Please visit the export.gov page on South Korea for an overview of economic conditions and opportunities in the region.
I – Exporting to South Korea
If you are considering doing business in South Korea, here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:
1. Visit www.export.gov/southkorea to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities. Access the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library containing more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by our specialists working in overseas posts.
2. Contact Information and Links for Assistance:
- Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting to South Korea. Contact a Trade Specialist near you.
- Contact your local Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).
Starting a business can be a challenge, but there is help for you in your area. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration and aims at giving educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
- Contact in-country business support organizations such as the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea or the U.S.-Korea Business Council.
- Make use of business matchmaking services and other resources provided by the U.S. Commercial Service, including trade counseling, market intelligence and commercial diplomacy, among many others.
- Please note: For assistance with food and agricultural products, please contact the Embassy’s Agricultural Affairs Office or Agricultural Trade Office.
II – Investing in South Korea
This section provides information for current and potential investors in Korea.
1. Potential investors: Getting Started.
If you are considering investment in Korea, here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:
- Register with the U.S. Embassy: if you are planning a visit to consider investment, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses at the top of this page.
- Review the Department of State’s Investment Climate Statements and the Department of Commerce’s Country Commercial Guides for the latest analysis of the economic and political conditions in Korea.
- Identify leads on active and potential projects funded by multilateral development banks with the Department of State’s Business Information Database System (BIDS).
- Visit host country resources, such as Commercial Service web site.
- Contact local U.S. business support organizations such as the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea or the U.S.-Korea Business Council.
- Subscribe to our Embassy Facebook page or Twitter feed.
2. Current Investors: Staying Connected
If you are a current U.S. investor in Korea, the U.S. Embassy wants to stay in touch. Here are a few steps you can take to keep the channels of communication open:
- Register with the U.S. Embassy: if you are active in Korea, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses at the top of this page.
- Add Commercial and Agricultural Specialists to your mailing lists: we are always happy to stay informed. Send emails to contact addresses at the top of this page.
- Subscribe to our Embassy Facebook page or Twitter feed.
- Set up a meeting with our Economic or Commercial team to discuss any issues that arise. Contact information is listed at the top of this page.
3. Working in South Korea
In this section you will find information on business visas, travel advisories, and anti-corruption tools.
Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens
- No visa needed for a stay of up to 90 days.
- A stay of over 90 days requires a visa.
If planning to stay more than 90 days or for any purpose other than tourism or business, U.S. passport holders must obtain a visa prior to entering Korea. Americans coming to Korea for activities such as employment, teaching English, or study must obtain a visa at a Korean embassy or consulate abroad.
For more information about Korean visa and entry requirements, please see the Korean Ministry of Justice’s website at http://www.moj.go.kr/HP/ENG/index.do.
For information about visas to Korea, please see the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website at http://www.mofa.go.kr/eng/index.do.
Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisory for South Korea.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets. The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business. These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.
More information on the FCPA can be found here: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa/
A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue. Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA. Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations.
More information on the DOJ opinion procedure can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/fcpa-opinions