At last, there is good news for those who travel to South Korea. As of today, September 3, 2022, a pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR and Rapid Antigen test will be scrapped. Although all citizens and visitors still need to take a PCR test within a day after arriving at the airport or local hospitals, entry to the country just got much easier.
South Korea Removes Pre-Arrival COVID-19 Test
Here’s an official statement from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency:
South Korea was one of the strictest countries to take COVID-19 measures up until now but on August 31, the South Korean government announced that it would suspend the mandatory COVID-19 test before entering Korea from September 3rd, Korean time. This is due to the decreased rate of infection as well as one step to welcome the endemic.
As a result, all Koreans arriving in Korea by plane or ship after midnight on the 3rd, as well as foreigners, do not have to submit PCR (genetic amplification) negative confirmation. This measure applies regardless of the history of COVID-19 vaccination or the country of departure.
However, regardless of this measure, the obligation to conduct PCR tests within one day after entering Korea will be maintained. After entering the country, only PCR tests will be accepted and the Rapid Antigen tests (RATs) will still be not recognized.
Where to Take the Arrival PCR Test
Koreans and long-term foreigners can receive PCR tests free of charge at public health centers but foreigners with short-term visas or stays must undergo tests at the airport COVID test centers or local medical institutions at their own expense within 24 hours of arrival.
The most convenient way to take the arrival test is at the airport and the price is around 80.000KRW or US$60 which is still considered quite expensive but it saves you time finding clinics that give PCR tests to foreigners.
Registering the Result on Q-code
Another mandatory thing all citizens and visitors must do is to upload the test result on the Q-code website. This is still a burden but as soon as you receive your test result, you must upload it online, or else the government might take legal action.
As of today, anyone entering South Korea does not require pre-arrival COVID-19 tests. This is a huge relief from the pressure of taking the PCR tests before arriving in Korea. While the post-arrival is still in effect, I believe, the government will follow and scrap the test in the coming months as more and more countries such as Singapore are easing the requirements.