For the most part, if you're going to South Korea for a short stay, you need only a passport, if you are a tourist or business traveler. Certain situations require visas and some must be obtained prior to entry. Others must be obtained from a South Korean Consulate abroad and cannot be obtained in the country.
If you are planning to stay longer than 90 days, you must have a visa prior to entering the country. Certain countries (see Resources) have visa waiver agreements which are good if your stay is not for work or profit.
You must obtain a working visa (H-2) at a Korean embassy or consulate on foreign soil, before entering the country. If you entered the country on a tourist visa, and then decide you want to work there, you will have to leave the country, get the visa and then return to work.
Active duty military personnel need travel orders and proper Department of Defense identification. Civilians traveling with the military, must have a passport and an A-3 SOFA visa. You must get the visa before you arrive in Korea. Further information can be obtained at the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea at 2320 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, by telephone (202) 939-5660, or on the Korean Embassy website (see Resources).
Julie Segraves is a freelance writer and photographer. She has written for several community newspapers in Chicago and authors her own blog. Segraves graduated from Loyola University with a Bachelor's in sociology and a minor in criminal justice. She currently works in the IT field as a mainframe operations analyst and disaster recovery specialist.