Note: The below is subject to change based on the COVID-19 situation in Korea and abroad.
COVID-19 vaccinations in Korea
Like many other countries in the world, Korea is administering COVID-19 vaccinations. Both Korean citizens and foreigners can receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Korea. The three brands being offered currently are Janssen, Moderna, and Pfizer. Most of the general public have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
As of this post over 85% of the population in Korea is considered “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 with over 47% having received a booster shot. You can find detailed COVID-19 data directly from the Korean government here.
To combat the spread of COVID-19, Korea has implemented a “vaccine pass” system. The vaccine pass system requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter certain businesses and facilities. Those that are not vaccinated can receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test result instead to enter said businesses and facilities. For restaurants and cafes, a person can still dine inside as long as they dine alone regardless of if they have received a COVID-19 vaccine or not.
The vaccine pass system includes contact tracing as well as a COVID-19 certificate of vaccination in either digital or paper form. Below we will detail the current method of receiving a COVID-19 certificate of vaccination. You can receive the certificate even if you have received the COVID-19 vaccination outside of Korea.
How to receive a QR code for contact tracing in Korea
Korea has implemented a QR code system for contact tracing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The QR code can be issued through 3 mobile applications: KakaoTalk, Naver, and COOV.
You must be a long-term visa holder with an alien registration card (ARC) tied to your Korean mobile phone number to receive a QR code. This is because you must be able to use your mobile phone number to identify yourself and this is only possible once you have an ARC.
The QR code issued through KakaoTalk and Naver initially will only be for contact tracing. You can have it linked to your vaccination certificate status afterwards. The COOV application is for your digital vaccination certificate and contact tracing.
KakaoTalk: Open KakaoTalk, tap the 3 dots to show the More screen, tap the QR button at the top right corner. Agree to the terms and conditions by checking all the boxes. After confirming your identity using your mobile phone, you will be issued a QR code. Each month you will need to confirm your identity.
Naver: Open the Naver app, tap QR체크인 (QR Check-in) at the top. Agree to the terms and conditions by checking all the boxes and tap the 다음 (Next) at the bottom. After confirming your identity using your mobile phone, you will be issued a QR code. Each month you will need to confirm your identity.
COOV: Open COOV, follow the instructions to set up an account and confirm your identity. You can then issue your COVID-19 vaccination certificate after setting up the app. Tap the blue button at the top of the screen that says “Get Issued and Updated”. You cannot link your passport information to COOV if you are a foreigner.
How to receive a COVID-19 certificate of vaccination in Korea if I received the COVID-19 vaccinations outside of Korea?
What COVID-19 vaccines qualify for a COVID-19 certificate of vaccination in Korea?
The World Health Organization (WHO) approved vaccines qualify for a COVID-19 certificate of vaccination to be issued in Korea. You can find the list here. If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not on this list you cannot receive a certificate of vaccination from Korea.
Those that enter Korea as tourists will receive a paper certificate of vaccination. Bring your proof of COVID-19 vaccination as well as your passport to your local public health center (보건소) to register your COVID-19 vaccinations in Korea. If it has been 6 months since your last dose, you will be asked to receive another dose (booster dose) to register your vaccinations. You will need to carry this paper certificate with you in order to enter certain facilities and businesses. You are not able to receive a QR code for contact tracing.
Visa holder entry
In order to receive the digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate for vaccines received outside of Korea, you will need to prepare a few items:
- Alien registration card (ARC)
- Korean mobile phone number that is registered with an ARC. This is in order to confirm your identity using your mobile phone number.
- Installed COOV application.
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
Visit your local public health center in order to register the COVID-19 vaccines you have received outside of Korea.
How to receive a COVID-19 certificate of vaccination in Korea if I receive the COVID-19 vaccination in Korea?
If you have received a COVID-19 vaccination in Korea and you are a tourist entrant, you will still need to visit a local public health center after receiving the vaccination to receive a paper certificate.
If you are a visa holder with an ARC, your COOV vaccination certificate will be updated a few business days after receiving your vaccine.
How to receive an official paper COVID-19 certificate of vaccination if I am departing Korea and need it for travel?
Regardless of if you are a tourist entrant or visa holder, you will need to visit a local public health center and request the paper COVID-19 certificate of vaccination for the vaccines registered in Korea. You can receive the paper in English or Korean.