Foreign travel advice

South Korea

Important COVID-19 Travel

Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays. Check the rules in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Do not travel unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. In England, you must complete a declaration form for international travel (except for travel to Ireland).

Check our advice for all the countries you will visit or transit through. Some countries have closed borders, and any country may further restrict travel or bring in new rules with little warning.

To enter or return to the UK from abroad (except from Ireland), you must follow all the rules for entering the UK. These include providing your journey and contact details, and evidence of a negative COVID-19 test before you travel. When you arrive, you must quarantine and take additional COVID-19 tests. This will take place in a managed quarantine hotel if you enter England from a red list travel ban country, or enter Scotland.

Summary

If you are arriving in the UK from South Korea on or after 18 January you will need to self-isolate on your arrival, unless you have a valid exemption. Check the latest guidance for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Travel is subject to entry restrictions

  • The Government of the Republic of Korea has announced that the temporary suspension of direct flights from UK to South Korea has been extended until 11 March 2021.
  • South Korean diplomatic missions in the UK suspended the issuing of quarantine exemptions from 23 December 2020.
  • South Korean diplomatic missions in the UK suspended the issuing of routine visas from 29 December 2020. Exceptions will only be made in limited circumstances
  • For more information, consult your airline and sign up for travel advice email alerts.
  • All foreign nationals arriving in South Korea, whether by air or sea, are required to provide a negative PCR test declaration, issued within 72 hours of departure.
  • All arrivals, regardless of nationality and length of stay, are also required to be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) and to undergo quarantine for 14 days after arriving in South Korea.
  • If you test positive for coronavirus you will be isolated and treated at a hospital or community treatment centre

See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.

Preparing for your return journey to the UK

If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:

If your return journey to the UK transits another country, you should check whether it is subject to a travel ban or any other additional requirements. If so, contact your travel provider.

Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.

If you’re planning travel to South Korea, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines, see the Coronavirus page.

South Korea’s social distancing requirements are regularly reviewed and updated. You should check the South Korea Disease Control and prevention Agency (KCDA) and Ministry of Health and Welfare websites (English) and follow local guidance. See Coronavirus

All foreign nationals arriving in South Korea are required to provide a negative PCR test declaration, issued within 72 hours of departure. All arrivals – regardless of nationality and length of stay – are required to undergo quarantine for 14 days. All foreign arrivals, regardless of their point of departure, are required to be tested for COVID-19 on arrival in South Korea. See Entry requirements

The typhoon season normally runs from June to November. You should monitor the Korean Meteorological Administration website and follow any advice given by the local authorities and the emergency services. See Natural disasters

The level of tension between North and South Korea, and the security situation, can change with little notice. Tensions have usually arisen around the time of South Korean-US military exercises. In the past, heightened tensions haven’t affected daily life. See Political situation

Check the foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page to find out more about things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan effectively and stay safe. You can also sign up to email alerts 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 Demonstrations

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

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.