Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) Program Explained

Overview

The newly implemented online South Korea visa application program, named K-ETA, is an electronic travel authorization for inbound travelers. It permits eligible citizens to visit South Korea for short stays for tourism, visiting family and friends, and business activities such as attending meetings and seminars.

The K-ETA is a multiple entry online visa waiver valid for 2 years from approval. It allows the holder a stay of between 30–180 days per entry, depending on their nationality.

The government is introducing the K-ETA for South Korea in order to expedite entry to the country at border checkpoints. It also allows the South Korean government to pre-screen visa-exempt travelers for any infectious diseases such as COVID-19, before arrival.

The K-ETA will first be only available to selected passport holders during the test phase, which starts May 2021. It will then become mandatory after the testing phase, which ends on September 1st, for all foreign nationals on the K-ETA list.

Applicants can complete the K-ETA application form in just a few minutes by filling out basic personal information, passport, and travel information. It is also necessary to provide a current email address to which a copy of the approved South Korean travel visa will be sent.

Process

Visa-exempt citizens are able to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization through the government K-ETA online portal. https://www.k-eta.go.kr/ The government has also announced its intention to launch a South Korea K-ETA mobile application in the coming months.

To fill in an electronic form, it is necessary to supply basic personal, passport, and health information, including:

  1. First Name
  2. Last Name
  3. Date of Birth
  4. Nationality
  5. Current Email Address
  6. Passport Number
  7. Passport Expiry Date
  8. Criminal History
  9. Details of any infectious disease contracted

After supplying the necessary information, applicants are advised to ensure that all the data provided is correct before they submit the form. This is because even small errors in the details provided could result in unnecessary processing delays or the denial of the K-ETA.

Once processed, a copy of the approved K-ETA will be sent to your email inbox. You will then be able to print a copy to present to South Korean border officers upon arrival alongside the same passport you used to apply online.

In most cases, K-ETA applications will be approved almost immediately after it has been submitted. However, South Korean authorities advise travelers to apply for the electronic authorization at least 24 hours before departure to allow for sufficient processing time during busy periods.

Check the official South Korean government website about the launch of the K-ETA for further information about this new electronic travel authorization.

Required Documents

  1. A valid passport from an eVisa-eligible country
  2. A valid debit or credit card to pay the Korea ETA fee
  3. A current email address at which to receive a copy of the approved ETA for South Korea
  4. A passport-size photo in color

Countries Eligible for Travel to South Korea

You can also check the KETA eligibility guide for up-to-date information on each country allowed: https://www.k-eta.go.kr/portal/guide/viewetaalification.do

As of April 1st 2022, South Korea has opened use of the K-ETA system to most countries with “visa free” waver agreements.

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