Tourist Visa In Korea

Tourist Visa In Korea: A Simple Guide

Picture this: vibrant Seoul nights, tranquil temple visits, and spicy kimchi feasts.

Ready to pack your bags for an unforgettable Korean escapade?

Before you board, let’s unravel the tapestry of securing a tourist visa for Korea.

How Is Tourism Impacting The Korean Economy?

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Sights and attractions in Korea collectively are the reason why over 17.5 million visitors arrived in South Korea in 2019. This figure is 14% higher compared to the previous year’s number, making it one of the top visited countries in Asia. 

Travel and Tourism added significantly to the country’s economy, contributing 4.16% to the overall GDP of the country in 2019. 

However, most international travelers embarking on their Korean adventures will have to obtain a tourist visa

In this extensive guide, we will walk you through the intricate details of securing a tourist visa for South Korea. From the eligibility criteria to the visa application process, while also providing you with valuable tips to ensure a successful application. 

While we are on the topic, it is important to mention that it is easier for citizens of the developed nations to obtain a hassle-free visa, which is mostly on arrival.

Nations like the EU Member States, Australia, New Zealand, The United Kingdom have a visa waiver agreement with the Republic of Korea.

Other nations which do not have a visa waiver agreement with Korea include countries like The United Arab Emirates, Canada, Russia, Bahrain and others.

However, this in no way implies that it is difficult for the citizens of these countries or other countries to obtain a Korean visa. 

One thing to be noted here is that the famous Schengen visa is not required to enter Korea. The visa required to set foot in Korea is issued and processed by the Government of Korea. Schengen is only required to enter most of the European states. 

What Is the Korean Tourist Visa?

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Like any country that offers different types of visas for different people, depending on their purpose of visit, Korea also follows the same route.

Visas granted for educational purposes have different requirements, terms and conditions comparatively to a businessman heading to Korea for trade and investment.

Similarly, a visa granted for the purpose of sightseeing is different. A Korean tourist visa, often referred to as a C-3 visa, is the key that unlocks the doors to South Korea for travelers from around the world. 

This visa allows its holder to explore the breathtaking landscapes, vibrant city life, rich cultural heritage, yummy street food, access to the world’s best skincare that South Korea offers, for a specified duration, usually up to 90 days.

Whether your purpose is sightseeing, visiting your friends or family, or experiencing the diverse culture that Korea offers, a tourist visa is your magic wand to a memorable journey through this captivating country. 

What Is The Eligibility Criteria For Korean Tourist Visa?

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Before embarking on the visa application journey, it is vital to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria for a Korean tourist visa. 

Requirements are set by the Korean Government and individuals going ahead with the process should be aware of the fact that the rules and conditions are the same for all. 

Being fair and unbiased to every nationality is the primary goal of the Korean Government.  

The criteria typically includes:

Valid Passport

Your passport should have the validity of at least six months beyond your intended departure date from South Korea. 

Passport should not expire and should be renewed by the relevant authorities prior to applying for the visa.

Financial Capability

You must demonstrate the financial means to cover your stay in South Korea.

This involves providing your recent bank statements, financial sponsorship letters, or other evidence of sufficient funds.

Intention To Return

You will need to convince the visa granting authority and establish your intention to return to your home country or residence after your visit ends. 

This can be exhibited through ties to your family, employment proof, property ownership, or educational commitments.

Clean Criminal Record

For visiting any country in the world, no matter developed or developing, even the ones plagued with crimes, one must submit proof of the fact that they are civilized, law abiding citizens of their own countries. 

Furthermore, having a clean criminal record is necessary and relevant. Any history of serious criminal offenses may impact the visa application and will most probably result in the visa denial.

Flight Itinerary And Accommodation

Present a confirmed flight itinerary to and from South Korea, as well as all the relevant details of your accommodation for the duration of your stay.

Purpose Of Visit

State clearly the purpose of your visit as tourism. Whether you plan to explore historic sites, indulge in cultural experiences, great food or visit friends and family, your intent should align with tourism.

What Are The Types Of Korean Tourist Visa?

Korean tourist visas are broadly divided into two types:

The C-3 Visa 

This is a short-term tourist visa. It’s the most common type of tourist visa and is suitable for travelers planning to stay in South Korea for a short period of time, typically up to 90 days. 

It is ideal for tourists, those visiting friends or family, or individuals seeking to explore the country’s vibrant culture.

C-4 Visa 

This is the group tourist visa. The C-4 visa is designed for group tourists who are part of an officially recognized tour group.

If you plan to explore South Korea as part of an organized tour, this visa is the one to pursue.

What Is The Korean Tourist Visa Application Process?

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Obtaining a Korean tourist visa involves a structured application process, which can be outlined as follows:

Download And Complete The Application Form

Access the visa application form from the official website of the Korean embassy or consulate in your home country. 

It is important to fill out the form accurately, ensuring there are no errors, and no relevant information is missed out.

Gather Required Documents

Collect the necessary supporting documents, including your passport, passport-sized photos, proof of financial capability, flight itinerary, accommodation details, and any additional documents specified by the embassy or consulate.

Schedule An Appointment

Some Korean embassies or consulates may require applicants to book an appointment for visa submission. It is crucial to check the specific requirements of the embassy or consulate in your area and follow their procedures.

Submit Your Application

Attend the appointment (if required) or visit the embassy or consulate during their designated working hours to submit your application. Ensure that all documents are neatly organized and presented according to their guidelines.

Pay The Visa Fee

Pay the visa application fee, which varies depending on your nationality and the type of visa you are applying for. Keep the receipt as proof of payment.

Visa Interview (If Required)

In some cases, applicants may be called for a visa interview. During the interview, be prepared to answer questions about your travel plans, intentions, and other relevant details.

Wait For Processing

The processing time for a Korean tourist visa can vary, ranging from a few days to several weeks. Patience is essential during this period.

Collect Your Visa

Once your visa application is approved, collect your visa from the embassy or consulate. Before leaving, double-check all visa details for accuracy.

How Long Can You Stay In Korea For With A Tourist Visa? 

With a Korean tourist visa, you can typically stay in South Korea for a period of up to 90 days (about 3 months). 

This 90-day period is often referred to as the “duration of stay.” It begins from the date of your entry into South Korea and is indicated on your visa sticker.

It is important to abide by the allowed duration of stay specified on your visa. Overstaying your visa can result in legal consequences, including fines, deportation, and potential difficulties obtaining future visas. 

If you plan to stay in South Korea for longer than 90 days or for purposes other than tourism, you will need to explore other visa options, such as a work visa, student visa, or long-term residency visa, depending on your specific circumstances and intentions for staying in the country. 

However, the requirements and documents needed for those visas would differ from that of a tourist visa. 

What Is The Visa Fees For A Tourist/Visitor Visa?

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The visa fee for a Korean tourist visa can vary depending on the nationality of an individual and the type of visa they are applying for. 

As of September 2021, the standard visa fee for most nationalities was around 60,000 Korean Won (KRW). However, this fees is tentative and can change from time to time. 

There may be variations based on your nationality, visa category, and the specific embassy or consulate where you apply.

To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on visa fees for your specific situation, visiting the official website of the Korean embassy or the consulate in your home country is recommended. 

They typically provide detailed information on visa requirements and fees for applicants from different countries. Additionally, you can contact the embassy or consulate directly for clarification on the current visa fees and payment methods.

How Long Does It Take To Process A Korean Short Stay Visa For Tourism?

The processing time for the C-3 tourist visa can vary depending on several factors, including your nationality, the specific embassy or consulate where you apply, and the time of year.

However, here are some general guidelines:

Normal Processing Time

In many cases, the normal processing time for a Korean tourist visa is approximately 5 to 10 business days.

This means that if you submit a complete and accurate visa application, you can expect to receive a decision within the time frame mentioned above.

Peak Seasons

During peak travel seasons, such as the summer months and major holidays like Christmas, Easter and others, visa processing times may be slightly longer due to a higher influx of applications. 

It is advisable to apply in advance during these periods to ensure that your visa is processed in time for your intended travel dates.

Visa Interview

If the embassy or consulate requires a visa interview as part of the application process, this may add extra time to the processing. 

Visa interviews are typically scheduled in advance and can take place before a decision is made.

Complex Cases

If your visa application is considered more complex due to specific circumstances or additional document requirements, it may take longer to process.

For example, if you have a history of visa denials or if you’re applying for a long-term visa, it may require additional attention and thought and will take more time.

What Are The Tips For A Successful Korean Tourist Visa Application? 

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Securing a Korean tourist visa can be a straightforward process if you follow these essential tips:

Apply In Advance

Commence the visa application process well in advance of your planned travel dates to account for processing time and potential delays.

Provide Accurate Information

Ensure that all information provided on your application form aligns with the supporting documents and is entirely accurate

Financial Documentation

Submit clear and comprehensive financial documents to demonstrate your ability to support yourself during your stay in South Korea. 

Travel Itinerary

Craft a well-structured travel plan that outlines your plans and intended destinations within South Korea according to your interests and wants. 

Avoid Overstaying

Respect the validity period of your visa and adhere to the allowed duration of stay. Overstaying can result in legal consequences and future visa denials.

Visa Exemptions

Investigate whether your country is eligible for a visa exemption or visa waiver program, as these options can simplify your travel plans.

Consult The Embassy/Consulate

If you have any doubts or questions about the application process, do not hesitate to reach out to the Korean embassy or consulate for guidance and clarification since they would have all the adequate information and the ability to answer any question that you might have in a detailed manner. 


You’re now equipped to embark on your Korean journey with the right visa in hand. From palace tours to K-pop concerts, a realm of experiences awaits. Your Korean odyssey begins now!

Journey Jumpstart!

But wait! There’s lot more that you might be interested in following:

  • Types Of Visas In Korea
  • Tax Refund In Korea
  • Temporary Residence In Korea

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