Customs regulations for your trip to Republic of Korea

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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Customs regulations

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport (photo, entry stamp, & long term visa pages)
  • Detailed inventory / packing list (in English)
  • Copy of bill of lading (OBL) or sea waybill / air waybill (AWB)
  • Alien registration card (ARC) (from Korean Immigration Office)
  • Certificate of entry and exit (returning citizens and accompanying family members only)
  • Application for duty exemption issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Korea (diplomats)
  • Customs declaration form
  • Power of attorney

Specific Information

  • Passport copy should be a copy of the owner of the goods’ passport, and each of the accompanying family members.
  • The ARC must be valid for at least 12 months.
  • Goods must arrive at port of entry / airport of entry (POE / AOE) in Korea within 6 months of the owner of the goods’ arrival.
  • Clearance should take place at a Customs bonded warehouse (except for diplomats).
  • Personal effects cannot be Customs cleared prior to the owner of the goods’ arrival.
  • All incoming shipments, excluding diplomatic shipments, are subject to open inspection by the Korean Customs Authority.
    • However, even diplomats, due to container access restriction within Seoul’s four main gates area, must have containers de-vanned and trans-loaded to mover’s van but without inspection.
  • Evidence of at least 12 months abroad must be shown in passport (returning citizens).

Import regulations:

  1. Free import of 60 milliliters of perfume, goods for personal use and gifts up to a value of USD 600.-.
  2. Free import for persons of 19 years of age and older:
    – 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 20 milligrams of E-cigarettes or 250 grams of other tobacco products;
    – 1 liter (one bottle) of alcoholic beverages up to a value of USD 400.-.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Illegal drugs
  • Pornographic material
  • Counterfeit goods or materials
  • Subversive and treasonous materials
  • Weapons (including imitation), ammunition and explosive material (fireworks) only with permission from Commissioner General of National Police Agency
  • Drugs(Narcotics and Psychotropic substance)
  • Animals, plants and products thereof including foodstuff is subject to quarantine and may not be allowed to enter. For more information contact nearest embassy or consulate or appropriate authority –plant or animal for required certificates and prohibited items
  • Pets – valid good health certificates as well inoculation proofs are need. For a detailed outline of how the process of bringing your pet animal please see our Contact Tab
  • Endangered animals and plants and products thereof as outline by the CITES convention will require permit from CITES
  • Person carrying more than US$ 10,000 worth of any means of payment (cash, cheque etc.) needs to declare it to the customs. If you plan to bring large amount of money please contact nearest embassy for more detailed information.

Prohibited Items

  • The following household goods may be imported duty free by persons 19 years and older within the limits indicated:
    • Alcohol (1 L)
    • Cigarettes (200), cigars (50), tobacco (250 g)
    • Perfume (2 oz.)
    • Personal items (gifts, new items, etc. up to $400)
  • Firearms, ammunition, and explosive materials, including fireworks (permission from the Korean authorities is required)
  • Narcotic and psychotropic drugs
  • Animals
  • Foodstuff
    • Food items are allowed in sea shipments only.
    • If the owner of the goods is shipping food items ensure all food items are sealed and labeled.
    • Duty free entry for small amounts.
    • The shipment is subject to payment of 20% duty if total amount is too large for a household good shipment.
      • Check with destination agent for more details.
    • Plants and plant byproducts (subject to quarantine and approval by the authorities; denial of entry is possible)

Prohibited:

If arriving from countries with avian influenza outbreaks or other contagious livestock diseases: birds, chicken meat and all other animal products such as ham, sausages, beef jerky etc.
The list of import banned countries may change depending on the outbreak of diseases.
Restrictions:
If arriving from other countries: agricultural, livestock and food products must be declared and reported to the Quarantine Office at the airport. Items may require an import permit, and a phytosanitary and quarantine certificate from the exporting country. Upon arrival items may be subject to quarantine.
For more information, see here

Duty-free allowances for agricultural, forest, fishery and livestock products (oriental medicine materials) can be imported up to a total value of KRW 100,000.-. Item-specific quantity and/or weight limits apply, but total weight must be less than 50kg. For more information, see here

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Arms and Ammunition regulations:

Import of weaponry, arms and ammunition requires police permission obtained prior to travel.

Wild Fauna and Flora:

The import of certain endangered species of plant, live animals and their products is prohibited or restricted under CITES. For further details please refer to CITES: www.cites.org

Export regulations:

All baggage will be inspected against verbal declaration.
Prohibited: Korean antiques and curiosities, unless a certificate is attached by the Minister of Culture and Information.

Crew members customs regulations:

Same regulations as for passengers apply. However, the value of goods for personal use and gifts is limited to USD 150.-.

Pets:

Pets may enter as passenger’s luggage in the cabin, checked baggage or as cargo.

Birds may only be imported from Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom and USA.

Detailed information can be obtained from the Korean Quarantine Office.

Dogs and Cats: Animal health certificate issued by the veterinary authority of the exporting country is required, and must include a microchip identification number. Pets older than 90 days originating from rabies infected countries also require a result of an internationally approved rabies antibody test, carried out within 24 months prior to shipment.
Quarantine period:
a. dogs and cats aged 90 days or older, if:

  • identified with microchip and rabies antibody result was 0.5 IU/ml or higher: no quarantine required;
  • microchip not implanted: until microchip has been implanted;
  • rabies antibody test was not conducted or was below 0.5 IU/ml: until test shows a result of 0.5 IU/ml or higher after vaccination;

b. dogs and cats aged under 90 days or arriving from rabies free region: if

  • identified with microchip: no quarantine required;
  • microchip not implanted: until microchip has been implanted.

Microchips must be ISO-compliant (ISO11784 and 11785 standards). For any other chips, importers must bring their own microchip scanner.
Rabies free region are subject to change. Detailed information can be found at www.qia.go.kr or Tel: Gimpo Airport (GMP) 82226642601, Incheon Airport (ICN): 82327402660/1, Gimhae Airport (PUS): 82519711925, Muan Airport (MWX): 82629756033, Jeju Airport (CJU): 82647460761.
For a list of rabies testing authorized laboratories, see https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/pet-movement/approved-labs. The average quarantine period can be extended for 10 days, depending on the case.

Cats from Australia and cats and dogs from Malaysia require a certificate showing that the animal is free from the Hendra and Nipah virus. Without such certificate, the quarantine period will be extended by 21 days.

Baggage Clearance regulations:

Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Korea (Rep.). Baggage entering Korea (Rep.) can only be checked-in to the first international airport. Passengers connecting with domestic flights must clear their baggage and then recheck-in their baggage to their final destination. On average, clearance takes 1 hour.

Exempt: through checked baggage of transit passengers arriving at Incheon (ICN) with a final destination of Busan (PUS) or Daegu (TAE) connecting with:

  • Busan (PUS): Korean Air flights KE1401/1403/1405/1407 or Asiana Airlines flight OZ8531/8533;
  • Daegu (TAE): Korean Air flights KE1411/1413/1415.

Passenger must not clear immigration at ICN Airport but must proceed directly to the domestic transfer desk.
Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside of Korea (Rep.) if the onward flight is within 24 hours at Seoul Incheon (ICN) or on the same calendar day at all other airports.

Passengers whose unaccompanied baggage will arrive by a later flight are required to make a declaration to Customs and to obtain a “Clearance Record of Accompanied Baggage” at time of entry.

Currency

Currency Import regulations:

Allowed.
Residents: Local currency (Korean Won-KRW) up to KRW 8,000,000.-. Foreign currencies: as from 20 years of age: USD 10,000.-.

Non-residents: Local currency (Korean Won-KRW) up to KRW 8,000,000.-. Foreign currencies: unlimited, if declared on arrival. Amounts exceeding the equivalent of USD 10,000.- (including traveler’s cheques) must be accompanied by a “Declaration of Foreign Currencies” form.
No declaration is required for diplomats, diplomatic missions, US military personnel and those coming on official business (duty).

Currency Export regulations:

Allowed: local currency (Korean Won-KRW) up to KRW 8,000,000.-; foreign currencies up to the amount declared on import.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original title
  • Original registration certificate
  • Copy purchase receipt or invoice
  • Insurance policy documents
  • Detailed inventory (diplomats)
  • Customs duty exemption showing frame number, chassis number, engine number, model, and type (diplomats)

Specific Information

  • Vehicle must be listed on the inventory with full technical specifications (make, model, chassis number, plate number, etc.)
  • Insurance policy should be issued in Korea prior to removing the car from the Customs bonded warehouse.
  • In order to register and to drive in South Korea, the vehicle must pass the following Government tests:
    • Emission gas level test
    • Noise and vibration test
    • Type and model approval
  • Vehicles cannot be sold or transferred by a diplomat to a non-diplomatic individual for 3 years; however sale or transfer between diplomatic individuals is authorized.
    • If a vehicle is sold or transferred to a non-diplomatic individual by a diplomat, duties and taxes shall be charged by Korean Customs.
  • The vehicle must be identified on the detailed inventory.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Microchip installation showing below information:
  • Valid health certificate
  • Vaccination record (must include rabies vaccination)
  • Proof of identification

Specific Information

  • Animals will be quarantined upon arrival to South Korea; currently, there is a 10-day quarantine required.
  • Animals should have vaccinations at least 30 days prior to import.
  • If rabies vaccinations are not older than 30 days, pets must remain in quarantine the 10-days plus the number of days to total 30 full days since the rabies vaccination.
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