Flying into South Korea soon? Download the WAUG app here to browse restaurants, gyms, and attractions that you can visit after serving your quarantine!
- Undergoing quarantine in Korea is currently mandatory for all inbound travelers, including Korean nationals.
- Foreigners on a short-term visit will have to serve their quarantine in a government-designated facility, while those who live in South Korea may isolate in their residence.
- Want to immerse in the Korean culture after your quarantine? Use WAUG to visit the best restaurants and attractions in the country. Get the app here and sign up to get a ₩3,000 or $3 discount coupon!
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Moving to Korea soon or just settled in? Check out this gym in Seoul, Busan, or Gyeonggi that’s offering their 12-month membership for as low as ₩264,000 or $233!
Arrival Process & Quarantine in Korea
If you’re set to travel to Korea in the very near future, you may be feeling mixed emotions right now. On the one hand, you could be looking forward to experiencing the culture, lifestyle, and food, but on the other hand, you may also be worried about the new arrival procedure and mandatory quarantine. To help you ease your anxiety, I put together a list of some of the things that are MOST LIKELY to occur on your arrival. I got all the information from the YouTube videos of Daum Kim, Sueann Kim, and Jelly!, as well as this Reddit thread by koreaquarantine — the four most helpful resources available right now.
1. Undergo temperature check before the flight
Before boarding the aircraft that will take you directly to South Korea, you will have to undergo a temperature check. If you’re good to go, they will put a sticker on your passport to indicate that you’re cleared to travel.
They will also make you sign a Quarantine Agreement, which means that you are aware of and consent to the mandatory isolation.
2. Fill out travel declaration and health forms
While this is quite standard, you may have to do more paperwork to show your travel history and indicate any symptoms, if any. Fill out these documents before landing.
3. Have another body temperature check after landing
Like #2, the body temperature or heat check is pretty standard in airports. You will just have to go through this as normal. (At this point, you will be required to wear a mask at all times. I suggest buying one or two in your home country before taking your flight.)
4. Submit paperwork and download the COVID-19 health monitoring app
You will then have to present your paperwork. You will also be asked to download the self-diagnosis app to help the Korean government monitor your health during your isolation period.
5. Have your declared address or place of quarantine verified, if applicable
If you are a Korean national or a foreigner who resides in South Korea, you will be allowed to quarantine in your residence provided that the staff at the airport finds your residence suitable. They will give your contact person a call and ask about the location. (Reddit user koreaquarantine said that having a contact person who lives in Korea and who’s reachable via phone is required.)
6. Get clearance from Immigration
After doing 3, 4, and 5 (which may take a couple of hours, by the way), you can then proceed to Immigration. Once cleared, you’ll be able to collect your bags.
7A. If you show symptons, get tested immediately and stay in a temporary facility
If you show symptoms, you will be asked to take the COVID-19 test right away. The result may take up to 24 hours to be released, so you need to come to a temporary living facility. If your test comes back negative, you can then proceed to your quarantine area the next day. Otherwise, you will be taken to the hospital for COVID-19 treatment.
7B. Not showing symptoms? You will still be tested for COVID-19
All incoming travelers to Korea will be tested for COVID-19 regardless of symptoms. It may not happen on the same day of your arrival, but you will have to go through it within a couple of days.
If you’ll enter Korea via Incheon International Airport and your flight arrives between 9am and 7pm, you will have to take the test at the walk-through testing booth. If your flight arrives in Incheon airport anytime between 7pm-9am (next day), you will have your test in the temporary living facility.
7C: For foreigners on a long-term visit: Get tested or proceed to self-isolation in your home
If you are a returning Korean or a long-term foreign visitor (student, employee, spouse of Korean, etc.) with no symptoms upon arrival, you will be allowed leave the airport and proceed to your home for quarantine. However, you must visit your local community screening center for COVID-19 testing within the next 3 days.
8. Proceed to the place of quarantine
If you will enter a government-designated facility, you will be provided transportation. If you’ll isolate at home, you must use a personal vehicle or a designated mode of transit.
9. Pay the cost of your quarantine in Korea
Travelers who are required to stay in a government-designated facility will have to pay the total cost of ₩2,100,000 or around $1,750 upfront. (It used to be ₩1,400,000 only.) This will cover the expense of your entire isolation period. The fee is non-refundable, and the only time you will be allowed to leave your room is when your isolation period is up.
Moreover, you won’t be able to choose the facility, but you can expect to stay in a pleasant 3-star hotel room or a converted corporate facility.
10. Receive your supplies and give regular health updates via the app
Once you’re in quarantine, you’ll get food, water, and health supplies from the government. (Daum Kim, who quarantined at home, showed in her video that she also received a DIY chocolate kit!)
Remember that you will have to provide updates via the Self-Diagnosis App. From time to time, you may also get a call from the government to see how you’re doing. Always be ready to answer.
Last, and most important, know that the government of Korea has a zero-tolerance stance for quarantine violators. Criminal charges and/or penalties, including deportation, may be incurred.
Post-Quarantine in Korea: Welcome to the Outside World!
If it’s your first time in Korea as a long-term visitor, check out these activities and products to help you get settled in:
- Gym Membership for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months (Seoul, Busan, & Gyeonggi-do)
- Incheon Airport Private Pick-Up Service
- Hongdae Luggage Storage Service
- SAFEX Luggage Delivery
- Spa Hyurijae Massage
Some recommended restaurants to try:
- The Dam Restaurant in Hongdae
- WAUG Exclusive: N Seoul Tower Hancook Restaurant
- 63 Building Buffet Pavilion
- Chavit Cuisine Buffet by the Han River
- WAUG Exclusive: Hongdae 943 King’s Cross Cafe
NOTE: The photos used in this article are for illustration purposes only and do not reflect current conditions in the airport or the quarantine facility.