Korean Travel News

Latest news on events affecting travel in South Korea
Updated: August 20th, 2022

Since the announcement of SARS-COV-2, many countries shut down travel and tourism. South Korea was one of the first to impose restrictions, enforce facemasks, and insist on getting vaccinated.

So, if you want to travel to South Korea, you need to stay up to date about their rules and restrictions along with the ones from your own home country.

Are there International Travel Restrictions?

South Korea’s Department of Foreign affairs is the best place to get the latest information about travel restrictions. This is true for both Korean nationals and international visitors alike.

They instruct citizens to be judicious and cautious when deciding to travel, especially in taking a journey outside the country. All travelers should consider the following prior to making travel plans:

  • Account for your overall health
  • Vaccine status
  • Your chances of testing positive for SARS-COV-2

It’s important for potential travelers to consider the very real possibility that rules and conditions can change at a moment’s notice.

Therefore, it’s important you study with a fine-toothed comb all travel and flying rules for all destinations. Much of this will have a facemask requirement as well.

A Note about Compliance

If you cannot or will not submit to the conditions, you may have a difficult time traveling. However, you can get a doctor’s excuse or other official exemption for things like masks and vaccines.

But, unfortunately, it’s no guarantee that another country will let you in. When in doubt, put off any travel plans until later if possible.

Is It Safe to Visit South Korea?

Yes, but there are two aspects to safety in regards to visiting South Korea: SARS-COV-2 and tensions with North Korea. Both will necessitate devising a plan of action to cover as many bases as you can. This includes the ones you can foresee, but especially the ones you can’t.

Pandemic Policies

South Korea is on high alert for SARS-COV-2. So, they have several entry requirements for visitors to enter the country. It’s crucial to understand that these rules change at the drop of a dime too. So, you have to check the following sites daily:

  • Your local Korean Embassy
  • Ministry of Health & Welfare (MOHW)
  • Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA)

Relations with North Korea

In light of the tensions between North and South Korea, there is no reason for concern at this time. The chances of there being a fight are very slim.

However, it’s important to stay tuned to the news and other official government announcements on the subject.

As with SARS-COV-2 updates, relations between North and South Korea could change at a moment’s notice. Therefore, if you intend on being near the Demilitarized Zone, make sure you have a backup plan of action.

While it’s not likely you’ll use it, it’s better to have one and not need it than to need it and NOT have one.

Are Tourists Welcome to South Korea?

Tourists are welcome to South Korea. But, they must follow the guidelines and requirements. Along with checking the several websites mentioned above, you must have a negative test result. So, you will have to take one before you leave and then another one when you arrive.

Testing Requirements

This is because the test has to occur within 48 hours of your scheduled departure. They accept PCR tests and clinical antigen tests. But, in the case of antigen tests, you have to get this within 24 hours of leaving your current destination. If you do not have a test, Korean authorities will not let you enter.

When you arrive in South Korea, they will demand a PCR test. Visitors coming for a short visit will undergo testing at the airport.

Travelers coming for a long-term visit can go to a public health facility within three days after arriving. They also require an antigen test on the sixth or seventh day after entering the country.

Quarantine Regulations

There are no longer quarantine requirements for travelers, which includes those who have not taken the SARS-COV-2 shot.

Having said that, South Korean authorities recommend all arrivals employ the Q-Code System (Quarantine Information Advance Input System) to upload test results, health declarations, and other passport details.

However, those who test positive for SARS-COV-2 have a mandatory quarantine period. Short-term tourists must stay at a government facility with all expenses paid by the individual. Long-term visitors and Korean residents can quarantine where they live.


The only way to bypass any of this is if you have an Electronic Travel Authorization. People can obtain this visa waiver prior to entering Korea.

There are some 66 countries where this is allowable, with 46 of them visa-free. So, check with your local embassy and foreign travel agency.

This will essentially help get into the country faster while mitigating issues for boarding and disembarking from the plane. You can get prior approval to enter the country, but your home nation must have this visa waiver program with South Korea.


Traveling to South Korea is okay at this time. But, there are several requirements before you can enter. It may be better to stay current with Korean travel news and plan to visit later. Many things are beginning to die down due to the exposure to certain truths.

Once these facts become worldwide knowledge, facemasks and vaccines should lift. But, if you prefer the restrictions, then traveling to South Korea will be fine.