I'll be going to South Korea for at least 6 months, and I take birth control pills. In my country, I've never needed any prescription to buy them, although I can easily get a prescription if needed.

Does anyone here know if this prescription needs to be translated (and if I really need to get it)? Do I need to declare it in person or through the forms? Will they even ask about it?

  • You can also take an 'Implant' (don't know the name in english sorry) And keep it through ur travel (you can keep it 3 years before having to change it) and once ur back to your country, you can take it off your body Both 'operation' to implant it or take it out are extremely easy and fast to do (5-10min) and this is also the safest contraception existing after condom. (in term of risk of pregnancy AND risk of secondary effect)
    – Kurio
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 17:22
  • @Kurio well its a good idea but nope, not in my plans lol
    – Gee
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 17:33

2 Answers 2


Having a prescription or not does not matter. Many countries, among them South Korea, only allows you to bring medication for personal use for a period of three months when arriving from abroad. If you are staying longer, you will have to stock up your supply there and potentially get a prescription if required.

Birth control pills seem to be over the counter in South Korea as well, so you actually only have to go to any pharmacy and buy your pills there. You should perhaps check if pills with the same active ingredient(s) as you use at home is available in South Korea and if not, you could anyway in advance try to find a suitable substitute. If you are coming from the US, birth control pills are probably by a ridiculous amount cheaper in South Korea than in the US, so the most economic solution is probably to just bring enough for the first few days and then get everything you need after you arrive.

  • If birth control is over the counter in South Korea, would the 3 months limit still apply? Usually the 3 months is only relevant for prescription drugs.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 18:25
  • @JonathanReez I have no reason to doubt that importation is not restricted for over the counter drugs. In which countries, there must be many since you write 'usually', are such restrictions only relevant for prescription drugs? Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 20:49
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    "the most economic solution is probably to just bring enough for the first few days" It's not the most economic option if it risks her getting pregnant due to missing a day of pills.
    – nick012000
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 2:03
  • 2
    A lot of speculation on how to save money, haha. The OP states they don't need a prescription, which means they aren't in the US to begin with (in which case they may be free to them anyway, depending on their insurance), and may already have enough pills (not sure how many women buy at a time in countries where they are OTC). AFAIK in places where you don't need an Rx for BC, pharmacists help you pick one. Would recommend OP speaks to an SK health professional about picking a new one. Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 20:20
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    @nick012000 That's like saying it's not the most economic option to not bring oxygen tanks, if it risks her not being able to breathe due to there being no air in South Korea.
    – user123825
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 10:01

From someone who has lived in South Korea their entire life, and flown in and out regularly:

Birth control pills are over the counter, so no prescription is needed. They are available in pretty much every pharmacy, and there are plenty of pharmacies in every major city, open at every hour of the day. The pills are somewhat expensive, but not prohibitively so; they generally cost around 24000KRW (~20USD or ~18EUR) for a 1 month strip.

You may of course want to bring some pills just to cover your first few days or weeks after arrival. To be on the safe side, you could bring the original container and your prescription. A translated prescription seems excessive, and it is highly unlikely that these pills will cause any issue at all at customs.

  • 1
    Excellent answer but you should probably also check on a site like pillintrip.com beforhand to make sure that the exact same brand (or at least same ingredients) is available in South Korea.
    – Gellweiler
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 10:13

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