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I'm currently studying in Australia so do I need a visa when I want to travel to Seoul in summer vacation?

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Yes, you need a visa.

The 30-day visa exception is only valid when you are a Vietnamese passport holder, with an Australian visa and you are transiting South Korea.

The Timatic information is very clear on this - the 30-day exemption is only valid if you have a 3rd country as your ultimate origin or destination:

Nationals of Viet Nam with a visa issued by Australia ...(removed some countries) ...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 (a visa that expired on departure from that country is accepted) and departing to a third country. (YVR-ICN-DEL); or
  • arriving from a third country and departing to the country that issued the visa (e.g. DEL-ICN-YVR); or
  • arriving from a third country after having transited that country for a maximum stay of 3 days, departing to the country that issued the visa (e.g. DEL-SGN-ICN-YVR); or
  • arriving from a third country, traveling to another country and staying there for a maximum stay of 3 days, then departing to the country that issued the visa (e.g. DEL-ICN-SGN-YVR).

Nationals of Viet Nam 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 (a visa that expired on departure from that country is accepted) and departing to a third country.

Nationals of Viet Nam traveling as tourist, if arriving at and departing from Jeju (CJU) for a maximum stay of 30 days. They must hold confirmed tickets and other documents for their next destination.

Passengers with an APEC Business Travel Card valid for travel to "KOR". The card is valid for the countries listed on the back of the card.

There are a lot of criteria in there, but they all pertain to transit, not visit.

In addition to Timatic, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) Hi Korea official immigration website does back this up (although they have some odd wording... such as "wishes to travel to 30 European countries through South Korea").

Remember that airlines go by Timatic, and its often been commented on here before that Timatic is the database that is kept up to date, and even official immigration pages for countries can lag behind in valid information.

0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_South_Korea#30-day_visa_exemption

It seems like if you have a visa and/or residence permit from Australia you are allowed to stay 30 days, visa-free.

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  • 1
    Wikipedia doesnt show all of the conditions of that 30-day limit - its transit only, and the airlines will go by whats in Timatic - which is what I have quoted below. Be aware of those sort of issues with Wikipedia :)
    – Moo
    Sep 15 '17 at 5:36
  • Thanks for the precision! So I suppose the OP could book, say, SYD-ICN-HKG-SYD? Sep 15 '17 at 5:41
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    There may be ways around it, I am sure :) I don't get into that however, as it may or may not be illegal given an individual countries laws.
    – Moo
    Sep 15 '17 at 5:47
  • 2
    It is a similar rule as the 72/144-hour transit visa in China. I have used that a few times, by booking 3, 4-leg trips. So far so good :-) Sep 15 '17 at 6:00

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