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South Korea Tourist Visa: Requirements and Application Process

Published: March 27, 2024

A South Korea tourist visa is required for all nationalities that are not visa-exempt. The official code for the ordinary tourist visa is C-3-9. You can start the visa application online but you must visit a South Korean embassy in person to submit the documents.

Quick summary:

  • Who requires it: All nationalities that are not visa-exempt (or not eligible for K-ETA)
  • Validity: 3 months for single-entry; 6 months for double-entry
  • Allowed stay: up to 90 days for single-entry; up to 30 days for double-entry
  • Processing time: 4 to 14 days
  • Fee: 40 USD for single-entry; 70 USD for double-entry

Applications are reviewed by the specific embassy, hence the requirements, costs, and processing time differ significantly between countries.

Read the South Korea Visa Guide for general information on various visa options for tourists, requirements, eligibility and application process.

Table of Contents

Understanding south korea tourist visa.

South Korea Visa Sample

Tourist visa validity

The single-entry tourist visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.

The double-entry tourist visa is valid for 6 months.

The multiple-entry tourist visa can be valid for up to 5 years but has additional requirements including prior travel history to South Korea and as such isn’t an option for first-time travelers.

Duration of stay

Single-entry visas allow up to 90 days but double-entry visas only up to 30 days at a time.

Allowed number of entries

There are three types of South Korean tourist visas – single-entry, double-entry and multiple-entry.

Allowed ports of entry

You can enter South Korea from any international airport or seaport with a tourist visa.

When to apply

The processing time varies greatly between South Korean embassies. In general, allow at least a few weeks for the issuance of a tourist visa after your first visit to the embassy. 

  • Earliest: 3 months before traveling
  • Latest: 3 weeks before traveling

Tourist visa extension

Extensions to the tourist visa are possible but not easily granted. You must apply in person at the Seoul Immigration office. Extensions are approved only on a case-by-case basis.

Tourist visa benefits

South Korean tourist visa also offers VISA-FREE travel to 7 other countries. Read the  VISA-FREE countries for South Korea visa  for more details.

South Korea Tourist Visa Requirements

South Korea Visa Required Countries

Who requires a tourist visa

All non-visa-exempt nationalities require a tourist visa for South Korea.

If you are visa-exempt, you do not require a tourist visa instead you require a K-ETA to travel to South Korea.

Documents required

The following documents are required for the tourist visa.

  • Passport valid for more than 6 months
  • Completed Visa Application Form (Form #17)
  • Two passport-size photos (1 digital photo for online form)
  • Bank statement for the last 3-6 months

Depending on the nationality and the embassy where you apply, you may be required to submit additional documents such as the below.

  • Proof of employment (employment letter, salary slips, etc.)
  • Income tax returns (1-3 year ITR depending on whether employed or self-employed)
  • Proof of long-term residence (if applying from a country other than the country of citizenship)
  • Proof of property ownership
  • Family book or marriage certificate

Photo requirements

The photo for the tourist visa must meet the following requirements. 

  • Must be of size 35×45 mm, with the face taking 25×35 mm
  • Must be against a plain, evenly lit and light background, without any marks or creases
  • Must have taken within the last 6 months
  • Mist be looking directly at the camera
  • No sunglasses or hats, except for medical/disability reasons
  • Facial features are not covered from the bottom of chin to the top of forehead
  • Full face is visible without any shadows
  • Full face, eyebrows, eyes, nose, or mouth must not be covered, but covered ears are permitted.

The visa fee varies significantly depending on the type of visa, the location where you apply and your nationality.

In most general cases, the single-entry visa fee is 40 USD, double-entry is 70 USD and multiple-entry is 90 USD. The fee is payable in local currency in cash.

In some countries, South Korea has outsourced visa processing to Visa Application Centers such as VFS Global. Visa Application Centers charge their own service fee for handling the visa applications.

The fee is higher, lower, or exempted for certain nationalities. You can find the complete list on the Korea Visa Portal . 

Processing time

Applications are reviewed by a particular embassy so processing time is not universal. Some embassies process tourist visas in 4 days, others in 7 days, some in 14 days or more.

The official guidance is to apply at least 3 weeks in advance of traveling to allow sufficient time for the issuance of your tourist visa.

In countries where the application process is outsourced to Visa Application Centers, express processing is available for an additional fee.

Tourist Visa Application Process

South Korea Tourist Visa Application Portal

How to apply for South Korea tourist visa

South Korea’s tourist visa application process is partially online. You will have to fill out an online form but you will have to visit the embassy in person after to submit your documents. 

Below is the general process of applying for a South Korean tourist visa at the embassy. 

  • Step 1: Complete the e-form online

Step 2: Visit the diplomatic office

Step 3: wait for visa processing, step 4: receive visa issuance email/collect passport, step 1: complete the e-form online.

Follow the below steps to fill out the e-form online.

  • Go to the Korea Visa Navigator page and select your country. Pick “Short Term visit” and “90 days or less”.
  • Scroll to the bottom and select “Ordinary Tourist C-3-9”.
  • You will see multiple streams. The first stream on the list is for travelers visiting South Korea for tourism. Click on “e-Form (Visa Application)”.
  • Read through the procedure guidance page and click “Fill out the e-Form”.
  • Select the South Korean diplomatic office that you intend to visit, upload a face photo and complete the form.

After you complete the form, print the file with the barcode on it. You will receive an email with your application number. If you displace the barcode file, you can find it by entering your details on the Check Application Status page .

Prepare the printed visa application form (the one with the barcode) and attach copies of the other required documents. 

Visit the South Korean embassy or consulate that you picked during the application.

Formally submit your application in person at the embassy. Pay the visa fee in cash.

Check your email regularly in case the embassy requests additional documents. The visa process can take anywhere from 4 to 14 working days depending on the embassy. 

Receive Confirmation of Visa Issuance or Visa Grant Notice. Retrieve it online and print it before traveling to South Korea. 

If the embassy or consulate of South Korea still issues visa stickers in your country, you will have to collect your passport or request to mail it to you.

NOTE South Korean embassies no longer issue visa stickers inside passports. Stickers are still being issued in countries where visa application centers handle the process but this is going to be phased out soon.

Entry Procedure at the Border

Before going to the immigration counters, make sure to complete the paper Arrival Card. The airline staff will give you one onboard or you can grab one from the immigration. 

Present your passport along with the Visa Grant Notice and the Arrival Card to the immigration officer. Get stamped in and enter South Korea.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the minimum bank balance required for south korea visa.

There is no official statement regarding the minimum bank balance by South Korean immigration. It will depend on your circumstances and nationality.

That being said, anything less than 2,500 USD may be considered too low to sustain a trip to South Korea. 

Can I apply for South Korea tourist visa online?

You can begin the application process online by filling out the application form (form #17). However, the next steps require you to visit a South Korean embassy in person. Applications completely online are not possible.

Is a cover letter required for South Korea tourist visa?

A cover letter is not required for the South Korea tourist visa. But you can still submit one if you need to explain your circumstances in detail.

WRITTEN BY THIRUMAL MOTATI

Thirumal Motati

Thirumal Motati is an expert in tourist visa matters. He has been traveling the world on tourist visas for more than a decade. With his expertise, he has obtained several tourist visas, including the most strenuous ones such as the US, UK, Canada, and Schengen, some of which were granted multiple times. He has also set foot inside US consulates on numerous occasions. Mr. Motati has uncovered the secrets to successful visa applications. His guidance has enabled countless individuals to obtain their visas and fulfill their travel dreams. His statements have been mentioned in publications like Yahoo, BBC, The Hindu, and Travel Zoo.

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Need more? Check out my travel resources page  for the best websites to plan your trip.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER We are not affiliated with immigration, embassies or governments of any country. The content in this article is for educational and general informational purposes only, and shall not be understood or construed as, visa, immigration or legal advice. Your use of information provided in this article is solely at your own risk and you expressly agree not to rely upon any information contained in this article as a substitute for professional visa or immigration advice. Under no circumstance shall be held liable or responsible for any errors or omissions in this article or for any damage you may suffer in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the information in this article. Please refer to our full disclaimer for further information.

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please refer to our full disclosure for further information.

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COMMENTS

  1. Korean Visa Cover Letter

    The Honorable Consul Embassy of the Republic of Korea. McKinley Town Center, 122 Upper McKinley Rd, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila. Dear Sir/Madam: Good day! I would like to apply for a Korean Tourist Visa for myself, IVY AGUAS, and for my niece, LILY. CRUZ, to cover our intention to travel to your state from April 1 to 6, 2020.

  2. South Korea Tourist Visa: Requirements and Application

    South Korea’s tourist visa application process is partially online. You will have to fill out an online form but you will have to visit the embassy in person after to submit your documents. Below is the general process of applying for a South Korean tourist visa at the embassy. Step 1: Complete the e-form online.