All the Documents You Need to Visit Korea in 2022: K-ETA, QR Code and PCR Tests
Do you want to visit South Korea in 2022 but aren’t quite sure what documents and paperwork you’ll need for a COVID-19-safe trip? Then this guide is for you! Read on to learn about all the documents you need to visit Korea in 2022, including the new K-ETA and QR code application process.
How is the current COVID-19 Situation in South Korea?
No curfews nor restrictions on intercity or interstate travel are currently in place in South Korea.
The outside mask mandate is no longer in place but you’ll still see lots of people wearing them. However, officials say indoor mask-wearing will be unavoidable for a considerable time.
As of at the time of writing, it is safe to visit Korea in 2022.
K-ETA – Korea Electronic Travel Authorization
Not sure what the K-ETA is, who needs it, and how to apply for it? Then be sure to continue reading!
The K-ETA is not a visa. It’s a travel authorization document by the Korean government to monitor international travelers to Korea.
This document is relatively new and was introduced following the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the most important documents you will need to visit Korea in 2022.
In the past, you had to fill out a form on the airplane en route to South Korea (same as with other countries). Now, you need to do it online (and pay for it). The cost is 10,000 KRW (just under $10).
You should apply for the K-ETA once you’ve booked your tickets, no later than 24 hours before your flight.
- It’s easier to complete the K-ETA on a mobile device. You can take a picture with your phone and upload it. This is much simpler than uploading your photo through a PC.
- Don’t apply for the K-ETA on an unofficial website – you probably won’t get it approved, and you’ll lose money.
- 96 countries can apply for the K-ETA. Check your country in the attached links. If your country isn’t listed, you need a visa to travel to Korea. Check with your embassy if travel visas are being issued now.
- Once you’ve been approved for a K-ETA, it is valid for 2 years, and you can use it multiple times to enter Korea. You don’t need to reapply if you travel again.
- 1 person can apply for the K-ETA for up to 30 people. Save time and apply together.
The official K-ETA website: https://www.k-eta.go.kr/portal/apply/index.do
Q-Code for Quarantine Travel
IMPORTANT UPDATE (30 September 2022)
With effect from 1 October 2022, the on-arrival PCR test requirement will be lifted. All travellers are still required to register for Q-code on Q-code website (click) prior to entry into Korea.
From April 22, 2022, not only persons who have completed their vaccinations in Korea, but also those, who have received their COVID-19 vaccinations overseas who have not registered their vaccines in Korea will be exempt from quarantine. All you have to do is to enter your vaccination information in advance to create your Q-code to visit Korea in 2022.
Also check out these useful Korea travel apps that are going to make your trip so much easier and learn some Korean words and phrases to get around Korea here.
Print out the QR code on paper so that the immigration staff at the airport in Korea can scan the code and view your vaccination records.
What you need to create your Q-Code:
- Valid passport
- Valid e-mail address
- Valid airline ticket
- Valid Confirmation of COVID-19 PCR/RAT negative test result
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination certificate
- Health Condition information
PCR/RAT tests before/after arriving in Korea for quarantine-free travel
The on-arrival PCR test requirement for all travellers was lifted on October 1, 2022. No testing is required to enter South Korea for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.
People with symptoms can undergo PCR tests free of charge at a health center within three days of entry.
All travellers are still required to register for Q-code on Q-code website (click) prior to entry into Korea.
Recommended Travel Guides for Korea
If you want to learn more about South Korea and have a handy travel guide in your pocket, check out these three options below:
This Top 10 Seoul guide is a great pocket guide that breaks down the best of Seoul into helpful lists of ten – from selected highlights to the best museums and galleries, and the most authentic restaurants, tearooms, bars, shops, and markets. I personally helped update the most recent version of this guide. Buy this book.
You really can’t go wrong with a lonely planet guide in your hand luggage! I’m a huge fan of Lonely Planet and own this guide myself. What I love is the brand-new pull-out, passport-size ‘Just Landed’ card with wi-fi, ATM and transport info – all you need for a smooth journey from airport to hotel! Buy this book.
Calling all my solo female travel ladies out there – this guide is amazing! Part of the #1 Travel Guidebook Series for Women (and couples), this take on South Korea will help you avoid the scams, creeps, and tourist traps and skip ahead to the cities and adventures that are worth your time (and money)! Buy this book.
Get your Free Seoul City Check List
This downloadable checklist for Seoul contains insider information on what to see, do, eat and where to shop and party in Seoul, South Korea.