Is Korea a visa-free country?

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The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions in international air and travel traffic and impairment of public life.

From unnecessary, tourist trips to Korea (South Korea) becomes currently due to ongoing entry restrictions advised against.

Epidemiological situation

The infection rate in South Korea is at a low level. Regional focal points are the capital Seoul and the surrounding province of Gyeonggi.

The national health authority KDCA and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide current and detailed figures.


It is not possible for German citizens to enter South Korea without a visa. The previous regulation that tourists and business travelers can enter the country without a visa for stays of up to 90 days has been suspended until further notice. No visas are currently issued for tourist purposes.

All holders of long-term residence permits (with the exception of A-1, A-2, A-3 and F-4 visas) who are resident in Korea must apply for a re-entry permit online prior to leaving Korea (in urgent emergencies also exceptionally at Incheon Airport). Without this permission, the "Alien Registration Card" becomes invalid and a new entry visa must be applied for.

To enter Korea, a negative PCR test result must be presented at the airport prior to departure, which was issued within 72 hours prior to departure. The original test result must be submitted in English or Korean. In the case of other languages, a certified translation must be enclosed. This rule applies to all travelers. Exceptions are only made for children under six years of age and transit travelers who do not leave the international transit area.

In principle, all passengers entering Korea are obliged to go directly to a 14-day home quarantine after entry (or, if they do not have a place of residence, to a paid one - approx. 150,000 KRW (approx. 110 EUR) per day, 2,100. 000 KRW for 14 days - provided quarantine location). Travelers entering Korea for a long-term stay must clarify with the Korean authorities where the quarantine can be carried out prior to departure. Students should contact the university in advance. Furthermore, there is an obligation to download a “Self Diagnosis” app or a “Self Quarantine Safety” app onto the smartphone upon entry, which can be used to transmit health data and whereabouts to the Korean authorities up to a maximum of 14 days after entry.

People who visit the country briefly for an important business, humanitarian or academic reason are exempt from the obligation to self-quarantine if they have received an "Isolation Exemption Certificate" from the respective Korean embassy in their country of origin prior to departure. Further information is available from the Korean embassy in Berlin.

All entrants are required to undergo a second COVID-19 test upon arrival (expect to stay overnight in a government-assigned facility depending on the duration of the test result).

Exceptions apply to holders of the "Alien Registration Card". This group of people can carry out the second COVID-19 test within one day of arrival. If the test is positive, you will be referred to the hospital or, in mild cases, to another medical facility (“Living Treatment Center”).

In addition, foreign nationals must generally undergo another COVID-19 test before the 14-day quarantine is ended (the local health authority decides whether or not the further test is required). People who come with an "Isolation Exemption Certificate" and intend to stay in Korea for more than eight days are also obliged to have an additional PCR test carried out between the fifth and seventh day for a fee.

In the event of a positive COVID-19 test, the treatment costs will not be covered by the Korean state. Foreigners have to pay all costs for treatment and meals in the hospital themselves. Further information is available from the Korean embassy in Berlin.

The violation of the health requirements mentioned, including the violation of quarantine guidelines or other COVID-19 measures of the Korean government, can be punished with imprisonment or a fine as well as expulsion and entry bans.

Transit and onward travel

A pure transit stay at Incheon Airport is currently possible, provided that the international transit area is not left, there is no terminal change and the stay in the international transit area does not last longer than 24 hours. The luggage should be checked through to the destination airport. There are also multiple temperature controls at the airport and before boarding. In the event of symptoms or suspicion, a test can be ordered that may delay the onward journey or require a stay in quarantine.

Travel within Korea is possible. Intercity buses and trains run with the usual regularity.

Travel connections

Several airlines fly to Korea several times a week. There are direct flights to Germany and other EU countries.

Restrictions in the country

Many tourist facilities such as museums or parks are closed.

Hygiene rules

The most important protective measures are the rules of distance and hygiene (social distancing). In particular, the mask requirement is strictly observed by the population. Masks are also worn when the rules do not require it, because the distance of 2 m can be maintained (in parks, on the beach, when walking in the woods).

  • Make sure you comply with the AHA regulations and also follow the instructions from local authorities. High fines can be imposed if the hygiene regulations are violated.
  • Find out about detailed measures and additional information from the Korean government. The city of Seoul also provides clear information.
  • If necessary, inquire at the Korean diplomatic mission responsible for you before you start your journey.
  • Before traveling, check with your airline about the exact conditions of transit at Incheon Airport.
  • In the event of COVID-19 symptoms or contact with infected people, contact the health department at your place of residence, central number 1339 (also in English).
  • Note the quarantine and test obligation when entering Germany from risk areas (not transit) and contact the health department at your place of residence. The Federal Ministry of Health offers further information on compulsory testing.
  • Stays in foreign countries can currently affect the possibility of entering other countries. Therefore, find out about the current regulations on entry, transit and quarantine in the respective travel countries via the travel and safety information before starting any trip.
  • Please note our continuously updated information on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.



Domestic situation

The Republic of Korea is considered a relatively safe travel destination. The consequences of the division of the Korean peninsula and the difficult political relations between the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) have so far not adversely affected the security situation for travelers in South Korea.
Although intra-Korean relations have eased somewhat in the past few months, it cannot be ruled out that - also against the background of the complex relations between North Korea and the USA - tensions between North Korea and South Korea may arise again in the short term. A specific risk to German citizens in this context has not yet been seen.
The Korean authorities occasionally conduct emergency and crisis drills. In this context, sirens sound, road and public traffic is stopped and passers-by are asked to go to the nearest emergency accommodation. Participation is not compulsory for foreign nationals, but is recommended.

  • Find out about the local media.
  • If necessary, use the EmergencyReadyApp for iOS and Android for behavioral tips and warning messages, the nearest emergency shelter, police station and emergency room
  • Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings of people in large areas.
  • Follow the instructions of local security guards.


The crime rate is low. Petty crimes such as pickpockets occur in larger cities and tourist locations.

  • Use normal caution due to petty crimes such as pickpocketing.
  • Keep your money, ID, driver's license, air tickets and other important documents safe.
  • Be skeptical of unfamiliar e-mails, profit notifications, offers and requests for help from alleged acquaintances. Do not disclose any data about yourself; if necessary, make sure yourself personally or contact the police.

Nature and climate

South Korea lies in a seismically active zone in which earthquakes can occur.

There are four distinct seasons: the monsoon season from June to August is hot and humid, the winter from December to February is cold and dry, and the spring and autumn are temperate.

Between July and September in particular, typhoons and heavy rains, floods and landslides can occur, which can also lead to disruptions in travel.

Travel info

Infrastructure / traffic

Traffic routes may be impaired due to measures related to COVID-19 containment, see Current.

South Korea has a very well developed public transport network with domestic flights, modern train and bus connections, the capital Seoul also has an excellent subway network, other large cities also have subways (including Busan, Daegu, Gwangju). Roads are very well developed, there is a dense network of motorways, which is usually chargeable. In larger cities, local public transport and street signs are predominantly supplemented in both Korean and Latin letters. When using a rental car, you will have to expect signs only in Korean in some places.

Border area with North Korea

A four km wide border strip stretches roughly along the 38th parallel, in the further apron of which extensive troop contingents are stationed on both sides. On the South Korean side, the designation of a restricted military area prevents the immediate approach to the dividing line. A border crossing has only existed in the east and west of the border for a few years. These were temporarily and only passable from the south for tourist day trips from South to North Korea, they are currently closed. Formal entry into North Korea is not possible from South Korea; for this, the transfer must take place via third countries (PR China, Russia).

Driver's license

The international driving license is required and is valid for up to one year in conjunction with the national German driving license.


Same-sex sexual activity is legal in South Korea, but same-sex marriages or registered partnerships are not legally possible. The acceptance is not particularly pronounced among the general population, especially among the older segment of the population.

Legal specifics

Military facilities are not allowed to be photographed.

Drug offenses are punished with long prison terms. Korean law does not distinguish between “hard” and “soft” drugs. Possession of small amounts of illegal drugs is also a criminal offense.

Money / credit cards

The national currency is the won (KRW). Currency exchange is possible at the airport, at all banks and larger hotels as well as exchange offices. Cash withdrawals with common international credit cards are possible at marked ATMs, as long as this is not excluded by individual restrictions of the German credit institutions. Credit cards can also be used to pay in many hotels, restaurants and shops. Withdrawing cash with German bank cards is hardly possible.

  • Inquire about the conditions for cash withdrawals in non-European countries at the German financial institution before you travel.

Entry and customs

Entry and transit regulations may currently differ due to measures to contain COVID-19, see Current.

Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without the Foreign Office being informed beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information that goes beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app, or you can inquire about them by telephone.

Travel documents

Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:

  • Passport: Yes
  • Temporary passport: Yes
  • Identity card: No.
  • Temporary identity card: No.
  • Children's passport: Yes

Comments / minimum remaining validity:
Travel documents must be valid for at least three months at the time of entry.
The requirements of individual airlines for the documents to be carried by their passengers differ in part from the state regulations.


German citizens can no longer enter South Korea without a visa since April 13, 2020. The previous regulation that tourists and business travelers can enter the country without a visa for stays of up to 90 days is suspended until further notice.

Starting work / studying

To start work or to study, a visa is required, which can be applied for before departure.

Contributions to the National Health Insurance Service are required for stays longer than six months.

Working Holiday Visa

For Germans between the ages of 18 and 30, there is the opportunity to travel through the Republic of Korea for up to a year and take odd jobs there to finance the trip. For such a vacation work stay, a so-called working holiday visa is required, which must be applied for in advance at the responsible Korean diplomatic mission in Germany.

Collection of biometric data

When entering the country, biometric data and fingerprints are recorded from foreigners aged 17 and over.

Entry and exit control

The passport that was used to enter the country must be presented when clearing the border police to leave the Republic of Korea. Those who have more than one passport must pay particular attention to this. If the passport used for entry is not presented, exit can be refused.
If a new passport is issued after entry, it must be registered with the Immigration Office before it can be used to leave the country. HiKorea provides more information.


There are no known special regulations for the entry of minors.

Import regulations

There is no limit to the import and export of local and foreign currency, but a declaration must be made from an equivalent value of 10,000 US dollars.

The import of weapons is prohibited.

To protect against animal diseases in Europe (e.g. BSE, foot and mouth disease, bird flu), the import of meat and sausage products as well as dairy products is strictly prohibited. The import of fruit and vegetables as well as nuts and rice is also prohibited.

The customs controls on entry were significantly tightened at the beginning of June 2019. When importing animal products such as meat and sausage products, cheese, etc. There is a risk of heavy fines, especially if the goods are from countries where Asian swine fever has broken out.


Pets (dogs and cats) that are imported from Germany require a microchip, an animal health certificate in which the identification number of the chip is specified, and for animals that are older than 90 days, proof that they are at least 3 months and at most Have been tested for antibodies against rabies 24 months prior to entry. The antibody test must have been carried out in an internationally recognized laboratory and have shown a value of at least 0.5 IU / ml. The test result must be recorded in the animal health certificate. If this evidence is not provided, the pets will be placed in quarantine.



The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease COVID-19, which is triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic.


In January 2019, WHO declared delaying or skipping vaccinations as a threat to global health. In particular, the lack of vaccination against measles poses a high risk when the number of cases increases internationally.

  • As part of your travel preparations, check your and your children's vaccination protection against measles and have this supplemented if necessary.

Vaccination protection

No compulsory vaccinations are required to enter Korea.

  • Make sure that you and your children have the standard vaccinations according to the Robert Koch Institute's vaccination calendar up to date.
  • Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies and Japanese encephalitis are recommended as travel vaccinations for long-term stays or special exposure.
  • Please note the instructions for use and help for the indication in the travel vaccination recommendations leaflet.
  • The DTG offers up-to-date, detailed travel vaccination recommendations for specialist groups.


Malaria is caused by crepuscular and nocturnal anopheles- Mosquitoes transmitted. If left untreated, the dangerous one is particularly dangerous Malaria tropica often fatal in non-immune Europeans. The disease can break out weeks to months after your stay in the risk area, see also the Malaria leaflet.

  • If you develop a fever during or even months after a corresponding trip, see your doctor as soon as possible and inform him about your stay in a malaria area.

Malaria is a very rare disease in Korea, but it occasionally occurs in the summer in the border region with North Korea.

To avoid malaria, protect yourself consistently against insect bites as part of exposure prophylaxis. You should pay particular attention to the following points:

  • Wear light-colored clothing that covers the body (long trousers, long shirts).
  • Repeatedly apply insect repellent to all exposed parts of the body, if applicable during the day (dengue) as well as in the evening and at night (malaria).
  • If necessary, sleep under an impregnated mosquito net.

Tsutsugamushi fever (scrub typhus)

This infectious disease, which is transmitted by mites, only poses a potential risk of infection when hiking in the countryside (scrub) in the warmer months of the year.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is inflammation of the brain caused by viruses. These are transmitted by nocturnal mosquitoes. Pigs and waterfowl in particular are infected with the virus without becoming ill themselves. Diseases in humans are rather rare, but then often have a severe course and often leave lasting damage or are fatal. There are no effective drugs against the JE viruses.

  • To avoid Japanese encephalitis, protect yourself against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially during the day, and get vaccinated.


There is always a high risk of HIV transmission through sexual contact, drug use (unclean syringes or cannulas) and blood transfusions.

  • Always use condoms, especially on casual acquaintances.


Rabies is very rare; there have been very few cases in the last 10 years. The transmission takes place in rural areas via wild animals and bats, the dog population has been rabies-free for many years.

Air pollution

All year round, but especially in the period from March to May, there can be increased air pollution.

Medical supplies

Medical care in South Korea corresponds to European standards and is excellent in the capital. If you do not go to one of the international departments of large hospitals, communication can be problematic as there is often a lack of English speaking doctors. Seoul is the destination of many so-called medical tourists (because of modern forms of therapy at a low price).

  • Take out travel health and repatriation insurance for the duration of your stay abroad. The German Liaison Office for Health Insurance - Abroad provides detailed information.
  • Before you go on a trip, seek personal advice from tropical medicine advice centers, tropical doctors or travel doctors and adjust your vaccination protection, even if you have already experienced the tropics from other regions. Corresponding doctors can be found e.g. B. via the DTG.

In addition to the general disclaimer, please note:

  • All information is intended for the information of medically trained. They are not a substitute for the consultation of a doctor.
  • The recommendations are tailored to direct entry from Germany to a travel destination, especially for longer stays on site. For shorter trips, entries from third countries and trips to other areas of the country, deviations may apply.
  • All information is always dependent on the individual circumstances of the traveler and may require medical advice.
  • In spite of the best possible efforts, the medical information is always just a consultation offer. They cannot cover all medical aspects, eliminate all doubts or always be completely up-to-date. You stay responsible for your healthy.

Country information about your travel destination

Here you will find the addresses of the responsible diplomatic missions and information on politics and bilateral relations with Germany.


Further information for your trip

The global threat of terrorist attacks and kidnappings remains unchanged.

Since September 2014, the terrorist organizations “Al Qaeda” and “Islamic State” (IS) have been threatened with attacks against various countries and their nationals. There were a number of attacks with firearms, explosives, kidnappings and hostage-taking.

Even if there are currently no specific indications of a threat to German interests abroad, it cannot be ruled out that German nationals or German institutions abroad will also become targets of acts of terrorist violence.

Places with a symbolic character come into question as possible targets. These include well-known sights, government and administrative buildings, transport infrastructure (especially airplanes, trains, ships, buses), economic and tourism centers, hotels, markets, religious meeting places and generally larger gatherings of people.

The level of terrorist threat differs from country to country. There is a particular risk of an attack in countries and regions in which attacks have already been carried out repeatedly or can be carried out relatively easily due to a lack of effective security measures, or in which terrorists have the support of the local population.

More detailed information about the terrorist threat can be found in the country-specific travel and safety information. These are checked regularly and adjusted if necessary.

The risk of falling victim to an attack is still comparatively low compared to other risks that travel abroad entails, such as accidents, illness or ordinary crime. Nevertheless, travelers should be aware of the risk.