Do US citizens need a visa for South Korea

Do US citizens need a visa for South Korea to visit? US citizens do not need visas to visit Asian nations as the United States is on the visa exemption list. However, they must complete an arrival card or get a Korea ETA approved before entering the country. These documents are not visas but identity validation forms. A visitor with a US passport can stay in Korea for up to 90 days each time they visit the country, but if they choose to stay longer, they will need visas.

The South Korea K-ETA

A South Korean ETA is available online for US citizens, so they don’t need to visit the embassy in Washington DC or any of the consulates in other states to get a visa. They can complete the form online if they have a smartphone and strong internet broadband. This document is valid for 90 days and allows the holder to stay in the country for up to three months. The K-ETA is valid for entry for leisure, family and friends visits, or to attend meetings and events in the country.


South Korea K ETA Requirements For US Citizens

To get this document approved, the traveler must meet the visa waiver requirements such as the following

  • US passport with a minimum of 6 months validity

  • Passport photograph on a white background

  • Active email address for correspondence

  • A credit or debit card to pay the application fee

Aside from these documents, the person must provide information about their Itinerary, ticket for the onward trip, proof of accommodation, and answers to security and health-related questions.

The visa waiver is linked to the passport, so travelers are advised to travel with the same US passport they used in applying for the visa and not a different one.

How To Apply For South Korea K ETA?

The process is relatively simple and needs only a few steps, as described below.

  • Log onto VisaHQ 

  • Select South Korea as the destination

  • Select the United States as your citizenship

  • Choose K ETA

  • Fill out the application form

  • Scan and upload the visa waiver documents

  • Pay the fee

  • Submit for approval

The information required includes full name, date of birth, country of citizenship, gender, full name, contact details, travel details, Passport information, and more. This information should be valid and reflect what you have in your passport and other documents, and false information or documentation is grounds for application cancellation.

It is also important to note that the application can’t be completed without paying the visa waiver processing fee with your debit or credit card. Mastercard, Visa cards, and many other bank-issued cards are accepted. Just ensure the card contains sufficient funds to cover the fee and charges.

Processing Time

It doesn’t take long to get your application approved. After submitting the h form, you should expect the K ETA in 48 hours in your email address. For safety reasons, printing out the ETA for safekeeping may also be in your best interest, as you may never know if you’ll need it.


Visa Arrival Card

Another document US citizens may use to enter South Korea is an arrival card. Arrival cards are like visa-on-arrival forms issued to eligible visitors by other countries, but the difference is this one is not a visa but a visa waiver document. Once you land at the airport, the immigration officers will give you the form to fill. You will be asked to submit it along with the other documents you normally use for a K ETA application. After paying the application fee, the arrival card will be issued to you, and your passport will be stamped.

Visiting For More Than 90 Days

If you wish to stay for more than 90 days, entering with an arrival card or a K ETA will be wrong, as both documents are only valid for three months. What you will need is a visa. There are different types of visas offered by the South Korean embassy, and they all have their basic requirements but find below the most common documents for most of them.

Valid passport for 6 months with at least three blank Pages

  • Two passport-sized photos

  • A cover letter

  • Original bank statement for six months

  • Confirmed return flight ticket

  • Proof of accommodation

  • Receipt of visa fee

  • Vaccination for yellow fever, if applicable

  • Letter of invitation if a host invites you

  • Pension statement for retirees

The Korean embassy may ask for any other documents to process your application.

Minimum Financial Requirement For US Citizens?

The embassy will typically recommend that you have a minimum of $1000-$2000 in your bank account, depending on how long you wish to stay in the country. These funds will be used for your travel and living expenses throughout your stay in Korea. The longer you stay, the more money you should have in your account.

Rules and Regulations

A visa cannot be applied for while the US citizen is in the country. Secondly, working in the country with a tourist visa is illegal, and only work visa holders can work there. Lastly, it is Illegal to overstay your visa or K ETA in Korea.

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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.