What you should know before travelling to South Korea from Australia during COVID-19

While closed to most Australians, these are the latest requirements around quarantine, COVID-19 vaccines, testing and local restrictions for travelling to South Korea.

What you need know before you go See entry requirements
Getting there and around South Korea See how to get there and what you can do

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South Korea is not just about its vibrant cities. Nestled between 3 seas, the country also boasts lush green landscapes, intricately designed temples and festivals galore.

While most tourist attractions and non-essential businesses are open to the public, South Korea is only allowing in a limited selection of travellers including Korean nationals.

In this guide, you'll find travel exceptions for Australians headed to South Korea, current COVID-19 stats as well as permit, testing and quarantine requirements.

TL;DR: Entry requirements for South Korea

  • Visa (if not a resident or holder of an ABTC/APEC Card)
  • A negative PCR test result within 72 hours of arrival

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What are the entry requirements for South Korea coming from Australia?

Do I need a permit or visa to enter South Korea?

Yes. The visa on arrival program has been temporarily suspended for Australians, which means you will need to apply for a visa before you leave. At this stage, South Korea is mostly denying visas for non-essential travel.

However, you will not need a visa if you fall into one of the below categories:

  • Korean national
  • ABTC/APEC CARD
  • Holder of residence card or overseas Korean resident card

Do I need proof I'm vaccinated to travel?

No, you don’t need proof of vaccination to enter South Korea.

Do I need proof I've had a negative test when travelling to South Korea?

Yes. All travellers aged 6 years and over will need to provide a negative PCR test result issued 72 hours before departure. This should be in paper form and will not be accepted electronically (e.g. on mobile).

Do I need to quarantine when I arrive in South Korea?

If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you’ll need to quarantine for 10 days. This can be in your or your family’s residence or a government-run facility at your own expense.

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Getting to South Korea and travelling around once there

Which entry points in South Korea are open to travellers from Australia?

All borders have reopened in South Korea for approved travellers.

Are flights between Australia and South Korea available?

Yes, you can currently find flights to South Korea from airlines such as ANA, Korean Air and Singapore Airlines.

Your trip may include a stopover or two so make sure to check the transit requirements for each destination.

As a traveller from Australia, can I travel anywhere once I'm in South Korea?

Yes, once you’ve met all of South Korea’s entry requirements, you can travel freely around the country. You should stay tuned to local media for updates on social distancing rules.

Are hotels, hostels and resorts all open to tourists?

Yes, domestic travel around South Korea is allowed including hotels, hostels and resorts.

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Can I cruise to or around South Korea?

Not quite yet. While sea borders are technically open in South Korea, the earliest scheduled cruises with major lines don’t set sail until March 2022. The cruise itineraries we found available are with Norwegian, Oceania and Silversea.

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What's open in South Korea?

South Korea is mostly back to business as usual with a few new protocols in place. Museums, tourist attractions and shopping centres are all open to tourists.

You'll need to wear a mask in indoor public places and on public transport. You're also required to wear one in any outdoor areas where you're unable to maintain a 2-metre distance from others.

Some facilities may require proof of vaccination to enter.

Some of South Korea's open attractions and sites that we've got on our list include

Walking trails, parks and beaches: All national parks, trails and beaches are allowed to reopen.

Shopping centres and stores: All non-essential businesses are allowed to re-open under social distancing regulations.

Restaurants, cafes and bars: Dining establishments are allowed to reopen with social distancing requirements in place. Nightclubs are still closed.

Returning to Australia from South Korea

Do I have to quarantine when I return to Australia?

Each state has different quarantine requirements for travellers arriving in Australia.

If you’re returning to the ACT, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania or Western Australia, hotel quarantine is mandatory.

If you are returning to New South Wales or Victoria, the following applies:

  • If you’ve travelled through a country of concern within 14 days of arrival in Australia, you’ll need to undergo hotel quarantine for 14 days. This is regardless of your vaccinated status.
  • If you are fully vaccinated but have not travelled through a country of concern, you’ll need to self-quarantine at home or in private accommodation for 3 days upon arrival.
  • If you aren't fully vaccinated and haven't travelled through a country of concern, you’ll need to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine.

Do I need proof of a negative test before arrival in Australia?

Yes. A negative COVID-19 PCR test result is required and should be taken no more than 3 days prior to your flight’s scheduled departure. This is regardless of if you’re vaccinated or not.

If you’re not required to undergo hotel quarantine there are additional test requirements once you arrive in Australia. Check the current rules for the state or territory you arrive in for details.

Current travel deals to South Korea

South Korea might not be quite ready to accept visitors but that doesn’t mean you can’t start to plan your next trip. With flexible travel arrangements on offer and deals calling your name, we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to bag a bargain.

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COVID-19 statistics for Australia vs Korea

Note: No data was available on days where the charts may read 0% for vaccination rates.

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