The vibrant nation of South Korea is a popular destination for visitors from all over the world, many of whom come as tourists to enjoy the country’s numerous World Heritage Sites, captivating landscape, and world-famous cuisine. Among these visitors, there is a large number of Saudi Arabians, with South Korea welcoming tens of thousands of Saudi citizens every year.
Under South Korea’s current visa regulations, Saudi travelers are included in a long list of nationalities who are permitted to visit South Korea visa-free for up to 90 days. This means that Saudi Arabian nationals who are planning a short vacation in the country and do not intend to live, work, or study there do not need a visa to travel to South Korea from Saudi Arabia.
However, this situation is going to change in 2021, since the South Korean government will introduce an eTA electronic travel authorization system, for visitors to the country. In effect, this will function as a Korean travel visa authorization for Saudi nationals.
Do You Need a Visa for Korea from Saudi Arabia?
The South Korean government offers a range of South Korean visas for Saudi Arabian citizens.
Currently, nationals of Saudi Arabia who plan to stay in South Korea for more than 90 days will need to visit an embassy or consulate to apply for a visa.
In contrast, Saudi visitors entering South Korea for a period of fewer than 90 days do not, at present, need to apply for a Korean travel visa from Saudi Arabia.
With the introduction of new South Korean visa waiver requirements in 2021, however, travelers from Saudi Arabia will need to apply for a tourist visa to Korea. Unlike a traditional South Korean visa for Saudi citizens, it will be possible to apply for this visa waiver, or eTA, entirely online, without having to complete an in-person visit to an embassy or consulate.
Given that full details of the new South Korea travel visa waiver have not yet been announced, citizens of Saudi Arabia planning to travel to South Korea within the next 24 months should stay abreast of news regarding the policy in the run-up to their departure.
At present, many of the Korean visas available for Saudi visitors can be extended. However, travelers intending to obtain a tourist visa to South Korea should keep in mind that this option has not yet been confirmed for the upcoming electronic travel authorization.
Korean eTA Conditions for Saudi Citizens
Before Saudi travelers can apply for the eTA to Korea, they must fulfill the South Korean visa requirements for nationals of Saudi Arabia. In order to do so, applicants will need to possess:
- A Saudi Arabian passport which is currently valid and will remain valid for at least 6 months after the holder’s intended visit to South Korea
- A valid email address to which the Korean travel visa authorization for Saudi Arabian travelers, once approved, can be sent
- A working debit or credit card which can be used to pay the eTA application processing fee
Once these requirements have been fulfilled, applicants will simply need to submit a Korean visa online application in order to obtain their travel authorization.
Korea Visa Application from Saudi Arabia
One of the South Korean visa requirements is the submission of a simple online application form. This form will ask the applicant for some basic data about themselves, including their name, address, and date of birth.
The form will also request details of their provisional itinerary for their time in Korea, and a handful of questions related to health and security.
Saudi applicants who successfully complete the Korean travel visa application will then need to pay a processing fee before submitting their application.
Once this has been completed, the application will be processed, and confirmation of successful applications will be delivered via email.
Other Considerations When Applying from Saudi Arabia to South Korea
This electronic confirmation of the Korean travel visa travel permit should be printed and carried by Saudi nationals when traveling to South Korea, as it is possible that border officials may ask visitors to produce a hard copy of the document at their port of entry into Korea, as well as other health information regarding vaccinations, for instance.
Travelers should also be aware that minors traveling on a Korean travel visa from Saudi Arabia must have their own, independent travel authorization document, even if a parent or guardian is accompanying them.
All those submitting a Korean visa online application, including citizens of Saudi Arabia, are advised to carefully review the information they provide on their application form, as mistakes can cause processing delays.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabian travelers should apply for the Korean travel visa authorization at least 2 weeks before they intend to travel, as it is possible that additional information may be requested to supplement their application and may require extra time to process due to external circumstances, such as public holidays in South Korea.
Additionally, travelers should be aware of other important travel advice for South Korean trips.
This travel visa permit application is a secure process, and applicants’ personal data will not be accessible to third parties.