Travel to South Korea 

Singaporeans have a long-standing love affair with everything South Korea, whether we’re part of the BTS army or can’t get enough of bibimbap and KBBQ. Just take a look at the lines that snake outside the Korean BBQ restaurants that line Tanjong Pagar on a typical weekend.

So here’s some news most of us will rejoice: South Korea is eliminating its pre-departure testing requirements for all travellers from 3rd September 2022. Flying to South Korea will now be a lot easier, so you can live your best main K-drama character life fuss-free. 

No more pre-departure testing

south korea
Everland Theme Park. 

We get it, travelling can be expensive. But now that there’ll be one less PCR test needed for your trip to South Korea, this means you’ll get to save some moolah that you can use for shopping, activities, or KBBQ instead.

Currently, all international arrivals are required to present a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test before boarding their flight – whether it’s a PCR test taken within 2 days of departure or a professionally-administered ART taken within 1 day prior to departure. The only exceptions are for children aged 5 and below. 

How we’re feeling about no pre-departure testing. 

From 3rd September, there’ll be one less thing to do on your pre-travel checklist. If you do exhibit symptoms, be sure to do the responsible thing and do an ART test before getting on your flight. 

On-arrival PCR tests

However, there is a caveat; on-arrival PCR tests will still be compulsory. Regardless of the length of your holiday in South Korea, all travellers will be required to undergo PCR testing at the arrival airport: whether it’s Incheon Airport, Gimhae Airport, or Jeju Airport. 

south korea
Incheon Airport’s Covid testing centre.
Image credit: @jamesspark404

Results must be registered on the Q-code website, and you’re recommended to remain in your hotel or accommodation until you receive a negative result. But hey, order in a few bags of Haitai Calbee Honey Butter Chips and other quintessentially Korean snacks to accompany you as you binge-watch episodes of Extraordinary Attorney Woo or Korean variety shows while waiting.

Image credit: Josiah Neo

Once your PCR test comes in negative, you’re free to explore. If you test positive, though,  you’ll need to undergo a 7-day stay in a designated isolation facility.  

South Korea travel requirements from 3rd September 

It may all be a lil hazy still, and we’re sure you don’t want to miss a single thing before embarking on your trip to South Korea.

Here are the compulsory steps to take note of: 

  1. Singaporeans and other eligible countries will have to apply for K-ETA – APEC cardholders are exempt. 
  2. Register for Q-Code – you’ll need it to upload your PCR results. 
  3. On-arrival PCR test at the airport – Korean nationals or travellers who hold a valid ARC can go to a public health centre instead. 
  4. Upload your PCR results on Q-Code. 

Now that you’ve got everything sorted, it’s time to pack your bags and head on to your favourite South Korean destination – we’re thinking Incheon, Busan, or Seoul. And while you’re in South Korea, check out:

Cover image adapted from: @jamesspark404.

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