Disclaimer: ESTA.us provides information about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This website is privately-owned and not affiliated with the U.S. Government. We link out to third-party websites that process ESTA applications for an additional processing fee. Visitors can choose between using a private company or the official government portal to submit their travel authorization: esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta

ESTA Application Online for Citizens of South Korea

This page is available in the following languages: ENGLISH | KOREAN

Country: South Korea

Capital: Seoul

ESTA Required: Yes

South Korea joined the United States of America’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in November 2008. Not long after, the U.S. launched its Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA) which meant that South Korean citizens could simply go online to apply for a 90 day stay in the U.S. without holding a visa. Suddenly, traveling to the U.S. became a breeze compared to how it was in the past.

The ESTA grants up to a 90 days stay in the U.S. and can be used multiple times as long as it is valid. However, it is only valid for two years at a time. Also, the ESTA can only be used for the purpose of business, tourism (including medical purposes), and to participate in non-credit study programs.

Being part of the Visa Waiver Program, and staying in it, is important for South Korea. Moreover, all South Koreans benefit from it when traveling to the U.S. Read more about ESTA here: ESTA Application.

U.S. Immigration statistics for visitors from South Korea (as of 2017):

  • The total amount of visitors from South Korea: 2 510 988
  • Approved ESTA applications: 2 223 813
  • Students and exchange visitors: 125 827
  • Temporary workers and family-related applications: 48 254
  • Diplomats and other official representatives: 7 618
  • Other types of visitor categories: 4 238

Entry requirements (passport related):

South Korean citizens wishing to travel to the United States MUST hold a valid South Korean passport -- information on how to obtain a South Korean passport can be found here via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Flying from Incheon International Airport

Flights from Incheon International Airport go to all major U.S cities. Depending on where you’re visiting, flights can range from just under $800 (USD) to almost $5000 (USD). Flights to Los Angeles hover around $800, while Seattle is your next cheapest option at $937. Most other city destination stay anywhere from $1000-$2000 (USD) with Augusta, Georgia, costing a whopping $4,850 (USD).

For more information on getting to Incheon, and flight information, please visit the airport website.

Flying from Gimpo International Airport

Flights from Gimpo International Airport also fly to most major U.S cities, however the cost of flights are slightly more expensive on average, with the most expensive being a flight to Aberdeen, Washington costing a stunning $5,212 (USD), and the least expensive being a flight to Arcata, California for $1,297 (USD).

When should citizens of South Korea apply for ESTA?

The essential items for visiting the U.S. would be your passport, your flight tickets, and your ESTA or visa. So, make sure you apply for your ESTA as early as possible. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security made it mandatory to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before flying off to the United States. This puts further emphasize on applying as early as possible. Denied ESTA applicants have to apply for a tourist visa, which means a visit to the nearest U.S. Embassy will be necessary. This could be time-consuming and stressful to deal with if you apply in the very last minute.

Travelers from South Korea with an approved ESTA can check its status or make updates. Visit these pages for more information: Verify ESTA, Update ESTA.


Quick facts for South Korea

South Koreans can apply for ESTA online

The ESTA is valid for 2 years for visitors from South Korea

South Koreans can stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days with an approved ESTA

South Korea’s overstay rate is only: 0.22%