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- The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced a plan to provide free face masks to foreigners in South Korea. Beginning April 6, U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals can show a passport or alien registration card and receive masks and filters at eight metropolitan locations: Seoul Global Center, Southwest Seoul Global Center, Seongdong Global Migrant Center, Seongbuk Global Migrant Center, Eunpyeong Global Migrant Center, Yangcheon Global Migrant Center, Geumcheon Global Migrant Center and Gangdong Global Migrant Center.
- The Republic of Korea (ROK) has confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its borders.
- Authorities have confirmed that community-based transmission is occurring in Korea. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul continues to closely monitor developments related to COVID-19 in the ROK.
- The U.S. Department of State currently has a level 3 travel advisory (Reconsider Travel) for the ROK and level 4 (Do Not Travel) for Daegu specifically. Please see the full language of the travel advisory here.
- Certain airlines have reduced or suspended flights to the ROK, we suggest that you check with your individual airline for any changes to your itinerary.
- Despite this reduction in flight services by several carriers, South Korea remains well-served by commercial aviation; the Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens who wish to depart do so via commercial air. Please see https://www.airport.kr/ap/en/index.do to check departure schedules and flight availability.
Entry and Exit Requirements:
June 1, 2020: Foreigners who are long term residents of the Republic of Korea (ROK) will be required to obtain a re-entry permit prior to departing for international travel. The permits are available at immigration offices, airports, and port offices. The cost is 30,000 won and the re-entry permit is valid for one year. Failure to apply for a re-entry permit prior to departure will result in the cancellation of the traveler’s ROK Alien Registration. Foreign long-term residents of the ROK will also be required to provide a medical certificate or negative COVID-19 test before boarding flights to Korea. The certificate must be in English or Korean and signed by a medical professional within 48 hours of departure; it should include information about fever, cough, and other potential symptoms. While a negative COVID-19 test result is accepted for immigration, it is not a requirement for the medical certificate. Diplomats (A-1), Government Officials (A-2, A-3) or Overseas Korean (F-4) status do not need to apply for re-entry permits or provide medical certificates when returning to Korea.
IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR U.S. TRAVELERS TO SOUTH KOREA: Effective as of April 1st, the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine for ALL inbound passengers. Most foreign travelers on short-term travel will be required to quarantine at a government-designated facility at their own expense for 14 days (this includes U.S. citizens traveling on 90-day visa free travel and short-term visa holders). The nightly cost at these facilities could range from $100 to $150 USD per night (approximately $1,400-$2,100 USD total), depending on various factors and prices are set by the Korean authorities. Passengers that fall into this category will be required to sign a release form from the ROK agreeing to these conditions prior to boarding the plane. If the passenger refuses to sign the form, they will be denied boarding. Details about the quarantine process and a copy of the release form are available on the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA website.
Travelers who are long-term or residential will be required to self-quarantine at their own residences. All passengers who exhibit symptoms will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing on arrival at the airport and may be subject to additional procedures. Some U.S. citizens traveling to South Korea for diplomatic, business, humanitarian, or, academic reasons may be exempt from self-quarantine requirements but will require pre-approved waiver from a Korean Embassy or Consulate in the United States prior to traveling.
Korean health authorities have indicated that all passengers will be required to download and respond to daily questions via a Self-Diagnosis Mobile App for 14 days. Those who violate the self-quarantine order may be subject to a fine, arrest, or deportation. Passengers who are unable to download the mobile app must provide a valid phone number and address in Korea to facilitate daily health monitoring by local government officials.
Passengers transiting through Incheon International Airport to third countries will not face the new quarantine requirement, but will receive a temperature screening and health questionnaire.
As the State Department has already advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19, please take these new screening procedures into account before you decide to continue with your travel plans to the Republic of Korea.
All travelers to Korea should be aware that COVID-19 screening measures are subject to change with little advance notice. For the latest information, please refer to Incheon International Airport and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of 12:00 a.m. on March 3 the ROK began temperature screening all passengers on direct flights from the ROK to the United States. This mandatory screening applies to all passengers on U.S.-bound flights. Passengers who exceed the temperature restriction will not be permitted to board, and their baggage will be removed from the aircraft. Health screening procedures are subject to change at any time and your individual airline has the authority to deny boarding at their discretion based on your individual circumstances. We recommend that you check with your airline prior to travel in order to confirm current procedures.
The Korean Ministry of Justice has published emergency measures to counter the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, the following will be restricted entry into South Korea:
- Those travelers with passports issued in Hubei, China.
- Korean visas to travelers who were issued in Hubei Province, China will be cancelled.
- All foreign nationals who visited Hubei Province, China in the past 14 days will be restricted entry.
- Visa-free entry to Jeju Island is temporarily suspended to all foreign nationals.
- Visa-free entry to Chinese nationals and foreign nationals who are traveling from China will be suspended.
- If you are currently in Korea and believe that you may have symptoms of COVID-19, please call the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) treatment hotline at 1339 or 1345 (English) to be directed to an appropriate facility.
- ROK COVID-19 Portal
- The Korea Center for Disease Control
- Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare
- The Korean Immigration Service
- The Arirang TV website (www.arirang.com) offers live streaming of regular press briefings by the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters on COVID-19 twice a day at 11a.m. and 2p.m. with simultaneous interpretation in English.
- United States military retirees living in South Korea can visit the U.S. Forces Korea website to register for more information regarding COVID-19.
- Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA has information about quarantine requirements for short-term visitors to Korea.
May 26, 2020: Masks are now compulsory in all ROK modes of public transportation (including taxis and domestic/international flights). Drivers and pilots are authorized to deny passengers who refuse to wear a mask.