South Korea Visa for Indians

South Korea Visa for Indians

Indian passport holders ordinarily need a visa to visit South Korea (except Jeju island). You can apply for a visa at the nearest South Korean consulate and receive a 90 day visa fairly quickly. Most nationalities, even those that need a visa to visit South Korea, do not need one if they visit only Jeju island.


… there’s also a little known way of visiting the rest of South Korea without a visa for up to 30 days! This doesn’t just apply to Indians but most nationalities that require a visa to visit South Korea.

The only nationalities that this does not apply to are: Macedonia, Cuba, Syria, Sudan and Iran.


The rule is like this:

  • If you are transiting South Korea on your way to Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, then you can spend up to 30 days “in transit” without requiring a South Korean visa.
  • You must have confirmed onward tickets within 30 days. The flights do not need to be direct and do not need to be on the same airline. However, you should get to your final destination within 3 days of eventually leaving South Korea. So a flight like India->South Korea->Doha->Madrid is fine. As long as you reach Madrid within 72 hours of leaving South Korea.
  • You must ALSO have a valid entry visa for your final destination. So a US, Canadian, Australian, Kiwi, or European visa should be in your passport. Alternately, if you have a residence permit for one of the above territories, that should also work.
  • You can also transit South Korea for up to 30 days on the way back from any of the above territories, however an additional constraint in this situation is that you must have a direct flight to South Korea from one of the above territories. So if you are flying USA->Japan->South Korea->India – that’s not alright. You need to fly USA->South Korea->Anywhere.


For the above purposes, Europe is defined as the following countries: Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Romania, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Malta, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Iceland, Ireland, Estonia, United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Portugal, Poland, France, Finland, Hungary


How do I know this works? I just used the exemption to visit South Korea!

My experience when I arrived in South Korea was great, but if you’re visiting from India, be prepared to answer lots of questions before you get to leave India.

The skyline of Seoul by the Han River

The skyline of Seoul by the Han River


So to recap, as per the law all you need are:

  • A VALID visa to your final destination (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Europe)
  • Confirmed tickets onward from South Korea to your final destination within 30 days
  • A passport that is valid for at least the next 6 months


However, depending on where you are departing from, you may have to answer some questions for the airline check-in staff and immigration. As this is a little known feature of South Korean immigration law most airline check in agents and immigration officers at your departure airport will not know about it. Of course, in India, airline check-in agents are typically much more stubborn and so are immigration officers. The good news is that the airline information systems (TIMATIC) that carry visa and travel info do have information about this Korean law. So if you meet a stubborn check in agent (I did) all you need to insist on is that they check their airline information system.


At New Delhi Airport

When I got to the airport in New Delhi, I already knew that nobody in India would know about this rule. I also fully expected that they will stop me and ask me one thousand questions about this. My expectations were met, and exceeded.

Flying to Seoul without a visa, with Asiana Airlines

Flying to Seoul without a visa, with Asiana Airlines


At check in, the Asiana agent was absolutely firm that I needed a visa. I had printed out a copy of Asiana’s OWN information system saying that I could travel (you can see this in the picture below). I showed him my onward flights and my Schengen visa. Yet, he kept insisting “It says here you need a visa”. So I showed him the printout. Inspite of putting this in front of his face, he insisted “It says here you need a visa”. I replied, “Have you looked at the paper I’m showing you?”. “But it says you need a visa”. So I repeated as calmly as possible again “Can you please check further? Click on the thing that says more information”. At this point, he realised that I knew what I was talking about so he went and called his supervisor. The supervisor was a really nice guy. I explained the situation to him, said that this is a little known feature of the immigration rules but the airline information system reflects it and the supervisor said “Please check them in”.

Airline rules for Korea visa exemption

Airline rules for Korea visa exemption


Then we went off towards immigration. After a short wait one of the immigration officers called us over. This guy didn’t even know how to work the computer in front of him. He asked me about the Korean visa, I explained the whole thing to him again. He entered my passport info wrong in the computer, scanned Zara’s boarding pass with my passport and then when I asked him about that he said “Oh, it’s fine, you guys are traveling together”. To which, the guy next to him said “No, you need to reset it and scan it again”. He looked back at his system “Oh.. how do I redo this?”. “Press Control R”. “Oh … ok”. Then he asked me about my surname and asked me if I was from Bengal. I told him no, I’m from Assam. He kept insisting that my surname was from Bengal. After that, he refused to believe my Schengen visa was real and put it into the UV scanner. Ten minutes went by and he was still struggling with his system. Finally he gave up and told me to go over to the other immigration guy sitting next to him.

The next guy asks me again about the Korean visa. I tell him the whole story once more. He then asks me “Do you have any letter or something?” Now, I knew that this might come up so I came prepared. I had the printout from the airline information system. In addition to this, I had also printed out the web pages from the Korean immigration service regarding the rules. I had also taken a printout in Korean just in case the immigration officer in Seoul didn’t know about these rules (they did know). I showed them to this guy.

He spent about 5 minutes reading them really carefully. Then he says “Okay, I’m letting you go but if you face any problems it’s all on you. We’ve never heard anything about this type of rule”. So I said “That’s fine”. He stamped me out, and we were finally on our way!

After this, we were lucky to have a super empty flight. Just 90 people in an A330-300 aircraft. Wonderfully comfortable and we soon arrived in Korea.


At Seoul Incheon Airport

Korean immigration was a breeze. I walked up to the officer, said Hello and explained that I am transiting through Korea for 12 days on my way to Europe and showed her the printouts of my confirmed tickets onwards. I also showed her my Schengen visa. She asked me “Your final destination is Portugal?” and I said “Yes”.

That was it, she stamped me in for 30 days and wrote under the stamp (in Korean): India-Korea-Portugal.

South Korea visa exemption stamp on my Indian passport

South Korea visa exemption stamp on my Indian passport


The Korean Embassy in India

The Korean embassy in India told me that I would need a visa if my final destination was Europe. This transit visa exemption has existed for a long time for travellers going to the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The Korean embassy in New Delhi knows about this and will confirm that you can visit Korea without a visa for up to 30 days if you’re going onwards to these 4 countries. However, the Europe rule has only been added recently (March 2017). So, the Korean embassy in New Delhi told me I needed a visa to come to South Korea if I was flying onwards to Europe.

Unfortunately, there’s sometimes a lack of communication between various agencies. I knew the rules that Korean immigration had directly put up. I also knew that the airline information systems reflected the rules from Korean immigration. Unfortunately, the Korean embassy in New Delhi hasn’t updated themselves. Also, the Korean embassy in Australia has published the updated rules on their website (click on the notice that’s titled: Transit tourists bound for another country). I still wasn’t convinced, especially after I had received a negative response from the Korean embassy in New Delhi. My experience had taught me though that consulates can often give out wrong info since government agencies don’t always work in sync with each other.

So I decided to email the Korean consulate in Australia. They sent me the direct number of the Korean immigration service and asked me to double check with them. I called the Korean immigration service over the phone and they confirmed that this type of transit visa exemption does indeed exist for Europe bound passengers of most nationalities. That was enough for me.

Korea Immigration Service Telephone

Korea Immigration Service Telephone


We packed our bags and finally arrived in South Korea! Overall, it was worth it since we spent about 30 minutes extra at the airport in India repeating the same information at check-in and then immigration and we had to take some extra printouts with us. It also fit in neatly with our plans of traveling onwards to Europe. Definitely beats applying for a visa any day.

Enjoying a picnic of Chimaek at the Ttukseom Han River Park... even though the South Korean Embassy in Delhi didn't think this was possible!

Enjoying a picnic of Chimaek at the Ttukseom Han River Park… even though the South Korean Embassy in Delhi didn't think this was possible!


How to travel to South Korea without a visa

Overall, it’s pretty straightforward. You should of course be planning to fly onwards to Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. You should also have the right visas to enter these countries. If you’re planning to use this visa exemption in South Korea I recommend you go to the airport with time to spare (3 hours before your flight). Carry with yourself printed copies of the following:


If you aren’t leaving from an Indian airport, you shouldn’t face most of the issues I had to face. However, it’s always good to be prepared and still way better than spending time and money to apply for a visa beforehand!

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  • Ankit Saini Says

    Amazing information …thanks for sharing ..

  • Anita Says

    You’re doing an amazing job! I always love your Visas for Indians posts. They’re so thorough…

  • YUVA Says

    Indian Immigration Sucks…They stopped and harrased me when I was flying to Manila from Kolkata for a similar reason. Glad that you are let through…

    • Rohit Says

      What happened Yuva? Did they let you through? One need to really ask if they actually have the authority to stop you for any arbitrary reason possible?

  • Rohit Says

    I can’t describe the utter and complete incompetence of the Indian immigration agents at Indian airports. What’s worse is that they use their power to threaten genuine travelers from travelling abroad. If you happen to have an Indian passport, these guys fully abuse their power and tell you that they won’t “let you go”. I’m an avid traveler and love to travel often and dealing with these guys is always the worst part.

  • Kamal Says

    I taught a lot of information from this
    about transit visa …


  • GARUAV Says


    • Sajan Says

      I’m sajan frome India Haryana
      I want to go South Korea . But I don’t know what documents I show Nd how much money . But I’m still Malaysia work . Nd work visa also have Malaysia only but I’m want to Malaysia to South Korea going only tourist visa

  • Shaikh Abdul mutallib Says

    Jordan visa help

  • Devarajan Says

    Hi Guys,

    U r really an inspirations to many Indians and you are so informative. I always get excited to visit the countries you travelled after reading your blog.You guys are spending too much of your time/money and help us saving the same!!

    Appreciate your good work!!
    Devaraj, New Delhi

  • anonymous Says

    I tried this from Oita airport, Japan.
    They didn’t allow me to board even though my next flight is to USA (through Beijing)
    I think some aircraft carriers despite not following the immigration rules.
    This time it happens to be that the transfer service between air carriers is not there so they didnt allow me to board the flight and said only transit of less than 9hrs could be taken for travel through Seoul. Defying all odds.

    • Ashray Says

      What airline was it and did you ask for an official reason for denied boarding? They can usually look up visa info like this in the TIMATIC system and almost every major airline uses it.

  • anonymous Says

    its a korean aircraft, they asked me to directly to take the next flight to USA with out entering seoul – however they upgraded me to a better fare and rebooked me for free today…so its a risk to take, if it hasnt worked as planned.

  • anonymous Says

    They did look up TIMATAC, some times ithis 3hr window of checkin is too insufficient to decide and move several countries immigrations opinion – exp whn i am taking a route through north east asia. – japan-southkorea-china-usa.
    that way i think you got a better treatment from Indian counterparts. They do have no communication issues. however have you known the local langauges fluently here, may be they will allow here in north eastern asia too.

    • Ashray Says

      It may be better to get a confirmation from the airline beforehand over email and then carry a print out with you. At least then they can somehow re-confirm internally. Yes, communication can be quite an issue in North Eastern Asia. We had some communication issues on our outbound flight from Korea but it all worked out in the end.

  • Z Says

    Does anyone have any experience applying for a South Korean visa from India?

    I can’t get any info about the ITR forms they require. I got my Form 16s, are they enough? please reply I’m visiting South Korea and even the visa agents are not at all clear about what docs they need, is it the actual iTR V ( i dont have it) or just Form 16. I’m freaking out as there is less than 25 days for my journey and not yet sorted this one out.

    • Madhuri G Says

      Facing the same problem. Was form 16 enough to get a visa to south korea?
      Please let me know.

  • You have provided very important information. And people get benefit from such useful information.
    Thank you so much for this

  • Trying this today in a few hours. Hope it works out!

    Also found this on the Korean embassy to India’s web site for anyone who comes to this page in the future
    (if the link is invalid at some point just search for transit in the search box)

    • Ashray Says

      Good luck with the trip!

      The document you shared is not the latest version of visa exemptions because it does not include the transit visa provisions for Europe bound tourists. The one from the Korean embassy in Australia (linked in the article) is more recent.

      • Hi Ashray,
        You’re the best. Got an awesome trip from south korea out of it. Had zero problems at the asiana counter and immigration (luckily).
        I would not have looked into to if not for your blog.

        You’re right about the article.

        Thanks a ton,

  • Durga Says

    Hi, Valuable information. i just have one thought. If you are not able to continue your trip for some emergency, are you allowed to take a flight back to India, or should you take the long route

    • Ashray Says

      I don’t know, you should call them and ask them about it.

    • Sanjeev Sinha Says

      They don’t ask much when you are exiting the country. So your plans may well get changed starting with a fully refundable ticket, for example ;-)

  • son Says

    Hi, My travel route is Bangalore->singapore->Seoul->Los angeles. I have valid visas for USA and Singapore. Will i be eligible for the visa free entry to south korea, as it is not a direct flight from India to south korea? Any information will be appreciated. Thanks

    • Ashray Says

      Yeah you’ll get visa free entry. The flight only needs to be direct on the way back. So if you were doing Los Angeles->Seoul->Singapore->Bangalore that would not have worked.

      • sarath xavier Says

        may i ask y lax-seoul-singapore-banglore wudnt work.. according to the webisite direct flight from us to seoul and then to anywer(including singapore or banglore) is eligible..
        kindly advise
        m planing to do lax-seol-cochin(via kulalumpur, inn air asia flight) very soon
        thnx for u valuable info :)

  • SAhil Says

    i am a indian passport holder..i am working in japan and have a workvisa of japan of 5 years..
    I am flying from Tokyo to delhi with a layover at seoul for 20 hours.
    Do i need to apply for visa before flying ?
    Or i can get a on arrival visa .(just for 1 day )

    • Ashray Says

      Unfortunately Japan visa holders are not on the list of exemptions. They used to be there about 2 years ago but the rules have changed since. So you should apply for a visa before flying or stay in the airside transit area at Seoul airport.

      • Rajiv Verma Says

        Hi Ashray,
        I have a similar question, flying Delhi to Tokyo with layover at Seoul . I have japan’s tourist visa.
        I want to go out side from airport ,
        will i get visa on arrival ?

        • Ashray Says

          I don’t think the Japanese visa exemption applies any more for South Korea. So you may not be able to exit the airport.

  • Meg Says

    Hi Ashray,
    Your website is absolutely amazing! I love everything I read here and am already planning my next travel, I am on my way back home but not really! lol Thank you for what you guys are doing!
    If only I could find a better way to book flights which are not round trips, that would be just perfect!
    Hopefully I get to say Aloha

  • Tatoba Says

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience.

  • Blazing Bernard Says

    i have valid UK and USA visas stamped on my Indian passport. Can I get visa on arrival, although my next destination from Seoul will be some where in China and onward to Hongkong and to London. Is it necessary that we have to leave for our final destination in USA OR UK directly from Seoul? or stop overs allowed? Should they care about where we go next from Seoul? Please help me with this info

    • Ashray Says

      Technically they allow you a single stopover of up to 3 days on your journey to the US/UK/Europe. I don’t know if an itinerary with multiple stopovers will work. You should call the Korean immigration service (number is in the article above) to make sure.


  • Nile Says

    Thanks! This definitely helped! Now, time to plan my trip there.

  • Damanpreet singh Says

    Hi Ashray,
    Very useful and amazing information you shared. Very helpful to my travel to many destinations. I appreciate. Thanks for sharing you experience.
    Damanpreet Singh

  • Shruti Rai Says

    I’m planning to visit Seoul and Busan..for 1 week travel(just to explore my favorite country) from India.. So do I need anything special if i only visit from New delhi(India)>SouthKorea>New delhi..back..

    • Ashray Says

      You need to get a regular visa for South Korea.

      • Gaurav Says

        What’s are the average expenses there(Korea) on a daily basis Ashray? Like where did you stay, what did you eat? And how much did you pay for both on an average? You must have booked in advance, but then, how was the food? Both taste and expense? I would just like to know on an average.
        Thanks in advance :)

        • Ashray Says

          It really depends on what you do. Food is quite cheap and you can find places to stay (hostels, etc.) that are quite affordable. Also, Seoul is way more expensive than other locations. So keep that in mind. I think $30 per day is easily doable.

          • Rajesh Says

            Are you a vegetarian by any chance ? If yes, how was the availability of vegetarian food choices there ?
            If no, any idea if there are vegetarian food choices available there ?

          • Ashray Says

            In general there is no concept of vegetarianism but there are lots of Buddhist restaurants that are vegetarian. Also, there are some dishes like bibimbap which can be made vegetarian.

    • Rajesh Says

      There’s an event happening there where you can apply, and then visit. They would send you invitation if selected. It’s for a week, and then you can extend your stay for longer days. Just suggesting!

  • Devnil Says

    I am planning to fly DEL-ICN-SFO and stay in transit in Seoul for 3 days. I have a US tourist visa,am I eligible.
    The notice in the website of Korean Embassy in Australia says that we must live in those 4 countries, but I live in India .
    Am I eligible for this ?

    • Ashray Says

      Yes, it says in point 1 that if you are in transit, it’s alright. You can stay in Seoul for 3 days.

  • walter Says

    Do I require a visa for a connecting flight (5hrs stop at ICN) If I hold an onward ticket to Japan?

  • Mehul Says

    Thanks for Sharing

  • San Says

    Actually I want to stay in South Korea and then I want to find a job… can get a permanent visa to stay in South korea

  • priya Says

    can i stay in south korea for more than 90 days? if ok, what is the type of visa?

  • Vijay Says

    Hey guys,

    You rock! :-) I follow your blog frequently. I am a backpacker too. I’ve recently come back from South America after having lived there for a little more than 3 years teaching English, learning Spanish and backpacking in a few countries. I have used the 10 year American B1/B2 visa to visit Cuba, Mexico and Peru without any hassle. I would like to visit South Korea for a month from Jaipur in June however I don’t plan to travel onward to the US. How can I go about this? I can make an itinerary that shows my destination country as the US (Jaipur – Seoul – the US). Maybe a reservation slip from Seoul to any city in the US should suffice? Or should I buy a full ticket and cancel it later? Any information on this would be highly appreciated. Thanks and keep on exploring. :)


    • Ashray Says

      If you’re in India for a while I’d recommend to just get a visa to South Korea. It’s not really difficult at all and takes 3 days. You are supposed to be going to your final destination (the US, in this case) after South Korea and they may check at immigration when you leave. As mentioned in the article, they do write your itinerary details next to your entry stamp so if an immigration officer checks where you’re heading to at exit immigration it may be a problem because the rule is that you are allowed to go to South Korea as a transit point in your journey to one of those other destinations (US/CA/EU/AU/NZ).

      • Vijay Says

        Thanks for the prompt answer. The main hiccup in my case is that I can’t produce a bank statement and work contract which are mandatory documents. I am a freelancer and work for cash.

  • Pushparaj Krishnan (PK) Says

    Hi, I am an Indian and I have been to South Korea without a visa holding US valid visa on 2015 and 2016. I have traveled from Chennai to Bangkok stay almost 15days and Bangkok to Seoul, Seoul to Los Angeles and return same way Los Angeles-Seoul-Bangkok(stayed 10days)-Chennai. Got stamp on my passport while going and returning in South Korea.

    *Well, here I have question is there anyone traveled to South Korea without visa holding Australia e-visa (As you know now a days Australian embassy in India stop giving sticker/stamping visa on passport) or anyone knows holding Australian e-visa can travel to South Korea without visa?

    • Ashray Says

      If my reading of the timatic visa information (the rules that the airlines use) is right, I think eVisa holders can only transit on their return journey. This is what the text says:

      Nationals of India with an e-visa issued by Australia, Canada, New Zealand or USA if in transit through Korea (Rep.) must:
      -hold confirmed onward tickets on flights departing within 30 days; when
      -arriving from the country that issued the visa and departing to a third country.

      So as per my understanding you should be fine for the return trip. However, I think you should confirm with the embassy if you want to transit visa free on the way to Australia. If you want a quicker answer, please call the number of the Korean immigration service on this page and find out.

      • Pushparaj Krishnan (PK) Says

        Thank you Ashray it was quick reply. Well me too gone through the website and I understand the same as you said but still was wondering. But now I confirmed after seeing your reply that e-visa holder can visit South Korea on return from the visa issued country. Thanks again

  • rakesh saikia Says

    Interesting article. R u from Assam? Assamese from Assam or Bengali from Assam?

  • You share the visa related useful information on this blog. South Korea visa how to get don’t no the most of people but your blog share the right information about South Korea visa for Indians. Thanks a lot for this beauty Enjoying article with me. I appreciate it very much!

  • Shubham Saini Says

    The Korean embassy in India’s website says we can transit for 72 hours only (as per new rules w.e.f. 2016)
    I don’t see 30 days rule there. Please clarify. Thanks

  • Vibhav Bhosle Says

    Hello, Nice article about visa.. keep posting new article..

  • Chaitanya Korgaonkar Says

    Appreciate the thoroughness of this article. Keep up the good work!

  • Sumitra Das Says

    Hi Ashray,

    Such a nice piece of info! I am an Indian and currently in Vietnam. So if I want to fly from Vietnam to S. Korea to UK to India, will this policy work?


  • parry Says

    Hi ashrey
    i am parry from India but i am living in New Zealand on work permit
    i just want to know that my wife and my father and brother got new Zealand Tourist visa.but they are coming through Delhi/Seoul/New Zealand but they have 3 days stay in south Korea so an you please let me know they need a visa to enter in South Korea or they can easily enter in south Korea without visa
    and If Yes please let me know about all the requirement
    which documents they need to enter in South korea


    • Ashray Says

      Did you read the article? It has the information you want. They don’t need a transit visa.

      • parry Says

        but i have checked with a asiana airlines in delhi they said you need a visa of south korea if you want a check in at delhi through south korea to new zealand but Asked to south korea embassy in new delhi they said you dont need visa if you going through delhi/south korea/new zealand so what i need to do.


        • Ashray Says

          There is a photo in this article from Asiana Airlines’ own system saying that a visa is not needed. Show this to them and ask them again?

  • Sash Says

    Well done and thanks for the information !!

  • parry Says

    hi ashrey
    we are going to new zealand and we have valis visa but we are going by korean airline and we have 2 days stay in south korean but we are going like that delhi/south korea/singapore/new zealand but we dont have stay in Singapore we just stay in airport for 1 hour. we will reach in new zealnd with in 14 hours after leaving south korea
    can you please tell me which documents in need to keep in my hand


  • Man Says

    I am having a Schengen Visa.
    I am planning to travel to South Korea.
    I am traveling Chennai-Soth Korea and return South Korea-Dubai-Bratislava.
    Is I have a stopover in Dubai.
    But will it be a problem if I travel only to Dubai?
    I will not travel to Bratislava.
    I have all ticket to Bratislava and also Visa

  • raj Says

    hi sir
    i am going to new zealand i have valid visa of new zealand
    we are going like delhi/seoul/new zealand but i have 4 days stay in seoul and from seoal my flight is like that seoul/japan/new zealand but i dont have stay there i will stay in japan only 2 hour in airport for connecting flight i just want you ask you do i need direct flight from seoal to new zealand or i can go through japan. because after leaving south korea i will reach in new zealand with in 15 hours


  • indrani Says

    I’m planing to visit south korea on my way to India from United states. I’m an indian working in cruise ship with a valid C1D visa and will be flying home from Washington airport. will I be allowed to enter korea with visa?

  • Sam Says

    Hi Ashray, thanks for sharing valuable information. I got a question for you.
    Can I do New York – Seoul – Delhi with Indian passport & without having S Korea visa ot stay for a couple of days like you did.
    I am a USA green card holder with Indian passport.
    Would that work for me?
    Appreciate your information.


  • syed mustafa Says

    I need work permit a south korea my education.high age 42.iam from bangalore india.pls guide me…?

  • GIRI LIO Says

    Hi guys i plan to tour only seoul city for 20 day’s.If you have any genuine information on below points reg SK tourist visa invitation letter,pls comment the full details.
    1.Where to purchase SK tourist visa invitation letter for Indian’s ?.
    2.What will be the actual cost for visa invitation letter for 20 days tour?
    3.Please share the website details.
    Thanks in advance..

    • Ashray Says

      Your best bet is to ask a travel agent. An invitation letter isn’t usually required to visit as a tourist for a short period though.

  • Rishabh Says

    I have valid US visa , and INDIAN passport.

    my itinerary will Tokyo-Seoul (ICN) – 22 Nov 2018

    Seoul(Gimpo airport) -New York ( 2 hrs connecting at Beijing )

    Can I use this facility? My main concern is Tokyo-Seoul segment ,where tway air can deny me boarding as mentioned by someone in this forum.

    Shall I get a Korea visa to be on the safe side?

    • Rishabh Says

      Seoul(Gimpo airport) -New York ( 2 hrs layover at Beijing PEK ) — 25 Nov 2018

    • Ashray Says

      Get a visa if you want to be sure. But, what airline are you flying in on from Tokyo? It greatly depends on whether they are okay with it. Ask them directly.

  • Praveen Says

    Hello Ashray,
    I have come across the following provision regarding 72 hour transit visa, provided you are transiting through Korea to Country of Nationality (in my case India) or third country (I will be going to Tokyo and have 5 year long term VISA), provided you book a transit tour program recognised by Korea Tourism Department/Ministry. I have written to the Embassy but no response yet..

    Can you please advise if i can proceed with my plans and book the tour & travel to Seoul for 72 hours.


    No-Visa Entry for Transit Tourists Participating in the Transit Tourism Program
    A. Eligibility
    i. A foreigner who transfers at the Incheon International Airport to the country of nationality or a third country, participates in the Transit Tourism Program, except for a national of one of the 12 countries prohibited from no-visa entry for Jeju Island (Ghana, Nigeria, Macedonia, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Kosovo, Cuba, Palestine, Yemen); or
    ii. A foreigner who holds a Japanese group visa, participates in the Transit Tourism Program.
    B. Criteria for Permission
    i. The person must hold an airline ticket for transit within 72 hours.
    ii. The person must stay only in the proximity of Seoul (Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi Province)
    C. Status of Stay and Period : Tourism & Transit (B-2) visa, Within 72 hours


    i want to go south korea for busness

  • akanksha Says

    Hey had a query, I have a 23hr layover at korea (travelling from USA to India via S. korea), does the same rule apply here? Can i get out of airport without visa?

  • Chu Says

    Hi my husband is an Indian citizen with USA work visa we are going to Delhi but have a 12 hour layover in incheon airport do you think we would be able to get on one of the tours in Seoul? We are coming from lax to Seoul to Delhi with round trip back to USA three weeks later

  • Anil Nair Says

    Very well narrated. So useful. So clear

  • shuchi Says

    if i will take a flight(malaysian airlines) from bangalore to incheon (which might have a layover for few hours at singapore maybe)…and return back from incheon to bangalore in next week so a total of 2 week trip, will i be needing to apply for a visa or not?

  • Ash Says

    I live in the US. My son on H4 has to travel to South korea (Daegu Science High School) as an exchange student for a week. Does he need a visa or can he travel without any need for a korean visa stamped? He will be coming back directly from South Korea to US.

    • Ashray Says

      The visa exemption is meant for transit so this means that he should be going to another country and not a US->South Korea->US trip. In your case he’s going to need a visa.

  • Sonal Says

    Hi, I’m an Indian passport holder but have a NZ resident visa. Can I make a roundtrip of NZ – China – SK (10 days) – China – NZ using this exemption?

  • Gouranga Says

    Hi, Thanks a lot for your detailed explanation about the S . Korean Visa requirements for Indians. They are really very helpful. I have a query.

    I am living and working in Japan. Now I am planning a trip to Delhi via Seoul. I have a 30 hours layover in Seoul plus a airport transfer from GMP to ICN Airport for onward journey to India. So it will be Osaka- GMP- ICN – DEL. I have a valid US B1/B2 visa, have been to UK, Canada, etc on short term business visits as well. I was wondering if I need transit Korean visa for airport change. Any input will be really very helpful. Thanks in advance !!

  • raul Says

    Hi, Im planning to do this IND->HKG -> INC->HKG->MEL. I’m a permanent resident of Australia.
    Will this travel allow me to get into S.Korea with visa?

    • Ashray Says

      I don’t know about this since you are returning to Hong Kong after you go to South Korea. So your trip is more like: HKG->ICN->HKG and then HKG->MEL. Not sure if it qualifies as a transit through South Korea. Perhaps you can call their immigration service and ask?

  • Bharat Says

    Hi, my boss who is an Indian passport holder will travel from Bangkok to US and want to transit to Incheon, Is this qualified for the transit without the Visa?


    Please let guide that l along with my daughter want to visit South Korea from NEW DELHI on MEDICAL VISA FOR 70-80 DAYS to get the medical treatment.
    One of the condition to get the treatment at S. Korea is that the patient is allowed to visit S. Korea accompanied only with the father sister brother or husband only.
    My name in the pass port is SAT PAUL SINGH and in the passport of my daughter it is SATPAUL SINGH (on the basis of daughter’s – Aadhaar card PAN CARD & All acadamic certificstes).
    Will it hinder our jouney/ tour in any way.
    Yet the VISA & JOURNEY TICKETS are to be purchased.

    • Ashray Says

      It should be fine. Please apply for your visa at the Korean consulate in New Delhi, they are used to names being spelled differently because it happens to Koreans a lot.

  • Les Mathew Says

    As a permanent resident in USA ( Indian passport with a green card) I would like to fly into Seoul, to return to USA directly after 3 weeks. However, after landing Seoul for the first time, can I use another airline ticket to travel Seoul-Beijing-India-re-enter Seoul within these 3 weeks, and then make my final departure directly to USA from Seoul. Can this be done without applying for a regular South Korean visa? Thanks!

  • Jerome Says

    I am an Indian national who visited Korea for two weeks. I faced issues getting the tickets issued each time. Please update the original post with the info because not many people read the comments. Here is my experience…

    It was supposed to be a organized group trip for 14 days. Since I read this article, I did not bother getting a visa (dumb me!). However, when I was at the checkin counter they told me I have to get a onward flight from Korea wihtin 12 hrs of landing (it had to be their own airlines too) otherwise they cannot issue the ticket. They spoke with their customs & immigration officers I believe.

    So I bought a refundable (about $1000) ticket to Bangkok to exit Korea within 12 hrs. After that, the Delta/Korean Air people issued me the ticket. All was fine after I landed, they gave me a 30 day transit visa. I immediately cancelled the Bangkok ticket and got all my money back. You should know that you can cancel flight tickets within 24 hrs without penalty! Note: Even thou my exit flight was within 2 hrs of landing, they did not question me anything, does not make sense why they would want to issue me a 30 day transit visa for a 2 hr layover!

    On my return, when I was at the counter. They couldn’t issue me the ticket because, i was supposed to go to Bangkok and had no records of me going out or coming in! I explained the situation and they issued me the ticket somehow, but informed me that I may have to answer additional questions at the customs.

    I went to the counter, the lady referred me to another officer inside the room. He was very polite and humble. based on their interpretation I can get a free Transit visa, but to visit Korea and go back to the country of origin, I needed a visa. I donot need a visa if i go to a 3rd country after visiting Korea.

    I did not argue and asked them what we can do now. He asked me to sign a statement that I will never visit Korea without a visa in the future and I was permitted to clear the customs.

    You need a Visa to Korea on your passport if you go back to your country of origin, however if your final destination is not the country of origin you can get a transit visa on arrival.

    You could potentially manipulate this by booking an onward flight from your country of origin on your return (US – Korea – US – Canada), but I am not sure if it will work. At least the first time you will get away with a warning!

    Hope this helps!

  • Vicky Says


    Your article is very useful.

    I am a permanent resident of India, living in Sydney. I want to travel as below:

    Sydney to Taipei, Taipei to Seoul, Seoul to HongKong and HongKong to Sydney

    During the last leg of my journey, I intend to spend only 12 hours in HongKong. Would I need a South Korean visa in this?

    Please let me know. Many thanks.

    Kind regards

    • Vicky Says

      Apologies. I meant I am an Indian citizen, with Australian Permanent Residency (PR Visa).

  • Manisha Says


    I Have US B1/B2 visa .. and will be travelling to Chicago.
    I am to visit South korea for 2 weeks on my way back ( CHICAGO—-> SEOUL——>DEL)
    so in this scenario do i need Visa?
    let me know thanks…

    i was going through the link:
    Here in transit bound for another country —-> Applicable to—-> Point (2)

  • Bushra Says

    I would have a student long term visa for Europe (Germany ) and I would like to visit Seoul in transit for a week.
    I have an Indian passport and would like to know would it be possible
    If yes, than is their any specific airline to travel with.
    I visited a document which is available on Korean embassy of India it does not state Europe in it and the latest date on it is mentioned is 2018.
    Will the Australian document work?
    Please help me to plan the trip.

  • Bhagyaraj Says

    I am planning to buy a ticket from USA to Seoul but the catch is it’s a Hong Kong airlines I.e I will have transfer in Hong Kong (Los Angeles -Seoul ) .. i will be in airside for 3 hours in Hong Kong & then to Seoul .. with onward ticket to India ( different airline ) .. will this work ?
    Please let me know . It will be a great help .

  • Rakshit Says

    To all future INDIAN readers (applies to all except a few select countries),
    I traveled from USA (F1 visa) -> Dubai (2 days) -> S.Korea (6 days) -> USA.
    Visa on arrival was a breeze at Inchan.

    Long story:
    I had to visit S.Korea for a conference. A direct flight from USA to S.Korea and back to USA is NOT eligible for the 30 day transit visa. Hence, I booked a flight to an intermediate country (any country) followed by a flight to Inchan.

    Just wanted to let you guys know that its safe and everyone is pretty knowledgeable about the 30 day transit visa options.

  • I won’t visa for South Korea

  • TransitVisaUser Says


    I am living in USA and planning to transit Seoul during my trip to India. Does the below itinerary qualify for transit visa?

    Delta Airlines Round trip ticket from USA (Direct flight) –> Seoul
    Air India Round trip ticket from Seoul –> India

    So the trip is :

    USA (Direct flight) –> Seoul (stay for 3 days) –> India (stay for 5 days)


    India (Direct flight) –> Seoul (stay for 2 days) –> USA (Direct flight)

  • I used the waiver in 2019. I did not face any problem of that sort, neither by airline staff or the immigration.

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