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Do I need a visa to go to South Korea?


Visiting South Korea is a dream for many, with its beautiful landscapes, rich culture and delicious food. However, before you plan your trip, it’s essential to check if you need a visa. In this article, we will explore the visa requirements for South Korea and provide you with everything you need to know to plan your visit with ease.

Understanding South Korea’s visa policy

South Korea has a liberal visa policy, which means that depending on your country of origin and the length of your stay, you may not need a visa at all. The policy is subject to change, so it’s crucial to check the latest information before you plan your visit.

Visa-free entry to South Korea

Citizens of 117 countries can enjoy visa-free entry to South Korea for various periods ranging from 30 days to six months. These countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and most European Union countries.

Visa-exempt categories

Even if you don’t hold a passport from one of the countries that enjoy visa-free entry, you may still be eligible for a visa exemption if you are in certain categories such as government officials, diplomats or holders of certain types of visas issued by other countries.

Short-term stay visa

If you do need a visa, the most common type is the short-term stay visa. This visa is valid for stays up to 90 days and is available for tourists, business visitors and other non-immigrants.

Long-term stay visa

If you plan on staying in South Korea for more than 90 days or want to work or study in the country, you will need a long-term stay visa. The application process is more complicated than for short-term visas and may require additional documentation.

Visa application process

The visa application process varies depending on your country of origin, and you will need to submit an application to the nearest South Korean embassy or consulate. You will need to provide personal information, passport details, and proof of your travel itinerary.

Visa fees

The cost of a South Korean visa varies depending on your country of origin and the type of visa you require. Generally, short-term visas are cheaper than long-term visas, and the fees range from around $30 to $80.

Processing times

The processing time for a South Korean visa also varies depending on your country of origin and the type of visa you require. Generally, it takes around five working days for short-term visas and up to several weeks for long-term visas.

Visa extension

If you need to stay in South Korea for longer than your visa allows, you can apply for an extension at the Immigration Office. However, you must do this before your current visa expires.

Common mistakes to avoid

When applying for a South Korean visa, some common mistakes can lead to your application being rejected. These mistakes include providing inaccurate information, submitting incomplete documentation or failing to meet the eligibility requirements.


In conclusion, whether you need a visa or not depends on your nationality and the purpose and duration of your stay in South Korea. It’s essential to check the latest information and follow the correct procedures to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to this beautiful country. With this comprehensive guide, you should be well-equipped to plan your visit with confidence.

Can a US citizen go to South Korea?

Beginning on September 1, 2021, Americans visiting Korea need a valid visa or an authorized Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA). Additionally, the CDC’s order mandating proof of vaccination for non-U.S. citizen nonimmigrants traveling to the United States is still in place.

How long does it take to get a visa for Korea?

There is no expedited visa service provided, and visa applications cannot be submitted through postal or online means. It takes 10 working days (2 weeks) to process and issue a visa. The information was last updated on February 23rd, 2023.

Is Korea visa free for USA?

In order to enter Korea, it is necessary to have a valid U.S. passport and either a visa or a Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) that has been approved. For trips lasting less than 90 days and intended for tourism or business purposes, most U.S. passport holders can obtain a K-ETA by applying on the K-ETA website and paying a fee of 10,000KRW. The deadline for this requirement is January 26, 2023.

Do Americans need visa for Japan?

In order to stay in Japan as a tourist or for business without a visa for up to 90 days, you need to have a valid passport and a return/onward ticket. Your passport should also be valid for the entire duration of your stay. It is not allowed to work during this 90-day “visa free” entry period.

How much does K-ETA cost?

The K-ETA fee is 10,000KRW, which is roughly equivalent to USD $9-$10, not including any extra fees. This fee is non-refundable even if the application is rejected. The K-ETA Center is not responsible for any fees charged by third parties, such as agencies.

Is it hard to get South Korean visa?

Obtaining a South Korean visa can be challenging as the requirements are demanding and the application process can be complex due to various application methods based on individual circumstances. The costs are the only uncomplicated aspect of the visa process.

COVID-19 and visa requirements

It’s important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted travel and visa policies worldwide, including South Korea. Before planning your trip, it’s crucial to check the latest information on entry requirements, quarantine measures, and any other restrictions that may apply due to the pandemic. Some countries may require travelers to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result before entry.

Seeking professional help

Navigating the visa application process can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if you’re not familiar with the requirements. If you’re unsure about the process or need assistance with your application, consider seeking help from a professional visa service provider or a travel agency. They can guide you through the process and ensure that your application is complete and accurate.

Final thoughts

Visiting South Korea can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s crucial to understand the visa requirements before you plan your trip. Whether you need a visa or not, it’s essential to follow the correct procedures and provide accurate information to avoid any issues with your application. With the right preparation and guidance, you can enjoy a smooth and hassle-free trip to this beautiful country.

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