Korea entry restrictions
- All passengers from all countries must have an available phone number and mobile device for installing the Self Diagnosis Mobile Application. (as of March 19)
- All passengers traveling from Europe will be tested for COVID-19. If you test negative, you must self-isolate for 14 days and follow the special entry procedure. If you do not have a place to stay, you will be placed in government facilities. If you test positive, you will be sent to hospital or other treatment centers depending on your symptoms. (as of March 20)
- Visa exemption entry applied to nationals of Japan will be suspended. (as of March 9) as well as all types of Korean visas issued by the Consulate General in Japan before March 9, 2020 will be invalid.
- Chinese nationals who have a passport issued by Hubei Province and any person who has visited Hubei Province in the past 14 days are not permitted to enter Korea.
- Korean visas issued by Wuhan Consulate in Hubei province will be invalidated immediately.
- Visa exemption entry to Jeju island will be temporarily suspended.
- Passengers who are not eligible for visa waiver of Korea are not permitted to transit in Korea if traveling from China.
Special entry procedure information (특별 입국 절차)
The Korean government introduced a ‘special entry procedure’ applied to all passengers entering Korea from mainland China, starting from February 4, 2020. The procedure was expanded on February 12 to include travelers from Hong Kong and Macau. The procedure was again expanded to all travelers March 19.
In accordance with the special entry procedure, all travelers are allowed entry after checking whether they have visited the Hubei province and identifying their contact information and address in Korea. Entry may be denied if they have visited the Hubei Province in the last 14 days or do not have contact information in Korea.
Travelers are also required to install the Self Diagnosis Mobile Application to confirm their contact information and monitor their health status. After installing the application, they should record their symptoms* every day on the application for 14 days.
Those who have recorded any symptoms should call the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) Call Center at 1339. If the application is not installed or self-diagnosis categories are not checked, you may receive a call from the call center. If you fail to receive any calls, measures may be taken to identify your location.
Please remember that if respiratory symptoms appear and you are suspicious of having COVID-19, please call 1339 first and then visit a COVID-19 screening center or other hospital as directed.
(*) Self-diagnosis categories: fever (37.5°C or higher), cough, sore throat, respiratory difficulties or difficulty breathing.
Selective care center (선별 진료소)
This is the special care center to check if you have COVID-19 or not. In Korea, 616 centers are operating and you can check where they are at the link above. Working hours vary so please check before visiting. Some are open during the weekend. The wait time for results is normally 1-2 days.
Public relief hospitals (국민안심병원)
If you need any medical support besides COVID-19 treatment, then you can visit a public relief hospital. Currently there are 326 hospitals operating as public relief hospitals. You can check their location here.
When you visit the public relief hospital you will be asked the purpose of your visit and current health conditions. Based on your symptoms, you will be guided where to go. Some hospitals will also be treating COVID-19 patients. Treatment will be separated between the ventilator patients and non-ventilator patients to avoid exposure to the COVID-19.
Drive-through test center (승차검진 선별진료소)
You must visit a drive-through test center in your car alone. No other passengers can be present. The whole check-up process will be done in 5 ~ 10 minutes. There are 84 locations all over Korea except for Jeju Island as of March 20th. You need to book a visit to the drive-through test center in advance. Their normal hours are 9AM ~ 6PM. The test results will be announced in about 1 day.
Buying masks in Korea
In order to buy the public subsidized masks in Korea (공적마스트), foreigners must have an alien registration card AND be subscribed to the national health insurance plan. You can visit local pharmacies selling them and you can receive 2 per week per the below:
Monday: Birth year ends with 1 or 6
Tuesday: Birth year ends with 2 or 7
Wednesday: Birth year ends with 3 or 8
Thursday: Birth year ends with 4 or 9
Friday: Birth year ends with 5 or 0
Saturday and Sunday: Anyone that was unable to buy them during the week.
For example if your birth year is 2000 then you can buy them on Friday or the weekend. The price for 2 subsidized masks is KRW 3000. You can also purchase them at Nonghyup Hanaro Mart and certain post offices however these are rationed to one per person per day. If you want to buy more or if you don’t have an alien registration card then you can still buy them at other locations, online or offline, however, the price will vary.
Q: If I cannot depart Korea due to not having an available flight or a sudden flight cancellation due to COVID-19 what can I do?
A: If you are unable to find a flight or your flight has been canceled due to COVID-19, you can ask for an extension of stay in Korea by providing a letter of reason and a copy of a newly booked flight to the immigration office in Korea (if a flight is able to be booked). The decision will be up to immigration.