Whether you want to travel to South Korea or study there, you must find out if you need a visa or if so, what type of visa you need. Even though many countries are exempt from visa requirements for short-term purposes, citizens of some countries or people who need to stay a longer period in South Korea, for example, for studying or working, still have to apply for a South Korea visa. I’ll go over the general process and include links where you can find further information about South Korea Visa for your purpose and situation.
South Korea Visa Application Process
- First, you need to find out if you need a visa for your visit to South Korea or K-ETA is enough for you.
- If you need a South Korea visa, what type of visa do you need (for example, work, travel, or study)?
- Find a South Korean embassy or consulate in your area.
- Prepare all required documents and submit the South Korea visa application.
- Wait for the visa application for review.
- Once the visa is approved, it will be affixed to your passport. You need to visit the embassy or consulate again to receive your passport back.
What is K-ETA?
South Korea’s Immigration Service explains that “K-ETA (Korea Electronic Travel Authorization) is an online electronic travel authorization that visa-free foreign visitors need to obtain before entering the Republic of Korea for the purpose of the tour, visiting relatives, participating in events or meetings, or business (excluding profit-making activities).”
You can find out if you hold a passport of countries or regions eligible for K-ETA on K-ETA’s website.
South Korea Visa Categories
There are subcategories under each category according to the purposes. So please find out a specific visa category for your visit here on Korea Visa Portal. The most applied categories are
- C-3: Short Term Visit
- D-2: Study/Language Training
- H-2: Work and Visit
How to Find a South Korean Embassy or Consulate near You
Getting South Korea Visa (or not) depends on too many factors: your country, the purpose to visit South Korea, how long you will stay, and so forth. Thus, the best way to find out the exact process for you is to visit the website of South Korea’s embassy or consulate in your country. The website of each embassy or consulate has a visa service section. It includes information regarding visa issuance. Study to find out if you need a visa or what type of visa you need before you start the visa application or contact the office. Here is a short clip on how to find a South Korean diplomatic mission in your country.
Or, you may want to click here for the search page on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea.
Here are the links to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: in English / in Korean
Visa-Waiver or Visa-Free Countries (Visa Exemption)
Foreign nationals must have a valid passport and a Korean visa issued by the Korean Embassy or consulate to visit South Korea. Although citizens from visa-waiver or visa-free countries do not need a visa to visit South Korea, all visitors from those countries should obtain K-ETA from 2021. Sep. 1.
Below is a list of visa waiver countries with general passport holders for short-term visits. Foreigners under the visa-waiver program are not allowed to work or engage in any paid activities. The waiver or requirement would be different for diplomatic and official passport holders.
Again, please get in touch with a South Korean embassy or consulate in your country to make sure you meet all the requirements to visit South Korea. Due to COVID-19 it is quite chaotic and difficult to update the visa or K-ETA requirements for every country on time.
List of Visa Exemption Countries – Countries (Days of Period of Sojourn)
- Botswana (30), Eswatini (Swaziland) (30), Lesotho (60), Mauritius (30), Morocco (90), Republic of South Africa (30), Seychelles (30), Tunisia (30)
- Antigua & Barbuda (90), Argentina (30), Bahamas (90), Barbados (90), Brazil (90), Canada (6 months), Chile (90), Colombia (90), Costa Rica (90), Dominica (90), Dominican Republic (90), Ecuador (90), El Salvador (90), Grenada (90), Guatemala (90), Guyana (30), Haiti (90), Honduras (30), Jamaica (90), Mexico (90), Nicaragua (90), Panama (90), Paraguay (30), Peru (90), Saint Kitts & Nevis (90), Saint Lucia (90), Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (90), Suriname (90), Trinidad & Tobago (90), United States (90), Uruguay (90), Venezuela (90)
- Brunei (30), Hong Kong (90), Japan (90), Macao (90), Malaysia (90), Singapore (90), Taiwan (90), Thailand (90)
- Albania (30), Andorra (30), Austria (90), Belgium (90), Bosnia-Herzegovina (30), Bulgaria (90), Croatia (90), Cyprus (30), Czech Republic (90), Denmark (90), Estonia (90), Finland (90), France (90), Germany (90), Greece (90), Hungary (90), Iceland (90), Ireland (90), Italy (90), Kazakhstan (30), Latvia (90), Lichtenstein (90), Lithuania (90), Luxembourg (90), Malta (90), Monaco (30), Montenegro (30), Netherlands (90), Norway (90), Poland (90), Portugal (60), Romania (90), Russia (60), San Marino (30), Serbia (90), Slovakia (90), Slovenia (90), Spain (90), Sweden (90), Switzerland (90), Turkey (90), United Kingdom (90), Vatican City (30)
- Middle East
- Arab Emirates (90), Bahrain (30), Israel (90), Kuwait (90), Oman (30), Qatar (30), Saudi Arabia (30)
- Australia (90), Fiji (30), Guam (30), Kiribati (30), Marshall Islands (30), Micronesia (30), Nauru (30), New Caledonia (30), New Zealand (90), Palau (30), Samoa (30), Solomon Islands (30), Tonga (30), Tuvalu (30)
Additional Contact Information
- Korea Immigration Service: +82-2-1345
Available in multiple languages: Korean, English, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Mongolian, Nepali, Russian, Sinhala, Spanish, Thai, Urdu, and Vietnamese
- Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330
Available in Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Russian, Thai, and Vietnamese
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