- General Info
- Health Risks
- Security Concerns
- Weather Notes
- Electrical Standards
- Visa Info
- Time Zone
After World War II, a republic was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed in the north. During the Korean War (1950-1953), US and other UN forces intervened to defend South Korea from North Korean attacks supported by the Chinese. An armistice was signed in 1953, splitting the Peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth with per capita income rising to roughly 20 times the level of North Korea. South Korea has maintained its commitment to democratize its political processes. In June 2000, a historic first North-South summit took place between the South's President KIM Dae-jung and the North's leader KIM Chong-il.
Source: CIA World Factbook
The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in East Asia depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. You should observe the precautions listed in this document in most areas of this region. However, in highly developed areas of Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan, you should observe health precautions similar to those that would apply while traveling in the United States.
Travelers diarrhea, the number one illness in travelers, can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.
Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Travelers to some areas in China, Hong Kong S.A.R. (China), North Korea, and South Korea may be at risk for malaria. Travelers to malaria-risk areas in China, North Korea, and South Korea should take an antimalarial drug. The risk of malaria in Hong Kong S.A.R. is so limited that taking an antimalarial drug is not recommended. There is no risk of malaria in Japan, Taiwan, Macao S.A.R. (China), and Mongolia.
Dengue, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, and plague are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.
If you visit the Himalayan Mountains, ascend gradually to allow time for your body to adjust to the high altitude, which can cause insomnia, headaches, nausea, and altitude sickness. In addition, use sunblock rated at least SPF 15, because the risk of sunburn is greater at high altitudes.
There is no risk for yellow fever in East Asia. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.
CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):
See your doctor at least 46 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG), except travelers to Japan.
- Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
- Japanese encephalitis, only if you plan to visit rural areas for 4 weeks or more, except under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.
- Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
- Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
- As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 1112 years who did not receive the series as infants.
- Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an absolute 1-micron or less filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. Absolute 1-micron filters are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
- If you visit an area where there is risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
- Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
- Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
- Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
- Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
- Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
- DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
- Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
- To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
SAFETY AND SECURITY: In recent years, the U.S. Embassy and U.S. military installations throughout the Republic of Korea have taken steps to increase security at all facilities. U.S. citizens in the Republic of Korea should review their own personal security practices, be alert to any unusual activity around their homes or businesses, and report any significant incidents to local police.
Political, labor, and student demonstrations and marches have on occasion become confrontational and/or violent. In September 2002, three U.S. soldiers were confronted by a group of activists on a train, and one of the soldiers was forcibly taken to an anti-American demonstration and held against his will for three hours. Later that month, firebombs were hurled at a U.S. military installation near Uijongbu. In October 2002, a group of seven demonstrators climbed over the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and attempted to set the American flag on fire. On March 26, 2003, two protestors unfurled an anti-war banner on top of the Embassy’s wall and another two lowered themselves into the Embassy compound and moved toward the Embassy entrance before being subdued. Military police apprehended 14 protestors on June 6, 2003, who breached the perimeter of a US military installation in Seoul intending to hang banners and ROK flags from a tower. On July 25, 2003, protestors breached the wall of a US military installation but failed in their attempt to burn the US flag. On August 7, 2003, protestors burned a US flag and threw small bottles of paint at a US military facility in Seoul.
Although the Republic of Korea is generally safe, American citizens in the Republic of Korea can minimize personal risks to themselves and their property by exercising caution and avoiding areas in which demonstrations are being held, as well as by avoiding confrontation with protestors.
Transnational Terrorism: American citizens visiting Korea or traveling overseas should review the official State Department website (www.state.gov) for updated travel warning information. American citizens should exercise caution in visiting locations frequented by other foreign tourists due to the potential for terrorist acts.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul will continue to keep the U.S. community informed of any changes in the overall security situation. To hear a recording of the most up-to-date security information affecting U.S. citizens in Korea, please call (011-82-02)-397-4114 and press the following series of numbers: 1,1,1,7. In addition, notices concerning security matters will also be broadcast on AFN television and radio. The Embassy encourages all U.S. citizens to register their presence in Korea with the American Citizens Services office at the U.S. Embassy, telephone (011-82-02)-397-4114, fax (011-82-02)-397-4101 and Internet address http://www.usembassy.state.gov/seoul or http://www.asktheconsul.org/.
CRIME INFORMATION: Although the crime rate in the Republic of Korea is low, in major metropolitan areas, such as Seoul and Pusan, there is a higher incidence of pickpocketing, purse snatching, assaults, hotel room burglaries, and residential crime, and foreigners can be targeted. U.S citizens are more likely to be targeted in known tourist areas, like Itaewon and other large market areas. Incidents of rape have recently increased in popular nightlife districts in Seoul. Travelers should exercise caution when traveling alone at night and should use only legitimate taxis, such as black-colored cabs, or public transportation, such as subway or bus service. Americans should stay alert, be aware of personal surroundings and exercise caution. Travelers may reduce the likelihood of encountering incidents of crime by exercising the same type of security precautions they would take when visiting any large city in the United States.
The emergency number to
reach the police anywhere in South Korea is 112. English interpreters may
be available. The Korean National Police (KNP) operates a Central Interpretation
Center (CIC) where foreigners can report incidents of crime. The CIC is available
on a twenty-four hour, seven-day-a-week basis. In Seoul, its telephone number
is 313-0842; outside Seoul, its number is (02) 313-0842.
The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, “A Safe Trip Abroad,” for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html or via the Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
Source: U.S. Department of State
temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter
Source: CIA World Factbook
Republic of Korea's, electrical current is 110/60*220/60 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items.
To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.
For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. Visas are not required for tourist stays up to thirty days. However, visas are required for all business visits. Generally, individuals staying in Korea for longer than 90 days must apply for an Alien Registration Card. Changes of status from one type of visa to another (from tourism to teaching, for example) are normally not granted in South Korea. Individuals who stay in Korea longer than the period authorized by Korean immigration are subject to fines and may be required to pay the fines before departing the country. Individuals who plan to stay longer than the period authorized must apply to Korean immigration for an extension in advance.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, the Korean government has initiated special procedures at entry/exit points. Parents or legal guardians must present documentary evidence of their relationship to the child with whom they are traveling and permission for the child to travel from the absent parent or legal guardian. Having such documentation on hand may facilitate entry/departure.
For further information on entry requirements, please contact the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea at 2320 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 939-5660 or via the Korean Embassy Internet home page at http://www.koreaembassyusa.org/. South Korean Consulates are also located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Guam, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a web site with a directory of all Korean diplomatic missions worldwide at http://www.mofat.go.kr/mission/missions_map_en.mof.
While active-duty U.S. military personnel may enter South Korea under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with proper Department of Defense (DOD) identification and travel orders, every SOFA family-member, civilian employee and contractor must have a valid passport and, in some cases, a SOFA visa to enter Korea. Active duty military personnel should obtain a tourist passport prior to leaving the U.S. to accommodate off-duty travel elsewhere in Asia. DOD travelers should consult the DOD Foreign Clearance Guide before leaving the U.S.
South Korea's new Incheon International Airport is about one to two hours' drive, depending on traffic, from the Seoul city center. There are no subways or railways connecting the Incheon International Airport to Seoul, but buses and taxis are available.
Source: U.S. Department of State
The time zone for Korea, Republic of is 9 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Korea, Republic of would be 2:00 am
The unit of currency in Korea, Republic of is the South Korean won (KRW).
Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter
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