south korea reopening

South Korea is open for tourism but mandatory 14-day quarantine is required

Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours.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 is open for visitors from all countries as long as they obtain the proper visa and agree to quarantine for 14 days. 

Additionally, travelers (even South Korean citizens and residents) coming from the UK, South Africa and Brazil will need to bring a negative COVID-19 test result to be granted entry.

The country is scheduled to start vaccination this month after having secured a number of doses from Pfizer.

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.

Is South Korea open for tourism?

Yes, South Korea is open for tourism but all international visitors must get tested and undergo a 14-days quarantine after arrival.

Korea reopening for tourism

South Korea Reopening – Latest Updates

February 6

Unlike western countries, South Korea is centering its efforts on strengthening restrictions rather than on vaccinating the population. Currently all arrivals need to quarantine and all passengers coming from the UK, South Africa and Brazil need to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival.

Vaccination Rollout

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo has expressed his concerns over the safety of the vaccines and the lack of liability by pharmaceutical companies. In his words, “Rushing to vaccinate populations before we identify risks is not so necessary for us.”

December – New quarantine rules.

Now, all visitors must undergo a mandatory quarantine. Be aware that this is not the normal quarantine most countries are demanding from their visitors.

In South Korea you must have an available Korean phone number and also must download the country mandatory Apps. Arrivals from overseas must pay for hospitalization in case they get sick.

Failure to comply with any of these requirements may result in entry rejection.

For further information click here.

Korea entry process
Asymptomatics’ entry process


Hundreds of visas continue to be canceled. Re-apply for a new one here.

October 8

Japan and South Korea reopened borders to each other for business trips.

Who can travel to South Korea?

South Korea Reopening

One area where visitors will still notice that South Korea does have some restrictions in place is regarding international flights. These are still being operated at a fraction of pre-COVID-19 levels.

Most countries are allowed entry with restrictions. But these are some special cases. (November 7)

  • Mongolia citizens are allowed to transit through Korea only if they arrive from and arrive in a 3rd country.
  • Thai nationals now need transit documents issued by the Thai Embassy in Korea.
  • Visitors coming from China are allowed to transit at Incheon International Airport only. 

Are American citizens allowed entry to South Korea?

Yes, American visitors are allowed in the country.

Is there a quarantine upon arrival in South Korea?

Unlike many other states, 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, all arriving international passengers are being tested and must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine regardless of the test results. The cost of quarantine is up to 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.

For the most up to date information, please visit the South Korean Ministry of Health website.

South Korea During the Pandemic

Covid-19 situation in South Korea

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 didn’t. Instead, South Korean authorities quickly began a comprehensive testing protocol whenever individuals were found to have symptoms of Covid-19.

Because of this, combined with a culture that is already used to wearing masks, the country has done incredibly well. While Covid-19 has not been eliminated in the country, it’s down to around 120 new cases per day. Most of those are being cured rather quickly.

Is it safe to visit South Korea now?

Regarding COVID-19, South Korea is moderately safe and the spread of the virus is under control. (

What is the current COVID situation in South Korea?

As of February 6, South Korea has reported 80,524 positive COVID cases, and 1,464 deaths caused by the virus.

S. Korea reports 467 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday

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.

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