Step-by-Step Guide to the Korean Visa Application: K-ETA Explained

Navigating South Korea's K-ETA system is crucial for travelers in 2023. Uncover the essentials of this mandatory travel authorization in our comprehensive guide

Exploring South Korea can be a dream come true for many travelers. But before you pack your bags, there's an essential requirement to address: the K-ETA. With South Korea's tourism booming in 2023, understanding the South Korea travel requirements is crucial.

What is K-ETA?

The Korea Electronic Travel Authorization, or K-ETA, is a mandatory digital authorization for tourists hailing from visa-free countries. To put it into perspective, it applies to a whopping 112 countries, out of which 66 enjoy visa-free status and 46 have a visa-waiver agreement with Korea.

Why is it Important?

Before boarding a plane or ship bound for Korea, having a K-ETA is non-negotiable. If you belong to the above-mentioned countries, you must apply for K-ETA via the official website or its dedicated mobile application.

The Menace of Scam Sites

Given the rising popularity of South Korean destinations, scam websites mimicking the official K-ETA site have emerged. They prey on unsuspecting travelers by charging exorbitant application fees. The genuine K-ETA fee? A reasonable 10,000 won (roughly USD 9).

Getting Your K-ETA: A Simple Guide

  1. Keep a valid passport and an active e-mail address handy.
  2. A portrait photo is a must. For PC applications, upload the photo; for mobile applications, a quick snap with your smartphone will do.
  3. A nominal fee of 10,000 won (around USD 9-10) is all it takes. You can clear this via a credit or debit card.

K-ETA Application Process at a Glance

  1. Start early! Submit your K-ETA application at least 72 hours before your departure.
  2. Patience is key. The processing time can stretch to around 72 hours. To avoid any travel hiccups, ensure you apply in advance.
  3. Traveling in a group? Group applications are accepted, with one person able to apply for up to 30 members.
  4. In-transit passengers, rejoice! You don't need a K-ETA if you're only stopping over and not entering Korea.

Temporary Exemption of K-ETA for 22 countries

In honor of the "Visit Korea Year 2023-2024" initiative, there will be a temporary waiver of the K-ETA (Korean Electronic Travel Authorization) for residents of 22 countries and regions. This exemption is effective from April 1, 2023, until December 31, 2024 (KST).

Please be aware that citizens from these 22 countries and regions are still eligible to apply for a K-ETA, for which the application fee is 10,000 KRW per individual (approximately 9-10 USD; extra charges may apply). Travelers with a K-ETA will not need to fill out an arrival card upon landing in Korea.

The 22 countries and regions that qualify for this temporary K-ETA exemption

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Macao, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States (including Guam).

Link to official K-ETA site:

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