The meaning of “visa” varies in different countries, depending on their national policies. The special document of endorsement or confirmation either means a permit to visit a foreign country or a consul’s recommendation for a foreigner’s application for entry. The Korean visa falls into the second category, and thus even a visa holder can be rejected at a Korean airport, based on the decision of the immigration office.
There are two different types of Korean visas: single-entry visa and multiple-entry visa.
The former is valid for three months from the date of issuance and allows foreigners to visit Korea once, until it becomes expired. A multiple-entry visa holder, on the other hand, can visit the country more than twice, until the expiration date. This type of visa – A-1 (given to diplomats representing foreign governments staying for diplomatic reasons) and A-3 (given to employees or assistants of the A-1 and A-2 visa holders and their immediate family members) – is valid for up to three years from the date of issuance.
Applications must be submitted to Korean embassies or consulates in various locations all over the globe. The embassies or consulates issue Korean visas, with delegated authority from the Korean Justice Minister. Required documents for visa applications are a valid passport, a visa application form and other documents required for different types of visa.
For further information, please call Korea Immigration Service at 1345, or visit www.hikorea.go.kr
Season & Weather
Korea has four very distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Light shirts and cardigans will be good enough in spring (from March to May) and autumn (from September to November). The great temperature difference between summer and winter is one of key features of Korean weather. During summer (from June to August), when the mercury often rises above 30 degree Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit), you can’t do without T-shirts or sleeveless shirts, while heavy coats are necessities to survive Korean winter, when temperatures go below freezing and cold winds blustering across the country.
The rainy monsoon season called “jangma” starts from late June, which is followed by hot and humid July and August. Winter is rather dry. Though lasting for comparatively short periods of time, spring and autumn are characterized by mild temperatures and clear sky, which is why many foreign tourists want to visit Korea during the seasons. For up-to-date weather information for Korea, please visit www.kma.go.kr
Exchange Rate & Currency
Unit of currency: won
There are bills of the denominations 10,000 won, 5,000 won and 1,000 won, plus coins of 500 won, 100 won, 50 won and 10 won. 1,000 won bill and coins are widely used for public transportations and vending machines.
Bank checks with the values of over 100,000 won are also frequently used. The old 10,000 won bills featuring Gyeonghoeru (Pavilion) are being used together with the new ones with the pictures of Honcheoneui (an astronomical clock), which came into use from 2007. Designs of 5,000 won and 1,000 bills were renewed in 2006 and 2007, respectively. 1 U.S. dollar is about 1,340 won (as of April. 2009).
For most up-to-date currency information, please visit http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter
- Most of hotels, shops and restaurants accept Internets, but there are exceptions. Stores accepting Internets usually have signs at front doors
- Business Hour
- You can get your TAX refund at the Global Refund points of Incheon International Airport, for “duty free” goods purchased in Korea. For more information, please call 82-2776-2170
- Tipping is neither required nor expected in Korea, but a 10 percent service charge is often added to bills at all luxury hotels and fine diners
Making phone calls
You can make both local and international phone calls at pay telephone booths on urban streets, with coins, telephone cards and Internets, depending on types of public telephone. A local call within the city boundary costs 70 won for 3 minutes, but the rate goes up as the distance gets farther (also increase when calling cell numbers). Telephone cards (2,000 won, 3,000 won, 5,000 won and 9,500 won) are available at convenient stores and post offices. Pay telephones for Internets are concentrated at airports.
You can rent a cell phone at Incheon International Airports. Rental fee is 3,000 won per day, and a 600-won-per-minute rate will be applied (no charges added when receiving phone calls). Your passport and Internet are required to rent a cell phone. You can pay in cash or with plastic when you returned the cell phone.
(How to make an international phone callÀ )
International telephone identification codes (such as 001, 002 and 008) + country code + area code (except for the initial “0”) + phone number
- Free Internet is offered at Incheon International Airport, subway stations and post offices. You can also access to Internet at almost ubiquitous Internet cafes (called “PC-bang” in the country), which are comparatively cheaper and opening for 24 hours (snacks and simple meals are also available)
- Time zone & summer time (daylight-saving time)
- Time zone: GMT/UTC+9
There is no time difference between Korea and Japan. Time difference between Korea and China is one hour (China is one hour behind Korea).
- Business Hour
- Bank: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Monday thru Friday)
Public office: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Monday thru Friday)
Post office: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays (closes on second and fourth Saturdays of a month)
Department stores: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., in general
Restaurants: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., in general
- 220V 60Hz
- Lost & Found
- When you have lost your belongings at a public place or in a public transportation vehicle, visit or call nearby police station or lost & found centers. Call embassy or consulate when you have lost your passport, and contact the credit card company when you have lost your credit card.
- Related contact points
Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Tel. 82-2-2229-1282
Lost & Found Centers
City Hall Subway Station: Tel. 82-2-753-2408~9
Chungmuro Subway Station: Tel. 82-2-2271-1170~1
Wangsimni Subway Station: Tel. 82-2-2298-6767
Taeneung Subway Station: Tel. 82-2-949-6767
Seoul Station (KORAIL): Tel. 82-2-755-7108
Guro Station (KORAIL): Tel. 82-2-869-0098