South Korea Travel Advice
Security travel advice for South Korea
How safe is South Korea?
Threat level: Low
COVID-19 Situation in South Korea
Due to the pandemic situation around the world, South Korea has implemented entry rules to avoid contamination from overseas. The country has halted commercial flights from and to the UK until the 1st of April. Travellers entering the country must present a negative PCR test result on arrival, issued within 72 hours of departure. Travellers must also undergo a Covid-19 test upon arrival and quarantine for 14 days. Further to this, the use of face mask is mandatory in public places. If you are in South Korea, maintain social distancing, apply good hygiene practices and avoid public gatherings.
Security in South Korea
The current travel advice for South Korea is to be aware of the relationship with North Korea and how this can change the diplomatic atmosphere of the country. Your stay should be one without issue if normal security precautions are undertaken. Please note that the country holds civil emergency training.
Recent Security Risk Events
Due to the ongoing tensions with North Korea, this risk from this neighbouring country can change without little notice. Please check local and international news reports during your stay.
South Korea hold nationwide civil emergency exercises monthly apart from January, February, July and December. Do not be alarmed but simply follow the instructions to locate to the nearest shelter. This is held on the 15th of each month and participants are asked to take shelter, transport is halted and sirens are sounded. Seoul has specially marked shelters which can be used. It is not mandatory for foreign visitors to take part in the proceedings however it is wise to note what is to be done in such an event.
There is a low threat from domestic terrorism, The over all travel advice for South Korea is to please be mindful that there is a global escalated presence of extremist terrorism especially against western targets.
Crime against visitors is low and tourists are not particularly targeted, South Korea has a more liberal atmosphere compared to North Korea.
If normal security measures are undertaken your stay should be one without incident. Avoid walking alone after dark, be aware of your surroundings and please keep your possessions secure at all times. There have been some reports of sexual assaults, please take precautions especially when socialising in the bars and entertainment districts.
There have been known demonstrations in the country of which do have the potential to turn violent, if you are caught up in such a public gathering please make your way to a safe area.
South Korea's International Relations
South Korea has well-formed international ties, and has been a member of the United Nations since 1991. The South Korean Foreign Minister has good relations with Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, and is a well-known and prominent international figure. South Korea holds many free trade agreements throughout the world and holds strong diplomatic ties with the ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).
There is an on-going dispute with North Korea, but currently there is an active amnesty. Please see our North Korea page for further information and history.
Travelling around South Korea
Heavy penalties can be given to drivers who are deemed at fault when involving motorcycles and pedestrians. An international driving permits can be used to drive in South Korea and you must ensure that you take out comprehensive insurance as the cost of vehicle repair can be huge.
There is an alarmingly high road mortality rate in South Korea and it is advised that if you are operating a vehicle, you are mindful of other road users, adhere to regulations and drive defensively with an awareness of your surroundings, even if other drivers do not.
Only use officially marked taxis, and avoid using taxi services alone at night.
Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters
Please note that there is a typhoon season which operates from June to November, this can incur heavy rains and possible localised flooding. July is the wettest month and severe rainstorms can occur causing landslides.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency Services in South Korea
South Korea Overview
Religion: Buddhism and Christian
Currency: South Korean won
Time now in Seoul:
Consular information for South Korea
U.S. Embassy Seoul
Telephone: +850 2 3817 485
British Embassy Seoul
Sejong-daero 19-gil 24,
Telephone: +82 02 3210 5500
Visa requirements for South Korea
Most foreign nationals will be able to enter South Korea without a visa for up to 90 days but you may be asked to provide evidence of onward travel or a return journey home. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the length of your stay. Further information can be found at the Visa information page
Health Care and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to South Korea are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Tetanus which is usually administered when you are a young baby. You may also want to consider a Hepatitis A vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is present throughout South Korea with the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo being most affected. There is no vaccination against the disease, prevention is through washing your hands, not touching your eyes, mouth and nose, and avoiding contact with people presenting flue-like symptoms such as cough, fever and shortness of breath. People who have a weaker immune system such as the elderly, cancer patients are more at risk.
Hospital facilities in South Korea are well-maintained, however these may be expensive. You should ensure you have adequate funds to pay for treatment as well as comprehensive insurance which should be able to cover the cost of all medical requirements.
There are low numbers of prescribed foreign based medications so you should take sufficient supplies of basic medication. South Korean based products have been found to be out of date and you should avoid taking them at all costs.