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How to get visa to South Korea & visa-free entry

The information provided in this guide is in regard to S. Korea visa policy. Good news, as you probably know, HK passport holders get free entry into Korea. Just show up with your passport at the airport!

So, how does one go about getting a visa to Korea? First, it necessary to understand if you need a visa for your travel purpose to Korea as not all countries must have a visa for up to a stipulated duration of time. To better understand the conditions and process, we have shortlisted some of the significant questions that interested travelers ask.

There is a small exception for go to Jeju Island. If you can’t get a visa-free entry into other parts of Korea you can still go to Jeju and visit for tourism.

Visa requiremnts

When do you need a Korea visa?

Korea requires a visa from a majority of nationals visiting the country for various purposes. However, the state has a visa waiver agreement with specific countries.

 

Visa-free entry for up to 180 days. 

See chart below for your country. (Listed countries without a specified period have a limit of 30 days)

ContinentCountries
AsiaJapan (90 Days), Hong Kong (90 Days), Macao (90 Days), Taiwan (90 Days), Kuwait (90 Days), Brunei, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain
North AmericaUnited States (90 Days), Canada (6 Months)
South AmericaArgentina, Honduras, Paraguay, Ecuador (90 Days), Guyana
EuropeAndorra, Monaco, San Marino, Cyprus, Albania, Croatia (90 Days), Slovenia (90 Days), Vatican, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia (90 Days), Montenegro
OceaniaAustralia (90 Days), Guam, Fiji, Nauru, Palau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tuvalu, Tonga
AfricaRepublic of South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Egypt

Visa-Free Entry to Jeju-do

  • Applicable countries: Citizens from all countries not included in the Visa-Free tables above, excluding eleven countries, who travel directly to Jeju International Airport or Jeju International Passenger Terminal with the purpose of tourism.

    Excluded countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Libya, Macedonia, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Palestine

  • Duration of stay: 30 Days
  • Allowed region: Jeju-do
  • Conditions of entry: Travelers must take planes or ferries with direct routes to Jeju-do

Visa application requirement

If your nation is not listed on the free entry list, plan to exceed the number of days or your purpose of visit mandate a visa, then you need to apply for a Korea visa. To apply, visit your country S. Korea embassy and fill out the application form.

visa application form

Carry these documents:

  • A valid passport. It should have a validity of more than six months starting the day you travel to S. Korea.  If it does not meet the criteria, apply for passport renewal in your embassy. For those who do not have a passport, apply for a new passport.passport
  • Ensure that your passport has blank visa pages. Most travel destination, including S. Korea, require your passport to have adequate blank pages. This is to allow the necessary stamps upon arrival and on departure. It’s recommended to have at least two blank pages on your passport before embarking on any travel destination.blank passport
  • Have two professional, passport-size photos, preferably taken on a white background.  These photos must be taken within the last six months of your application.
  • Visa application fee. (if applicable)
  • Other documents as per the purpose you travel.

Which are additional documents required for tour purpose?

  1. Proof of sufficient funds (a bank statement)
  2. Your travel itinerary

Which are additional documents if visiting for employment?

  1. A recommendation letter (an official letter from the appropriate Ministry to prove the necessity of employment)
  2. Career document

Which are additional documents if visiting for short-term business?

  1. Substantiating document for the nature of business, e.g., letter of invitation from the hosting company in S. Korea
  2. Other business-related documents
  3. Career document
  4. Document of who you are working with

Which are additional documents if visiting for education purpose?

  1. Standard admission letter
  2. Documents backing up your educational abilities
  3. Substantiating documents for researchers, if any
  4. Documents showing expense of the student

Which are additional documents if visiting to see relatives?

  1. Document of who is to host you.
  2. Address of where you are to stay
  3. Information on how you plan to visit

Note that:

  •  An interview might be required if the embassy deems it necessary.
  • Application fee is non-refundable even if your visa request is denied
  • If your visa is not processed in time, you are required to file another application.
  • You must carry both your visa and passport when traveling to S. Korea
  • A financial guarantee might be required if deemed necessary

What is the cost of an S.Korea visa?

Single entry (up to 90 days/3 Months): US$30

Single entry (more than 90days): US$50

Multiple entries: US$80

Multiple entries for US citizens: US$45

Prolongation of re-entry permit: US$20

How long does it take to get the visa?

4 to 6 weeks

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