Foreign nationals entering the country are required to pass an inspection conducted by an immigration official at the port of entry.
A Republic of Korea (ROK) visa is a consul’s recommendation for approval of a foreign national’s application for entry. A foreign national holding an ROK visa may fail to obtain entry permission if he/she fails to meet the entry requirements.
An ROK visa may be obtained at a South Korean embassy.
A foreign national applying for an ROK visa must submit the required documents (which differ depending on the status of sojourn) to the South Korean embassy in one’s respective country.
There are two types of ROK visas: single-entry and multiple-entry.
- Single-entry visa: Valid for three months from the date of issuance.
- Multiple-entry visa: Valid for the designated period following the date of issuance.
- Status of sojourn relating to diplomacy (A-1), official business (A-2) or treaties (A-3): Not more than 3 years.
- Status of sojourn relating to temporary workers (H-2): Not more than 5 years.
- Status of sojourn relating to an official treaty: As agreed in the treaty.
- Status of sojourn set under reciprocity or in consideration of national interest: As determined by the Minister of Justice.
Cancellation or change of visa
The entry visa for a foreign national may be cancelled or changed by the Minister of Justice in any of the following cases.
- When the guarantor has withdrawn his/her guarantee or the relevant foreign national no longer has a guarantor;
- When it transpires that the foreign national has obtained the visa by fraudulent or dishonest means;
- When the relevant foreign national has violated the conditions of issuance of the visa;
- When a serious situation has occurred which makes it impossible to maintain the current visa status;
- When the relevant foreign national is in violation of a law, including The Immigration Control Act, or fails to comply with a justifiable instruction of an immigration official. The Justice Minister may, under Article 79 of the Immigration Control Act,, have the foreign national or applicant come to a government office to listen to his/her explanation of the situation concerning cancellation or change of visa when judged necessary.
When asking the said person to come to a government office to provide a verbal explanation of his/her situation, the Justice Minister should inform the said person of the reason for a cancellation or change of visa and the hour/date and office at which presence his/her presence has been requested at least seven days in advance.
Entry without a visa
Foreign nationals falling under the following category, including nationals of a country that has signed a visa waiver agreement with the ROK, may enter Korea without a visa.
- A person entering the ROK within the designated period after obtaining or being exempted from a re-entry permit;
- An eligible national of a country that has signed a visa waiver agreement with the ROK;
- A person entering the ROK for purposes related to international friendship or national interest of the ROK after obtaining a separate entry permit;
- A person re-entering the ROK within the designated period after obtaining a refugee travel document.
Countries whose nationals hold a diplomatic, official or ordinary passport may enter Korea without a visa.
- Asia : Japan(90 days), Hong Kong(90 days), Macau(90 days), Taiwan(90 days), Brunei, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain (90 days)[12 countries]
- North America : United States of America(90days), Canada(6 months) [2 countries]
- South America : Argentina, Honduras, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Guyana [6 countries]
- Europe : Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Cyprus, Albania, Croatia, Slovenia(90 days),Vatican, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro [11 countries]
- Oceania : Australia(90 days), Guam, Fiji, Nauru, Palau, Kiribati, Marshall Is., Solomon Is., Micronesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tuvalu, Tonga [13 countries]
- Africa : Republic of South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Egypt [5 countries]