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Gyeongbokgung Palace. (Korean Culture Center photo)
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — South Korean authorities on Wednesday (Oct. 19) said the country will resume visa-free entry for travelers from eight more countries and regions, including Taiwan, Japan, and Macau starting on Nov. 1.
As the pandemic eases and cases in South Korea have been on the decline since peaking on Aug. 17, the government has relaxed epidemic prevention restrictions, such as ending all mask rules and the PCR test requirement for inbound travelers. On Wednesday, Yonhap News Agencyit was reported the government will resume visa-free treatment for eight additional countries and regions.
The government said that it will resume visa-free entry for three Asian countries and regions including Taiwan, Japan, and Macau, as well as five Pacific Island countries, including the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, Samoa, and Tonga. The visa waiver is being applied to these countries as they have resumed visa-free travel for South Korean citizens who enter their countries.
South Korea had already tentatively provided access to travelers from Taiwan, Japan, and Macau — a measure that was temporarily in effect from August to the end of October. This new announcement indefinitely extends visa-free privileges to all eight countries and regions.
The addition of these eight countries and regions brings the number of reciprocating countries and regions afforded visa-free access to 91. This marks the first time in two years and six months that all bans on visa-free travel to South Korea have been lifted.
Before the pandemic, there had been 500 direct flights between Taiwan and South Korea per week, with both countries being each other's third-largest source of tourists. In 2019, before the pandemic, more than 1.24 million South Koreans visited Taiwan and combined visits between the two countries exceeded 2.45 million.
At the start of the pandemic, the government suspended visa-free entry for travelers from Japan on March 9, 2020. It then temporarily suspended visa-free entry to visitors from other countries and regions that banned entry for South Korean nationals on April 13 of that year.

Updated : 2022-10-26 05:54 GMT+08:00
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