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South Korea ditches pre-departure Q-code registration

Travel to South Korea is back to pre-COVID norms, with no ETA or pre-departure forms to complete for Singaporean visitors and those with 21 other nationalities.

Four months ago the Republic of South Korea removed the requirement for travellers from Singapore and 21 other countries to obtain a Electronic Travel Authorisation or K-ETA visa waiver before travelling to the country, a welcome relaxation that remains in force until 31st December 2024.


This week there’s another simplification for the travel process to the country – which already mostly ended its remaining COVID-19 restrictions in October 2022, for test-free and quarantine-free travel for all those normally eligible to enter as tourists, vaccinated or not.

Q-code no longer required

Effective from 26th July 2023, South Korea has scrapped its Q-code entry system for pre-arrival registration, removing this step in the travel process.

Source: Embassy of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Singapore

The Q-code registration required you to provide passport details, entry and stay information and your health status, then generated a QR code to show on arrival.

Completion of the Q-code registration before departure to South Korea wasn’t actually compulsory, despite some airlines (including SIA) stating that it was.

However, most travellers did still register because it was also designed to accelerate your immigration clearance on arrival – now there’s no need.

Seoul is a popular destination for tourists from Singapore and across the region. (Photo: Korea Tourism)

As mentioned above, this is in addition to the recent news that nationals of the following countries can travel to Korea without a K-ETA, between now and 31st December 2024.

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Macao
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
  • UK
  • USA

The only requirement for travel to South Korea for nationals of these countries will now be to complete an arrival card, usually provided by the airline on board your flight, but also available at the immigration hall.

This returns Singapore – South Korea trips to a completely pre-COVID format between now and 31st December 2024.

Simply book a ticket, and head to the airport.

Travel to South Korea is now simple – just like pre-COVID. (Image: Singapore Airlines)

In future, when (and if) the K-ETA becomes imposed on Singapore passport holders once again, an application costs 10,000 KRW (~S$10), but an approved ETA is then valid for multiple entries over two years using the same passport.

If you already have a K-ETA, or obtain one, you will not be required to complete the arrival card, but it’s hardly worth spending S$10 per person to avoid this, unless you travel to South Korea very regularly.

The Seoul SilverKris lounge is back

As we reported in May this year, Singapore Airlines recently reopened its SilverKris lounge at Seoul Incheon Airport, following its COVID-19 shuttering.

This was the most recent overseas facilities to be renovated prior to the pandemic, opening in October 2019 with a stunning design that was already a nod towards the carrier’s latest concept at the recently remodelled Changi T3 lounges.

The facility boasts a more modern look and feel by Singapore’s DP Design (a departure from the original ONG&ONG lounge refreshes).

Entrance to the Seoul SilverKris Lounge. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Shower facilities and a manned bar are available, while there’s even a traditional Singapore-style coffee shop area and an LED mask service on offer.

You can read a pre-COVID review of this lounge here.

Singapore – South Korea flights

By late August 2023 there will be 91 weekly flights in each direction between Singapore and South Korea, 24 more than there were prior to COVID-19, based on January 2020 schedules.


Here’s a summary of your options in August 2023.

Singapore – South Korea Flights
August 2023

Airline / Flight Number Aircraft Days
7C4056/4055 737-800 Daily except Thu
(fm 28 Aug)
737-8 MAX Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun
Airline / Flight Number Aircraft Days
A321neo Tue, Sun
TR814/815 A321neo Mon, Fri, Sun
Airline / Flight Number Aircraft Days
KE644/643 777-300 /
KE646/645 777-300ER Daily
KE648/647 A330-300 Daily
OZ752/751 A350-900 Daily
OZ754/753 A330-300 Mon, Thu, Fri, Sun
SQ600/601 A350 MH Daily
SQ606/605 A350 MH Daily
SQ608/607 787-10
SQ612/611 A350 MH Daily
TR842/843 787-9 Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat
(via TPE)
787-9 Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun
TW172/171 A330-300 Daily

For the northern winter 2023/24 season, Singapore Airlines is upgauging all four of its daily Seoul flights to 337-seat Boeing 787-10 aircraft, which will represent 117% of pre-COVID seat capacity on the route.

Travel to South Korea is now fully back to pre-COVID norms. (Photo: Thiago B. Trevisan / Shutterstock)

Singapore – South Korea award rates

Here are the latest KrisFlyer award rates between Singapore and South Korea, when flying on Singapore Airlines.


KrisFlyer Redemption
Singapore ⇄ South Korea
  Saver Advantage
Economy 27,000 45,000
Premium Economy 37,500 n/a
Business 52,000 70,000
First / Suites 77,000 120,000

Premium Economy and First Class are no longer offered on SIA’s Seoul flights, but they were both options before the pandemic on Boeing 777-300ER flights, and so could make a comeback in future.

Singapore Airlines deploys its 2018 Regional Business Class product on Seoul flights. (Photo: MainlyMiles)


Travel to South Korea has become a significantly simpler process since the country’s initial array of testing, combined with Singapore’s original VTL requirements, which meant adding S$600+ in costs per person for a round-trip between the two countries.

After axing the requirement for Singapore citizens and those with 21 other nationalities to have a K-ETA to travel to South Korea, saving around S$10 per person, this latest relaxation is to remove the Q-code pre-departure registration system.

That effectively restores Singapore – South Korea travel completely back to pre-pandemic norms, and there are now 91 weekly flights to choose from in each direction – even more than there were before COVID-19.

All you’ll have to do on the flight to South Korea, or in the immigration hall after you land, is complete a paper arrival card (and don’t forget the SGAC on your way back to Singapore!).

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)


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