COVID-19 Reopening Matrix
• All travelers authorized to enter South Korea on visa-free status are required to apply online for the Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (“K-ETA”) not later than 24 hours prior to boarding their flight to South Korea. Those who fail to obtain a K-ETA in a timely manner will be denied entry into South Korea.
- Fragomen can assist with the K-ETA application for nationals whose visa-free privileges are in effect, provided we are authorized and notified at least 15 business days in advance of the desired travel date.
• All travelers whose visa-free entry rights to South Korea are currently suspended (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), but who intend to enter South Korea for “important business purposes,” may be eligible to enter Korea on visa-free status under the new K-ETA for Priority Entry (Business) Persons.
- Fragomen does not assist with applications for K-ETA for Priority Entry (Business) Persons. It must be obtained directly by the Korean visa sponsoring entity, in coordination with the relevant government ministry (that oversees the business of the Korean entity).
• This new policy has no impact on foreign nationals who already hold Korean long-term visas (e.g. D-7, D-8, E-7, F-4).
• Travelers vaccinated against COVID-19 in South Korea under the government-administered vaccination program are exempt from the 14-day quarantine after returning to South Korea from abroad.
• Travelers who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination abroad using WHO-approved vaccines (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Moderna, Kobishield, Sinopharm/Sinovac) and 2 weeks have elapsed since the completion of the vaccination, may apply for a quarantine exemption certificate (to be exempted from the 14-day mandatory quarantine in Korea). This has to be applied for at a Korean Embassy/Consulate, on the basis of important business reasons; academic or public interest reasons; humanitarian reasons; public official business trip reasons; or visit by direct family members (spouse/parent/child) (if the family member is Korean or a foreigner holding a long-term visa).
• Applicants fr om the following countries (where certain virus variants are prevalent) will not be granted quarantine exemption certificates: South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Equatorial Guinea, Brazil, Surinam, Paraguay, and Chile (list as of June 2021).
• To highlight, those who have been vaccinated outside of Korea are not automatically exempted from the 14-day mandatory quarantine in Korea (by simply presenting a foreign vaccination complete certificate upon arrival). They must obtain quarantine exemption certificate from the Korean consulate/embassy. Applications are discretionarily granted, and a government-issued certificate/letter may be required, which needs to be coordinated directly by the Korean company with the relevant government agency in Korea (third-party assistance is not allowed).
• For more information, please contact the quarantine authorities in Korea, in consultation with your company.
• Quarentine and COVID-testing: 14-day quarantine at own accommodation that must be a stand-alone residence (long-term visa holders are generally not placed in a government facility) for long-term visa holders entering South Korea except for D-8 or D-9 visa holders who may be able to obtain an exemption from the 14-day isolation by obtaining an isolation exemption certificate from a Korean consular post prior to entry to Korea.
- Long-term visa holders are not permitted to leave the airport unless they present an address of a standalone residence that can be confirmed by airport quarantine officers. In principle, a hotel or other public lodging place cannot be used for self-isolation; however there may be specially-outfitted hotels for this purpose.
• 14-day self-isolation for short-term visa entrants (on visa waiver or C-line visas) at a government facility, unless they successfully obtain an isolation exemption certification from a Korean consular post prior to entry.
• Under the Fast Track Entry System, UAE citizens on essential travel to South Korea, including business, trade, academic, and humanitarian purposes, will not be subject to the full 14-day quarantine requirements, provided that:
- They enter on a proper consular entry visa (C-4 for business and trade);
- They obtain an Isolation Exemption Certificate from the Korean embassy; and
- They comply with other prescribed Covid-19 testing requirements that may apply at the time of their entry.
• Rules on quarantine, which are non-immigration matters, are subject to change without prior notice. The Korea Centers for Disease Control issues and regularly updates quarantine and self isolation information for both Koreans and foreign nationals.
• Foreign nationals who apply for South Korean visas at consular posts in Japan must submit health status verification confirmation forms (the consular post may also request a hospital-issued medical verification letter) and are also subject to heightened review of their applications (technical details must be checked with the applicable consular post in Japan). Exceptions on a discretionary basis can be requested for humanitarian reasons.
• Symptomatic travelers are tested for COVID-19 at an airport facility regardless of country of departure.
• Asymptomatic travelers entering from Europe or the United States are subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing within three days at a designated testing center. Those entering from elsewhere are subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing within 14 days at a designated testing center. Guidance will be provided at the airport.
• All registered long-term visa holders who seek to depart and return to South Korea must obtain a re-entry permit from the immigration office in South Korea before departing South Korea. At the time of the re-entry permit application, the long-term visa holder must submit a consent form for medical examination and submission of diagnosis before re-entry; and before returning to Korea, he or she must obtain a written diagnosis report from a medical institution in the country the traveler is visiting and present it prior to boarding the return flight bound for South Korea and upon re-entry into South Korea at airport immigration. The government will cancel the visa and alien registration of long-term visa holders who depart South Korea without obtaining the re-entrypermit. Also, long-term visa holders who fail to present the above diagnosis report will be prohibited from re-entry into South Korea. The re-entry permit will be granted only on a single-entry basis. The following are exempt from these requirements: A-1 diplomats, A-2 officials, A-3 SOFA visa holders and F-4 overseas Korean visa holders.
- The diagnosis report must be issued: (i) in Korean or English; (ii) from an authorized medical institution; (iii) based on a medical examination conducted no earlier than 48 hours prior to the date of departure; (iv) indicating date of medical examination and name and signature of examiner; and (v) diagnosis of fever, cough, chills, headache, difficulty in breathing, muscle pain and pulmonary symptoms. The diagnosis report does not need to indicate whether one has tested negative for COVID-19 (but if the diagnosis report indicates a negative test result, it will be considered a valid diagnosis).
- The traveler can obtain the re-entry permit at the airport on the day of their departure - early arrival at the airport is recommended. However, it is generally recommended that the traveler obtain the re-entry permit prior to their departure date, whether at an immigration office or through the online application system which is now available.
• Entry review of travelers entering Korea from the United Kingdom has been strengthened. Specifically, the body temperature that triggers denial of boarding of flights from the United Kingdom to Korea has been lowered to 37.3 from 37.5.
• All foreign airline passengers entering South Korea must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours from departure.
- All South Korean nationals arriving from the United Kingdom and South Africa must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours from departure.
- The negative COVID-19 PCR test must be presented to the airline personnel upon boarding.
- The negative COVID-19 PCR test must be submitted to the quarantine authorities upon arrival in South Korea.
- The PCR test must be issued by a testing organization at the country of departure and must be in English or Korea. If the result is not in English or Korea, supplemental translated certificates can be submitted along with the PCR test result.
• All Korean nationals entering Korea are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued within 72 hours before the departure date. Any Korean national who fails to obtain this negative COVID-19 PCR test result will be quarantined at a government facility for 14 days after arrival in Korea, at his or her cost. Relevant details may be checked at websites of major Korean embassies or consulates.
• Immigration offices remain open and there have been no announced plans to implement a reduced workweek or operations.
• TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS: Suspension on direct flights from the United Kingdom to South Korea has been partially lifted. Non-scheduled flights (once per week) from the UK have been entering Korea since May 8, 2021. For more details, check with the relevant airline.
• Suspension of visa waiver for Japanese passport holders, with some very limited exceptions (for aircraft/vessel crew and transit passengers).
• Suspension of validity of all existing single- and multiple-entry visas issued to Japanese nationals by Korean consular posts in Japan. This does not affect Korean long-term visas issued to Japanese nationals who are holding Korean Alien Registration Cards.
• Suspension of visa-waiver entry for nationals of 56 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saint Lucia, Republic of Suriname, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Tunisia, UAE, and Uruguay.
• Suspension of visa-free entry for nationals of 34 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Eswatini, Fiji, Honduras, Hong Kong SAR, Kiribati, Macau SAR, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Montenegro, Nauru, Oman, Paraguay, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Samoa, Serbia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Taiwan, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Kuwait.
• Visas are now required for transit through South Korea for Mainland Chinese nationals and visa nationals arriving from Mainland China (with some exceptions).
• Short-term visas issued before April 6, 2020 are no longer valid and foreign nationals who hold short-term visas that were issued before April 6, 2020 must re-apply for new visas, under more stringent rules and greater scrutiny by the Korean consular posts. Applicants will now be required to submit additional documents (such as a medical certificate issued within 48 hours before visa application and an agreement to quarantine) and may be interviewed regarding their health status.
- C-4 (Short-term Employment) Visas and long-term work visas (D-7, D-8, E-7, etc.) are not impacted and remain valid.
- Short-term visas and visa status of foreign nationals already in Korea remain valid.
• The Korean visa issuance and travel restrictions associated with the Hubei Province in China have been lifted. Specifically:
- Foreign nationals holding passports issued in the Hubei Province can obtain Korean visas and enter Korea.
- Foreign nationals who visited the Hubei Province prior to entering Korea can obtain Korean visas and enter Korea.
- Foreign nationals who have been issued long-term multiple-entry visas by the Korean consulate in Wuhan can enter Korea (provided such long-term multiple entry visas are still valid).
- The Korean consulate in Wuhan has resumed visa-related operations. It is now possible to enter Korea on visas issued by the Korean consulate in Wuhan.
• This is general guidance published by the Korean Immigration Service. Travelers are advised to check for further details with the Korean consulate in Wuhan or their respective airlines.
• Yes, modified to allow for social distancing, with recommendations of a maximum of 2 passengers included both assignee and his/her family, wearing masks.
• It has been difficult to arrange the visiting schedule with current tenants due to COVID-19.
Temporary AccommodationsAfter quarantine, all enterants are alllowed to check in.
• Depends on Korean government guidlines, school switch between online classes and in-person classes; visiting schedule could be limited depending on number of cases.
• Strongly advised to stay at home, except for essential businesses. * Gathering of more than 50 people are not allowed. * Gyms and other indoor sports facilities as well as cram schools shut down. * Big supermakets, department stores, hair salons, barbershops, cinemas and ammusement park should closed at 9 p.m. * Spectators are not allowed for sports games. * It is advised that religious services be held remotely or limited to groups of 20 people or less. * Indoor dining at restaurants is still open until 9 p.m. but coffee shops are mandated to sell only takeout. * KTX train and other train tickets are only available for window seats.
Public TransportOperating as normal.