Local laws and customs

With effect from 28 September 2018, changes to Korean Traffic Law come into effect, including:

  • All passengers in vehicles must wear seat belts including in rear seats. City buses that are not fitted with seat belts are exempt from this regulation.
  • Drivers will be required to take precautionary measures when parking on hills/slopes (such as placing stops behind each wheel, or turning the steering wheel to ensure that the front wheels of the vehicle are angled towards the kerb).

Further information can be found in the Korean Road Traffic Act (changes to the text of the current law are highlighted in blue). Anyone seeking additional advice should contact the Korean police authority.

A serious violation of local laws may lead to a jail or death sentence.

Penalties for possession, use and trafficking of illegal drugs can result in long jail sentences and heavy fines. This applies even to personal use of small amounts of marijuana. British nationals have been detained solely on the basis of drug tests.

Carry some form of identification at all times and make sure your next-of-kin details have been entered into the back of your passport.

Same-sex relationships are not illegal. Younger Koreans are more liberal and LGBT rights organisations are gaining support. The gay scene, although relatively small, is well established and growing in visibility. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.