How To Apply For The K-ETA Korea: K-ETA Requirements, and Photo Requirement

Written By: Laliq Schuman
Fact Checked By: Richard Nathan

Jun 21, 2022

8 min read

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The K-Eta is something that makes travel to South Korea easier than ever. This online visa waiver is available to many countries. In this post, I'll discuss everything you need to know about the South Korea ETA, including the documents, the application process, and a few FAQs, just in case you have more questions.

If you do, you should use Atlys. This app helps you through the application process faster than you can say "travel.'

What Is A South Korea ETA?

The online visa waiver (K-ETA) is a Korea electronic travel authorization. If you're eligible for a K-ETA, you can visit South Korea for tourism, visiting family or friends, and business activities (meetings and seminars). The K-ETA is a short stay, multiple entry online visa waiver, and it's valid for 2 years. The visa waiver allows you to stay in South Korea for 30-180 days per entry (depending on your nationality). Using a simple online application system, they designed the ETA for South Korea to make it quicker and easier for foreign visitors to authorize their trip.

As well as speeding up the application process and streamlining border control checks, the K-ETA also improves security checks. As a result, traveling to South Korea is now safer than ever, thanks to the K-ETA.

Eligible citizens from certain countries can now apply for a South Korea visa waiver through the simple Korean ETA application online in just a few minutes. To visit the country for purposes other than those permitted with the South Korea ETA or for more extended consecutive stays, you should contact the nearest Consulate or Embassy of South Korea for further information (travel information) on other South Korea travel visa types.

Which Countries Are Eligible For A K-ETA?

Citizens from certain countries can apply for a South Korea ETA. If you're from one of the following countries, you are eligible:

Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Cyprus, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, and Venezuela.

Do You Need A Visa To Go To South Korea From The US?

No, U.S citizens is part of the visa waiver program for South Korea. This means that you don't need a visa to travel to South Korea. All you need to do is apply for a K-ETA online.

Is The ETA Mandatory For Korea?

Yes, all nationalities part of the visa exemption for South Korea must apply for a K-ETA to enter South Korea, according to the Ministry of Justice.

What Can I Expect At Immigration?

Unfortunately, the K-ETA is not a visa that allows you to enter South Korea. Immigration officials decide whether or not you can enter South Korea and how long you can stay. I know this sounds scary, but I have some tips for you to ensure your entry.

Tip Number One: Make sure that you have your valid passport (the one you use for the K-ETA application), return flight ticket, proof that you can cover the costs of your trip (bank statements), and you printed K-ETA.

Remember your negative Covid test if you need one.

Tip Number Two: Be prepared. Immigration officers might ask you a few questions regarding your trip. The question might be along the lines of your purpose of travel, your country of origin, and how long you plan on staying in South Korea.

Tip Number Three: Stay calm. Remember, they're just doing their job. If you have everything you need, there's no reason to worry!

What Are The K-ETA Entry Requirements For South Korea?

To apply for K-ETA, you need certain travel documents, which you must resent during your application process. Therefore, you need to provide the following travel documents or requirements:

  • A valid passport.
  • A valid email address.
  • Passport-size photograph.
  • Credit card or debit card (I'll discuss the application fee later in this post).

What Are The K-ETA Photo Requirements?

The image selected for the visa or visa waiver application must be the correct size. Photos that are either too large or too small will not be accepted. You need to upload your photograph digitally when applying for the K-ETA. This makes it easier to alter the size of the image. The K-ETA photo size limitations are:

  • Less than 100 KB.
  • Less than 700 x 700 pixels.

Traditional Korean visa applications require a photo of 35 mm (width) by 45 mm (height).

The passport-size picture must:

  • Be a recent photograph (taken in the last 6 months).
  • Be in full color.
  • Not blur and have no glare or shadow.

You need to wear everyday clothes, your eyes should be visible, and you must have a neutral facial expression.

Photo Requirements For Infants And Babies

If you travel to Korea with a child you should be aware that they need their own Korea visa or K-ETA. A few extra photo requirements apply specifically to young children and babies:

  • Babies and infants cannot hold any objects in the photo, like toys, pacifiers, and bottles.
  • The child or baby’s eyes must be open and fully visible, and the mouth must be closed.
  • The top of the shoulders must be visible, and the head should fill around 70% of the photo.
  • The photo can be of the child sitting, being held, or lying on the floor. However, the hands of others cannot be visible in the photo.
  • The Korean visa photo size for children is the same as for adults.

The passport you use to travel to South Korea must be the same one used to complete the ETA application form. Dual nationals with multiple passports (dual nationality) should keep this in mind.

How Much Does A K-ETA Cost?

The K-ETA application fee is 10,000 KRW per person (9-10 USD, additional charges aren't included), and you can pay the fee with one of the global online payment-enabled international credit cards or debit cards. Note that the application fee is non-refundable after payment is made, regardless of the result of the application.

How Can I Apply For A K-ETA For South Korea?

Applying for a K-ETA for South Korea is very straightforward. I'll take you through the application process in a step-by-step guide.

You can also use other apps like Atlys to apply for your K-ETA.

Step 1: Access the website

First, you need to access the website you use to apply. Then, you'll see that you must choose your nationality and agree to the Terms and Conditions.

Step 2: Provide your email address

Next, you need to provide a valid email address. This is the address they'll use to contact you, so make sure it's correct. You must also provide your passport number.

Step 3: Enter passport information

Next, you need to provide your passport information. The relevant information they'll need includes:

  • Your passport biodata page.
  • Surname and name (in English).
  • The expiration date of your passport.

Step 4: Enter application information

Next, you need to complete the K-ETA application form. You need to provide information like your name, address, hotel bookings, flight information, arrival date, and exit date.

Step 5: Pay the application fee

Lastly, you must pay the visa application fee (mentioned earlier in this post). The payment is a secure online payment with a credit or debit card. Now all you need to do is wait for the results. They'll send you an email detailing whether or not you got your K-ETA. If you get your K-ETA, you must print it out to show Immigration officials at your point of entry.

You can check your K-ETA application results on the same website you used to apply.

How Long Does It Take To Process A K-ETA?

You'll find out about your K-ETA status in 24 hours. However, it can take 2 business days.

You must apply for your K-ETA at least 72 hours before your flight.

What Are The Covid-19 Entry Requirements For South Korea?

The entry requirements for South Korea aren't as strict as they used to be. All passengers over 6 must have a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR test) taken within 2 days before departure. Unvaccinated passengers should quarantine for 7 days after arrival. Passengers are exempt from quarantine if they're fully vaccinated 14-180 days before arrival or more than 180 days before arrival but have also received a booster. Register your vaccination details online and receive a QR code to present on arrival. Transit through South Korea is currently limited to 24 hours. Those transiting to China must enter South Korea to get a green QR code with an “HDC” mark. Visa exemptions for several nationalities are suspended, with some exceptions. Check the requirements for travelers of different nationalities to enter the country according to the South Korean visa policy.

Make sure that you check the covid-19 entry restrictions for the country you're going to after South Korea.

The pandemic is ever-changing, so I recommend you keep up to date on all the covid-19 travel restriction changes.

That's it!

Now you can seamlessly apply for your K-ETA and enjoy your visit or business trip to South Korea. If you're there for business, make sure you have time to see some attractions. South Korea is really beautiful!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Extend My K-Eta Period Of Stay After I Arrive In South Korea?

In principle, foreign nationals cannot stay in Korea beyond the period of stay granted upon entry. If you want to stay long-term, you need to obtain an appropriate visa at a diplomatic mission of the Republic of Korea. Those who enter Korea visa-free with a K-ETA can stay up to the visa-free sojourn period granted to their country per visit.

When I Upload My Photo, It Says That The File Size Limit Exceeded. What Should I Do?

There is a limitation with the file sizes because numerous K-ETA applications globally are being submitted. Therefore, the sizes of the portrait photos need to be less than 100KB and 700 pixels. However, if you find it difficult to resize the photos, you can install the mobile application (K-ETA) to take the pictures. The app will resize the photo automatically, and you can upload it instantly.

You can install the mobile application (K-ETA) from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android Phone).

Do I Need A K-ETA If I Have Both Korean and Foreign Nationality?

According to the Korean Government, those who have Korean nationality must use a Korean passport to enter and leave the Republic of Korea. In this case, they do not need to apply for K-ETA.

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