Tourist Exemptions and the C-3 Travel Visa in Korea

Category : Travel/Events / Visa/Legal Issues/Tax
Nov 28, 2014

Korea is an amazing country to travel in, but sadly it’s not high on people’s ‘must see’ lists. Seoul in itself can easily fill up a week’s worth of time. On the one hand, it is a picture of modernity, a city forward-moving in all respects: home to huge companies (LG, Samsung, Hyundai), busy shopping districts, arguably the most efficient public transportation network in the world and thousands of coffee shops (thanks to ‘Gangnam style’). On the other hand, Seoul captures the essence of years gone past. Visitors can walk through ancient palace gates, visit museums housing artifacts from the Three Kingdoms era beginning back in 57 AD, and taste test scrumptious dishes that have stood the test of time.

 

The rest of the country isn’t much different, although you won’t find the crowds and high-rise buildings of Seoul. You will find mountains great for hiking and beautiful coastal vistas especially on the South and East coasts. Korean culture is somewhat isolated from other cultures, but people are welcoming and friendly. They are curious to learn about you and help you learn about them. Although Korea may seem difficult to navigate because of language and cultural differences, once you bust out your hand gestures and a smile you will have an unforgettable journey.

 

The Korean government encourages tourism. There are measures in place to help visitors in Korea, namely the Korea Tourism Organization- a branch of the government- which operates a tourist help line (1330), tourist information booths in popular neighborhoods and cities around Korea, workshops and guided tours. See the articles on Tourist Resources for Traveling in Korea and Korea’s Tourist Hotlines.

 

Tourist Visa Exemptions

In addition to plenty of resources for tourists, Korean immigration has made flexible tourist visa agreements with many countries. The chart below details which countries have travel visa exemptions. That means citizens from those countries may come to Korea for a designated period without applying for a tourist visa from home. The first two columns in the chart pertain to countries which have visa exemptions for diplomats and/or government officials only. If you’re a regular tourist, you’ll have to apply before you leave for a proper tourist visa (a B-2 visa for Chinese citizens or C-3 visa for others). The last two columns list countries which have visa exemptions for ordinary people as well as officials—or those citizens you can simply arrive in Korea, get your passport stamped and be on your way. You are free to explore until the date written in your passport. The lengths of Korean tourist stays are either 30, 60, 90 or 180 days.

 

Countries with a Visa Exemption Agreement for  Diplomatic Passport Holders only

Travel Period

Countries with a Visa Exemption Agreement for Diplomatic/ Government Official Passport Holders only

Travel Period

Countries with Visa Exemption Agreement for Diplomatic Officials, Government Officials and Ordinary Passport Holders

Travel Period

Countries with Visa-Free Entry under the Principles of Reciprocity and National Interest

 

Travel Period

Turkmenistan

30 days

Algeria

90 days

Israel

90 days

Bahrain

30 days

Uzbekistan

60 days

Benin

90 days

Lesotho

60 days

Egypt

30 days

Ukraine

90 days

Egypt

90 days

Liberia

90 days

Kuwait

30 days

 

 

Iran

90 days

Morocco

90 days

Mauritius

30 days

 

 

Argentina

90 days

Tunisia

30 days

Oman

30 days

 

 

Belize

90 days

Antigua and Barbuda

90 days

Qatar

30 days

 

 

Bolivia

90 days

Bahamas

90 days

Republic of South Africa

30 days

 

 

Ecuador

Diplomatic: Unlimited, Official: 90 days

Barbados

90 days

Saudi Arabia

30 days

 

 

Paraguay

90 days

Brazil

90 days

Seychelles

30 days

 

 

Uruguay

90 days

Chile

90 days

Swaziland

30 days

 

 

Azerbaijan

30 days

Colombia

90 days

United Arab Emirates

30 days

 

 

Bangladesh

90 days

Commonwealth of Dominica

90 days

Yemen

30 days

 

 

Cambodia

60 days

Costa Rica

90 days

Argentina

30 days

 

 

India

90 days

Dominican Republic

90 days

Canada

180 days

 

 

Japan

90 days

El Salvador

90 days

Ecuador

30 days

 

 

Kazakhstan

90 days

Grenada

90 days

Guyana

30 days

 

 

Kyrgyzstan

30 days

Haiti

90 days

Honduras

30 days

 

 

Mongolia

30 days

Guatemala

90 days

Paraguay

30 days

 

 

Laos

90 days

Jamaica

90 days

United States

90 days

 

 

Myanmar

90 days

Mexico

90 days

Uruguay

30 days

 

 

Pakistan

90 days

Nicaragua

90 days

Australia

90 days

 

 

Philippines

unlimited

Panama

90 days

Brunei

30 days

 

 

Vietnam

90 days

Peru

90 days

Fiji

30 days

 

 

Belarus

90 days

Saint Kitts and Nevis

90 days

Guam

30 days

 

 

Croatia

30 days

Saint Lucia

90 days

Hong Kong

90 days

 

 

Cyprus

90 days

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

90 days

Japan

90 days

 

 

Russia

90 days

Suriname

90 days

Kiribati

30 days

 

 

Lebanon

30 days

Trinidad and Tobago

90 days

Macao

90 days

 

 

Indonesia

14 days

Venezuela

Diplomatic/Official: 30 days, Ordinary: 90 days

Marshall Islands

30 days

 

 

 

 

Malaysia

90 days

Micronesia

30 days

 

 

 

 

New Zealand

90 days

Nauru

30 days

 

 

 

 

Singapore

90 days

New Caledonia

30 days

 

 

 

 

Thailand

90 days

Palau

30 days

 

 

 

 

Austria

Diplomatic/Official: 180 days, Ordinary: 90 days

Samoa

30 days

 

 

 

 

Belgium

90 days

Solomon Islands

30 days

 

 

 

 

Bulgaria

90 days

Taiwan

30 days

 

 

 

 

Czech Republic

90 days

Tonga

30 days

 

 

 

 

Denmark

90 days

Tuvalu

30 days

 

 

 

 

Estonia

90 days

Albania

30 days

 

 

 

 

France

90 days

Andorra

30 days

 

 

 

 

Finland

90 days

Bosnia-Herzegovina

30 days

 

 

 

 

Germany

90 days

Croatia

30 days

 

 

 

 

Greece

90 days

Cyprus

30 days

 

 

 

 

Hungary

90 days

Monaco

30 days

 

 

 

 

Iceland

90 days

Montenegro

30 days

 

 

 

 

Ireland

90 days

San Marino

30 days

 

 

 

 

Italy

Visa Exemption Agreement: 60 days, Reciprocity Principles: 90 days

Serbia

30 days

 

 

 

 

Latvia

90 days

Slovenia

90 days

 

 

 

 

Liechtenstein

90 days

Vatican

30 days

 

 

 

 

Lithuania

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxembourg

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malta

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Netherlands

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norway

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poland

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portugal

60 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romania

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slovakia

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweden

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Switzerland

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey

90 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

90 days

 

 

 

  • Note: Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of arrival in Korea.

 

Extending Your Stay

You’re loving Korea and after three months you feel like you just haven’t quite seen enough. You’ve got two options.

  1. . You can leave the country and come back again. When you arrive back in the country you will be given another 30, 60, 90 or 180 days depending on where you are from. In theory you can do this for years at a time. As long as you leave the country before the allotted period has expired you will be allowed re-entry.
  2. . The other option is that you can try to find a job, get work sponsorship and switch to a working visa. See the article on Employment Visas (E-Series) in Korea. If you choose the second option, you won’t be a tourist anymore. You can’t just roam around the country as you please. Work will be calling!

 

The C-3 Visa

This visa is designed for short-term stays in Korea of up to three months. It must be applied for outside of Korea at the Korean consulate or embassy in your home country. You will need this visa when you arrive in Korea.

1. It’s for citizens of countries that do not have tourist visa exemptions. If your country isn’t on the list above (in the last 2 columns) and you’re not an official visitor (all four columns), you’ll need to get a C-3 visa to come to Korea.

2. It’s also given to those who aren’t exactly tourists but aren’t employed either. You could be here for activities related to visiting relatives, attending conferences, culture and art, general training, or religious ceremonies. For example, if you’re coming to Korea for medical tourism or to do a special volunteer program or workshop, you’ll receive this visa when you apply from home.

 

Documents Required

  • A passport valid for at least 6 months
  • The completed application form
  • 1 recent passport color photo (3cmx4cm)
  • Official flight itinerary (Tip: don’t pay for your trip until your visa has been approved!)
  • Processing fee: 30,000KRW (or the equivalent in your home currency)
  • Documents which prove the reason for your visit. The application form requires a detailed plan for the visit, and the application date.
  • An invitation letter or letter of personal reference for reasons other than travel (if applicable).
  • Financial records proving you have enough money for your stay (i.e. a bank statement).
  • Letter confirming employment or school enrolment, so immigration knows you won’t be seeking illegal employment.

 

Process

  1. Send or take all the documents to the Korean consulate or embassy in your home country.
  2. The visa takes about 5 to 10 days to process. There is no express service for C-3 visas, so give yourself time.
  3. You must be in your country of citizenship to apply for this visa. Third-country issuance is not accepted.
  4. You can download the visa application form from the Korean Embassy/consulate website of your home country.

 

Visiting Immigration

If you need visa information while in Korea, check these websites, or call or visit an immigration office.

Immigration Homepage

HiKorea Homepage

Phone: 1345, press 3 for English

Tags : Travel. Visa

Lindsey lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea for over 5 years. While there, she dabbled in different areas of work and explored the culture. She spent time teaching elementary students, business English to adults and high school students about college preparation. She also studied Korean, wrote blogs and tasted as many foods as she possibly could including fermented skate fish. Over the years, Lindsey developed a love for Korea and the culture. She is keen to share her knowledge of Korea with others and she will always consider Korea a second home.

Related articles

Your first-hand experiences really help

The overall rating of this trip

Title
Your review

Sharing with friends

I certify that this review is based on my own experience and is my genuine opinion of this hotel, and that I have no personal or business relationship with this establishment, and have not been offered any incentive or payment originating from the establishment to write this review. I understand that TripAdvisor has a zero-tolerance policy on fake reviews.

0 reviews from our community Write a Review

theworknplay

COPYRIGHT 2003-2015 WorknPlay Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED