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I am planning to travel to Seoul and Bangkok for a holiday trip. I hold a Chinese passport and I am studying in Australia (so I also have a valid Australia student visa). My plan is to go Australia -> Seoul (enter via Incheon Airport, stay for a week) -> Bangkok (stay for another week) -> Australia.

It seems to me that this route should satisfy the 'B-2-1 transit visa', which is the 30 day visa exemption scheme (i.e., I directly fly from Australia to Korea, I have an onward ticket to depart Korea to a third country within 30 days, and I have an Australian visa). I am posting here just to double check (really don't want to mess up) and would like to see if other people might have similar experiences/questions.

I tried to email the South Korea Consulate but never got a reply from them :-(

Many thanks in advance!

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According to Timatic (the system airlines use to confirm visa requirements), the relevant rules for you to be exempt from requiring a visa for South Korea are :

Nationals of China (People's Rep.) with an entry visa issued by Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Rep.), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA or United Kingdom for a maximum stay of 30 days. They must:

  • arrive from a third country and have a confirmed onward ticket for a flight within 30 days to the country that issued the visa; or
  • arrive from the country that issued the visa and have a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third country within 30 days.

The entry visa must be in the form of visa sticker on the passport, except for Australian visas. If passengers have a transit point before arriving in Korea (Rep.) or after leaving Korea (Rep.), the maximum stay in that transit country must be within 3 days.

The final sentence there is a little confusing, but appears to refer to a transit stay between the country that issued the visa and South Korea - which on your trip to Korea you do not have. This would leave you eligible under the 2nd condition above (in bold).

If you were coming from a country other then Australia then you would not be eligible - the bolded condition would not apply, and the earlier condition (onward flight to Australia) would also not apply due to your more than 3 day 'transit' stay in Bangkok. However as you are coming directly FROM Australia this should not be relevant - from the perspective of Korean immigration, you are travelling from Australia to Bangkok with a stop in Korea.

The statement that a physical visa sticker is not required is due to the fact that Australia no longer issues visa stickers. I would strongly recommend printing out the details of your visa from the VEVO system and taking that with you as proof of your visa status.

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  • Thanks heaps for the help! I will make sure that I print out all the necessary documents :-) Feb 2 at 3:28

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