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COVID-19 Information
34 MINUTE READ
May 23, 2022

Read about the latest requirements for travel to the U.S. and other relevant travel information, including answers to FAQs.

Effective December 6, 2021, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within one calendar day of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.

Effective November 8, 2021, all non-immigrant, non-U.S. citizen air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States.

Exemptions will be considered on an extremely limited basis.  Please contact your nearest embassy or consulate to apply for an exemption.  Please visit the CDC webpages for more information about exemptions and the requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the United States.

Country-Specific Information

  • The U.S. Department of State currently has a level 1 travel advisory (Exercise Normal Precautions) for the Republic of Korea (ROK).
  • A pre-departure negative COVID-19 test is required for all travelers over 6 years of age regardless of vaccination status.  You have two options for testing:
    a. A supervised Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) taken at a clinic or hospital within 24 hours of your departure.
    b. A PCR test taken within 48 hours of your departure.
    Regardless of test type, the results must contain the following information: name as it appears on the passport, date of birth, test method, test date, test result, date of issuance, and name of testing center.
  • There is a mandatory 7-day quarantine upon entry for travelers who are unvaccinated or who do not register their vaccination status prior to entering Korea.
  • Quarantine exemption is available for vaccinated travelers who have either 1) completed their COVID-19 vaccination in Korea; 2) already registered their overseas vaccination history at a local Korean public health center; or 3) completed their vaccination overseas AND registered their vaccination history through the Quarantine COVID19 Defence (Q-Code) system BEFORE traveling to Korea. Vaccination is considered complete 14 days after the 2nd shot for a two-dose vaccine (valid up to 180 days) or with booster shots (no expiration).
  • Short-term travelers who are infected with COVID-19 upon arrival or during their stay in Korea will be taken to a government designated quarantine facility for 7 days and must pay for their treatment.
  • Some exceptions to the above policies may apply. Please direct any questions regarding Korean entry and quarantine requirements to your nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate. General information is detailed below, but please consult the ROK COVID-19 Portal, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) and the Embassy of the ROK in the USA.
  • Although most stores and public buildings are open, national and local governments exercise authority to regulate businesses, schools, the size and type of gatherings, treatment and quarantine requirements for those who test positive for COVID, and testing mandates to respond to outbreaks.

COVID-19 Testing & Vaccination

COVID-19 Testing
  • Are either PCR or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in Korea? Yes.
  • If so, are test results reliably available within one calendar day? Yes
  • Testing for travel purposes. If you need a COVID test for travel or other purposes, many local hospitals and clinics offer them for a fee, usually between $100 and $300. The U.S. Embassy has no designated testing centers; however, a list of COVID-19 testing sites is available here.  This list is non-comprehensive and provided for informational purposes only. Also see Incheon Airport’s website for information on COVID-19 testing options at the airport. Please note this testing center is located before passenger check-in and requires an appointment, so it is not available to passengers in transit. Please ensure that the clinic you choose will provide test results that comply with CDC guidelines and those of your airline as travelers present this documentation to their airline.  For additional information, including recommendations and requirements after you travel, please refer to the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Testing for health reasons. Travelers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should first obtain an antigen test result, either by purchasing a self-test antigen kit from a local pharmacy (approximately KRW 6,000) or taking an antigen test at a local respiratory clinic (approximately KRW 60,000). Travelers with a positive self-test antigen result should then visit a local screening center for a free PCR test to confirm their diagnosis. Travelers with a positive antigen result from a local respiratory clinic do not require an additional PCR test to confirm their diagnosis. The clinic will notify the appropriate public health office. A list of medical institutions that provide testing is available here. Travelers should contact the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) call center at 1339 for additional testing guidance.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
  • Has the government of Korea approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use? Yes
  • Are vaccines available in Korea for U.S. citizens to receive? Yes.
  • Which vaccines are available in Korea? The ROK government approved the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson Janssen, Moderna, and Novavax vaccines for use.
  • According to Vaccination Guide for Foreign Nationals in Korea and COVID-19 Booster Shot Guideline for Foreign Nationals, foreigners living in Korea are eligible to receive vaccinations in the same priority order as Korean citizens. If you are a long-term resident foreigner,  you can book a date of your vaccination via online registration system (Korean only) or by directly contacting the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (+1339). Short-term visitors and unregistered foreigners can visit a public health center near them with a valid ID and request a temporary code in order to make an appointment.  Please refer to the COVID-19 Vaccination website for any additional information. The U.S. government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.

Entry and Exit Requirements & Movement Restrictions

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes.
    * Pre-departure testing required for all inbound travelers to Korea, including those who have been vaccinated. See “Quarantine Information” below for more information.
    ROK COVID-19 Portal
    Korean Immigration Service
    U.S. Forces Korea’s website to register for more information regarding COVID-19
    The Embassy of the ROK in the USA has information about testing and quarantine requirements for short-term visitors to Korea.
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes.
     * A pre-departure negative COVID-19 test is required for all travelers over 6 years of age regardless of vaccination status.  You have two options for testing:
    a. A supervised Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) taken at a clinic or hospital within 24 hours of your departure.
    b. A PCR test taken within 48 hours of your departure.
    Regardless of test type, the results must contain the following information: name as it appears on the passport, date of birth, test method, test date, test result, date of issuance, and name of testing center.  Please refer to the Embassy of the ROK in the USA website for more information. Follow your airline’s guidance and consult with the nearest Korean consulate if you have questions. Please see “Transit Passengers” section below for information on COVID-19 testing requirements for passengers transiting Korean airports (e.g. those who do not pass through immigration).
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes.
      * Arriving passengers will experience some combination of temperature screening, health questionnaires, quarantines, and/or COVID-tests, depending on points of departure, visa status, and nationality.
  • Exit requirements for long-term residents. Foreigners who are long-term residents of the ROK who departed the ROK after April 1, 2022 will be allowed re-entry into the ROK within one year from the date of departure without obtaining a re-entry permit in advance.  Only those who are entering the ROK after spending more than a year abroad from the date of departure will need to apply for a multiple-re-entry permit.  The permits are available online through an e-application at the the www.hikorea.go.kr website, where there is a re-entry policy notice in English and a re-entry policy notice in Korean.  For inquiries, call the Korean Immigration Contact Center at +82-1345.
  • Visa extensions. Travelers wishing to lengthen their stay in Korea must submit an online e-application, documenting the circumstances that compel them to extend their stay. Extensions will not be granted beyond the validity of the passport. Please refer to these websites for more information:
    https://www.hikorea.go.kr
    https://immigration.go.kr/immigration_eng/index.do
Movement Restrictions
  • Is a curfew in place? No
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No
    * Although there are no government mandated restrictions on domestic travel in Korea, those entering Korea from abroad will need to go through PCR testing upon entry.  Please check with your airline for domestic transfer guidance.

Quarantine Information

  •  Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Some U.S. citizens are required to quarantine, while others are exempt. Quarantine exemption is available for vaccinated travelers who have either 1) completed their COVID-19 vaccination in Korea; 2) already registered their overseas vaccination history at a local Korean public health center; or 3) completed their vaccination overseas AND registered their vaccination history through the Quarantine COVID19 Defence (Q-Code) system BEFORE traveling to Korea. Vaccination is considered complete 14 days after the 2nd shot for a two-dose vaccine (valid up to 180 days) or with booster shots (no expiration). Some exceptions to the above policies may apply.  Please direct any questions to your nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate. See the Embassy of the ROK in the USA website for more information.
  • Transit passengers. Passengers originating from the United States who transit through Korean airports (who do not pass through immigration) do not require a negative PCR COVID-19 test and have no quarantine requirement for stays less than 24 hours. Passengers originating from other countries should consult the ROK Embassy in the country of their departure to find out whether a negative PCR COVID-19 test is required to transit through Korean airports. The Korean Immigration Contact Center can clarify testing requirements for transit passengers at telephone number +82-1345. Transit passengers should also confirm entry requirements at their onward destination. Please note, there are no COVID testing facilities available in airport transit areas.
  • Isolation exemption certificates for short-term travelers. Some U.S. citizens traveling to South Korea for business or emergencies such as a family member’s death may be exempt from self-quarantine requirements regardless of vaccination status. Isolation exemption certificates must be approved at a Korean Embassy or Consulate prior to travel. See website for locations and procedures: http://overseas.mofa.go.kr/us-en/index.do
  • Responsibility for treatment costs. Short-term travelers who are infected with COVID-19 upon arrival or during their stay in Korea will be taken to a government designated quarantine facility for 7 days and must pay for their treatment. Travelers should contact the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) call center at 1339 for any additional information.

Transportation Options

  • Are commercial flights operating? Yes.
    * Despite reductions in flight services by several carriers, South Korea remains well-served by commercial aviation. Please see https://www.airport.kr/ap/en/index.do to check departure schedules and flight availability.
  • Is public transportation operating? Yes.
    * Masks are compulsory on all modes of public transportation, including taxis and domestic/international flights. Drivers and pilots are authorized to deny passengers who refuse to wear a mask.

Fines for Non-Compliance

  • Short-term visitors must provide passport information to lodging facility owners, who must forward it to the Ministry of Justice. Failure to comply could result in a fine of 500,000 won (approximately $500). More information is available on hikorea.go.kr.
  • Face masks are compulsory in public places (public transportation, demonstration sites and in healthcare facilities). Failure to wear an appropriate mask that covers both nose and mouth could result in a fine of up to 100,000 won (approximately $100).
  • People suspected of having COVID-19 who refuse to get tested can be fined up to 10 million won (approximately $10,000) or one year of prison.
  • Users and operators of high-risk businesses who violate disinfection and quarantine guidelines can be fined up to 3 million won (approximately $3,000).
  • Those who violate a self-quarantine order may be subject to a fine, arrest, or deportation.
  • Local governments may enact their own fines for non-compliance with COVID-19 rules on gathering size, permitted activities and/or testing mandates.

Consular Operations & Resources

Consular Operations
  • American Citizen Services offers limited in-person appointments for passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, Loss of Nationality, and notarials. Passport renewal applications (those using form DS-82) must be submitted by courier service. Please see information on all U.S. Citizen Services in Korea on the “U.S. Citizen Services” page of our website: https://kr.usembassy.gov/services
  • The U.S. Embassy in Seoul has resumed routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services for all visa categories; however, the number of visa interviews per day will remain limited to ensure appropriate social distancing. If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided online here to request an emergency appointment. Please see the latest information on U.S. Embassy Seoul visa services on the “Visas” page of our website: https://kr.usembassy.gov/visas/
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