Short stays in South Korea

Tourist, business and transit visas

Many nationalities are permitted to visit South Korea without a visa. However, certain nationals and usually everyone who wants to stay longer than 90 days (depending on your citizenship) + those planning to work must apply for a visa.

As a general rule we advise you to apply for a visa several weeks prior your visit to South Korea if you’re planning to stay for a period exceeding 90 days – with the possible exception of Canadian citizens who may stay up to 6 months without needing a visa.

Applications need to take place outside of South Korea, at Korean consulates or at the consular section of the Korean embassy in your home country (or the country where you’re currently residing).

The amount of time it takes processing your visa application varies, although it can be as quick as within 5 working days. Nevertheless, we advise you to start the process sooner than later.

The following information on required documentation and visa application procedures was created to the best of our knowledge. However, there may be missing information or changes in regulations that have occurred. For more information, we encourage you to visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Republic of Korea (www.mofat.go.kr/me/index.jsp ).

Basic required documentation for a visa application

  • Your passport, valid for at least 6 months from the date of application
  • 2 recent passport-style colour photographs
  • A return or onward travel ticket
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Completed and signed visa application forms
  • Application fee (nationals of certain countries are exempt from paying some or any visa fees; check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since all fees are subject to change)

Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, there may be additional papers and forms to be submitted/presented to the authorities – before, during and/or after the application.

Visa fees

  • Single entry for a period of 90 days of less: USD 30
  • Single entry for a period of more than 90 days: USD 50
  • Multiple entry visa: USD 80
  • Prolongation of re-entry permit: USD 20

Business visitors

Unless by terms of a treaty between South Korea and the foreign national’s country of nationality (see our article “Visiting South Korea - Visa-free stays for touristic, business or transit purposes”), the business visitor is required to obtain a Business Visitor Visa (C-2) prior to entry.

Individuals may enter South Korea as a business visitor for a limited, defined duration provided that their purpose of visit is to conduct allowable business visitor activities. The visa is to be obtained from a Korean consulate with jurisdiction over the applicant’s legal place of residence. The business visa validity may be up to 90 days.

Permitted activities as a business visitor

  • Attend business meetings or discussions
  • Attend sales calls to potential South Korean clients
  • Attend seminars or “fact-finding” meetings

It’s possible to extend a business visa while in South Korea. The extension has to be obtained from the immigration authorities of South Korea, prior to the expiration of the initial visa. An extension is very discretionary and valid business reasons must be shown in order to extend a stay.

Requirements to obtain a business visitor visa

  • The visitor must have a residence and an employer outside of South Korea.
  • The duration of stay in South Korea must not be longer than 90 days.
  • He/she must not receive compensation; however, incidental expenses such as accommodation travel and meals may be paid by the host.
  • The visitor must have specific, realistic and pre-determined plans for his or her stay in South Korea
  • The period of the intended stay must be consistent with the intended purpose of the trip.

Further reading

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