I am currently a college student (20yrs) finishing up a semester of college in the US before flying back to Korea to be with my parents, but I heard that the travel restrictions in Korea are a bit crazy at the moment due to COVID-19.

I am a dual US/Korean citizen and am wondering how exactly I should be entering Korea using these two passports to avoid the travel restrictions. My name is different on the two passports and dual citizenship is allowed in both countries.

Before COVID-19, I would usually exit the US and enter Korea with my US passport due to having a 90- day travel visa. However, now the Korean government is making people who hold short term visas quarantine in a government-designated facility for 2 weeks at their own expense (~$1200!!), and I would really like to avoid that.

I'm a little confused about which passport to buy the airplane ticket with and which to show in immigration in both countries. Does anyone know how I would go about doing that?

EDIT: Not trying to avoid quarantine/self-isolation! Just trying to avoid paying $1200 to self-isolate at a government-designated facility when it is possible to self isolate at my parents' house (which is what Korean citizens have been doing).

  • 35
    Why aren't you entering Korea with your Korean passport? That's the expected thing to do, pandemic or not. Commented May 3, 2020 at 3:38
  • 8
    So, your goal is to deliberately avoid the quarantine that's there to protect other people (like your parents, grandparents, and anyone else that doesn't already have COVID-19), as you feel the quarantine shouldn't apply to you, because it's too expensive?
    – Makyen
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 23:23
  • 13
    @Makyen Everybody has to quarantine, but Korean nationals can do so at home, while foreign nationals have to stay in a hotel. Commented May 3, 2020 at 23:36
  • 4
    Are you sure that’s the rule for Korean nationals, and not Korean residents? Say a German living in Korea for the last 20 years would have to go to a hotel instead of going to his home? And I assume OP doesn’t have a home in Korea?
    – gnasher729
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 13:11
  • 9
    @AlexandreAubrey OK? What relevance does that have to entering Korea? Commented May 4, 2020 at 17:53

4 Answers 4


Have you already completed your mandatory military service? The reason I ask is that many of the young Koreans that I know who do this sort of thing (show their USA passport when they enter S Korea) are trying to avoid being caught and punished by the South Korean government who takes the service requirement seriously.

If you don’t know, you might find yourself drafted on entry. This may drive the decision over which passport to show more than any quarantine risk, or even whether it was a worth making this trip at this time.

  • But at least the government would pay for the quarantine, and soldier's wage also! Commented May 4, 2020 at 16:00
  • 7
    While this is very valuable information, you do not answer the actual question. Can you please edit in an answer. (I could convert this to a comment but I think it is better visible as part of an answer.)
    – Willeke
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 16:02
  • 1
    I'm not a male, so I do not have to complete military service.
    – J M
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 20:05
  • 1
    @RoboKaren - could you edit a bit more to make it an answer rather than starting with the question, a bit of a rewrite could be very useful. ALso note the OP has said they don't need to do the military service. We keep getting flags as 'not an answer' at present...but don't want to just remove it and have you lose the effort youv'e put in
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 5:26

Just buy the ticket with the name in your Korean passport and travel with your Korean passport. You can check in for your flight leaving the US with your Korean passport. It's possible that nobody will ask you about your status in the US when you leave. That has always been my experience (with European airlines).

I've heard of people being asked, however. If this happens, just show your US passport.

If they ask why the passports have different names, you can explain why. You're not the only one: some countries have incompatible name laws.

The tricky part will be returning to the US with with your Korean-passport name on the ticket. I would just hand the Korean passport to the check in counter so the agent can retrieve your ticket. After a moment, say "I also have a US passport" and hand it over as well.

Having different names in your passports shouldn't be too much of a problem. The photographs depict the same person. The biographical data pages describe the same person. You are that person. You're not trying to deceive anyone.

Have a safe trip.


now the Korean government is making people who hold short term visas quarantine in a government-designated facility for 2 weeks at their own expense (~$1200!!), and I would really like to avoid that.

Last time I checked (on 2020-04-05), that was incorrect: the notice to traveler clearly says that only passengers without a confirmed address will have to go to the government quarantine facilities.

The confusion might come from the fact that https://kr.usembassy.gov/022420-covid-19-information/ incorrectly states that they have to go to the government quarantine facilities, even though the source they give contradicts that.

Other sources:


"U.S. nationals, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States."

If you want to follow the American rules, use your American passport.

Also, most countries recommend that you should quarantine yourself upon arrival either way.

  • 3
    That is only for entering or leaving the US. The question asks instead about entering Korea.
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 15:45
  • 2
    @GoodDeeds the OP is in the US, so leaving the US applies. Commented May 4, 2020 at 18:01
  • 2
    You can leave the one country on one passport and enter the other country on the other passport, many people do it every time they travel.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 9:32
  • That state department page misstates the law, which says that US citizens must "bear" a valid US passport. If someone leave the US using a foreign passport but also carrying a valid US passport, that person does not violate the law.
    – phoog
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 12:24
  • 1
    @phoog you seem to be in denial. It clearly says you must use the US passport to leave the US. You can use the other passport at the other country. But you must use the US passport entering AND leaving the US. This answer has links supporting statements. Your comments and answer, are without references. Commented May 5, 2020 at 13:16

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