Any foreign visitors wishing to enter the Republic of Korea must have a valid passport and obtain a Korean visa before coming. But people of 99 countries who want to visit Korea temporarily are permitted to enter without a visa according to visa-exemption agreements, or in accordance with principles reciprocity or national interest.
For details, see: http://english.tour2korea.com/01TripPlanner/EntryInfo/entry.asp?konum=1&kosm=m1_2
Tourist & Business Visas
Visitors from countries not under Visa Exemption Agreements must apply for a visa extension if planning to stay for more than 30 days. Depending on the situation of the consulate, the visa extension will be issued 1 to 3 days from the day of application. Applicants require a completed application form, a recent passport-size colour photo and application fee. Visitors do not require the outbound flight ticket. Visa extensions are usually for 90 days.
All visas including long-term visas are for a single visit. Therefore anyone who wishes to leave the country and re-enter later on during the allowed period of stay should obtain the Re-entry Permit from the Ministry of Justice prior to departure. For business visas, the intention of activities must be clearly stated on the visa application form.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Homepage: http://www.mofat.go.kr
Visitors may obtain work visas in their home country with the endorsement of the employer in Korea. If the visitor is already in Korea, he/she must obtain the work visa from an embassy or consulate in a country outside Korea. Work visas are usually valid for 1 year from the date of issue and take about 2-4 weeks to process. Work visa extensions are possible if visitor remains with the same employer. Visitors with work visas must obtain a residence permit from the Immigration Office. Visitors engaging in remunerative activities without a work visa can be subject to fines and deportation.
Application for Visas
- Visa application should be made at Korean Embassies or consulates abroad.
- It is required for the visa applicants to submit passport, application forms, a recent passport-style color photograph, and such other documents as determined by the status of stay.
- Visa fees are as follows:
a. Single entry visa for a stay of no more than 90 days : USD30
b. Single entry visa for a stay of more than 90 days : USD50
c. Multiple entry visa : USD80
d. Prolongation of Re-entry Permit : USD20
* For Citizens of United States of America, multiple entry visa fee is USD45 on the basis of
reciprocity since the mutual agreement in 1994.
Extensions for tourist visas are possible in special cases such as accidents, health problems, flight cancellation, etc. Applications for visa extensions can be made at a local immigration office at least one day before the day of expiration.
Please fill out declarations handed out during your flight by the flight attendants in order to expedite arrival procedures.
1. Arrival Card – Foreign citizens need only to fill out an arrival card for passport control in Korea
2. Customs Declaration Form – For families, only one customs declaration form needs to be filled out.
3. Quarantine Questionnaire – Passengers and crew who have been to countries infected by cholera, yellow fever or pests, they must fill this out.
Guidelines for Currency Regulation
Passengers entering Korea who are carrying foreign or Korean currency valuing over USD 10,000 must declare it to a Customs official. Departing non-residents of Korea who are carrying foreign or Korean currency (including traveler's or bank checks) valuing more than USD10,000 must obtain permission from the bank of Korea or Customs, not including any amount carried into Korea and declared on arrival, which may be carried out without declaration to Customs. Residents of Korea must declare any currency or negotiable checks more than USD10,000 upon departure.
Please be aware that violators of these regulations are liable to be fined and/or otherwise penalized under the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act.
Most restaurants, hotels and shops accept credit cards. You may not be able use credit cards at small businesses and in rural areas. You may also want to check whether your credit card is accepted or not by looking at door signs. Visa and Master are most common ones you can find.
Any product with this “Tax Free Shopping” sign will give you a refund on VAT. You must depart Korea within 3 months of the purchase.
How to Get Tax Refund:
- Purchase your items at any shops with this “Tax Free Shopping” sign and receive a payment slip.
- When departing, you need to get a stamp issued from the customs officer after showing him the purchased items and payment slip.
- At the Cash Refund Office in the airport, you can receive the amount of VAT. You may also be able to get a refund at the airport of your destination.
Most Tax Free Shopping centers are found either at department stores or shops in Myeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong areas.
For more information: Global Refund: 82-2-776-2170
Value-Added Tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services at a standard rate of 10% and is included in the retail price. In tourist hotels, this 10% tax applies to rooms, meals and other services and is included in the bill.
Tipping is not customary in Korea. Sometimes, expensive restaurants and luxury hotels may add a service charge of 10%. Thus, you do not necessarily have to prepare for extra charges since it will be included in the bill.
Cards with the Plus and Cirrus logos are the easiest to use and most widely accepted in Korea. Some places even accept international cards like China UnionPay, Maestro, Electron, and JCB cards.
Banks as well as other sites have ATMs (automatic teller machines), where customers can make withdrawals, deposits, and fund transfers. However, as all ATM transactions require an account with a Korean bank, ATMs are not particularly convenient for international travelers except for getting cash advances on a credit card. If you have an account with Citibank, however, you can enjoy a more extensive range of banking services. Just visit a Citibank location nearby for ATM or counter services. Some ATM/CD machines operate 24 hours a day, while others are opened from 8am to 12am.
There are three types of public telephones in Korea: coin-operated telephones, card phones, and credit card phones.
A local call costs 70 won (US$0.06) for three minutes. Intercity calls cost considerably more. Coin phones return coins that are not charged, but do not return change for partially used 100 won coins.
Card telephones can be used to make international calls as well as local and intercity calls. Telephone cards come in 2,000, 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 denominations and are on sale in shops close to telephone boxes and in banks.
There are also credit card phones, which you can use with major credit cards.
Domestic Long- distance Calls (Area Codes)[Metropolitan Cities]Seoul(02), Incheon(032), Gwangju(062), Busan(051), Daegu(053), Daejeon(042), Ulsan(052)
[Provinces]Gyeonggi-do(031), Gangwon-do(033), Chungcheongbuk-do(043), Chungcheongnam-do(041), Jeollabuk-do(063), Jeollanam-do(061), Gyeongsangbuk-do(054), Gyeongsangnam-do(055), Jeju-do(064).
When you make a phone call to Korea from abroad, first dial 82 (Country Code for Korea), then Area Code (except for the first number 0) , finally, dial the Phone Number you desire to call.
For example: Calling Seoul (Area Code 02) with 777-7777 as the phone number, dial +82-2-777-7777.
* First dial any of the following international call company numbers and then the country code, area code and finally the number you are calling.
*Regular International Phone Call Carriers: 001, 002, 008 *Mobile Phone Carriers: 00345, 00365, 00388, 00700, 00727, 00766, 00770 and so on.
*Pre-paid Phone Cards: Generally, since it is almost impossible to find budget mobile phone rentals, pre-paid phone cards are available at any convenient stores or news stands.
Internet service is offered in public places such as airports, train stations and bus terminals in Korea. PC bangs and internet cafes are also handy places to get internet service and easy to fine throughout the country. Many PC bangs are open 24-hours and some have snack bars with beverages, noodles, other snacks available.
* Domestic First Class Mail: Up to 5g: 160 won/ From 5g to 25g: 190 won
* Domestic Express Mail: Up to 5g: 240 won/ From 5g to 25g: 280 won
* Packages for the local area: Up to 2kg: 1,500 won
* Post Cards: 160 won per card
In Korea, the postal code is recommended but not mandatory.
Dial 112 for the police, 119 for the fire department, or 1339 for medical emergency (though most operators speak only Korean). A hotel staff or hotel manager can arrange for a doctor or an ambulance.
Diplomatic Missions in Korea
For more detailed information about diplomatic missions in Korea, please visit the homepage of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Homepage : Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Eng.)
There are many hospitals where some English is spoken. International clinics at large general hospitals like Severance Hospital, Asan Medical Center or Samsung Medical Center are recommended.
134, Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
International Clinic Tel: (02)361-6540,
Open 9:30a.m.-11:30a.m. and 2:00p.m.-4:30p.m. on weekdays, and 9:30a.m.-11:30a.m. on Saturdays.
Asan Medical Center
388-1, Pungnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul
International Clinic Tel: (02)3010-5001,
Open 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m. on weekdays, and 9:00a.m. - noon on Saturdays
Samsung Medical Center:
50, Irwon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Tel: (02)3410-2114;
International Clinic Tel: (02)3410-0200,
Open 9:00a.m.-4:00p.m. on weekdays, and 09:00a.m.-11:00a.m. on Saturdays.
In the event of misplaced or lost property, contact the Lost and Found Center of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Bureau:
102, Hongik-dong, Seongdong-gu
Tel: +82-2-2299-1282(Korean speakers only), Fax: +82-2-2298-1282
From mid-March through late-May, and mid-September through mid-November you can wear long sleeved shirts and slacks plus possibly a cardigan or a jacket. During summer, June through August, short sleeved shirts and shorts would be a good idea. Late November through early March you must be prepared for the cold. A scarf and gloves are recommended for January and February, and remember that it snows at higher elevations in Korea.
Time difference: Present Time (GMT+9) / No daylight savings time
Voltage: In Korea, 220 volt outlets are most common.
Transportation – Children Travel Free!
When traveling in Korea with children, trains are the best form of transportation, and children under 4 accompanied by an adult ride for free (Children ages 4-13 get a 50% discount). Major train stations in Seoul, Yongsan, and Busan provide nursing rooms, and you will also find a nursing room and baby-changing rooms on high-speed KTX trains.
Most subways in Korea are equipped with escalators or elevators, so maneuvering strollers is no problem. A child under the age of 7 who’s accompanied by an adult can ride buses and subways for free. Unfortunately for more than one child, you have to pay an additional fee.
Source: The Official Site of Korea Tourism