U.S. Citizen Services
Visas for Americans to Korea
American Citizens with valid U.S. passports may enter Korea for a period of 90 days without a visa (arrival day counts as day number one). All foreigners who stay in Korea more than 90 days must obtain residence certificates. Fingerprints are generally required of all foreigners over age 20 who will be here for at least one year.
Americans must keep their visa status current with Korean Immigration. Violators of immigration and entry/exit regulations are subject to fines; i.e., if foreigners overstay their visas they must pay substantial fines. The lowest fine is usually about 100,000 won for an overstay of 90 days or less.
To determine if your non-U.S. citizen family members need a visa to enter Korea for a short-term stay, please see the Korean Immigration Service website. For more information about Korean visa and entry requirements, please see the Korean Ministry of Justice's website.
Children born in Korea need to obtain visas and other pertinent documentation, and be reported to Korean Immigration, within 30 days of birth.
(American Citizens should also report the birth of a child to the Embassy to secure your child's first passport and report of birth).
Permission is required to engage in any activity (e.g., part-time work) not covered by the original visa or status of entry. Work visas are not granted in Korea; this type of visa must be obtained before entry.
You must obtain extensions of stay before the expiration of the allowed period.
There is an airport tax for all people departing Korea. There are no special exit procedures for tourists who depart the country before the expiration of the initial period of allowed stay. However, reentry permits, residence certificates and other documentation may be required of foreign residents who wish to return here. Complete information on these procedures may be obtained from any Immigration Office of the Korean Ministry of Justice.
In Korea, the Immigration Bureau of the ROK Justice Ministry should be contacted for information regarding other types of visas and/or adjustment of visa status. You can learn more from the Immigration Bureau on-line. Their main Seoul office is located at #319-2, Shinjeong 6-dong, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul, telephone 02-2650-6225. For visas you need to call 02-2650-6233 or 02-2650-6234. Take Line 5 of the subway to Omokyo Station, Exit No. 7. The Bureau is about a 10 minute walk once you exit the subway system.
You will find their pamphlet, "The Korean Immigration Service" (their number 11-1270000-000279-1) a useful English-language reference for visa questions. The Embassy does not stock copies of the pamphlet; please contact the Immigration Bureau directly.
Concerns and complaints should be made to Korean Immigration's "Foreigner's Advice Office", telephone number 02-2650-6341, or to the "Control Office" at 02-2650-6212.
Persons outside of Korea should contact the Korean Embassy or Consulate nearest them.
The Embassy has no authority to intervene in any ROK immigration decision.
Criminal Record Checks For U.S. Citizens
U.S. citizens may be asked to present a "certificate of good conduct" or "lack of a criminal record" for a variety of reasons for use abroad including adoption, school attendance, employment, etc. The State Department has a web page with complete detail concerning criminal record checks.