I've read (for example South Korea travel visa - When do I leave?) that U.S.A. citizens can just go to Korea for 90 days as easily as to Schengen, i.e., no visa. Has there been a change?

The reason I wonder is (1) the school I was considering has a list of countries that don't need a visa, and (2) a website that appears to be "official" has a link to a similar list that also does not include USA, but then follows the link with another list that does include USA.

From the comment and first answer, it sounds like if I am just a tourist, I need no visa, but if I intend to also attend a class, I do need one? To complicate it further, I just found out about a "class" that sounds too good to be true.

  • 1
    What are you planning to do whilst in South Korea? The rules are different depending on your intent, and given you have mentioned a school it sounds like you may not be there just to see the sights...
    – Doc
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 17:33
  • So is this question now the same as the other one (namely whether you need a visa to attend the "school")? If so, you should do something about it. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 21:10
  • I am still interested in the actual visa policy, but the newer question is about exactly what it says: whether "volunteering" is really volunteering in the law when you get something for it. When I wrote this, I was looking at a paid scheduled class in Seoul. The hostel I found later is quite a bit different.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 21:17
  • You can go to Korea to take a short-term course under the 90-day visa. As long as it fits that period.
    – nbkhope
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 0:09
  • @nbkhope: The consulate says otherwise. Not going to chance it. Not logical, but it's the rule, apparently. Taiwan, same rule. Besides, the no-paperwork option is not a visa, it's a visa exemption.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 1:48

1 Answer 1


I think there are two different lists at play here. One is the list of countries with which Korea has a visa-waiver-agreement. The US is not on this list.

Then there's another list of countries citizens of which can enter and visit Korea without a visa. The US is on this list. Citizens of the US are allowed visa-free entry for up to 90 days.

See for example the list at the Ministry of foreign affairs or the list you're linking to. HiKorea has the same information:

Nationals of the following countries are allowed up to 30 days of visa-free sojourn for tourism or visitation Exceptions: Canada is allowed up to 6 months, and United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Slovenia, and Japan are allowed up to 90 days.


  • Note the key words here are "tourism or visitation". This will likely not apply to someone who is considering a "school", although the original question wasn't clear enough to know the actual intent.
    – Doc
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 17:32
  • @Doc I agree with you, but the initial question was whether there was a change in the visa policy. Now, I know that this also is not the question I answered, but I think my answer shows that the visa policy in force now doesn't contradict the one mentioned in the other question, but I'm happy to remove my answer if OP shows that the visa policy before was different from the one now. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 21:12
  • How would I show that? If I knew, I wouldn't have asked.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 21:17
  • No, of course I don't expect you to include the former valid visa policy of Korea in your question, but maybe then you should have asked a different question. Because the other question doesn't have any indication either whether US-citizens attending courses in Korea need a visa or not, and that's what you really wanted to know. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 21:52
  • I wanted to know both. That’s why I asked both. It’s rather difficult to comprehend the difference between “waiver” and “exemption.”
    – WGroleau
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 23:15

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