South Korea is open for visitors from all countries as long as they obtain the proper visa and agree to quarantine for 14 days, even the vaccinated ones.
Also, all visitors must bring a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours before departure.
Most visitors must quarantine at a government-designated facility at their own expense. This requirement applies to all visitors for tourism or business purposes who don’t have family or long term residence permit in the country.
In an effort to stop the spread of the virus, the South Korean government has strengthened its visa screening and quarantine process for all travelers.
Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours. Therefore, double-check all information with your embassy or on official websites. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel.
South Korea Reopening – Latest Updates
July 27 – South Korea extends Level-4 restrictions though Aug. 8, amidst the worse wave of COVID-19 cases
South Korea has extended Level-4 restrictions in Greater Seoul, through Aug. 8 due to a worrisome COVID-19 surge.
With almost 2,000 new infections per day, the country is struggling to contain the spread of the Delta variant.
Citizens are advised to limit activities outside home as much as possible. Vaccinated individuals are allowed to gather in groups of up to 4 people.
Protests are still allowed but can only involve 1 person at a time. Face masks must be worn for everyone regardless of their vaccination status.
These restrictions are expected to be extended to other areas of the country.
July 11 – South Korea to reintroduce heavy COVID-19 restrictions on July 12
The ease on COVID-19 restrictions is not working as expected for the South Korean government.
With new cases skyrocketing, Prime Minister Kim Bu-gyeom called on Koreans to continue observing precautions as the delta variant spreads in the capital.
“Our fight against COVID-19 is facing a grave crisis just as life was slowly returning to normal,” he said “the trends in and around Seoul are especially troubling, with 90 percent of the highly transmissible delta variant cases found there.”
The epidemiology situation will be revisited on July 11, and if it has not improved severe restrictions will be imposed on Koreans once again.
“If the situation is not under control after monitoring for two to three days, it might leave us with no choice but to impose the strictest of all social distancing levels,” said the minister.
With the new restrictions, gatherings of more than 2 people will be banned after 6pm and schools will close.
June 24 – South Korea-Singapore travel corridor (ATB) set to open in July
South Korea has been seeking to sign “travel bubble agreements” with at least five Asian countries over the weeks to come.
Not much has been said about the others but at least the travel agreement with Singapore seems to be on track.
Both governments remain “committed to launching the ATB with a view to resuming air travel between the two regional aviation hubs and international cities in a gradual and orderly manner under a set of stringent public health protocols,” according to a press release issued by Hong Kong’s government.
As of now, domestic restrictions are poised to be dramatically loosened as of July 1 as Singapore has managed to control the latest outbreak of COVID-19.
Do visitors need to quarantine upon arrival in South Korea?
Unlike many other countries, where a negative test is sufficient to allow individuals to continue onwards, South Korea has acknowledged the fact that exposure could well happen on the flight into the country.
As a result, most arriving international passengers are re-tested on arrival and then must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine regardless of the test results. The cost of quarantine is around KRW 2,100,000 in total and should be paid in advance.
Once the quarantine period is up, individuals are allowed to move freely around the country.
With a population of more than 51 million, South Korea is about a sixth the size of the United States but has an incredibly high population density.
Its capital and largest city, Seoul, has a population of more than 9 million, making it larger than New York City. Additionally, with high-speed trains and domestic flights, it’s a tightly linked country. Combined with its proximity to China and the sheer amount of trade between the two countries, many would expect South Korea to suffer greatly.
But it hasn’t. Instead, South Korean authorities quickly began a comprehensive testing protocol whenever individuals were found to have symptoms of Covid-19.
Is it safe to visit South Korea now?
Regarding COVID-19, South Korea is a very safe place to visit and the spread of the virus is under control. (CDC.gov).
What is the current COVID situation in South Korea?
As of July 27, South Korea has reported 191,531 positive COVID cases, and 2,079 deaths caused by the virus.
Why visit South Korea?
Once a traveler is in South Korea and out of quarantine, life largely looks like it did before the pandemic.
Trains, buses, and domestic flights are all operating at full capacity, and museums, shopping centers, and just about every other amenity one could think of are open to tourists. For those willing or able to wait for two weeks, South Korea is looking like pre-COVID South Korea.
Of course, there are some changes worth noting. Individuals are expected to wear a mask and social distance, and unlike the US, compliance is mandatory.
Not wearing a mask in public will get one in trouble with the authorities, and even before the police arrive will result in considerable consternation from the locals. After all, this is a country that is acutely aware that it is lucky through this whole ordeal precisely because it came together.
For those with the ability and need to go to South Korea, visiting the country can be an incredible experience. In addition to everything else that South Korea has to offer, the reduced stress of being in a country that has largely handled the pandemic will be a relief to many.