Tourist visa to South Korea

South Korea

South Korea applies visa-free travel to all European Union countries, as well as the USA, Canada, Australia, India and many other countries around the world.

However, as of 1 September 2021, you must complete the K-ETA electronic travel authorization and pay an administrative fee before traveling.

Free entry without K-ETA

To promote tourism, South Korea has waived the requirement to fill out the K-ETA electronic travel authorization for travel between 1.4.2023 and 31.12.2024.

Upon arrival, just fill out the arrival card and present your passport.

Visa-free travel with K-ETA

You can travel to the country for a maximum of 90 days without the need to obtain a traditional visa at the embassies of the Republic of Korea.

Fill out the application on the official website, under no circumstances fill out the K-ETA on a website with a different address. These are fraudulent sites that will extract much more money from you than the K-ETA is actually worth.

The electronic authorization can also be completed through the k-eta mobile app (Google Play / App Store).

How long before I travel do I need to complete the K-ETA?

You must complete the form at least 24 hours before departure. This is the maximum time you have to receive a decision on whether or not to approve your K-ETA. Unless you have a history of illegal entry into South Korea or have committed a crime in the country, there is no need to worry about the K-ETA not being approved.

In most cases, approval information will arrive within 30 minutes to the email you have provided.

We recommend that you print the email. K-ETA is always checked when you board the plane, and there may be situations where the wi-fi is not working at the airport you are flying from (happens often in China or even Saudi Arabia). You will not be allowed on the plane without showing an approved K-ETA authorisation.

How long is the K-ETA valid for?

The Korean K-ETA is valid for 2 years, during which time you can take as many trips to South Korea as you like.

How much does a K-ETA cost and how do I pay for it?

The K-ETA travel authorisation costs 10 000 krw and is payable exclusively online by credit card after completing registration at

Who needs to fill out a K-ETA?

The K-ETA electronic travel authorisation must be completed by all travellers to South Korea, including minor children. All travellers must complete and pay for their own K-ETA.

The exception is travelers who are flying to Korea for more than 90 days and have their own visa from the embassy. They do not need to complete a K-ETA authorization.

Passport validity

What must be the validity of my passport to travel to the Republic of Korea?

The passport must always be valid for all travelers for at least 6 months after leaving Korea (i.e., after completion of the trip).

Conversely, there is no time limit on how long a passport must be old before traveling to the country. You can travel to South Korea with a brand new passport.

Visas for stays over 90 days

If you are travelling to Korea for an extended period of time, you must always obtain a standard visa from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea.

For complete information on obtaining a standard visa, please visit the official website:

How does the immigration interview work?

Upon arrival in South Korea (or arrival by boat), you will undergo a standard passport check. While still on the plane, you will be given a paper card to fill out, which is a customs declaration.

There are still entry forms available on the racks before passport control, but these are not filled out by K-ETA holders. This means that you go straight from the plane to passport control without delay.

The immigration interview itself involves fingerprinting and a facial photograph. Usually you will be at the border control for 1-2 minutes at most. You will receive a visa waiver in the form of a passport sticker.

After passport control, you will collect your luggage and go through one more customs check, which consists only of having your luggage x-rayed. At the same time, you will hand in the form you were given on the plane. If you didn't get it on the plane, these forms are available again on the stand outside customs.

When you leave Korea, you don't have to go past the border guard at all. Just head to the automatic gates that recognize your face and let you in within seconds. These automatic gates are available not only for Korean citizens but also for all foreigners.

Other documents

No other documents are required apart from a valid passport and a completed K-ETA form (which is checked at check-in).

It is advisable to have the return travel document printed or handy on your phone, but it is checked only in exceptional cases.

Customs regulations

Persons over the age of 20 can import duty-free into the country:

  • 200 cigarettes,
  • 50 cigars,
  • 250 g of pipe tobacco,
  • 1 litre of alcoholic beverages,
  • 2 oz (ounces) of perfume,
  • gift items up to the value of 400 usd.

Cash in excess of 10 000 usd must be declared in writing upon arrival at the airport. Forms handed out on the plane will be used for this purpose.

A strict no-importation policy applies:

  • narcotics,
  • fruit,
  • meat products,
  • ...publications and video tapes of North Korean origin.

Should you wish to export cultural relics and national antiquities, inspection and approval from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Art & Antique Assessment Office in Seoul is required.

This article may contain affiliate links from which our editorial team may earn commissions if you click on the link. See our Advertising Policy page.