Korea has recently made it possible for U.S. attorneys to hold in-person depositions once again. Visitors from the U.S. and other visa-exempt countries can enter Korea with no quarantine period, provided they meet certain criteria. The criteria were relaxed somewhat in April, making it much easier for U.S. attorneys to enter Korea for depositions.
Here is what you need to know:
There is no visa requirement for U.S. citizens. Korea is part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In short, this program enables U.S. citizens to visit Korea with no visa for up to 90 days or less if traveling for tourism, business meetings, conference attendance, or a family visit. On reciprocity, Korean citizens can visit the U.S. for the same reasons without a visa. This means U.S. attorneys do not need a visa to enter Korea for the purpose of taking depositions.
Visa-free travelers do need an ETA. What is an ETA? An ETA is an electronic travel authorization. This particular ETA is referred to as the K-ETA, for Korea. The requirements are straightforward.
- Travelers must apply for their K-ETA at least 24 hours before boarding their flight to Korea.
- When applying, have handy:
- Your passport – you will need to enter your passport number
- Your email address so you can receive notification of K-ETA status
- Your credit/debit card to pay the $10 application fee
- A photo of your face
- The K-ETA is required in order to receive a boarding pass.
- The K-ETA is valid for a period of two years.
- The K-ETA exempts visitors from submitting an arrival card, expediting the entry immigration process.
- When applying, have handy:
The K-ETA site does provide a very helpful FAQ page, should you have additional questions regarding the process.
Quarantine guidelines have changed. As of April 1st, even those who were vaccinated outside of Korea can forgo quarantine. To be exempt from quarantine, the below requirements must be met:
- The traveler must be fully vaccinated.
- Fully vaccinated is defined as having received all recommended doses of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine, +14 days.
- The exemption lasts 180 days from vaccination date.
- If it has been more than 180 days since full vaccination, the traveler must receive a booster.
- The traveler must enter their vaccination history into Q-CODE, the quarantine information pre-entry system.
- The traveler must take a total of three (3) COVID-19 tests.
- They must take a PCR Test no sooner than 48 hours before departure from the U.S.
- They must take a second PCR Test within 24 hours of arrival in Korea.
- They must take a Rapid Test within six to seven days of arrival in Korea.
Some pre-travel steps remain the same. It is recommended you subscribe to Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which keeps you in the know on safety and security. STEP also helps the U.S. Embassy, as well as family, to get in touch with you should there be an emergency abroad. You should look up any travel advisories for your destination as well, which the U.S. Department of State provides on their site.
Planet Depos has been covering depositions around the world for over a decade. There is a Planet Depos court reporting team living in Korea, as well as other Planet Depos teams throughout Asia, including several interpreters with abundant IP experience. For more information on scheduling your in-person (or remote) depositions in Korea, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can even schedule your international depositions online.