Do US citizens need a visa for South Korea

Do US citizens need a visa for South Korea? The answer is no; US citizens don’t need a visa to enter South Korea unless they are going to spend more than 90 days in the country. The government of South Korea has placed the US on the visa-exempt list; hence US passport holders only need a valid passport and return ticket to travel to South Korea. The other requirement is that the visitor must not engage in any form of paid work during their stay, as this exemption only covers tourism, business, and non-economic activities for 90 days.

South Korea Electronic Travel Authorization

Although US passport holders may not require a visa to enter South Korea, they still need a special travel permit called Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). This travel document is obtained online and at short notice, 1- 3 days after the application is submitted. The applicant doesn’t have to visit the embassy in Washington or any of the consulates in other states to apply for K ETA visa waiver. All they need do is go online, fill out the form and attach soft copies of their travel documents to the online application form.

Once the application is approved, the eta will be forwarded to the applicant’s email address. ETA is valid for 2 years and allows the holder to stay in South Korea for 90 days per visit. It is only issued for tourism and business visits or to visit family and friends; if you wish to visit South Korea for any other reason apart from these three, endeavour to apply for a visa at the nearest South Korean consulate.

South Korea ETA Requirements

UA citizens applying for ETA must complete the online application form and attach the required documents to the form. Here are the requirements.

US Passport: A passport valid for at least 6 months is required for this travel permit. The passport must also have at least 2 blank pages for visa stamps.

Photograph: A passport-sized photo showing their face is required. The photo must be recent and must meet photograph guidelines.

Email Address: A valid email address to receive the eta once approved.

Card: A credit or debit card to pay the processing fee.

Besides these documents, the applicant must provide information about their itinerary, accommodation, current occupation, and health and security questions, among other details. Applicants are advised to use only valid documents and accurate information.

They should also note that the ETA is linked to their passports, so they must travel to South Korea with the same passports that they use for the ETA application.

How To Apply For South Korea ETA Online?

Applicants can apply for an ETA in 20 minutes or less, as the process is relatively straightforward. The authorization is also granted within 48 hours or less, but only if the documents and information required are provided. Here are the steps to take to apply for a South Korean ETA.

  • Log onto VisaHQ

  • Select South Korea as your travel destination

  • Select The US as your country of citizenship

  • Choose ETA as your choice

  • Fill out the application form

  • Upload the necessary documents

  • Pay the processing fee with a credit or debit card

  • Submit for Approval

The form is in PDF format, so you don’t have to handle it physically. Once you are done filling it out and attaching the supporting documents, submit it and wait for the approval. 

Successful applicants will receive the eta in their email address which they must print out and bring along when travelling to South Korea. At the arrival point at the airport, immigration officers will review the documents and ask some random questions before stamping their passports and letting them through.

South Korea Visa

As for those who wish to spend more than 90 days in South Korea or those coming for work, an ETA is a wrong document to apply for; only a visa will suffice. Visa applicants are advised to visit the South Korean embassy in the US or any of their offices where applications are accepted. They will have to submit valid documents in physical copies as well as a physical application form duly completed and signed by them.

After submitting the application and documents, an interview will be scheduled for them, which they must attend with the original copies of their documents. Visa applications take 15 – 20 working days or longer, depending on the season. During peak seasons when there are thousands of applications, the embassy or consulate may take longer to process your application; that is why it is advisable to submit your application at least a month ahead of time.

So do US citizens need a visa for South Korea? No, they don’t unless they want to spend more than 90 days in the country.

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    This article was published by VisaHQ, a world leader in visa processing. Since 2003, VisaHQ has 20 offices in 6 countries and has helped countless tourist, business travellers, diplomats, workers, and students obtain their visa. With a 4.41 star rating on, VisaHQ is committed to innovation, service, security, and simplicity in the visa application process.