South Korea: COVID-19 Travel Bans & Travel RestrictionsUpdated on 12 may 2021, 09:54 UTC+8
Track Policy Changes
Entry into South KoreaPartially restricted
Foreign nationals must carry proof of a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 performed no more than 72 hours prior to departure.
All persons arriving in South Korea must either self-isolate or undergo quarantine at a designated facility depending on their departure location.
Required Testing for Foreign Nationals
All foreign nationals, regardless of origin, must carry proof of a negative result for COVID-19 using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test performed no more than 72 hours prior to departure by a hospital or medical services provider approved by the local Korean embassy or consulate. All travelers are strongly advised to contact their local Korean embassy or consulate regarding travel restrictions specific to their current location, including information regarding flight bans, testing requirements, and visa issuance.
"Re-Entry Permit" Required for Alien Registration Card Holders
From June 1, 2020, persons holding an Alien Registration Card (ARC) must obtain a "Re-Entry Permit" prior to departure from South Korea if they intend to return. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of the Alien Registration. This policy does not apply to diplomats, government officials, or persons who hold Overseas Korean (F-4) status. To return to South Korea, persons holding a valid ARC must undergo testing for COVID-19 within 48 hours prior to departure and must present a medical certificate (written in English or Korean) showing their test results upon arrival in South Korea.
"Fast-Track" Immigration Clearance for Chinese Nationals
From May 1, 2020, Chinese nationals traveling to South Korea for business purposes may qualify for special "fast-track" immigration clearance provided they hold proof of a negative test for COVID-19 performed no more than 72 hours prior to departure. They must again test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival in Korea before being exempted from the mandatory quarantine procedures described below. Persons using "fast-track" immigration clearance are subject to standard government surveillance measures in place to combat COVID-19.
Special Entry Procedures
So-called "special entry procedures" are in place for all persons arriving in South Korea regardless of origin. All persons must proceed through immigration at their first port of entry in South Korea and may not connect to onward domestic flights. This policy does not apply to residents of Jeju Island or to special "Transit Exclusive Domestic Flights" connecting from Incheon International Airport (IIA) to Gimhae International Airport (PUS) in Busan. Individuals are allowed entry only after they provide verifiable contact information and an address within South Korea valid for the duration of their stay. All persons are required to install either the "Self-quarantine Safety Protection App" or the "Mobile Self-diagnosis App" on their phones and follow the instructions for documenting their health condition on a daily basis for 14 days. All persons arriving from the United States (including Korean nationals) must self-isolate and must get diagnostic tests within three days of commencing their quarantine period.
All persons (including Korean nationals) will go through diagnostic tests if they have fever or respiratory symptoms identified during the quarantine stage. Persons who test positive for COVID-19 will be transferred to a hospital or Living and Treatment Center (Community Treatment Center). Korean nationals or long-term foreign nationals who test negative will be placed under self-quarantine. Foreign nationals who are short-term will be placed under quarantine at designated facilities.
Asymptomatic Korean nationals arriving from Europe and the United States will go into self-quarantine and get diagnostic tests at a health center within three days of arrival. Asymptomatic Korean nationals arriving from countries outside the European countries and the United States will go into self-quarantine and get diagnostic tests if they display any symptoms. Asymptomatic long-term foreign nationals arriving from the United States will be placed under self-quarantine and must get diagnostic tests within three days at a public health clinic. Asymptomatic foreign nationals for long-term and short-term stay arriving from Europe will get diagnostic tests at the airport. Afterwards, long-term foreign nationals will go into self-quarantine while short-term foreign nationals will be quarantined at designated facilities. Asymptomatic long-term stay foreign nationals arriving from countries other than European countries and the United States will go into self-quarantine and get diagnostic tests if they display any symptoms. Asymptomatic short-term foreign nationals arriving from countries outside the European continent will be placed under quarantine at designated facilities and get diagnostic tests if they display any symptoms.
Returning to United StatesPartially restricted
All persons must have proof of a negative nucleic acid or antigen test for COVID-19 issued no more than 72 hours prior to departure, or must provide "documentation of recovery."
Travelers are encouraged to undergo testing for COVID-19 within 3-5 days of arrival and to self-isolate for 7 days. All persons must wear a mask when using public conveyances.
The US government has mostly suspended the issuing of new visas. All travelers are encouraged to contact their local US embassy or consulate prior to finalizing travel plans.
From May 4, 2021, foreign nationals who have visited any of the following countries or regions within 14 days of their arrival in the United States are prohibited from entering: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mainland China, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican City, and the United Kingdom. This policy provides limited exemptions for persons providing vital support for critical infrastructure, journalists, students, and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs.
All persons traveling to the United States (including US nationals) must present proof of a negative result for COVID-19 issued no more than 3 days to departure using a nucleic acid or antigen test. Alternatively, persons who, at any point within 90 days of their scheduled departure for the United States, tested positive for COVID-19 may present "documentation of recovery" for travel to the United States. This must include proof of the positive test result along with a certificate from a recognized healthcare provider attesting that the traveler is not currently exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 is and cleared for travel. All travelers must additionally sign a form attesting that the information provided to airline staff is truthful and accurate to the best of the traveler's knowledge. Persons lacking such proof are prohibited from boarding flights bound for the United States. More information including post-travel recommendations is available via the following URL: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html
The United States government has mostly suspended the issuing of new visas and all US land border checkpoints with Canada and Mexico are closed to non-essential traffic. Additional restrictions are in place for persons holding special category visas including H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 visas. All travelers are encouraged to contact their local US embassy or consulate prior to finalizing travel arrangements. When arriving into or traveling within the United States, all persons must wear masks covering their mouth and nose while aboard any conveyance or at any transportation hub. Be advised, various state and local authorities in the United States have implemented additional policies and restrictions for persons arriving into their jurisdictions.