Foreign travel advice

South Korea

Important COVID-19 travel guidance

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.

Summary

From 4 July, South Korea is exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel. This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

Travel is subject to entry restrictions

  • All arrivals, regardless of nationality and length of stay, are required to be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) and to undergo quarantine for 14 days
  • If you show coronavirus symptoms on arrival you will be tested. If you test positive 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:

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 FCO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

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 now required to be tested for COVID-19 in South Korea. Testing requirements for arrivals from the US and Europe have been harmonised. See Entry requirements

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

A revised Korean Traffic Law came into effect in June 2019. See Road travel

The level of tension on the Korean Peninsula rose considerably in 2017 due to a series of North Korean nuclear and missile tests. On 21 April 2018, North Korea announced a halt to nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile testing.

Since 2018 there has been renewed direct contact between the North and South Korean governments, and between North Korea and the United States. In the past, periods of diplomatic engagement have failed to be sustained. This has led to further missile or nuclear tests by North Korea and a return to instability in the region. The level of tension and the security situation can therefore still 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

The typhoon season normally runs from June to November. See Natural disasters

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.