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COVID-19 Information
32 MINUTE READ
August 18, 2022

Effective Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. EDT, the CDC rescinded its Order requiring all airline or other aircraft passengers to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 to board any aircraft destined to the United States from a foreign country.  CDC’s Order requiring proof of vaccination for non-U.S. citizen nonimmigrants to travel to the United States is still in effect. For more information, see Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers.

Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.

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).
  • All travelers are exempt from quarantine regardless of vaccination status. Travelers are encouraged to register their travel information through the Quarantine COVID19 Defence (Q-Code) system  BEFORE traveling to Korea in order to streamline the airport arrival process.
  • 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 one calendar day prior to travel.
    b. A PCR test taken within two calendar days prior to travel.
    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.
  • Persons who tested positive for COVID-19 in Korea and who re-enter Korea between 10 and 40 days after testing positive are exempted from presenting a pre-departure test. They must have proof of a positive PCR test result issued by a Korean health facility and one of the following: resident card, overseas Korean resident card, permanent resident card, or ID card of a diplomatic mission in Korea.
  • All arriving passengers are required to take a PCR test within one day after arrival regardless of vaccination or age, and must upload the results into the Q-Code System. A RAT test within 6-7 days is also recommended.
  • Short-term travelers who are infected with COVID-19 upon arrival in Korea may be taken to a government designated quarantine facility for 7 days and must pay for their treatment.
  • Additional questions regarding Korean entry and quarantine requirements should be directed to your nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate. You can consult the Additional questions regarding Korean entry and quarantine requirements should be directed to your nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate. You can consult the ROK COVID-19 Portal, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) and the Embassy of the ROK in the USA.

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. You can also check the Incheon Airport 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 the guidelines of the country you are traveling to 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 one calendar day prior to travel.
    b. A PCR test taken within two calendar days prior to travel.
    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 take a PCR test within 3 days after arrival.  Please check with your airline for domestic transfer guidance.

Quarantine Information

  •  Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? All travelers are exempt from quarantine regardless of vaccination status. Travelers are encouraged to register their travel information through the Quarantine COVID19 Defence (Q-Code) system  BEFORE traveling to Korea.
  • 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.
  • Quarantine exemption certificates for short-term travelers. Some U.S. citizens traveling to South Korea for a family member’s death may apply for a Quarantine Exemption Certificate through the Korean Embassy or Consulate prior to travel. Although quarantine is no longer required upon arrival for all travelers, those who obtain a Quarantine Exemption Certificate for funeral purposes may be exempted from the pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement. You can check this 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 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.  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 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. 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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