OWL Magazine Korea

Visa (Entry Permit) for Residence

South Korea ranks second in the world for passport power. The only countries with a joint top ranking in passport power above South Korea are Singapore and Japan. Following Singapore and Japan, South Korea shares the second position with Finland and Germany.

“With just a South Korean passport, you can visit most countries visa-free.”

Thanks to the significant power of the South Korean passport, holders can enter 188 countries visa-free or with a visa on arrival for short visits. However, there is an irony that, despite this, China, a neighboring country, requires a visa for entry.

“Visa: What is it?”

A visa is a diplomatic endorsement recommending a foreigner’s right to enter and stay in the host country. It can be likened to a form of permission or a strong recommendation.

At the visa-issuing authority, the recommendation contains a statement like, “We believe that the visa applicant is qualified to enter our country under these conditions. Please grant entry to this person based on trust.” Even if a visa is issued, entry can still be denied based on the judgment of the immigration officer.

“In practice, South Koreans can visit almost all countries without a visa, except for China and Mongolia.”

In practice, with the exception of countries like China and Mongolia, South Koreans can travel to nearly all countries without requiring a visa. While some Middle Eastern and African countries may require a visa or prohibit entry, such places are relatively uncommon travel destinations.

“Visa Procedures for Traveling to China and Mongolia”

  • China:
    • Address: 6th Floor, Seoul Square, 416 Hangang-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul
    • Phone Number: 1670-1888
    • Application Method: Apply online, then visit the visa issuance center. For groups of 2 or more, recommend applying for a group visa with the same airline and schedule.
    • Required Documents: Passport with at least 6 months validity, visa application form, passport photo
    • Application Hours: (Regular Visa – Issued approximately 4 days after application) 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM / (Express Visa – Issued in approximately 2 days) 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
    • Fees: Single entry regular application – KRW 55,000 / Single entry express application – KRW 89,000
    • Note: Apply one month before intended entry (However, applying more than 3 months in advance is not possible)
    • Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Korea Website: http://kr.china-embassy.org/eng/lshyw/lsyw/
  • Mongolia:
    • Address: 49 Hangang-daero, Seoul
    • Phone Numbers: 02-792-5985 / 02-792-5986
    • Application Method: Pay the visa fee through a bank account, retain the paper deposit slip. Apply for a visa, then visit the center 2-3 days later to collect the visa.
    • Required Documents: Passport with at least 6 months validity, 1 passport photo, deposit slip for visa fee
    • Application Hours: (Mon-Fri) 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM / 3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
    • Fee: KRW 15,000
    • Embassy of Mongolia in the Republic of Korea Website: http://www.mongolembassy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99&Itemid=33&lang=en

Nowadays, when traveling abroad with a South Korean passport, most countries can be visited without a visa. However, for some countries like China and Mongolia, visa issuance is still required. Therefore, it’s important not to forget about obtaining a visa when visiting these countries.