The Essential Guide to USA Transit Visas for South Korean Citizens

Welcome to the United States, a land rich in diversity and brimming with opportunities for exploring unique landscapes, immense cultural hubs, and innovative icons. As a South Korean national planning a trip that includes a layover in the USA, understanding your transit visa requirements is crucial. Whether you’re basking in the urban dazzle of cities like New York and Los Angeles or anticipating your next destination, it’s essential to ensure your transit smoothly adheres to US immigration policies.

Below we delve into the specific needs for South Koreans in transit through the US, discussing the visa options available and providing a quick guide on how to secure your travel authorization with ease.

Understanding the Visa Requirements for Transit through the USA

Thankfully for South Korean citizens, the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) simplifies transit through the United States. Under this program, you may not need a traditional visa for short stays or transiting purposes; instead, an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) can suffice.

With an ESTA, your transit through the USA becomes smooth and hassle-free, as it’s designed to streamline entry for travelers from VWP countries like South Korea. However, even for a brief stopover, obtaining this travel authorization before your journey is mandatory.

Applying for an ESTA as a South Korean National

To secure your transit arrangements, follow these straightforward ESTA application steps:

  1. Fill out the online application form. Keep your passport within reach, and set aside approximately 10 minutes for this process.
  2. Submit & Pay for your application. We accept a variety of payment methods, including PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Credit Card.
  3. Receive your ESTA. Check your email within 72 hours for your approved travel authorization, and you’ll be all set for your transit.

In the event that you’re in a rush, we offer expedited processing options at checkout to accommodate your schedule.

Benefits of ESTA for South Korean Travelers

There are several benefits to using an ESTA for your United States transit:

  • Convenience: Application is entirely online, eliminating trips to the embassy.
  • Speed: Fast processing times mean you can have your authorization within 72 hours, often sooner.
  • Multiple Entries: Valid for up to two years or until your passport expires, allowing for numerous transits or visits to the USA.

FAQs for South Korean Nationals Transiting through the USA

Do South Koreans Need a Visa to Transit the USA?

No, South Koreans can transit through the USA with an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program. For more information on VWP countries, please visit our dedicated VWP page.

How Long Can I Stay in the US on an ESTA?

An ESTA allows you to stay for up to 90 days per entry, be it for transit, tourism, or business purposes.

Is An ESTA Guaranteed to Be Approved?

While ESTA has a high approval rate, it is not guaranteed. Always apply well in advance of your transit date to allow time for an alternative visa application if necessary.

What If My Transit Involves a Brief Stay?

The ESTA covers transits that include short stays within the 90-day limit. Should your plans change and you wish to stay longer, you will need to apply for the appropriate visa.


In conclusion, South Korean nationals transiting through the USA have a streamlined process available via the ESTA. This efficient system ensures you won’t miss a beat on your journey. Just remember to apply before you travel to ensure a smooth transit. Safe travels, and we look forward to facilitating your trip through the United States.

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