Your guide to COVID-19 in Korea: A Must Read!

Updated on Aug 29, 2023 · By Tom

Quarantine Update

Quarantine is No Longer Required

Effective June 8, 2022 all travelers are exempt from quarantine regardless of their vaccination status. However, to make entry into the Republic of Korea smoother you will need to register your vaccine and COVID test results through the Quarantine COVID19 Defense System (Q-Code). The Q-Code is not mandatory to enter South Korea but a negative COVID test is required to enter the country. If you do not present a negative COVID test to your airline you will not be able to board the aircraft. Passengers who are not fully vaccinated and do not have a Q-Code must quarantine for 7 days. Visit here for more details. 

What is the Q-Code?

The Q-Code is the latest immigration policy put in place by the Korean government that shows your COVID and vaccine status before entering the Republic of Korea.     

You are not required to have a Q-Code to enter Korea but you may be subject to quarantine if you have not registered for a Q-Code. The Q-Code is fairly easy to register for, you will need to visit the Q-Code website and provide your passport data, vaccine record, entry date, along with the address of where you will be staying. You won't be able to complete the Q-Code registration until you have your negative COVID test for your flight into Korea. Once you have your QR code make sure to have multiple printed copies and the digital copy to bring to the airport with you. Make sure to also print multiple copies of your negative COVID results as well. Entrants who did not register their Q-Code may be subject to a quarantine time that is dependent on the decision of the country. 

When registering for the Q-Code make sure to choose the English option at the top right of the webpage so that your webpage will be correctly translated. If you're like me, your computer will automatically translate the page to English for you, but if you do not specifically switch it to the English page, than you won't be able to correctly put in your address in English. 

Screenshot 2022-06-15 175016.jpg# Entry COVID Test Requirements


Upon arrival to the Republic of Korea you will be required to show a negative COVID test taken prior to your departure and will then be required to take an additional COVID test once you arrive. 

COVID Test Options Before Departure

1.) A supervised Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) taken at a clinic or hospital within 24 hours of your departer.

2.) A PCR Test taken within 48 hours of your departure  *e.g. If you are leaving at 10:00 on May 22, 2022 only a testing which was performed after 0:00 on May 20, 2022 with a negative result is accepted. *

Make sure to print multiple copies of your negative test as you will be asked to show it at the airport pre-departure and once your arrive. 

Your test must be translated into English or Korean. When I first came from France the whole document was translated except for the result “NEGATIF” (fr) instead of “NEGATIVE”(en). That was really stress inducing as it had to be double checked at all immigration stages, a picky agent could have very well refused to acknowledge the validity of the test. So do make sure that all the information is duly translated.

For more information visit

COVID Testing Upon Arrival

You are required to have a negative COVID test after arriving in Korea within 3-days. Generally this can easily be done at the airport. You can either make a reservation (see directions below) or they have walk-in appointments as well. 

For long term stays(>3months) -register on COVID-19 Information Management System (you will need a phone number to receive the results, ask a friend for help or get your very own USIM card) and go to a public health center near your accommodation, the result will be issued within one day after the test. This service is free of charge.

For short term stays(<3months) - register online at Safe2GoPassto reserve a PCR test slot in one of the 3 testing centers in Incheon Airport(ICN) right after your arrival in Korea for 80,000 KRW (around 64 USD).

You can find the Public COVID19 Screening Clinics here

You will get your results back the same day, once they are negative you are free to Enjoy Korea. 

What if I Test Positive?

If you test positive upon arrival into Korea or during your duration in Korea you will need to quarantine for 7 days. Day 1 begins with the testing day for the positive test, not the day you receive your results, the government also recommends monitoring your health for an additional 3 days after the 7 days and always wearing a K-94 or higher mask.

If you are attending a university there may be different requirements based upon the university. Here is what George Mason Korea has in place for their students. 

Additional Information

Mask Mandate

As of May 2, 2022 people in South Korea will no longer be required to wear face masks outdoors, but will still be required to wear them at gatherings over 50 people such as sporting events, outdoor gatherings, concerts, etc. 

Face masks are still required in public places and indoors that covers both your nose and mouth. Failure to wear a mask or inappropriate use could lead to a fine of up to 100,000 won (approximately $100). For more information visit.

Source: CNBC

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