I had a flight from Bangkok to Incheon on 24th August 2022 and I am writing this article to help foreigners through the process of entering Korea (from beginning to end). So far, the procedure is set to remain the same at least through September 2022. The regulations for entering Korea keep changing so I thought this article will be a great help for everyone out there who is struggling to understand the guidelines. At the airport, I could not take many pictures because it is prohibited in Thailand.
*Updated: September 5, 2022
What to Prepare Before Flying in September 2022
- Foreign residence card (ARC) or document proving that you are in the process of renewal. (Only applies to foreign residents of Korea)
- Rapid antigen test (valid 24 hours). The test must be taken at a hospital or clinic under the supervision of a medical professional. Results must be in English.
🚨🚨🚨For those of you who renew your Korean visa online(there is no information on the alien card yet), please prepare emails announcing successful visa renewal in advance because they will ask for it.
Airport Check In
🛫Bangkok – Incheon (Asiana Airlines)
- First, you should arrive at the airport 4 hours before the departure time indicated on the ticket upon departure.
- Check the information board at the airport to know which counter your flight will check in at. The airline’s check-in counter will open about 3 hours before your flight.
🚨🚨🚨This time, many Korean tourists from Thailand are flying back to Seoul. Therefore, the waiting line for checking in was quite long and crowded. As a result, you will most likely have to wait a long time until you can check-in. And I noticed something: sometimes the Koreans in the line are not very patient. It was more than 1 hour waiting in line to check-in in Asiana Airlines counter and the Koreans waiting were extremely unhappy.
At the check-in counter, they will make sure that you have all of the necessary documents to enter Korea. After checking in, you have reached 30% of the way to Korea. Now is the time for you to take your passport and the ticket, go straight to the carry-on luggage scanning, and wait in line for the airplane.
As you know, South Korea now applies the Q-CODE (Quarantine COVID-19 Defense) code to make it easier and faster for foreigners to declare entry to Korea. Therefore, instead of standing at the airport in a pool of people to enter personal information, the moment you sit on the bench waiting for the airplane is the golden time for you to get your Q-Code.
Now let’s fly!! 🛫🛫🛫
Entering Korea in September 2022
After the flight lands in Incheon, you better hurry up because the entry line will be very long. Follow the Arrival directions and go to the Q-Code check-in counter. This was the line to the right of customs clearance when I entered.
Here, you must show your passport and swipe the Q- Code. The quarantine officer will then put a sticker on your passport and hand you an entry instruction sheet. The sheet contains a reminder to urgently test for COVID-19 using a PCR within 24 hours.
Then, you continue to the immigration counter for foreign passports waiting in line to be called in to check information. The officers here are quite strict and their English is not good, so calm down and be patient to get the job done.
Tip: If you have a foreign resident card (ARC), you can just go straight to the Korean passports line and do automatic entry through the machine just like other Koreans. This saves you a ton of time.
Once you pass this door, you have entered Korea! Now you go down to the floor to get your luggage, declare your luggage, and return to your accommodation.
And 🚨DO NOT FORGET🚨 you have to do the PCR test within 24 hours.
PCR Test After Arrival September 2022
You have two ways to get your PCR test in Korea. One is to test at the airport (in terminal 02) this way will save you some time but it will cost you (I am broke, so I chose method 2 😊). This is the only option available for visitors and new arrivals to Korea.
Option 2, is only available for residents of Korea (ARC holders). You move to a medical center (보건소) in your city and take a free test before going home. However, it is also the method used by most people, so you will have to wait in line for a long time to get your test.
Getting Tested at Your Local Medical Center
First, you can find your local medical center (보건소) by going on Naver maps. Then, type in the name of the district where you live with 보건소 following it. For example, if you live in Gangnam, type 강남구 보건소 into Naver maps. You can use any method to get there, public transportation is no longer restricted for new arrivals.
Once you are at your local medical center, they will more than likely have a separate outdoor tent for covid testing. You will have to either line up or take a number near the entrance to the tent.
While you are waiting, there will be a banner with a QR code outside the tent. You can scan it using Naver or Kakao apps. Then you will be asked questions related to your symptoms and why you are taking a PCR test. However, the app may not have an English function so, you might need to ask for assistance or use Papago to fill it out.
Once your number is called, you will go to a table where you will scan your QR code. Then, they will check your residence card (ARC) as this option is only available for residents of Korea.
Finally, you will be called for testing. You will go up to the window, lower your mask below your nose, and then you will feel extremely violated as a Q-tip is inserted into the furthest reaches of your nasal cavity. But then, you’re done!
It’s now time to go back home. You can use any transportation method to do so. Public transportation is not restricted for those who just took a PCR test.
Registering Your PCR Results After Arrival September 2022
Test results will be announced the next morning, remember to pay attention and follow the rules if you are not lucky enough to be positive! Then you will have to upload your result on the website as follows:
Request for registration of PCR test results from Q-CODE after entry
- Access the Q-CODE homepage(https://cov19ent.kdca.go.kr)
- Click ‘Register post-entry inspection’ to the right of the top banner. Please prepare your passport and PCR test results in advance.
- Enter your entry number or passport number, date of birth, and date of entry and click ‘Enquire’
- Enter your inspection date, inspection results, etc., and upload and issued inspection results. Your inspection results can just be a screenshot of the text message sent to you containing your results
And, just like that, you are back to your life in Korea!