The South Korean government recently launched a program to require travelers from visa-free countries to obtain Electronic Travel Authorization (a K-ETA) before travel.

Key Points:

  • As of Sept. 1, all travelers from visa-free countries must apply online for a K-ETA at least 24 hours before departure.
  • Approved K-ETA will hold validity for two years from the approval date; approval does not guarantee entry into the country.
  • Visa-free entry to travelers who have obtained a K-ETA is currently available to foreign nationals from 49 countries, including France, Germany, Mexico, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. The list of countries subject to change depending on the COVID-19 situation.
  • More information on K-ETA requirements and details can be found here.

Additional Information: The South Korean government previously implemented a pilot version of the program of the system in April of this year. Short-term employment (C-4) visa holders and individuals on C-3 visas engaging in important business purposes are not eligible to apply for K-ETA at this time.

BAL Analysis: Foreign nationals should apply for K-ETA as early as possible before travel to ensure they receive approval.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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