Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) South Korea will fully restore visa-free entry privileges from Nov. 1 for travelers from eight countries and territories, including Taiwan, Japan, and Macau, on the basis of reciprocity, the country’s health authorities said Wednesday.
The Korea Disease Prevention and Control Agency (KDCA) said at a press conference that the new rules had been introduced following consultations with the country’s justice ministry and other relevant agencies.
Under the new rules, travelers from Taiwan, Japan, and Macau, as well as the Pacific Island nations of Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, Samoa, and Tonga, will be allowed to enter Korea without a visa from Nov. 1, the KDCA said.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization’s Taipei branch, however, travelers from Taiwan will still be required to apply online for a K-ETA travel authorization at least 72 hours before their departure.
K-ETA authorization costs KRW10,000, or around NT$230 (US$7.18), and is valid for multiple entries within a two-year period, the organization said in a Facebook post.
South Korea has used the principle of reciprocity to guide several of its COVID-era travel policies.
In April 2021, the country suspended visa-free entry for 91 countries and territories, including Taiwan, which had placed entry restrictions on Korean passport holders.
When it reopened to international travel in August, it offered temporary visa-free entry permits, valid through Oct. 31, to countries such as Taiwan and Japan which, at the time, had yet to reopen to South Korean travelers.
Prior to the pandemic, Taiwan and South Korea each accounted for the other’s third-largest group of inbound tourists by nationality, with over 500 flights between the two countries per week.
In 2019, the number of South Koreans visiting Taiwan reached 1.24 million, while around 1.21 million Taiwanese visited that country.
(By Wang Shu-fen and Matthew Mazzetta)
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