aiming to update the way they track who enters their country and why. Authorities will also have a better understanding of who exactly crosses their borders, which will help them with security, and give them a greater understanding of how they can increase tourism.
How to Apply for a South Korean eTA From Croatia
The Korean eTA for Croatian citizens will consist of completing a Korean online visa waiver application form, which includes several questions related to the applicant from Croatia.
Some of the questions asked by South Korean authorities are the following:
- Full name, as stated in travel documents such as the Croatian passport
- Date and place of birth
- Contact details such as telephone number, email address, and current address
- Passport information such as passport number, expiry date, and issuance date
- Proof of travel such as hotel bookings and/or flight details
- Reason for intending to visit South Korea
Other routinary security questions can be asked. For instance, if Croatian nationals have a criminal record or relevant conviction, they must state it. This is also the case if travelers from Croatia have severe medical issues that can put in risk Korean inhabitants.
The online application process is being designed to be as simple to follow as possible, and should not take longer than 15 minutes to complete.
Every Korean eTA application must be accompanied by the payment of a non-refundable application fee, which can be completed via either debit or credit card. It is strongly recommended that Croatian applicants take their time when filling out the application to avoid having to reapply and pay another application fee.
What should Croatians do after submitting a Korean eTA application
After applying, Croatian passport holders should not wait long to receive a response.
South Korean travel officials aim to respond to every application, provided that there are no issues with the information, within a few days if not a few hours. Still, it is wise to apply for the eTA to South Korea with plenty of time before traveling to avoid any unforeseen issues with the application.
Once Croatian nationals have received their Korean visa waiver via email, they must print out a hard copy of the document and carry it with their passport when traveling in case border officials wish to verify their information.
Documents and Requirements for the South Korean eTA
There are a number of Korean eTA visa waiver requirements that each Croatian nationals will need to abide by in order to successfully apply for the new South Korean travel authorization once it is officially implemented at the end of 2021.
Although the following is not a definitive list, since the information will be confirmed later on by Korean authorities, it is expected that these conditions will need to be met by Croatians to obtain an eTA from the Republic of Korea:
- Having a Croatian passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the travel date and two blank pages
- Submitting a passport-sized photo that follows Korean guidelines
- Presenting proof of travel (accommodation & flights) and proof of sufficient funds (bank statements)
- Paying the Korean visa waiver processing fee
Although South Korea is generally thought to be a safe destination, having the latest information on vaccinations required by Korea is always important.
It is advisable that Croatians have all these documents at hand when they complete their online application as well as when they enter the country, in case border authorities need more information about their trip and travel conditions.