In response to rising cases of the BA.5 omicron variant of COVID-19, South Korea has announced that they have reintroduced what is essentially on-arrival COVID-19 testing. Currently, all travelers entering South Korea, regardless of their departure country, must undergo a COVID-19 RT-PCR test within 24 hours of entering the country, and stay in quarantine until a negative test result is issued.
This is a marked change from the previous requirement, which allowed new arrivals a full three days to get tested. For all intents and purposes, the new requirement signals the return of on-arrival testing, as visitors have just one day to get tested upon entering South Korea.
What Are the Current South Korea Entry Requirements?
As of the beginning of August, 2022, all travelers to South Korea must do the following:
- Provide a negative COVID RT-PCR test taken no more than two days prior to arrival OR a rapid antigen test taken not more than one day before arrival, regardless of vaccination status.
- Upload their personal information and health history using South Korea’s Q-Code app prior to boarding their flight to South Korea.
- Submit a second COVID-19 RT-PCR test no more than 24 hours after landing in South Korea.
- Remain isolated at their hotel or other accommodation until the second negative test result is verified by South Korean authorities.
It should be noted that the cost of both the pre-departure and post-arrival COVID tests will be the responsibility of the traveler. However, if you hold a long-term South Korean visa, you can request a free RT-PCR test at a public health center.
It should also be noted that the Q-Code app mentioned previously is essential to download. This app will provide you with a notification about your post-arrival test result, and inform you when you can end isolation.
What Happens if I Test Positive for COVID-19 in South Korea?
If your post-arrival test comes back positive, you will be required to enter into a mandatory seven-day quarantine at a government-approved quarantine facility, or at your own home if you are a permanent resident. As with the testing costs, the cost of the quarantine period may have to be borne by the traveler.
The Right Insurance for Your South Korea Trip
Though we all hope to test negative for COVID-19 and have no issues during a trip abroad, the current situation in South Korea is a good reminder of the importance of COVID-19 Travel Insurance with Quarantine Coverage.
An unexpected positive test and mandatory quarantine will undoubtedly result in a trip delay, and extra unexpected expenses. To avoid blowing your travel budget on an unplanned quarantine delay, make sure you have insurance coverage that can provide coverage for COVID-19, trip delays, and quarantine costs before you travel to South Korea.