South Korea Entry Requirements
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A passport is required. U.S. passport holders may enter the Republic of
Korea without a visa for a stay of up to 90 days for tourism or
business. When staying for more than 90 days or for any purpose other
than tourism or business, the U.S. passport holder must obtain a visa
to Korea prior to entry. Americans visiting Korea for employment or
profit-making purposes, English teaching positions, or stays of more
than 90 days must obtain a visa at a Korean embassy or consulate
abroad. Individuals staying in Korea for longer than 90 days must also
apply for an Alien Registration Card, once in Korea.
To stay beyond the period of stay authorized upon
entry, visitors need to apply for an extension with Korean Immigration.
Individuals who overstay their authorized time without an extension are
subject to fines that must be settled before they can depart the
country. Changes of status from one type of visa to another (from
tourism to teaching, for example) are normally not granted in the
Republic of Korea and must be obtained at a Korean embassy or consulate
in another country after leaving Korea.
U.S. citizens must submit to biometric data collecting when they enter
the ROK. Immigration officials will take index fingerprints and digital
face photographs during passport inspection. Officials with government
agencies or international organizations, and children under 17 years of
age, are except from data collecting.
Active-duty U.S. military personnel with the U.S. Forces Korea
are allowed to enter the Republic of Korea under the Status of Forces
Agreement (SOFA). They must have the correct Department of Defense
(DOD) identification and travel orders to be admitted. Every civilian
accompanying the force (including DOD civilian employees, invited
contractors, and family members) must have a valid passport and obtain
an A-3 SOFA visa in advance. Active duty military personnel should
obtain a tourist passport prior to leaving the U.S. to accommodate
off-duty travel elsewhere in Asia. DOD travelers should consult the DOD
Foreign Clearance Guide before leaving the United States. Members of
the Department of Defense with U.S. Embassy assignments must enter with
diplomatic or official passports and the correct visas. DOD personnel
on official business must have DOD APACS country clearance, while
non-DOD members on official business must have clearance from the State
Department's eCC system. Active duty service personnel may enter the
Republic of Korea on leave with DOD identification and orders.
Exit permits are not required to leave Korea. However, if a parent
requests through the Korea Immigration Service that a travel
restriction be placed on a child, the child is likely to be prevented
from departing Korea.
Certain visas types including those granted to teachers and
entertainment workers require negative HIV/AIDS test results. Republic
of Korea immigration law also states that immigration officials may
deny entry to individuals suspected of having communicable diseases.
For the most current visa information, contact the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea
at 2320 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone
(202) 939-5660. Republic of Korea consulates are also located in
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Guam, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New
York City, San Francisco, and Seattle.
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