Foreigner's Guide to the Quarantine Process when Traveling to Korea with Wonderful
Updated: 3 days ago
[Update as of August 2] We are facing a turning point with regards to the quarantine requirements for those traveling to South Korea. The mandatory quarantine for travelers entering Korea has been lifted as of March 21. If you are fully vaccinated in South Korea or elsewhere, you are eligible for quarantine exemption, except for those from Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Myanmar. From April 1, only these 3 countries, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Ukraine would still need to be quarantined regardless of their vaccination status according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters.
Based on recent requests and from our research, Wonderful has collected as much helpful information for anyone traveling to Korea, to make the process easier to understand and to provide solutions for people in quarantine.
**Am I Eligible For Quarantine Exemption?**
From Apr 1, 2022, anyone who has completed Covid vaccination overseas that has been authorized by WHO and registered their vaccination history through the Q-Code system before traveling to Korea will be eligible for quarantine exemption.
If you have been vaccinated in South Korea, your information is automatically saved in the COOV system, so you don’t need to go through the process.
“Completed vaccination” means 14 days after the 2nd shot for a two-dose vaccine (valid up to 180 days) or with a booster shot.
Please be mindful that this rule only applies to those who have completed their vaccination, and if you haven’t, you are still required to be quarantined upon your arrival.
Stage 1: Before traveling to Korea!
All travelers entering Korea are required to submit pre-departure negative COVID-19 PCR test(or a supervised Rapid Antigen Test) results upon arrival. If you don't have a valid test result, you will be prohibited from boarding the flight. The test must be performed and the PCR negative certificate must be issued within 48 hours before the departure date. The negative certificate has to include your name that appears on your passport, date of birth, test method, test date, test result, date of issuance, and name of the testing center. The test method must be written in Korean or English.
Travelers who could previously travel to Korea under a visa-free entry agreement are now required to apply for K-ETA approval before traveling to Korea. The K-ETA is valid for multiple trips over a period of 2 years and the application fee is 10,000 KRW per person. Please check this website for further details on how to apply. As of Apr 1, 2022, they expanded the number of the countries from 50 to 96.
If you are planning on staying for over 90 days, you are typically required to submit a Covid-19 test or health condition report form. This could vary depending on the Korean consulate in the country where you are traveling from, so make sure to check with them to prepare documents accordingly.
You should also have a local point of contact that can answer the phone during your immigration procedures on arrival to South Korea. According to the current regulations, Wonderful is able to assist with this, though you would have to give us some information for us to prepare in advance of your arrival.
- Accommodation If you are eligible for quarantine exemption, you can stay at any place in Korea. If you have to quarantine, you would have to find a place that allows for you to quarantine. According to KCDC, the government quarantine facilities are still open for those on short term visas and are not vaccinated. [Edited on 2nd June 22]
Some guesthouses and accommodations listed on sites like airbnb.com, agoda.com, or booking.com indicate that they can be used for self-quarantine. There is no official list of such places, so it might always be good to double-check with the accommodation staff regarding this. Wonderful is able to assist with calling the nearest health center to double-check if the accommodation can be used for self-quarantine.
Another question we often get asked is if one is able to quarantine with a partner or a friend. Like most other government policies regarding quarantine, there are no clear or set guidelines on this. It seems that a lot would depend on the quarantine facilitator or the Covid-19 team at the airport. However, we do know that, if you are a married couple with a marriage certificate, you should be able to quarantine together. However, this would also depend on whether the accommodation that you are going to stay in is conducive to allowing for 2 people to be quarantined, and whether you arrive in Korea at the same time if any of you are showing symptoms. Even if you are not married, there is still a possibility that you can be quarantined together if your place of quarantine is large enough, but you need to ask the quarantine facilitator at the airport.
For people traveling with pets, you might also be interested in knowing whether you can be quarantined with your pet. This is possible as long as your accommodation allows for quarantine with pets.
As of Apr 1, 2022, anybody can use regular public transportation whether or not you need to quarantine or not.
Stage 2: Arrival in South Korea
If you are exempted from quarantine and have no symptoms at the moment when you arrive in Korea, you are basically free! You can go directly to your accommodation. All you need to do is to take a PCR test at a local public health center on the same or the next day and do another second test on your 6th or 7th day from your arrival. For the second test, you can do your own antigen test.
- For those who are in need of quarantine
If you are not eligible for quarantine exemption, you should go under quarantine. You would also need to declare if you have symptoms or not. If you do have symptoms, the officers will assist with getting a PCR test, and you would be placed at a hospital if you turn out to be positive and have severe symptoms. If you just have mild symptoms, you can go to your accommodation and be quarantined.
If you are not vaccinated and have non-symptoms, you can go directly to your accommodation and go under quarantine.
As we mentioned above, even in such a case, you can still use regular public transportation when traveling.
You can plan ahead for your food/groceries. This is especially important if you have a particular diet or just want to eat something other than ramyeon for 7 days. :)
Based on our years of experience helping foreigners with grocery/food orders in Korea, Wonderful has written a great article giving tips on how to shop for groceries in Korea. A foreigner's Guide to Online Grocery Shopping with Homeplus/Emart/Market Kurly etc For food orders, you might want to check this article summarizing some food delivery options.
Foreigner's Guide to Food Delivery in Korea
Many foreigners might find it difficult to make payments on the apps and give instructions for contactless food orders. Wonderful's assistants are able to make payments on your behalf and give instructions so that the food courier can just leave the food at your door and send a message notification.
- Wi-Fi/Sim card
You might also find that your current Wi-Fi connection at the hotel is spotty and unreliable, or that you might need a sim card to connect with your loved ones back home. Wonderful can help purchase a mobile Wi-Fi router with a temporary data plan to give you the freedom you need. We have included a suggestion for a reliable Wi-Fi router service below. Travel sim card vendors are also able to ship sim cards to locations in Korea as well, so you have options in terms of connectivity.
Useful Links: - Wifi Dosirak
- Online Shopping
While most can wait out the 7 day quarantine period, some of you might need some items asap, for example, if you need a charger for your mac book, or if your phone stops working and you need a replacement phone delivered asap, Wonderful can get this done. We can look for items with the fastest shipping times, and we can even arrange for a courier to pick up items and deliver them to your accommodation on the same day. We would make the purchases on your behalf so you do not need to meet or directly interact with the couriers or delivery people. You can check this link for some popular Korean shopping sites:
Stage 3: Getting out (If you go under quarantine)
Even before leaving your accommodation, it is always a good idea to prepare in advance so that you can get back to work/ or at least hit the ground running. Of course, planning your transportation to your next accommodation might be necessary, especially if you are a family and need large transportation options, or if you plan on leaving your quarantine location really early and cannot get a taxi. Some popular apps like Kakao taxi or T Map Taxi can be great if you know some Korean. If you need help, Wonderful can always schedule a transport van in advance to help you on your way. If you are new to South Korea, you might also need help with getting cleaners for your new place, purchasing furniture, setting up your internet, and settling in. Wonderful has years of experience helping expats get this done all over Korea, not just in Seoul. You can make your request a few days before your move and our assistants would check for the best-priced options that can work for you. For online orders or furniture orders, if you are unable to navigate Korean payment systems, you can just send us a list of the items you need, and our assistants would confirm the total price and make the purchase on your behalf. We would also coordinate the delivery when possible to reduce any issues caused by miscommunication.
Whatever request you may have, our assistants would be happy to review and see how best to assist.
Useful Links: Ikea Korea Furniture
We tried to give the most useful tips on what to expect when quarantining in Korea and how to make the quarantine process smooth and seamless. But we also recognize that we might have missed out on some things. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment and we would be happy to improve. We hope you have a safe journey to South Korea!
Regarding our pricing, we charge for the time taken working on your request at 800 KRW/min (There is a 15% discount for first-time users), and you can request a refund on the remaining time within 3 months. There are NO processing fees when you pay us via bank wire transfer. (You will pay only the cost of the item(s)). When we charge your bank card, there is an 8.5% processing fee that goes to the payment processor for their services. We do NOT benefit from this fee. For more information regarding our pricing, please follow this link.
You might also find these links useful: - Top 10 Useful Things to Know Before Traveling to or Moving to Korea by Wonderful