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By No owner — last modified Sep 17, 2012 04:49 AM

 South Korea - Formalities

Clearance

Entry formalities and dealings with officials can be difficult and time-consuming, as very few officials speak English or any other foreign language.

Because of the delicate nature of South Korea's relations with North Korea, the military authorities are extremely suspicious of any foreign vessel. Also, as it is forbidden to sail in South Korean waters at night, it is essential to time your arrival in daylight (and be well clear of South Korean waters by nightfall).

Although no cruising permit is required, it is necessary to clear in and out with the coast guard at every stop and one is also likely to be stopped by various patrol boats belonging to the Navy, coastguard, marines or Customs. Generally, though, the officials are friendly.

North Korea has escalated their missile testing, which includes unannounced missile launches into the Sea of Japan. Be aware of this while transiting this area.

Last updated July 2017.

Immigration

All visitors must have a passport valid for at least 3 months.

Visa regulations change frequently and although currently visitors from many countries may visit for up to 90 days without a visa, it is recommended that anyone planning to visit South Korea by yacht should obtain a visa in advance. Websites such as VisaHQ can assist with this process.

• Citizens of Canada may stay up to 180 days without a visa.
• Citizens of the European Union (except Cyprus, Portugal and the French territory of New Caledonia), Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Singapore, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United States/American Samoa (except Guam), Uruguay, and Venezuela can visit visa free for up to 90 days.
• Citizens from Lesotho, Portugal, and Russia can visit visa free for up to 60 days.
• Citizens of Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Cyprus, Egypt, Fiji, Guam, Guyana, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kuwait, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Monaco, Montenegro, F.S. Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Oman, Palau, Paraguay, Qatar, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Swaziland, Tonga, Tunisia, Tuvalu, the United Arab Emirates, and Vatican City can stay visa free for up to 30 days.

There are South Korean embassies in most capitals and also consulates in neighbouring countries, such as Japan, where there are consulates in Kobe, Shimonoseki and Fukuoka, the latter being reported as the most efficient in granting a visa.

Check Korean Immigration website for more information.

For those whose passports contain evidence of visits to North Korea, special permission is needed to visit, and one should apply for a visa at least one month in advance.

Extensions are difficult to obtain. If longer than a 90-day stay is planned, a special long-term visa must be obtained in advance and one will have to apply for a residence certificate at the local immigration office.

Carry some form of identification at all times.

All citizens worldwide (except from Afghanistan, Cuba, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Macedonia, Nigeria, Palestine, Sudan, and Syria) can visit the special autonomous region of Jeju visa-free for up to 30 days. However, upon exiting Jeju, standard visa requirements for South Korea are required.

Last updated July 2017.

Customs

Firearms must be declared.

Everything brought into the country must also leave the country.

Valuables should be declared on arrival.

Foreign or Korean currency valued at over US$10,000 (including traveler's or bank checks) must be declared to a customs official.

Special approval is needed from the Art & Antiques Assessment Office to export antiques and valuable cultural items.

Last updated July 2017.

Health

June 2015: Confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported in the Republic of Korea (ROK). ROK officials have placed screening arrangements for travellers arriving or transiting from countries affected by MERS-CoV and individuals who display symptoms of MERS-CoV will be subject to quarantine by ROK health authorities.

Yellow dust pollution is common in South Korea during spring months and the concentration levels of dust particles can be very high. Also during this time in spring there’s a risk of tick-borne disease across Korea.

Medical and dental care in South Korea is usually of a good standard but can be expensive. Staff may not speak English.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that all travelers to South Korea update their vaccines. Some areas of the country have Malaria during the summer months.

If cruising in South Korea for more than one month and plan to spend time in rural areas, it is suggested to receive a vaccination for Japanese Encephalitis.

Restrictions

It is forbidden to sail in South Korean waters at night.

Avoid the various firing ranges, which are not always clearly marked.

The Sea of Japan to the east of the Korean peninsula is susceptible to random ballistic missile tests from North Korea.

Pets

An up-to-date health certificate for all animals must be shown. Cats and dogs need a rabies vaccination certificate from one's country of origin and must spend 10 days in quarantine.

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