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South Korea Travel Restrictions

Traveler's COVID-19 vaccination status

Traveling from the United States to South Korea

Open for vaccinated visitors

COVID-19 testing

Not required

Not required for vaccinated visitors

Restaurants

Not required in public spaces and public transportation.

South Korea entry details and exceptions

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Can I travel to South Korea from the United States?

Most visitors from the United States, regardless of vaccination status, can enter South Korea.

Can I travel to South Korea if I am vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated visitors from the United States can enter South Korea without restrictions.

Can I travel to South Korea without being vaccinated?

Unvaccinated visitors from the United States can enter South Korea without restrictions.

Do I need a COVID test to enter South Korea?

Visitors from the United States are not required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or antigen result upon entering South Korea.

Can I travel to South Korea without quarantine?

Travelers from the United States are not required to quarantine.

Do I need to wear a mask in South Korea?

Mask usage in South Korea is not required in public spaces and public transportation.

Are the restaurants and bars open in South Korea?

Restaurants in South Korea are open. Bars in South Korea are .

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South Korea Travel and Entry Restrictions 2022: COVID-19 Update

영어 홍보 안내문.pdf fileDownload

The South Korea entry restrictions determine who can enter the country and under what conditions.

Normally, foreigners must meet the  South Korea visa requirements  for their nationality and obtain the relevant permit before traveling.

Additionally, several South Korea  COVID restrictions   are now in place  to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

As a result, the Republic of Korea has temporarily revised its  visa policy  to suspended visa exemptions for some countries.

Continue reading to learn about  current   South Korean travel restrictions  and travel bans in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can I Travel to South Korea Visa-Free During Coronavirus?

South Korea has approved  96 countries  to enter the country visa-free during coronavirus.

Under normal circumstances, passport holders from over 100 countries can  stay in South Korea without a visa  for  between 30 and 180 days , depending on their nationality.

Once the coronavirus suspension ends, all visa-exempt travelers will need to  apply for the K-ETA  for South Korea.

Citizens of 96 approved countries can apply.

south korea visa application

Temporary Health Measures for South Korea

Anyone wishing to travel to the East Asian nation during the current restrictions needs to be aware of the  health entry requirements for South Korea  now in place.

These temporary measures are designed to protect residents and visitors in South Korea.

Unless exempt, travelers are subject to the following entry rules:

  • PCR test : Travelers aged 6 and older must present a medical certificate showing a negative PCR COVID-19 test result taken within 2 days of departure. The tests accepted are LAMP, NAAT, NEAR, PCR, SDA, or TMA.
  • Health Declaration Form : This contact form must be completed and presented on arrival
  • Self-quarantine safety protection mobile app : All passengers traveling to South Korea must install this on their mobile device.

Health requirements are  subject to change at short notice . Travelers should ensure they have all the latest information before arranging a trip to South Korea.

Do I Need a Coronavirus Vaccine to Travel to South Korea?

At the moment,  a coronavirus vaccine is not required  to travel to South Korea. However, vaccinated passengers are able to travel to South Korea with fewer restrictions.

Travelers should  stay updated with the latest developments  and ensure they have all the  vaccinations needed to travel to South Korea  before departure.

Is It Mandatory to Quarantine on Arrival in South Korea?

From April 1, 2022, vaccinated travelers who register with the Q-code system are eligible for  quarantine exemption .

Most other passengers are subject to  quarantine for 7 days  on arrival. Visitors must take a PCR test on day 7.

Passengers who are required to quarantine must install the “self-quarantine safety protection mobile app” on their device before departure or upon arrival.

Vaccinated Travel Lane With Singapore

Passengers arriving from Singapore under the Vaccinated Travel Lane must present:

  • a COVID-19 vaccination certificate complete with a QR code
  • a confirmation of their arrival COVID-19 test
  • a printed copy of medical insurance with coverage of USD 25,100 for COVID-19 related medical expenses.

Can I Transit through South Korea During COVID-19?

South Korea entry restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic also inlcude some limitations for transit passengers.

Travelers are currently only allowed to transit through South Korea for a  maximum of 24 hours . They must have a confirmed connecting ticket.

Nationals of Egypt, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are not allowed to transit.

All Passengers in transit must  complete a health questionnaire  on arrival.

Internal and Movement Restrictions within South Korea

Intercity transportation in South Korea is fully operational in most areas.   Use of a facemask is mandatory,  and eating and drinking are not permitted.

  • Domestic flights : most routes have resumed with full capacity
  • Trains : operational with some changes to timetables. Hygiene measures in place at stations and onboard
  • Buses : inter-regional bus journeys are now permitted
  • Local transport : taxis, metro, tram, and bus operational

Travelers should check the restrictions in place in the specific area of South Korea that they plan to visit. Visitors cannot board a domestic flight until completing the 7-day quarantine.

Korean Flights Affected by Coronavirus

Some airlines have canceled flights to and from South Korea, largely due to a decline in demand.

International and national routes are affected, although South Korea remains well-served by some services. Passengers with plane tickets in the coming days should  check with the airline  to ensure that the flight is to go ahead as scheduled.

Is It Safe to Travel to South Korea during COVID-19?

Some passengers are questioning whether it is safe to go to South Korea now. Most lockdown measures in South Korea have been lifted.

Most stores, educational facilities, stores, and other  businesses are now open and operating as normal . Provided travelers take the necessary precautions and maintain a social distance, such facilities can be used safely.

There are some  regional differences in the safety measures  being implemented. Travelers should check the specific rules and regulations for their destination.

Health advice for travelers in South Korea

Foreigners currently in South Korea are asked to follow health advice that is being issued internationally.

  • Do not travel if experiencing any symptoms
  • Regularly wash hands with soap and water and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people
  • Wear a mask when taking public transportation

Foreigners in South Korea who show any COVID-19 can call 1339 for 24-hour advice.

As always, foreigners should consult the latest health information for South Korea well ahead of departure.

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South Korea Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

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After Your Trip

Map - South Korea

There are no notices currently in effect for South Korea.

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Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines

Recommendations.

Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to South Korea.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers younger than 60 years old traveling to South Korea. Unvaccinated travelers 60 years and older may get vaccinated before traveling to South Korea.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

Japanese Encephalitis

Recommended for travelers who

  • Are moving to an area with Japanese encephalitis to live
  • Spend long periods of time, such as a month or more, in areas with Japanese encephalitis
  • Frequently travel to areas with Japanese encephalitis

Consider vaccination for travelers

  • Spending less than a month in areas with Japanese encephalitis but will be doing activities that increase risk of infection, such as visiting rural areas, hiking or camping, or staying in places without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets
  • Going to areas with Japanese encephalitis who are uncertain of their activities or how long they will be there

Not recommended for travelers planning short-term travel to urban areas or travel to areas with no clear Japanese encephalitis season. 

Japanese encephalitis - CDC Yellow Book

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine for US Children

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of South Korea take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for South Korea.

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

South Korea is free of dog rabies. However, rabies may still be present in wildlife species, particularly bats. CDC recommends rabies vaccination before travel only for people working directly with wildlife. These people may include veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers working with specimens from mammalian species.

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Tick-borne Encephalitis

Avoid bug bites

Learn more about tick-borne encephalitis at your destination .

Tick-borne Encephalitis - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Yellow Fever

Required if traveling from a country with risk of YF virus transmission and ≥1 year of age. 1

Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book

Avoid contaminated water

Leptospirosis

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Clinical Guidance

Airborne & droplet, avian/bird flu.

  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in South Korea, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the  Department of State Country Information Pages  for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Although South Korea is an industrialized country, bug bites here can still spread diseases. Just as you would in the United States, try to avoid bug bites while spending time outside or in wooded areas.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Consider using permethrin-treated clothing and gear if spending a lot of time outside. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in South Korea include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip:

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in the heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if you are driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately.  Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance for things your regular insurance will not cover.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medicines you take.
  • Bring copies of your prescriptions for medicine and for eye glasses and contact lenses.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call South Korea’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).

Malaria is a risk in some parts of South Korea. If you are going to a risk area, fill your malaria prescription before you leave, and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.

Riding/Driving

Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Make sure there are seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in South Korea, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for South Korea for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

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State Department says Korea is totally safe to visit

A sign advertises round-the-clock service in Hongdae, western Seoul, on Tuesday night after social distancing measures were lifted in Korea. [NEWS1]

A sign advertises round-the-clock service in Hongdae, western Seoul, on Tuesday night after social distancing measures were lifted in Korea. [NEWS1]

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  • International

February 22 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan , Adam Renton and Tara John, CNN

US State Department raises travel advisory for South Korea

From Gregory Clary

The US State Department raised the travel alert for Americans to Level 2 on Saturday for travel to South Korea due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a release from the department .

The alert advises travelers to “exercise increased caution” and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines in preventing illness such as avoiding sick people and frequent hand washing.

Italy sees spike in coronavirus cases, as 10 villages shut down

From CNN's Livia Borghese in Rome

Personnel move new beds into a hospital in Codogno, Italy, on Friday, February 21.

The total number of confirmed cases in Italy has risen to 55, a spike that is attributed to a rise in cases in the country's north.

This includes 39 confirmed cases in the northern region of Lombardy and 12 in the Veneto region, the head of the Lombardy health department, Giulio Gallera, said at a press conference Saturday.

A 77-year-old female patient with coronavirus was found dead in her Lombardy home, he confirmed.

“We can say she is the second victim of coronavirus in Italy,” Gallera said. But he added that authorities still had to "investigate the relation between the death and the virus."

Infections spike: In Lombardy, 35 people tested positive in the town of Codogno, two in the city of Cremona, and two near the city of Pavia, Gallera added. 

All public activities have also been suspended in 10 villages south of Milan, Gallera added.

According to the Lombardy region website, train stations in three places affected by the outbreak -- Codogno, Maleo, Casalpusterlengo -- will be closed from Saturday.

“All the people (who) tested positive have been in contact, directly or indirectly with the hospital of Codogno,” the governor of Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, said.

Gallera said “patient one” was a 38-year-old man at Codogno hospital, who did not travel to China but met a friend who had. 

Authorities have been testing colleagues, heath workers, and other people who had close contact with the first patient.

Japanese health minister admits 23 passengers were released from cruise ship without being retested for coronavirus

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

The Japanese Ministry of Health has discovered that 23 passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship were released after their quarantine without being retested, a condition of their release.

“I (feel deep) remorse that an operational mistake invited such a situation and we would like to make sure that such a situation will never occur again,” health minister Katsunobu Kato said during a press conference Saturday.

The ministry also confirmed that one of the ship’s passengers, a woman in her 60s from Tochigi Prefecture in Japan, tested positive for coronavirus after disembarking the Diamond Princess on February 19.

She was among the 443 passengers cleared to leave the ship on the first day of disembarkation after a 14-day quarantine.

She is the first known case of infection after the end of the passenger quarantine period.

"We are clearly at the brink" of pandemic, says top infectious disease doctor

From CNN's Chandelis Duster

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN he thinks "we are clearly at the brink" of a coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with CNN's Michael Smerconish on Saturday, the nation's top infectious disease doctor said: "Our fate is going to be determined by the ability of countries outside of China that have travel-related cases. And now they're starting to develop sustained transmission from person to person to person."

"So when you get countries like Japan and South Korea that have these cases that are person to person to person without any real ability to point to where it came from, that's the makings of a pandemic," Fauci said.

"And if you have multiple countries like that, then the horse is out the barn. And it's going to be very difficult to prevent more cases from coming here to our own country."

Fauci said, however, that the risk to the US is still "very low," but warned that could "change rapidly." He also said evacuating Americans off the Diamond Princess cruise ship was a "difficult decision," but he believed it was "without a doubt the correct decision."

Israel releases warning on 9 South Korean tourists who tested positive for coronavirus on returning home

From CNN's Amir Tal and Oren Liebermann

In a strong statement, Israel's health ministry warned that nine South Korean tourists who visited the country recently have tested positive for coronavirus upon returning home.

The ministry called on anyone who may have come into close contact with the tour group for an extended period of time to self-quarantine. 

The tourists visited some of the most popular sites in Israel and the West Bank from February 8 to 16, increasing the chance of a large-scale exposure in the region, the ministry said Saturday.

Providing a list of dates and locations, the ministry warned that anyone who came within two meters of the group for more than 15 minutes should self-quarantine for 14 days.

The group visited Masada in southern Israel, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

The potential for a large-scale exposure appears to be high given the number of tourists who regularly visit these sites and others.

The release of the statement on a Saturday is an indication of how seriously authorities are taking the threat of coronavirus spreading in Israel. Government statements are rarely released on Saturday in Israel since it is the Sabbath.

This comes after Israel announced its first case of the coronavirus on Friday. The victim is an Israeli woman who returned from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

She was one of 11 passengers flown back from the Diamond Princess. The other 10 tested negative for the virus. All of the passengers remain quarantined in hospital.

Number of global cases now stands at more than 77,000

The scene inside an exhibition centre converted into a hospital in Wuhan, China, on February 17.

There are 77,809 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and 2,372 deaths worldwide, according to the latest figures. The vast majority of these infections are in mainland China but outside its borders there are 1,521 cases in 31 different places. Here's the tally:

Japan: 738 cases, 3 deaths

South Korea: 433 cases, 2 deaths

Singapore: 86 cases   

Hong Kong: 68 cases, 2 deaths   

Thailand and United States: 35 cases each

Iran: 28 cases, 5 deaths 

Taiwan: 26 cases, 1 death   

Malaysia: 22 cases

Australia: 21 cases

Italy: 17 cases, 2 deaths   

Vietnam and Germany: 16 cases each  

France: 12 cases, 1 death  

Macao: 10 cases  

Canada, UAE and UK: 9 cases each     

Philippines: 3 cases, 1 death   

India: 3 cases   

Russia and Spain: 2 cases each

Belgium, Cambodia, Finland, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Egypt, Lebanon and Israel: 1 case each

WHO-led team working on the virus arrives in Wuhan

From CNN’s Jamie Gumbrecht and Hande Atay Alam in Atlanta

A joint mission working on the novel coronavirus arrived in Wuhan -- the city at the epicenter of the outbreak -- on Saturday, World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris told CNN. 

The WHO-led team has previously worked in Beijing, Sichuan and Guangdong, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a Friday press briefing. 

Ghebreyesus said the team on the ground in China includes experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US National Institutes of Health, as well as experts from Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Nigeria, Germany and Russia.

The team includes experts in epidemiology, virology, clinical management, outbreak control and public health.

Coronavirus fears have pushed the US dollar to a three-year high

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

The US dollar index reached a three-year high as investors worried about the global coronavirus outbreak are moving their money into the safe-haven greenback.

Investments considered safe in times of market turmoil  have been rallying  since the outbreak became  Wall Street's number one worry  in January.  Cases continue to rise  globally. The full financial and economic cost of the outbreak is   incalculable.

But the United States, as well as dollar-denominated assets, are considered to be somewhat shielded from the outbreak's impact.

America's economy is less reliant on trade and exports than its peers, for example. That means the  expected slowing of China's economic growth  in the first quarter will hurt the United States less than it will other countries.

And the US economy has been going strong and is in its longest expansion in history.

The  Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDPNow model  forecasts US growth will accelerate to 2.6% in the first quarter. With a tight labor market and modestly rising wages, the American consumer, who is the backbone of the US economy, is in a good place.

Amid all this, the dollar has been rallying. No other currency stands a chance against the greenback's attractiveness, said Francesco Pesole, FX strategist at ING.

Read the rest of the article here

South Korea entering "grave situation" with virus spread, says PM

From CNN's Sophie Jeong in Seoul

An official in protective clothing sprays disinfectant in a subway station in Seoul.

South Korea's coronavirus outbreak is entering a “grave situation," the country's Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said during a press briefing, adding the government is "doing its best to prevent the spread."

He urged people to refrain from attending events where many people gather, such as religious events, or to consider other ways such as online meetings.

Chung also said that the government will “sternly deal” with acts that interfere with the country’s quarantine efforts, such as illegal hoarding of hygiene products and mass rallies.

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Places the U.S. Government Warns Not to Travel Right Now

You may want to reconsider traveling to these countries right now.

Do Not Travel to These Countries

Man walking through an airport with his suitcase

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Crime, civil unrest and terrorism are common risk factors for countries that end up on the State Department's "Do Not Travel" advisory list.

In 2024, tourism across the globe is “well on track” to return to pre-pandemic levels, according to projections by UN Tourism.

Global conflicts and natural disasters , ranging from a series of coups across Africa to catastrophic earthquakes in the Middle East affected international travel patterns throughout 2023. Still, international tourist arrivals reached 87% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, according to estimates by UN Tourism .

In January 2024 alone, about 4.6 million U.S. citizens left the country for international destinations, 17% higher than the same month in 2019, according to the International Trade Administration . But some destinations warrant more caution than others.

On Oct. 19, 2023, following the outbreak of war between Israel and Gaza and flaring tensions in the region, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide caution advisory due to “increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.” Prior to this update, the most recent worldwide caution advisory was issued in 2022 after a U.S. strike killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as leader of Al Qaeda, causing “a higher potential for anti-American violence.” The worldwide caution advisory remains in effect.

The U.S. State Department also issues individual travel advisory levels for more than 200 countries globally, continually updating them based on a variety of risk indicators such as health, terrorism and civil unrest. Travel advisory levels range from Level 1, which means exercise normal precautions, to Level 4, which means do not travel there.

About 10% of countries – 19 total – have a Level 4: “Do Not Travel” advisory as of Mar. 4. In Level 4 countries, the U.S. government may have “very limited ability” to step in should travelers’ safety or security be at risk, according to the State Department. Crime, civil unrest, kidnapping and terrorism are common risk factors associated with Level 4 countries.

So far in 2024, the State Department made changes to the existing Level 4 advisories for Myanmar, Iran and Gaza, and moved Niger and Lebanon off of the Level 4 list.

Places With a Level 4 Travel Advisory

These are the primary areas the U.S. government says not to travel to right now, in alphabetical order:

Jump to Place: Afghanistan Belarus Burkina Faso Central African Republic Myanmar (formerly Burma) Gaza Haiti Iran Iraq Libya Mali Mexico North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Russia Somalia South Sudan Sudan Syria Ukraine Venezuela Yemen

Afghanistan: The Central Asian country is wrestling with “terrorism, risk of wrongful detention, kidnapping and crime,” according to the State Department. U.S. citizens are specifically at risk for wrongful detention and kidnapping. In 2022, the government reinstituted public floggings and executions, and women’s rights are disappearing under Taliban control. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul halted operations in August 2021. Since the Taliban took control , many forms of international aid have been halted . Meanwhile, in 2023, some of the year’s deadliest earthquakes killed more than 2,400 in Afghanistan while the country continues to face a years-long extreme drought.

Belarus: Belarus, which shares a western border with Russia and a southern border with Ukraine, has been flagged for “Belarusian authorities’ continued facilitation of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the buildup of Russian military forces in Belarus, the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, the potential of civil unrest, the risk of detention, and the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Belarus.” The U.S. Embassy in Minsk halted operations in February 2022.

Burkina Faso: Terrorism, crime and kidnapping are plaguing this West African nation. Terrorist attacks may target hotels, restaurants and schools with little to no warning, and the East and Sahel regions of the country are under a state of emergency. In late November 2023, hundreds died in clashes between state security forces and rebels near the country’s border with Mali. In June, more than 2 million people in Burkina Faso were displaced due to “violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.”

Central African Republic: While there have not been specific incidents of U.S. citizens targeted with violence or crime, violent crime and sudden closure of roads and borders is common. The advisory states that “Embassy Bangui’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping” is a factor in its assessment. Recent data from UNICEF suggests the country has the worst drinking water accessibility of all countries in 2022.

Myanmar (Formerly Burma): Armed conflict and civil unrest are the primary reasons to not travel to this Southeast Asian country, which experienced a military coup in early 2021. Limited health care resources, wrongful detentions and “areas with land mines and unexploded ordnance” are also listed as risk factors. After Ukraine and Israel, Myanmar had the highest conflict-related death toll in 2023.

Gaza : Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the State Department, controls much of the Gaza Strip, which shares borders with both Israel and Egypt. On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas fighters broke across the border into Israel, killing hundreds of civilians and soldiers in a brazen attack that stunned Israelis. On Oct. 10, Israel hit the Gaza Strip with “the fiercest air strikes in its 75-year conflict” according to Reuters . The conflict has since escalated into war between Israel and Hamas, with regular Israeli airstrikes leading to extensive civilian casualties in Gaza. As of mid-December, nearly 85% of Gaza’s population were displaced from their homes, according to UN estimates . The region continues to face shortages of food , water, electricity and medical supplies , with conditions deemed “far beyond a humanitarian crisis.” The State Department warns of terrorism and armed conflict within Gaza’s borders.

Haiti: In July 2023, the Department of State ordered all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members to leave the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince in response to the increased risk of kidnapping and violent crime in the country , as well as armed conflict between gangs and police. The travel advisory states that cases of kidnapping “often involve ransom negotiations and U.S. citizen victims have been physically harmed during kidnappings.” The travel advisory also states that “U.S. citizens in Haiti should depart Haiti as soon as possible” given “the current security situation and infrastructure challenges.” A series of gang attacks in late September 2023 caused thousands to flee their homes, and many aid groups have been forced to cut or suspend operations amid escalating violence in recent months.

Iran: Terrorism, kidnapping and civil unrest are risk factors for all travelers to Iran, while U.S. citizens are specifically at risk for “arbitrary arrest.” U.S.-Iranian nationals such as students, journalists and business travelers have been arrested on charges of espionage and threatening national security. Executions in Iran rose sharply between 2021 and 2022, bringing the country’s total to nearly 580 people over the year, according to a report by Amnesty International released in May 2023.

Iraq: The State Department cites “terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict [and] civil unrest” as cause for the country’s Level 4 distinction. Iraq’s northern borders, and its border with Syria, are especially dangerous. Since the escalation of conflict in neighboring Israel in October, there has been an increase in attacks against Iraqi military bases, which host U.S. troops and other international forces. In October 2023, non-emergency U.S. government personnel and eligible family members were ordered to leave the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Libya: Following the end of its dictatorship over a decade ago, Libya has been wrought with internal conflict between armed groups in the East and West. Armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, kidnapping and terrorism are all risk factors. U.S. citizens have been targets of kidnapping for ransom, with terrorists targeting hotels and airports frequented by Westerners. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli halted operations in 2014. In mid-September 2023, floods, which some say were intensified by climate change , killed thousands in eastern Libya. Clashes between armed factions escalated across the country in the latter half of 2023, including in the capital city of Tripoli and in Benghazi.

Mali: After experiencing military coups in 2020 and 2021, crime, terrorism and kidnapping are all prevalent threats in this West African landlocked nation. In July 2022, non-emergency U.S. government employees and their families were ordered to leave the country due to higher risk of terrorist activity. A U.N. report in August 2023 said that military groups in the country, including both Mali security forces and possibly Russian Wagner mercenaries, were spreading terror through the use of violence against women and human rights abuses. Democratic elections were supposed to occur in February 2024, but Mali’s military junta postponed the plans indefinitely. In December, the U.N. officially ended a decade-long peacekeeping presence in the country, which had been among the agency’s deadliest missions, with hundreds of the mission personnel killed since 2013.

Mexico: Each state in Mexico is assessed separately for travel advisory levels. Six of the 32 states in Mexico are designated as Level 4: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. Crime and kidnapping are listed as the primary risk factors throughout the country. Nearly 112,000 people were missing across the country as of October, a number the U.N. has called “alarming.”

North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea): U.S. passports are not valid for travel “to, in, or through” this country, home to one of the world's longest-running dynastic dictatorships. The travel advisory states that the Level 4 distinction is due to “the continuing serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. nationals.” In July 2023, a U.S. soldier fled across the border into North Korea, where he is believed to be in North Korean custody, the first American detained in the North in nearly five years. He was returned to U.S. custody in September 2023.

Russia: The travel advisory for Russia cites its invasion of Ukraine , harassment of U.S. citizens by Russian government officials and arbitrary law enforcement as a few of the reasons for the Level 4 designation. Chechnya and Mount Elbrus are specifically listed as Level 4 regions. Terrorism, civil unrest, health, kidnapping and wrongful detention are all noted as risks.

Russia Invades Ukraine: A Timeline

TOPSHOT - Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv  on February 24, 2022. - Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine today with explosions heard soon after across the country and its foreign minister warning a "full-scale invasion" was underway. (Photo by Aris Messinis / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Somalia: A severe drought resulting from five failed rainy seasons in a row killed 43,000 people in 2022, and caused a famine amid conflict with Islamist insurgents . Violent crime is common throughout Somalia , pirates frequent its coast off the Horn of Africa, and medical facilities, where they exist, have limited capacity. Crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health and kidnapping are all risk factors. In January 2024, some passengers aboard a U.N.-contracted helicopter were taken hostage by al-Shabaab militants after the vehicle crashed in central Somalia.

South Sudan: Crime, kidnapping and armed conflict are the primary risk factors for South Sudan, which separated from Sudan in 2011, making it the world’s newest country . Weapons are readily available, and travelers have been victims of sexual assault and armed robbery.

Sudan: The U.S. evacuated its embassy in Khartoum in April 2023, and the country closed its airspace due to the ongoing conflict in the country, only permitting humanitarian aid and evacuation efforts. Fighting has escalated in the region between two warring generals seeking to gain control after a military coup in 2021 ousted the country’s prime minister. Civil unrest is the primary risk factor for Africa’s third largest country by area. Crime, terrorism, kidnapping and armed conflict are also noted. The International Criminal Court began investigating alleged war crimes and violence against African ethnic groups in the country in 2023. Millions have fled their homes due to conflict, and the U.N. has said its efforts to provide aid have been hindered by a lack of support, safety and resources. As recently as December 2023, the United Nations warned of catastrophic famine , with millions of children at-risk for malnutrition .

Syria: The advisory states that “No part of Syria is safe from violence,” with terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict and risk of unjust detention all potential risk factors. U.S. citizens are often a target for kidnappings and detention. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus halted operations in 2012. Fighting in neighboring Israel has escalated since October, and the conflict has spilled over into Syria, where the U.S. has carried out air strikes following drone and rocket attacks against American troops in Syria and Iraq, triggered by the Israel-Hamas war.

Ukraine: Russian setbacks in their invasion of Ukraine buoyed hopes in Ukraine in 2023. However, Ukraine is a Level 4 country due to Russia’s invasion, with crime and civil unrest also noted as risk factors. The country’s forces shot down two Russian fighter jets on Christmas Eve 2023, in a move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “sets the right mood for the entire year ahead.”

Venezuela: Human rights abuses and lack of health care plague this South American nation, which has been in a political crisis since 2014. In 2019, diplomatic personnel were withdrawn from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. Threats in the country include crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, wrongful detention and poor health infrastructure.

Yemen: Six of the nine risk factors defined by the State Department – terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict and landmines – are all present in Yemen. Despite private companies offering tourist visits to the Yemeni island of Socotra, the U.S. government argues those arranging such visits “are putting tourists in danger.” Civil war and cholera are also both present throughout the country. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa halted operations in 2015. The country has experienced a relative lull in the civil war fighting, but as peace negotiations have gotten traction, flare ups in the fighting have jeopardized progress. Most recently, the U.S. and U.K. have carried out a series of airstrikes in the country, targeting Iran-backed Houthi sites.

Other Countries to Watch

Since Jan. 1, the State Department has updated travel advisories for 17 different countries as well as for the West Bank and Gaza, adding information about specific regions or risk factors, or simply renewing an existing advisory. Travel advisory levels can change based on several factors in a nation, such as increased civil unrest, policies that affect human rights or higher risks of unlawful detention.

The State Department has given about 25 countries an assessment of Level 3, meaning it recommends people “reconsider travel” to those destinations.

On Oct. 14, one week after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel, Israel and the West Bank were both moved from Level 2 to Level 3, while Gaza remains at Level 4. The region’s travel advisory was updated in November to reflect travel restrictions for certain government employees who have not already left the area, and it was updated again on Jan. 3.

Following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in early October, the U.S. State Department raised Lebanon ’s travel advisory level from a Level 3 to a Level 4 level due to “the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges” between Israel and Hezbollah or other militant groups. In December, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut returned to normal staffing and presence, and on Jan. 29, the country was moved back to Level 3. Crime, terrorism, armed conflict, civil unrest, kidnapping and unexploded landmines are listed as the country’s primary risk factors. However, the country’s borders with Syria and with Israel, as well as refugee settlements within Lebanon, are specifically noted as Level 4 regions.

China became a Level 3 country in late 2020, with an update in December 2022 citing “the surge in COVID-19 cases, arbitrary enforcement of local laws, and COVID-19-related restrictions” as the reason for the advisory. In June 2023, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) was moved from the Level 3 to the Level 2 list, but travelers are still advised to be cautious in the area due to “arbitrary enforcement of local laws.” Meanwhile, Macau remains at Level 3.

Following an attempted coup in August 2023, Niger was elevated to Level 4 in August and the Department of State ordered all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members to leave the U.S. Embassy in Niamey. In early January 2024, the overall risk level for the country was lowered back to Level 3. Despite the new classification, the State Department still asks non-emergency government personnel and eligible family members to depart the country.

In mid-December 2023 there was an explosion at Guinea’s main fuel depot which has since affected access to health care and basic goods and services. The country was subsequently designated a Level 3 nation after having previously been Level 2. Concerns about civil unrest, health, crime and fuel shortages impacting local infrastructure were listed as the primary risk factors contributing to the change.

Several Level 3 countries are among the worst countries for human trafficking, as designated by the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report . Level 3 countries on this list include Papua New Guinea, Guinea Bissau, China and Chad. There are also nine Level 4 countries designated as among the worst for human trafficking: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Syria, South Sudan and Venezuela.

Over 70 countries are currently at Level 2, meaning the State Department recommends travelers “exercise increased caution” when traveling to those destinations.

Botswana became the newest Level 2 country on Feb. 26 after having previously been Level 1, with crime noted as the primary risk factor.

France, which saw nationwide protests throughout 2023, has civil unrest and terrorism noted as risk factors for its Level 2 status, and Sweden’s Level 2 status is associated with risks of terrorism.

The Level 2 travel advisory for the Bahamas was updated in January to reflect water safety concerns. The advisory warns that “activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated” and notes that government personnel are “not permitted to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.” It also warns visitors to be mindful of sharks, weather and water conditions. The advisory also says that crime is a primary risk factor with gang-on-gang violence contributing to high homicide rates in some areas. Visitors are asked to “be vigilant” and to not physically resist robbery attempts.

Bangladesh 's Level 2 travel advisory was updated in October 2023 to add a note about the country’s general election , which took place Jan. 7, 2024. The advisory states “demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.” The U.S. has since claimed the country’s election was not free nor fair.

In November 2023, several Level 2 travel advisories were updated with new cautionary information. The advisory for Ghana was updated to reflect threats against LGBTQI+ travelers specifically, noting “anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric and violence have increased in recent years.” Meanwhile, the advisory for South Africa was updated in February to note that routes recommended by GPS may be unsafe with higher risk for crime.

Turkmenistan was moved off of the Level 2 list to become the newest addition to the Level 1 list on Jan. 22, meaning normal precautions are recommended but there are no risk factors causing travelers to practice increased caution.

The State Department asks travelers to pay attention to travel advisory levels and alerts , review country information pages for their destinations and read related country security reports before going abroad.

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South Korea

Travel Advisory July 24, 2023

South korea - level 1: exercise normal precautions.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise normal precautions in South Korea.

Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to South Korea.

If you decide to travel to South Korea:

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.   
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .   
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for South Korea.   
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest  Travel Health Information  related to your travel.   
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .    

Embassy Messages

View Alerts and Messages Archive

Quick Facts

Must be valid at time of entry

One page per stamp

No – From April 1, 2023, to December 31, 2024, the Korean Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) is not required for US citizens traveling for short-term business or tourism purposes.

Embassies and Consulates

U.s. embassy seoul.

188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03141, Korea Telephone: +(82) (2) 397-4114 (from within Korea, dial 02-397-4114)  DSN:721-4114 Fax: +(82) (2) 397-4101 Email:  [email protected]

U.S. Consulate in Busan

Lotte Gold Rose Building #612, Jungang-daero 993, Jin-gu Busan 47209, Korea Telephone: (+82) 51-863-0731 Email:  [email protected]

The Embassy and Consulate are closed on weekends and on  American and Korean holidays .  Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +82 (2) 397-4114.

Destination Description

Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

  • You must have a valid U.S. passport to enter Korea. From April 1, 2023, to December 31, 2024, the  Korean Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA)  is not required for US citizens for stays of 90 days or less that are for tourism or business purposes.
  • Visa required for all other purposes, including employment, teaching English, and for stays longer than 90 days.

Exceeding your authorized stay or not possessing a valid visa may result in detention and fines.

  • In the event of an overstay, apply for a visa extension from the  Korea Immigration Service (KIS)  before attempting to leave the country. Also consult with KIS regarding changes in visa category.

Military Personnel/DOD and their families on orders:

  • Consult  DOD Foreign Clearance Guide , and follow all instructions.
  • Enter Korea with DOD identification and travel orders.
  • Do not transit other countries such as China without a passport and appropriate visas.
  • Family Members/Dependents of Military Personnel/DOD on orders must present upon arrival passports valid for at least six months .

U.S. Government Executive Branch personnel on official business and DOD personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy  (Including family members/dependents):

  • Employes assigned to Mission Korea should enter Korea with a diplomatic or official passport and a diplomatic or official Korean visa obtained through their sponsoring agency.  Check with your sponsoring agency about other requirements. 
  • TDY visitors traveling to Korea for up to 90 days on diplomatic or official passports do  not  require Korean visas and do  not  require a K-ETA. TDY visitors must obtain country clearance using  Department of State's eCC system  or  DOD APACS system .

HIV/AIDS Restriction:  The Department of State is unaware of any such entry restrictions for visitors or foreign residents in Korea.

  • Visit the  Embassy of Korea  website for current visa information. Please read our  Customs Information page .

COVID-19 Requirements :

  • There are no COVID-related entry requirements for U.S. citizens.
  • Travel regulations and restrictions are subject to change, sometimes with little notice. You should review the information available on your nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate’s webpage before traveling.

Safety and Security

Public Demonstrations:  Demonstrations and rallies are common in South Korea, particularly near the U.S. Embassy, Seoul City Hall, and areas surrounding military installations. You should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or rallies. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

North Korea (The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK):  An armistice agreement, monitored by the United Nations, has maintained general peace on the Korean peninsula since 1953. Tensions occasionally flare up because of provocative acts by North Korea, including ballistic missile and nuclear tests and limited armed incursions into ROK-held territory. Some provocations have escalated into geographically limited skirmishes. South Korea routinely conducts military training exercises and civil defense drills. North Korea often issues strongly-worded and threatening messages, frequently in connection with these exercises. Please see our  Fact Sheet on North Korea .

Weather-related Events:  Heavy rains and flooding may occur during the June - August monsoon season or the May - November typhoon season. See general information about natural disaster preparedness at the U.S.  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  website.

Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  ( STEP ):  To receive security messages by email and make it easier to locate you in an emergency, register in STEP. 

If the Embassy becomes aware of any specific and credible threat to the safety and security of U.S. citizens, we will inform you through our website, social media, and email.

Crime:  For most visitors, South Korea remains a very safe country. Common crimes occur more frequently in major metropolitan areas, tourist sites, and crowded markets.

  • Take routine safety precautions.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Report any concerns to local police.

Violent crime is not common; however, remain vigilant:

  • Exercise caution in crowded entertainment, nightlife, and shopping districts.
  • If traveling at night, consider traveling in groups.
  • Use legitimate taxis or public transportation only.

Victims of Crime:  Call 112 for emergency assistance or to report a crime to local authorities. Call 02-397-4114 to contact the U.S. Embassy. We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care;
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to police;
  • Contact relatives or friends on your behalf;
  • Explain Korean judicial procedures in general terms;
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution;
  • Help you find accommodations and flight arrangements to the United States;
  • Replace a lost or stolen passport.

Sexual Assault:   The Embassy regularly receives reports of sexual assault from U.S. citizens. Most cases involved young women assaulted by acquaintances they met on social media, dating, or messaging apps. Alcohol is often involved, and Korea’s low overall crime can create a false sense of security.  Specialized hospital units and police are available in South Korea to assist victims, however services in English and responsiveness to the crime are not always consistent. In general, sex crimes are not punished as harshly in South Korea as in the United States and the road to prosecution is a challenging one for victims.

Domestic Violence:  Victim’s assistance resources or battered women’s shelters exist in Seoul and other urban areas but may be limited in rural areas. Most are government administered and require a police referral. Call 112 for emergency assistance or 1366 to reach Korea’s 24-hour domestic violence hotline. Victims may also contact the Embassy, tel. (+82) 2-397-4114.

Lost or Stolen Passports:  If your passport is stolen, file a report at the nearest police station.

Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if widely available.  It is against South Korean law to purchase these goods and against U.S. law to bring them into the United States. The  Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Division in the U.S. Department of Justice  has more information.

Avoid fraud and scams:  See  Department of State  and  FBI  websites for more information.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on  insurance providers for overseas coverage .

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  While in Korea, you are subject to local laws. If you violate Korean laws, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Be aware that:

  • Immigration violations can lead to arrest, fines, and deportation.
  • There is little tolerance for illegal drugs.
  • If you mail illegal drugs to/ from Korea, you will be prosecuted.
  • Commercial disputes may lead to criminal charges being filed under local laws.

Be aware that some crimes are prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on  crimes against minors abroad  and the  Department of Justice  website.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask officials to notify the Embassy. See our  webpage  for further information.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Dual Nationality and Military Conscription:  Dual national males (including U.S. service members) may be subject to compulsory military service. If you have family ties to South Korea, consult the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate or the  Korean Military Manpower Administration  regarding potential citizenship obligations  before entering South Korea .

Passport Seizures and Exit Bans:  If you are involved in a criminal investigation or commercial dispute, authorities may seize your passport and/or block your departure. While we may reissue a passport, we cannot lift an exit ban.

Exit Permits:  Exit permits are not generally required. However, if a parent requests a travel restriction on his/her child, Korean authorities may prevent that child from departing even when traveling with the other parent. As of June 1, 2020, foreigners who are long-term residents of the ROK are required to obtain a re-entry permit four business days prior to departure from Korea. The permits are available online through an e-application at the  www.hikorea.go.kr  website.

International Child Abduction:  See our website for information related to the  prevention of international child abduction . 

Working in South Korea:  If working, including teaching or modeling, you must enter with the appropriate work visa. It is not possible to change your visa status without leaving the country. If you begin work without the appropriate visa, you may be arrested, fined, and/or deported. If you are working without a valid work permit and get into a contractual dispute with your employer, you have little legal recourse.

Students:  See our  Students Abroad  page and  FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for  Women Travelers .

ROK National Security Law:  Authorities may detain, arrest, and imprison persons believed to have committed acts intended to endanger the “security of the state,” including statements deemed to praise the political system and/or officials of the DPRK. 

Customs Regulations: There is strict enforcement of regulations on importing and exporting items such as firearms, narcotics and prescription drugs, non-prescription health supplements, radio equipment, and gold. Importation of materials deemed to be obscene, subversive, or harmful to the public peace is also restricted.

  • Amphetamines are illegal in Korea. Do not bring amphetamines or other prescription narcotics into the country without obtaining advance permission in writing from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. See the  U.S. Embassy Seoul, Health Information page .
  • Traveling with Pets: See  Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency  website.

See the  Korean Customs Regulations website for complete information.

LGBTI Travelers:  Consensual same-sex sexual activity is not criminalized. Korea is a conservative country in regards to LGBTI issues. However, there are an increasing number of LGBTI-oriented clubs, festivals and NGOs advocating for LGBTI issues. The ROK National Human Rights Commission Act prohibits discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation, but there are no laws specifying punishment for persons found to have discriminated on this basis. Same-sex marriages are not recognized. Korean citizens can legally change their gender identity.

See   our  LGBTI Travel Information  page and section 6 of the  Department of State's Human Rights report  for further details.

Mobility Issues:  Korean law mandates access to transportation, communication, and public buildings. Cross walks typically have audio and visual signals. Older buildings and streets are generally less accessible than modern ones. Metro cars and buses in Seoul offer priority seating for the disabled and most metro stations have elevators. Metro platforms include Korean Braille information. Contact individual bus companies and subway associations for specific information. Foreign residents are eligible for disability assistance from local ward offices; assistance varies by ward.

Quality of Care : Western-style medical facilities are available in most large cities. However, not all doctors and staff, are proficient in English. A  list of hospitals  and medical specialists who speak English is available on our website. For emergency ambulance service dial 119. Ambulance services are widely available. For information on medical evacuation from South Korea, please see the State Department’s brochure on  Air Ambulance/MedEvac/Medical Escort Providers . 

We do not pay medical bills.  Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. Verify your health insurance coverage before traveling overseas. See our webpage for information on  insurance providers for overseas coverage . In most cases, health care providers will require payment in advance of treatment or will not release a patient until hospital bills are paid. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to include coverage for medical evacuation.

Medication:  Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Most prescription medications, except psychotropic types, can be obtained at Korean pharmacies (brand names often differ). Local pharmacies will require a prescription from a Korean doctor.

Update  vaccinations  recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

For further health information go to:

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC)

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Roads are well-paved, traffic signals functional, and most drivers comply with basic traffic laws. South Korea has a significantly higher traffic fatality rate than the United States. Causes of accidents include excessive speed, frequent lane changes without signaling, running red lights, aggressive bus drivers, and weaving motorcyclists. It is recommended that you photo document any traffic accidents.

Be aware that motorcyclists may drive on sidewalks, and drivers do not always yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks.

Traffic Laws include:

  • International driving permit (or ROK license) is required for all drivers.
  • Left-hand turns prohibited except with green arrow.
  • Seat belts and car seats are mandatory.
  • Motorcycle passengers must wear helmets.
  • Automobile drivers are presumed to have some fault in accidents involving pedestrians.
  • Expect long waits at police stations while police investigate any incidents.
  • Police may take your passport or detain you during an investigation.
  • Even if negligence is not proven, criminal charges may be filed.
  • Blood-alcohol content of 0.03% or higher is considered legally intoxicated.
  • Police regularly set up DUI checkpoints. Drivers are required to submit to breathalyzer tests; refusal can result in cancellation of your license.

For information about driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, refer to our  Road Safety page . You may also visit the  Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) website.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:  The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of the Republic of Korea's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the ROK's air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the  FAA's Safety Assessment Page .

Maritime Travel:  Mariners planning travel to South Korea should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s  Maritime Security Communications with Industry Web Portal . Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website  and as a broadcast warning on the  National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website .

For additional travel information

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

South Korea was cited in the State Department’s 2022 Annual Report to Congress on International Child Abduction for demonstrating a pattern of non-compliance with respect to international parental child abduction. Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in  South Korea.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the  International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA )  report.

Travel Advisory Levels

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IMAGES

  1. Highlights of South Korea

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  2. South Korea

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  3. 20 Best Places to Visit in South Korea in 2022

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  4. Administrative map of South Korea

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  5. 30 Pictures That Will Make You Want to Visit South Korea

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  6. Tourist illustrated map of South Korea

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COMMENTS

  1. South Korea International Travel Information

    Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday ...

  2. South Korea Travel Advisory: Level 3: Reconsider Travel

    Reconsider travel to South Korea due to COVID-19. Read the Department of State COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for South Korea due to COVID-19.

  3. Travel Advisories

    South Korea Travel Advisory: Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions: July 24, 2023: Kosovo Travel Advisory: Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution ... Links to external websites are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of State of the views or products contained therein. If you wish to remain ...

  4. South Korea

    The U.S. and Korea's Joseon Dynasty established diplomatic relations under the 1882 Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, and the first U.S. diplomatic envoy arrived in Korea in 1883. U.S.-Korea relations continued until 1905, when Japan assumed direction over Korean foreign affairs. In 1910, Japan began a 35-year period of ...

  5. South Korea Travel Restrictions

    Korea has resumed their visa-free travel. From 1 April 2022, travelers do not need a visa to enter South Korea but must apply for a K-ETA (Korean Electronic Travel Authorization) at least 72 hours prior to travel for the issuance of the boarding pass. Health and safety requirements are subject to change at short notice.

  6. South Korea Travel and Entry Restrictions 2022: COVID-19 Update

    The South Korea entry restrictions determine who can enter the country and under what conditions. Normally, foreigners must meet the South Korea visa requirements for their nationality and obtain the relevant permit before traveling.. Additionally, several South Korea COVID restrictions are now in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.. As a result, the Republic of Korea has temporarily ...

  7. Health and Travel Alert

    For additional information, refer to travel.state.gov. Korean Government Actions and Entry Restrictions ... State Department - Consular Affairs: 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444; South Korea Country Specific Information;

  8. South Korea

    Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home. ... Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for South Korea for a list of health-related items to ...

  9. South Korea Travel Advisory

    U.S. DEPARTMENT of STATE — BUREAU of CONSULAR AFFAIRS. Travel.State.Gov > Travel Advisories > South Korea Travel Advisory. Congressional Liaison; Special Issuance Agency; Legal Resources

  10. Korea, South

    US State Dept Travel Advisory. The US Department of State currently recommends US citizens exercise normal precautions in South Korea. ... The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for South Korea: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), ...

  11. State Department says Korea is totally safe to visit

    The State Department uses a four-level travel advisory system to warn of potential risks — Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions, Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, Level 3: Reconsider Travel, and Level 4: Do Not Travel. Korea has been under the highest Level 4 travel advisory since Feb. 15, which has dramatically dropped to the lowest level.

  12. COVID-19 in Korea

    Travel Advisory Level 1: ... The State Department advises U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution because of increased tensions around the world and the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests. ... Outside of South Korea: +82-2-397-4114. Emergency Contact ...

  13. US State Department raises travel advisory for South Korea

    The US State Department raised the travel alert for Americans to Level 2 on Saturday for travel to South Korea due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a release from the department.

  14. New Travel Requirement FAQs (March 28, 2022)

    Starting from April 1, 2022, vaccinated travelers who have completed vaccination overseas AND register their vaccination history through the Quarantine COVID19 Defence (Q-Code) system BEFORE traveling to Korea will be eligible for quarantine exemption. Vaccination is considered to be complete 14 days after the 2nd shot for a two-dose vaccine ...

  15. Places the U.S. Government Warns Not to Travel Right Now

    So far in 2024, the State Department made changes to the existing Level 4 advisories for Myanmar, Iran and Gaza, and moved Niger and Lebanon off of the Level 4 list. Places With a Level 4 Travel ...

  16. Travel to Austria, South Korea, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and

    Summary Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken traveled to Vienna, Seoul, Manila, Jeddah, Cairo, and Tel Aviv from March 14 to 23, 2024.. In Vienna, Secretary Blinken attended the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and served as Head of Delegation for the United States during the High-Level Segment.

  17. South Korea International Travel Information

    U.S. DEPARTMENT of STATE — BUREAU of CONSULAR AFFAIRS. Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > South Korea International Travel Information

  18. Health and Travel Alert

    Visit the Department of Homeland Security's website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States. Assistance: U.S. Embassy Seoul 188 Sejong Daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul +82-2-397-4114 [email protected]; State Department - Consular Affairs: 1-888-407-4747 or 1-202-501-4444; Korea Country Information

  19. New U.S. Travel Requirements (October 27, 2021)

    Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. Latest information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: International Travelers Quick Reference Guide: Requirements to Travel to the U.S. by Air (PDF - 114 KB) For U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals, U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, and Immigrants:

  20. Pet travel from the United States to Korea

    Pet ferrets originating from Hawaii or Guam are not required to have rabies vaccinations or rabies titer tests prior to travel, as they are considered by Korea to be regions free from rabies. All other U.S. origin ferrets are required to be current on their rabies vaccinations and have a rabies titer test taken more than 3 months, but less than ...