Entry and Exit
The Republic of Korea (ROK) has suspended visa-free entry and visa-waiver programmes for 90 countries, including Singapore. All short-term visas issued prior to 5 April 2020 will be invalidated. Exceptions are granted for specific travellers such as diplomatic and official passport holders, APEC business travellers, short-term employment visa holders, and those already in the ROK. New visa applicants will be required to submit documents such as a medical certificate demonstrating the absence of COVID-19 symptoms and an agreement to undergo quarantine measures upon arrival.
All inbound travellers to the ROK will be required to serve a 14-day quarantine, with certain exemptions for some long-term visa holders. Given ongoing developments in the COVID-19 situation, Singaporeans intending to travel to the ROK should check these websites for further details and the latest information on travel restrictions, advisories and other measures imposed by the ROK government:
- Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Singapore
- Korea Immigration Service
- Hi Korea (E-Government website for foreigners by Korea Immigration Service)
Safety and Security
While there may be occasional periods of tension arising from North Korea’s actions, the situation in the country remains calm. At times of increased tensions, keep abreast of the news and monitor developments closely. Remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions for your personal safety. You may also download the free “Emergency Ready App”, released by the South Korean government for more information on local emergency services, hospitals and emergency shelter locations.
In general, South Korea is a safe country for visitors, but travellers should undertake the usual precautions and be responsible for your own safety. In addition, be mindful of your belongings (e.g. passports, credit cards and cash) in crowded places and areas frequented by foreigners such as Myeongdong or Itaewon.
Public demonstrations or protests do occur but they are typically well-policed and peaceful. That said, do exercise the usual caution and try to avoid these areas.
Singaporeans should take extra precaution when hiking in the mountains, particularly at night. It would be best to go with a guide who is familiar with the route and terrain. There have been several incidents of Singaporeans getting lost in the mountains while hiking in the dark and requiring rescue assistance.
Air quality varies throughout the year, and yellow dust pollution typically peaks during Spring. Depending on the levels of pollution, the South Korean Government may advise all, particularly the elderly and those with respiratory issues, to restrict their outdoor activities. The Korea Meteorological Service Website (http://www.kma.go.kr/eng/weather/asiandust/forecastchart.jsp) does provide pollution related forecasts, though this is typically only available from March to May.
There are no special vaccination requirements for visiting South Korea. However, it is recommended that travellers are up-to-date on their immunisations, particularly for Hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus, polio (DTP) and typhoid.
General Travel Advice
Overseas Travel – Be Informed & Be Safe [13 November 2019]
In view of the upcoming school holidays, Singaporeans planning overseas travel are reminded to take the necessary precautions, including being prepared to deal with accidents, natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Singaporeans are also reminded to be familiar with your destination’s local laws and customs restrictions, including immigration procedures and entry requirements.
Singaporeans travelling to and from Malaysia, in particular via the land checkpoints, are reminded to ensure that your passport is presented to a Malaysian immigration officer and stamped correctly before leaving the Malaysian immigration booth. Failure to do so is an immigration offence in Malaysia and the penalties can be severe, including detention, a fine, and a ban from future entry into the country.
In 2019, demonstrations have occurred in several major cities across the world. Such demonstrations can sometimes escalate into violence. It is important for Singaporeans to keep abreast of local news, avoid any protests or demonstrations and heed the advice of the local authorities.
When participating in outdoor leisure activities overseas, Singaporeans should be mindful that certain sporting activities, especially in open seas, may carry risks. Besides ensuring that one has the physical competencies and appropriate condition to undertake the activity, every effort should be made to ascertain if the trip organiser or guide is reliable and competent, and that appropriate safety and contingency plans are in place. When in doubt, Singaporeans should consult the relevant professional bodies or sporting associations for specific advice.
For those planning to travel, here are some tips:
· Familiarise yourself with our network of overseas missions.
· Purchase comprehensive travel insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage.
· Equip yourself with research about your destination’s entry requirements, current situation, local laws and customs.
· eRegister with us on our website (https://www.mfa.gov.sg) so that we may reach out to you during an emergency.
· Always take care of your personal safety, remain vigilant and monitor local weather news, advisories, and security developments.
· Exercise caution around large gatherings and avoid locations known for demonstrations or disturbances.
· Be prepared for possible delays and last-minute changes in travel plans especially during unforeseen events such as natural disasters, social unrests or terror attacks.
· Stay connected with your friends and family. Inform them of your whereabouts and provide them with your overseas contact details.
In the event that you require consular assistance, please contact the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.
Advisory: Email Scams [Updated: 12 May 2016]
There has been an increasing number of reports in recent years of individuals receiving scam emails purportedly sent from friends in distress overseas. These emails typically originate from an email address known to the receiver bearing claims of the sender getting into trouble overseas and urgently requesting financial assistance. The sender would also claim to have approached a Singapore Embassy/Consulate and the local Police for help to no avail.
MFA takes the safety of all Singaporeans very seriously. Singaporeans in distress approaching our Overseas Missions for assistance will be rendered with all necessary consular assistance. If you receive such emails from purported friends seeking funds transfers, we strongly advise you to call them first to verify the authenticity of the emails before responding to their request. It is also not advisable to give out any personal information such as NRIC/passport nos., address, telephone number, etc. Any form of reply, even one of non-interest, could result in more unsolicited emails. Members of the public who suspect that they have fallen prey to such scams should report the matter to the Police immediately. Should Singaporeans abroad require consular assistance, they can contact the nearest Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24-hr Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.