Beginning June 1, long-term foreign residents of South Korea who plan to leave South Korea will need to first obtain a re-entry permit or face cancellation of their alien registration. Then, before returning to South Korea, they will need to undergo a medical exam and present a written diagnosis to immigration officials when they arrive in South Korea.
According to the Ministry of Justice, “[R]egistered aliens who are seeking re-entry into the ROK after departure are required to obtain a Re-Entry Permit in accordance with Article 30 of the Immigration Act, and leaving the Republic of Korea without a Re-Entry Permit will result in cancellation of Alien Registration.”
Until now, the requirement for a re-entry permit has been waived for most long-term residents. The new requirements are being called temporary by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but they will remain in effect until further notice.
The re-entry permit can be obtained at a local immigration office, including at the airport, prior to departure.
Before returning to South Korea, residents must undergo a medical exam related to COVID-19 symptoms. The exam must take place within 48 hours of departing for South Korea.
According to the Ministry of Justice, “A diagnosis must be written either in Korean or English and be issued by an authorized local medical institute. It must include the date of examination, and the presence or absence of fever, cough, chills, headache, difficulty of breathing, muscle pain and pulmonary symptoms, and must be signed by a medical examiner.”
Although the exam does not require a COVID-19 test, a negative result on a COVID-19 test will be deemed valid.
The new rules will not apply to Diplomats (A-1), Government Officials (A-2, A-3) and Overseas Koreans (F-4).
When returning from overseas, long-term residents will, like all arrivals, be tested for COVID-19 and undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine.
South Korea reported 16 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The number of current cases in the country stands at 713.