Foreign travel advice

South Korea

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

If you have a British Citizen passport you can enter South Korea as a tourist for up to 90 days without a visa. You must also have an onward or return ticket. It’s illegal to work on a tourist visa, whether as a teacher or in any other capacity.

If you have a different type of British nationality, or are travelling for any purpose other than tourism, you should check visa requirements with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, London.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 3 months from the date of entry into South Korea.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from South Korea.

Customs declarations

Check the website of the Korea Customs Service for information on restricted or prohibited items that may not be brought into the country. If you are in any doubt about the legality of any items - including medications -you should declare them on entry.

British males of Korean origin

If you are a British male of Korean origin whose name appears on the Korean family register, you may be liable for military service even if you are travelling on your British passport.

Employment

To get a visa to teach English in South Korea you must have a 3-year university degree. A TEFL qualification alone is not sufficient. If you are found to have obtained a teaching visa by deception, you will be detained and deported. British nationals teaching English in South Korea have sometimes found living and working conditions to be below expectations, and have encountered difficulties getting the correct visas and residence permits. There have also been complaints of breach of contract, confiscation of passports, payment being withheld and inadequate or no medical insurance. Check all terms and conditions of your employment carefully and if possible speak to other teachers from the place where you plan to work before accepting any offer. For those in possession of a work visa all employment changes must be authorised by Korean Immigration.