en Korea Travel

Do You Need An ETA to Travel To South Korea?

If like me you have cut back on travelling over the past couple of years, you’ll probably find yourself trying to get back up to speed on travel regulations as you prepare your first post covid trip. That is exactly what happened to me. Right now I’m in the middle of preparing for a trip to South Korea. To my surprise I accidentally found out that entry requirements have changed even for citizens of countries that didn’t and don’t need a visa. Specifically you will now need an ETA.

In this post:


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Temporary Suspension For 2024

K-ETA has been suspended for all of 2024 for travellers holding passports of a 22 country shortlist. There is however an advantage in still applying for the travel authorisation, even if exempt. That is you won’t have to manually fill in a landing card upon arrival in South Korea. I personally hate filling this in while on the plane. I will be applying for K-ETA even though I don’t necessarily need to for my trip later this year.

Here’s though the list of countries that at the moment do not require to apply for K-ETA:

AustraliaFinlandJapanPolandUK
AustriaFranceMacaoSingaporeUS
BelgiumGermanyNetherlandsSpain
CanadaHong KongNew ZealandSweden
DenmarkItalyNorwayTaiwan

What Has Changed With K-ETA?

Up until may last year if you were entering South Korea on a passport for which you did not need a visa all you would do was fill in a landing card and make your way to immigration at the arrival airport.

Now, nationals of all countries that don’t need a visa, will need to submit and have approved an ETA. The Korean version’s name is K-ETA. You will now no longer be allowed to board an aircraft without an approved ETA.

Departure Gates at Seoul Incheon International Airport. In order to access the country you will need to submit a K-ETA travel authorisation.

What is an ETA

ETA stands for Electronic Travel Authorisation. In of itself it is not a visa, however it is a pre departure screening which will help reduce inadmissible passengers boarding a plane to Korea only to be then sent back.

Also the introduction of the K-ETA will help reduce queues at Korean airports. All the entry information is available electronically and no longer has to be punched in manually. This will save a huge amount of time for every visa on arrival passenger.

Korea is not unique in using this system. As a matter of fact you might have come across it when travelling to the US, Canada or Australia.

Although it is a very easy and straight forward process, don’t leave it down to the last minute. Getting the ETA approved can take up to 72 hours and as mentioned before, you cannot board the plane without it.

Where to Apply for the K-ETA?

The South Korean government has set up an official website where you can apply for your K-ETA. You can access the site following this link www.k-eta.go.kr.

The cost of the K-ETA application is around 9USD and to get your application rolling you’ll need:

  • A Valid Passport
  • Credit card to pay for the application fee
  • Email Address
  • A portrait photo to attach to the K-ETA application.

About the author

Alex Achille

Ex Cabin Crew with Emirates, I've always loved travelling and other cultures. In this website I'll be sharing my experiences along with my reviews of the latest Korean Dramas and TV Series I've watched.

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