As of April 1, 2022, fully vaccinated travelers entering South Korea through designated airports, including Incheon Airport, will be exempt from the government’s seven-day quarantine requirement. To be eligible for the exemption, travelers must upload proof of their vaccination status and negative COVID-19 test results and obtain a “Q-code” through an online application before entry. Travelers are advised to carry a print-out of the Q-code at the time of entry.
Fully Vaccinated Travelers and Qualifying Vaccines
Under the new guidelines, travelers will be considered fully vaccinated if they meet the following requirements, regardless of whether they were vaccinated in our outside South Korea:
- At least 14 days have passed since the second shot (or first short for Johnson & Johnson/Janssen), and the second shot was administered within 180 days of the entry date to South Korea; or
- The traveler has received a third (booster) shot.
Travelers who do not meet the above requirements will not be issued a Q-code, and will not be eligible for the quarantine exemption.
Qualifying vaccinations include those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), Novavax, Covovax, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Covaxin, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.
Pre-Arrival Testing Requirements
Regardless of vaccination status, foreign nationals traveling to South Korea are required to complete PCR testing for COVID-19 (based on the NAATS testing method) no earlier than 48 hours before the date of departure. Airlines may impose stricter time requirements. Travelers must present the negative PCR test result to the airline before boarding. Results from at-home tests will not be accepted.
The test result should be displayed in the original and in English. It should include the traveler’s name (as it appears on their passport), date of birth or passport number, method of testing, test date, test result, test result issue date, and the name of the testing agency. Travelers should print the test result and carry it with them during departure and entry.
Travelers who do not present a negative PCR test taken within the past 48 hours will be prohibited from boarding. The negative PCR test should also be presented to quarantine authorities upon arrival in South Korea. Travelers should also note that the negative PCR test result will also be required in order to obtain the Q-code for quarantine exemption before departure.
Pre- and Post-Arrival Screening
During departure, all travelers will be subject to temperature screening. Travelers whose body temperature is above 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit) may be prohibited from boarding. Travelers from certain countries, such as India, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, may be prohibited from boarding if their temperature exceeds 37.3 degrees Celsius (99.14 degrees Fahrenheit).
All travelers will also be subject to health screening upon arrival at the airport in South Korea. This includes a fever detection test, submission of health declaration and travel declaration forms, verification of the traveler’s local address and contact information in South Korea.
Travelers who have obtained a Q-code quarantine exemption will be required to undergo additional testing upon arrival. For example, travelers will be required to complete a PCR test on the first day of arrival at a local public health center, and will be required to remain at their private residence or public lodging until a negative test result is released (usually within 24 hours). Travelers should be prepared to provide a Korean cell phone number for themselves, a family member, or a colleague, to which the test results will be released as a text.
Quarantine-exempt travelers will also be required to complete a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) on the sixth or seventh day after arrival. Tests taken through at-home kits, medical facilities, or screening clinics are acceptable. Individuals who test positive through either the PCR test or the RAT test will be required to undergo the seven-day quarantine period.
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