Do South Korean Citizens Require a Visa for USA Travel?

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Welcome to the heart of global innovation and diversity! Are you a South Korean citizen dreaming about exploring the sprawling cities and breathtaking landscapes of America? Whether it’s to feel the hustle of New York, the glamour of Los Angeles, or the political heartbeat in Washington D.C., your American adventure is within reach, and it might be easier than you think to get there.

South Korea is one of the privileged countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), allowing its citizens to travel to the United States for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa. Instead, they can take advantage of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for a hassle-free travel experience. Let’s dive into what South Korean citizens need to know before embarking on their American dream trip.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for South Korean Citizens

As a South Korean citizen, you’ll be thrilled to know that obtaining the necessary authorization to travel to the US is a straightforward online process. The ESTA is not a visa; rather, it is a travel authorization that vets travelers before they board an aircraft bound for the U.S. This system enhances the security of both the travelers and the country while making travel more efficient.

Getting an ESTA is as simple as following these steps:

  • Fill out our easy-to-use online application form. The application takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to have your passport handy.
  • Submit & Pay for your application. We accept all payment types. PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay & Credit Card.
  • Get your ESTA emailed to you within 72hrs. We’ll email you your approved travel authorisation and that’s it, you’re ready to go!

If you’re in a hurry, we’ve got you covered. Choose from our expedited processing options at checkout for swift results.

Remember that while an ESTA is required for air and sea travelers, it’s also recommended for those crossing land borders to have it for smoother entry into the U.S.

Eligibility and Validity of ESTA for South Korean Citizens

Before proceeding with your application, ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements for an ESTA. As a South Korean citizen, you are eligible if you’re traveling to the U.S.:

  • For tourism, business, or while in transit
  • For not more than 90 days
  • With a return or onward ticket
  • With a passport valid for the duration of your stay

It’s important to note that your ESTA is valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. During this period, you can enter the U.S. multiple times without reapplying, provided each visit does not exceed 90 days.

For the complete list of countries in the Visa Waiver Program, refer to our detailed guide on VWP Countries.

What You Need for Your ESTA Application

Applying for your ESTA is a quick and efficient process; however, being prepared with the following information will help streamline your application:

  • A valid electronic passport from a VWP country with a digital chip containing biometric information
  • A valid credit card or other accepted payment method to pay the application fee
  • Contact information and your most recent employment information, if applicable

Processing Time and Fees

The standard processing time for an ESTA application is typically within 72 hours. However, we recommend applying at least 72 hours before your departure to ensure everything is in order. The cost involves an application fee, which covers the processing and authorization.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can my ESTA be revoked?
A: Yes, an ESTA can be revoked if the U.S. authorities find that you no longer meet the requirements for visa-free travel.

Q: What if I’m denied an ESTA?
A: If your ESTA application is denied, you may apply for a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Q: Does an approved ESTA guarantee entry into the U.S.?
A: No, an approved ESTA does not guarantee entry; final authorization is granted by Customs and Border Protection officers upon arrival.

Q: Can I extend my stay in the U.S. with an ESTA?
A: You cannot extend your stay beyond 90 days under the VWP. Overstaying may result in being barred from future U.S. entry.


For South Korean citizens looking forward to experiencing the vastness and vibrancy of the United States, utilizing the ESTA program is a fast and simple process that grants access to a world of opportunities. Whether you’re visiting for business, pleasure, or in transit, ensure you have your travel authorization before departure to enjoy a seamless entry into the U.S. Ready to get started? You can easily apply here for your travel authorization.

With an ESTA in hand, you’re not just opening the door to the United States; you’re unlocking a trip filled with memories that will last a lifetime. Ensure your travel plans are safe and authorized – apply for your ESTA well in advance and travel with peace of mind.

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