Foreign travel advice

South Korea

Summary

The level of tension on the Korean peninsula remains high due to a series of nuclear and missile tests by the DPRK (North Korea), including two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July 2017, two nuclear tests in 2016 and a nuclear test on 3 September 2017. There remains a threat of further missile or nuclear tests, which could lead to further instability in the region. The level of tension and the security situation can change with little notice. Tensions usually rise around the time of the regular South Korean-US military exercises, notably those held in March and August. In the past, heightened tensions haven’t affected daily life. See Political situation

Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan effectively and stay safe. You can also sign up to our email alert service to be notified about future updates to this travel advice. See Contingency planning

The South Korean authorities provide advice on responding to civil emergencies, and hold regular nationwide civil emergency exercises. Sirens are sounded, transport stopped and some people are asked to take shelter in metro stations or basements. See Civil emergency exercises and advice

Public demonstrations are mostly peaceful and well-policed, but the risk of violence remains. You should take extra care as in any crowded place. See Safety and security

The typhoon season normally runs from June to November. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the instructions of the local authorities. See Natural disasters

Air pollution, including yellow dust pollution, is common in South Korea throughout the year and especially during spring months. See Health

It’s not possible to enter North Korea from South Korea.

Although there is no recent history of terrorism in South Korea, attacks can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism

Around 140,000 British nationals visit South Korea every year. Most visits are trouble-free.  

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.