General Info for Expats in Korea re COVID-19

by K4E Team, 20/04/2020

Updated 03 June: As of 01 June, all long-term foreign residents must apply for a re-entry permit before traveling overseas, and also obtain a medical certificate and/or Covid-19 test three days before boarding their flight to return to Korea. Note that this new regulation does not apply to foreign born ethnic Koreans even if they are foreign nationals. The visa re-entry permit can be applied for online. Foreign residents traveling for academic, business or research purposes and who are not outside Korea for 3 weeks or less may be exempted from the medical certificate requirement. 

Updated 12 May: COVID-19 updates in Seoul by District. See here (What's Going On/About Korea)

Updated 27 April: Hi Korea announced that the government has expanded the eligibility of foreign residents for purchasing publicly-supplied face masks. See here for details (What's Going On / Other)

Updated 22 April: Partial softening of social distancing guidelines - see below for more details.

Following is general information (regulations, guidelines, services, etc) that may be of interest to foreign nationals in Korea during this pandemic.

22 April Update: The government is conditionally allowing bars, churches, cram schools (hagwons) and gyms to re-open. Some musicals and plays are also set to perform. However, state-run art and history museums, national theatres and libraries willl remain closed for the foreseeable future.

20 April Update
Marriage immigrants and permanent residents in Gyeonggi Province
are eligible to receive an income supplement (see below for more details)
SMG COVID-19 response webpage: To see the practices of COVID-19 response by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, visit CAC (Cities Against COVID-19) webpage.

Tracking the coronavirus in South Korea: This COVID-19 tracker combines numbers for both recovered (green bar) and active cases (blue bar) and important social and political events ((the coloured circles you can hover over to read more about).  COVID-19 Tracker.

COVID-19 Webpage: The Seoul City government launched an English webpage to make it easier for foreign residents in the capital to access key information on the novel coronavirus. The webpage provides updates on the tally of novel coronavirus cases by district, a travel log of confirmed patients, the locations of virus testing facilities, behavioral rules and the government’s quarantine measures for foreign residents, among other information. 

Social Distance Campaign extended to 5 May: In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you are asked to maintain social (physical) distance by following these rules:
1. Refrain from going outdoors and avoid physical contact with others
2. Keep in touch with people by using social media measures instead of meeting them in person.
3. Wash your hands frequently (always before and after you go out) for at least 20 seconds. For more on effective hand washing, see this video.
4. When you go out, wear a mask or some form of face covering.

"Self-Quarantine Safety" app
You can download the "Self-Quarantine Safety" app that provides tips for self-quarantine. If you have an i-Phone or i-Pad you can scan the QR code below to install the app and observe the tips for self-quarantine. (K4E has heard back that the QR code does not work on android phones.) 

Register with your Embassy:
Canadian citizens: The Canadian embassy asks for Canadians to do two things:
1. Go to this address to register or visit: []. (This allows them contact you instantly with information via email.) Note that when you register with the embassy, Canadian privacy laws should prevent your information being shared with any other government department.
2. If you have business with the embassy calling is more preferable then visitation. (Less contact means lowered risk).
For foreign nationals from other countries, visit your embassy's website.  

Masks: Because of the heavy demand and limited supply, the Korean government has implemented restrictions regarding the purchase of masks. There is a limit off 2 masks per person per week in the pharmacies where one can buy masks, which are sold to individuals on a particular day of the week based on the last digit of their birth year. 
For more details including the schedule for purchases, free masks source for foreigners who cannot buy and more, visit the K4E Events -Info section here.

Cash Payments for Foreign Residents:
in Ansan
: While Korean nationals and foreigners married to Korean nationals will receive cash payments from the government, only the city of Ansan will also be including foreigners not married to Koreans in the payouts. They will receive 70% of what Korean nationals receive - W70,000. The president has received a petition demanding the government pay emergency relief funds to foreign residents. See more details in Korea Herald

in Gyeonggi-do: Marriage immigrants and permanent residents in Gyeonggi Province are eligible to receive an income supplement - illegal immigrants and short term foreign residents not included. Eligible foreign residents can apply for W100,000 prepaid cards by visiting local community welfare centers after mid-May. Approval is expected to take 3-5 days for the cards, which should be ready to use by late May.

Additional information can be found in our What's Going On section

Free Counselling       
Buying Masks      


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