When to Travel to Korea

When to Travel to Korea

When will Korea open to tourists? Depending on the passport you hold, it may already be “open”, although this is only true in a technical sense.

I have long speculated that South Korea would be the first East Asian country to reopen for travel, given that it never completely closed its borders in the first place. The fact that Korea has managed all its waves of Covid without ever resorting to total containment has reinforced my reflection in this reconquest.

When to Travel to Korea

At the same time, the Korean government is playing its cards much closer to its chest than the countries in Europe and North America. Read on for my latest ideas on this important topic.

Current travel restrictions in South Korea

When will Korea open to tourists? Well, if you have certain passports (i.e. a US passport) Korea is technically open for tourism. This is because Korea has never canceled the visa waiver that Americans enjoy. U.S. passport holders may receive a 90 day visa waiver stamp upon landing at Incheon Airport outside of Seoul.

Unfortunately, being able to enter the country doesn’t exempt you from the 14-day quarantine, which costs over $ 1,000 and is self-paid. Likewise, if you have a non-US passport and enter Korea as a student or worker, you will need to complete the quarantine, although your school or business may pay for it. Please note that this South Korea travel restrictions update is up to date as of August 2021!

How to travel to Korea now

Get a visa (if you need it)

Unless you are from the United States or the shortlist of other countries currently allowed entry without a visa, the first step to travel to Korea in 2021 is to obtain a visa. Note that in August, no Korean embassy issues tourist visas. You will need an official reason such as work or school to enter the country.

Roll up your sleeve

Whenever we finally see Korea open to tourism, it’s likely that vaccinated travelers will be on the front lines. Although it is not yet the case, it is best to start the Covid-19 vaccination process now. This way you will have had both hits by the time you need to enter South Korea.

Covid negative test (twice)

Another advantage of getting vaccinated? You are much less likely to contract Covid in the first place. This is important because you will need to test negative for Covid both before you board the plane, as well as after you arrive in Korea from your home country.

Pay for hosting in quarantine

Once Korea is opened for tourism, you may not need to quarantine anymore, but for now, it’s mandatory. Interestingly, although you will have to pay for quarantine accommodation, you cannot pre-book or select your quarantine hotel. Instead, you will be assigned to a facility at Incheon Airport.

Respect the field rules

Korea has never instituted a full lockdown, but there are many rules to follow once you arrive. Social distancing guidelines and capacity limits are strictly enforced; masks (which should be worn outdoors, even while exercising or on their own) are practically a religion.

When will Korea lift the quarantine?

It’s the billion-won question! While no official plan has been announced in August 2021, we can speculate on when Korea will reopen to tourism – I guess it’s as soon as possible. The first reason why a relaunch appears to be underway is that Korea is revamping its entry system for visa-free travelers, effective September 2021, in the form of the new K-ETA.

The second reason I think the answer to “when will Korea open to tourists?” “Is coming soon?” I’ve seen little clues drop everywhere, from travel giveaways via official social media to notices posted on industry websites, albeit mostly in foreign languages ​​like Japanese and Chinese. While I cannot guarantee Korea will be open to tourism in 2021, it is the country in East Asia most likely to do so.

Other FAQs on traveling to Korea after Covid-19

Does Korea now accept tourists?

When it comes to travel restrictions in South Korea, 2021 hasn’t changed much from 2020, at least not in August. For example, unless you are a citizen of one of the few countries for which visa exemption has not been suspended (such as the United States), you cannot enter Korea as a tourist. Korean embassies and consulates are currently not. issuance of new tourist visas.

Robert schrader

Robert Schrader is a travel writer and photographer who has traveled the world independently since 2005, writing for publications such as “CNNGo” and “Shanghaiist” along the way. His blog, Leave Your Daily Hell, offers a mix of travel tips, destination guides, and personal essays covering the more esoteric aspects of traveler’s life.

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