The spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the world has led many countries to reduce local and international business activity, to close borders, cancel international flights, impose travel limitation on residents and reduce exports and imports of goods and services.
South Korea, unlike other countries, has decided to act differently and is doing its best to support its business activities, locally and globally. Foreign companies and businessmen are invited to Korea during this time, but it is important to keep up to date with the various instructions as described below.
In the list below we have summarized the general business situation in Korea as well as the main instructions regarding visits to Korea:
- Incheon International Airport operates almost as usual but there is a drastic 90% reduction in passenger traffic. Many flights have been canceled, but regular flights are still being made to cities in the US, East Asia and Europe. For updated information, please check Incheon airport website: https://www.airport.kr/
- From April 01, any passenger arriving at Incheon airport will be checked for Coronavirus symptoms and if any symptoms are found, he/she will be required to pass the Coronavirus test. For passengers arriving from Europe, there is a requirement to do Coronavirus test at the airport, even if no symptoms appear. Starting from 13 April, the incoming passengers from the US must get tested within three days of self-quarantine upon arrival.
- Starting from April 13, all valid single/multiple short-term visas (C-1,C-3) that were issued on or before April 5, 2020 will be temporarily suspended. This will not apply to long-term visas such as visa type A, D, E, F, G, H and short-term employment visa C-4.
- Starting from April 13, Visa Free entry and Visa-Waiver programs will be temporarily suspended for nationals of countries imposing entry bans on Koreans. This will not apply to holders of diplomatic, official (service) passports, inbound flight (ship) crew members, and ABTC (APEC Business Travel card) card holders.
- For the Visa affected countries please Download the Attached File. (PDF, 43KB)
- Travellers from the affected countries shall apply for visa in advance and provide medical certificate issued within 48 hours and signed agreement to quarantine in Korea for 14 days.
- In addition, starting from July 13, all foreigners arriving from designated high risk countries that require strengthened infectious disease prevention and control must be in possession of a negative PCR test that was issued within 48 hours prior to the time of departure. These test results will be submitted upon entry into Korea. The PCR test should be issued from testing/medical facilities designated by Republic of Korea’s overseas embassies or consulates.
- All other passenger from other countries arriving in Korea without symptoms are required to enter 14 days of self-isolation, except for the following passenger groups:
8.1. A-1, A-2 and A3 visa holders.
8.2. Travelers who have received special approval and exclusion from the South Korean Embassy in their country for one of the following reasons: important business visit (contract signing, investment, etc.), academic affairs, humanitarian or public value.
- Temporary visitors (short term stay), ie those who do not have permanent address in Korea, will be required to do the isolation at government isolation facilities at their own expense. The cost is estimated at 100,000 Korean Won (approximately US $ 82). Please note, Hotels or AirBnbs are not considered as valid permanent address.
- All passenger from all countries upon arrival in Korea will be asked to install a dedicated mobile app and report daily on their medical condition.
- Leaving the airport to the city will only be done by private vehicle or dedicated public transportation. Regular public transportation is not allowed. Passengers must wear face protection masks during the journey. More instructions will be provided at the airport.
- Those who are required to enter into self-isolation and violate this will be liable to a one-year sentence or a fine of up to 10 million Korean Won (approximately US $ 8,250).
- Every visitor who comes to Korea is asked to avoid business meetings, community activities and social activities as much as possible for 14 days.
- Public transportation, including trains, metro, taxis and buses operate as usual, but passengers are required to wear a face mask and maintain hygiene rules.
- If a visit is made to Daegu or North Gyeongsang Provinces, due to a high concentration of Coronavirus patients in these areas, it is advisable to enter home isolation for 14 days after visiting these locations.
- All government offices, including the courts, operate as usual, although there may be changes in hours and reception hours.
- If, during the visit to Korea, symptoms associated with the Coronavirus appear, call 1339 (English speaking) immediately to report and receive instructions.
- Foreign companies that employ South Korean workers are asked to allow workers flexible employment and appropriate hygiene conditions. for further details: https://www.koisraup.com/coronavirus-covid-19-advisory-for-employers-in-korea/
Please note, the instructions are updated daily so it is advisable to check before deciding on a trip to South Korea. Foreign companies and businessmen in need of business advice and assistance in Korea during this time are welcome to contact us.
Source of instructions: Ministry of Health, KCDC, Ministry of Justice