SEOUL, April 29 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea will start the electronic travel authorization (ETA) system on Monday for nationals from some visa-waiver countries, the justice ministry said.
Under the new system, called K-ETA, visitors from visa-waiver countries will need to obtain an ETA at least 24 hours before getting on a plane or a ship bound for South Korea by submitting required information through a website or a mobile application, the Ministry of Justice said on Thursday.
For a group of visitors, one person can register up to 30 people.
The system is aimed at accelerating the entry process at airports and solving various side effects coming from lax screening processes, such as illegal stay, the ministry said in a press release.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, K-ETA will be available for the nationals of 21 out of a total of 112 visa-waiver countries, including the United States, Britain, Mexico and Ireland.
For the remaining 91 visa-waiver countries, those who visit Korea for special purposes, such as business, are still eligible for ETAs, the ministry said, adding that eligible countries are subject to change based on the COVID-19 situation.
K-ETA remains valid for up to two years, during which one can visit South Korea as many times as one wishes. Those with a valid ETA will be exempted from submitting an arrival card and can easily enter the country through ETA-only counters at airports.
A fee of 10,000 won (US$9) will be waived during the four-month pilot operation from May 3 to Aug. 31, the ministry said.