Finally! Travel restrictions are easing and you can finally embark on your long-planned trip to South Korea! However, there is a lot of unclear information out there. Things often get lost in translation and guidelines are regularly updated. But don’t worry, today we will explain the Q-code and K-ETA systems so that you can safely arrive in Korea, hassle-free.
What are the Covid Restrictions on Entering Korea?
As of July 25, 2022, you need the following to enter Korea:
- PCR test taken within 48HRS of departure to Korea. Let’s say you fly on a Saturday 12 pm, If you do your test on Thursday morning and get your results on Friday you will be good to go. Alternatively, you can have a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). The RAT must be performed by a medical professional within 24 hours of your flight departure.
- Valid Visa. Many countries have visa-free travel to Korea for a certain period of time. However, a lot has changed since the pandemic and many countries have been dropped and added to the list. Check on your local embassy’s website and make sure you have the appropriate visa.
- Q-Code: System for authenticating quarantine and vaccination status.
- K-ETA: (Required for short-term travelers) System to confirm visa-free entry and expedite entry into Korea.
- PCR Test taken within 24 hours of arrival in Korea. Click Here to read more about getting a PCR test after entering Korea.
Q-Code: What is it and a Step-by-Step Guide
What is a Q-Code
It is a computerized generated code issued by Korean immigration Border control alongside with the disease control in order to basically alleviate the long queues at the airport trying to authenticate all arrivals PCR tests and vaccination records.
*****Note a Q-Code can ONLY be issued after having your negative PCR results in English or Korean.*****
Prerequisites for the issuance of this code:
- Valid passport (MANDATORY)
- E-mail address (MANDATORY)
- Airline ticket (Mandatory)
- Valid ‘Confirmation of COVID-19 PCR Negative Test Result’ or ‘Confirmation of COVID-19 RAT Negative Test Result’ (Mandatory)
- ‘Certificate of COVID-19 Vaccination’ (Optional)
Then, click on “INPUT” at the top of the webpage.
- Consent to Terms and Conditions: On this page, you will be asked to select your continent. This is referring to the continent of the nationality on the passport you intend to enter Korea with. Note that most Central American and Caribbean countries have been put under the continent ‘ETC’ category.
- Input Your Email: Here you will be asked for your passport number and your email address.
- Input Your Passport Information: In this section, you will need to fill out detailed identifying information. Make sure it matches your passport exactly.
- Entry and Stay Information: The most important information in this section is the address of your stay in Korea and your contact number in Korea. Make sure you have the address and phone number of a friend or your hotel in Korea.
- Quarantine Information: Here, you will fill out your vaccination records (optional) and upload your negative covid test results (mandatory). For those vaccinated in Korea, you can enter your ARC or Korean ID number to link your records. The documents showing your negative test results will need to be in Korean or English. If they have been translated, they will also need to be notarized.
- Input Your Health Condition: In this step, you will be asked general health questions to see if you are currently showing any covid symptoms.
- Confirm the Input Information: This is the final step where you will be asked to verify that the information you provided is true.
Finally! At number 8, you should have your Q-Code in hand and be ready for your departure to Korea.
K-ETA: New Requirement for Visa-Free Entry
What is K-ETA?
The Korea Electronic Travel Authorization is so that visa-free foreign visitors can travel more conveniently by obtaining a K-ETA in advance.
Essentially, it is a system to register visa-free travelers in Korea. It is intended to help reduce wait times at the airport’s customs and immigration counters. However, it is important to note that as of May 2022, K-ETA is NOT OPTIONAL.
If you are from a country that has a visa-free travel agreement with South Korea, you MUST use the K-ETA service in order to enter Korea without a visa. If you do not apply have K-ETA approval, you will not be able to board your flight.
How to Apply for K-ETA
To apply for K-ETA Click Here.
You Must apply for K-ETA entry approval at least 72 hours before boarding your flight!
- Terms and Conditions Agreement: On this page, you will be asked to select your continent. This is referring to the continent of the nationality on the passport you intend to enter Korea with. Note that only nationalities with visa-free agreements can be found on the list. Once you select your nationality, agree to the terms.
- Email: Enter a valid email address and your passport number. Your K-ETA will be sent to this Email address so make sure it is correct!
- Enter Passport Information: In this section, you will need to fill out detailed identifying information. Make sure it matches your passport exactly.
- Enter Application Information: Here, you will have to upload a picture that will be used for facial recognition. Make sure there is good lighting and that your entire face is visible.
- Check Information: Next, confirm that the information you provided is correct.
- Make Payment: You will need to pay a K-ETA application fee of 10,000 won.
- Application Complete: Once your application has been submitted, it will be sent to Korean immigration for review. In most cases, within 72 hours you will get an email with your results.
Once you have a K-ETA, it is valid for two years.
If your country doesn’t have a visa-free entry agreement with Korea, you may still be able to come to Korea without a visa! Click Here to read about visa-free entry to Jeju and Yangyang.