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What are the rules in South Korea for foreigners?


South Korea is a popular destination for foreigners due to its unique culture, advanced technology, and beautiful landscapes. However, before traveling or moving to South Korea, it’s important to understand the country’s rules and regulations. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on the rules in South Korea for foreigners.

Visa Requirements

All foreigners visiting or residing in South Korea must have a valid visa. The type of visa required depends on the purpose of the visit, such as studying, working, or traveling. It’s important to apply for the correct visa and follow all necessary procedures to avoid any legal issues.

Immigration Laws

South Korea has strict immigration laws that must be followed by all foreigners. This includes registering with the local government within 90 days of arrival, obtaining a resident card, and renewing visas before they expire. Failure to follow these laws can result in fines, detention, or deportation.

Employment Regulations

Foreigners who wish to work in South Korea must obtain a work visa and meet certain requirements. They must also follow labor laws and regulations, which include minimum wage, working hours, and health and safety standards. Violations of these laws can result in penalties or legal action.

Housing Laws

Foreigners living in South Korea must follow housing laws and regulations, which include obtaining a lease agreement, paying rent on time, and avoiding illegal subletting. It’s important to understand these laws to avoid any issues with landlords or law enforcement.

Driving Laws

Foreigners who wish to drive in South Korea must obtain a valid driver’s license and follow traffic laws. This includes wearing seatbelts, obeying speed limits, and avoiding drunk driving. Violations of these laws can result in fines or even imprisonment.

Healthcare Regulations

Foreigners living in South Korea are required to have health insurance and follow healthcare regulations. This includes obtaining a health check-up and following quarantine procedures in case of infectious diseases. It’s important to follow these regulations to avoid any health risks.

Education Regulations

Foreigners who wish to study in South Korea must obtain a student visa and follow education regulations. This includes attending classes regularly, maintaining academic standards, and avoiding plagiarism or cheating. Violations of these regulations can result in expulsion or legal action.

Taxation Laws

Foreigners living in South Korea are subject to taxation laws and must pay taxes on their income. It’s important to understand tax laws and regulations to avoid any issues with the government or law enforcement.

Cultural Etiquette

Foreigners living in South Korea must also understand cultural etiquette and respect local customs. This includes avoiding public displays of affection, removing shoes before entering homes or temples, and using both hands when giving or receiving items. Understanding cultural etiquette is crucial for building relationships and avoiding misunderstandings.

Discrimination Laws

South Korea has laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Foreigners who experience discrimination can file a complaint with the government or seek legal action. It’s important to know these laws and seek help if necessary.


In conclusion, understanding the rules in South Korea for foreigners is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience in the country. By following visa requirements, immigration laws, employment regulations, housing laws, driving laws, healthcare regulations, education regulations, taxation laws, cultural etiquette, and discrimination laws, foreigners can avoid legal issues and build positive relationships with locals.

What things are restricted in South Korea?

South Korea has imposed import restrictions on various items such as gunpowder, explosives, and illegal drugs like opium, marijuana, cocaine, and more. Additionally, products or materials made from animals protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are also restricted.

What are the main rules in South Korea?

A person in the United States has the right to freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and press. They also have the right to vote, hold public office, and petition the government. They are protected against double jeopardy, involuntary labor, ex post facto laws, and warrantless searches of their homes. Additionally, they have the right to education, work, marriage, and healthcare.

Are US citizens allowed in South Korea?

The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA provides information on testing and quarantine regulations for short-term visitors to Korea. Please refer to the “Quarantine Information” section for further details. This information was last updated on March 20, 2023.

What is illegal to bring to Korea?

The illegal substances include opium, marijuana, cocaine, and others. It also includes items like medicine, handbags, wallets, animal products such as taxidermy and ivory from elephants, leopards, and alligators. Additionally, cashier’s checks, overdraft checks, postal money orders, and similar forms of payment are also included.

What is illegal to bring into Korea?

Korea has a ban on firearms, illegal drugs, pornography, materials that undermine the government, materials promoting acts of betrayal, and fake products from entering the country. This regulation has been in place since August 2, 2022.

Are tattoos allowed in South Korea?

In South Korea, only licensed medical practitioners are allowed to open tattoo parlors according to the law. However, it is not against the law to have a tattoo and only the military bans them. Those who have served in the army are allowed to get tattoos.


The official language of South Korea is Korean, and while many locals speak English, it’s still important for foreigners to learn some basic phrases to communicate effectively. Learning the language can also help with cultural integration and making new connections.

Alcohol Laws

Alcohol consumption is legal in South Korea, but there are laws and regulations that must be followed. The legal drinking age is 19, and it’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. It’s also important to be mindful of local customs, such as not pouring your own drink and respecting elders when drinking.

Social Media Regulations

South Korea has strict regulations on social media use, particularly when it comes to political content. Posting or sharing political content on social media can result in legal action and fines. It’s also important to be mindful of privacy laws and not share personal information without consent.

National Service Requirements

South Korean men are required to serve in the military for approximately two years, and dual citizenship is not permitted. Foreigners who wish to become permanent residents or citizens of South Korea must follow the necessary procedures and meet certain requirements, including completing national service if applicable.

Natural Disaster Preparedness

South Korea is prone to natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, and flooding. It’s important for foreigners to stay informed about weather alerts and emergency procedures in case of a natural disaster. Being prepared can help ensure safety during emergencies.

Environmental Regulations

South Korea has environmental laws and regulations that must be followed by all residents, including foreigners. This includes proper waste disposal, conserving energy, and reducing air pollution. Violations of these laws can result in fines or legal action.


By understanding the rules and regulations in South Korea for foreigners, individuals can have a smooth and enjoyable experience in the country. It’s important to be mindful of cultural differences, follow laws and regulations, and stay informed about important issues such as natural disasters and environmental concerns. By doing so, foreigners can build positive relationships with locals and fully immerse themselves in the unique culture of South Korea.

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