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Pre-travel COVID test requirements

  • Published
  • Seventh Air Force Public Affairs

Like many nations around the world, the Republic of Korea (ROK) has its own pre-travel COVID testing requirement.  

As of January 8, 2021, and until further notice, the ROK government requires all foreign visitors entering the country to provide proof of a negative COVID Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. 

Antigen tests are not accepted. The leading reason travelers are denied entry to the ROK, and returned on another flight to their country of origin, is presenting an antigen test instead of a PCR test.

The test must be conducted no earlier than 72 hours prior to the departure time of the international flight to Korea. This might not be the first flight of the trip.

Infants and children under the age of six, upon arrival date in the ROK, and passengers who are only transiting through a ROK Airport are exempt.  The children may be required to get tested in accordance with the policy of the travel provider whether it be a commercial airline or a military rotator.  It is important to know the Department of Defense (DoD) rules for children, so passengers are not denied boarding on the Patriot Express rotator flight. 

Members should turn to their Military Treatment Facility (MTF) first to obtain the COVID PCR test ensuring to clarify the test is a strict requirement by the ROK.  If that is not an option, locate a test site on the CDC website,

Tricare will not reimburse members for commercial testing. Active duty members and their families on Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders will pay for testing and be reimbursed via their voucher they file upon arrival. Active duty members and their families on personal travel, who require testing prior to re-entry to the ROK, will not be reimbursed for their commercial testing.

The COVID PCR test result paperwork needs to be printed out for presentation to the gate agent and the inspection officials at the arrival airport. Copies are also needed for personal records.

The test results are collected at Osan Air Base for Patriot Express passengers.

The COVID PCR test results must include a full name and one other personal identifier such as date of birth, passport number, or DoD identification number.  Ensure the information matches the ID used to immigrate into ROK like a Common Access Card or passport.  

Test results must be negative and must be written in English or Korean.

If the only option is a testing service that cannot print in English or Korean, it must be translated.  The translation must be notarized by base legal, if available, or the ROK Embassy in the country of origin. 

Costs associated with translation services may be claimed on a voucher for inbound PCS personnel. Personnel returning from ordinary leave will be responsible for all costs associated with commercial testing and translation services.

Failure to provide a test that meets the requirements of the ROK Government will result in denial of boarding or worse, denial of entry upon arrival into the ROK.  Those denied entry in the ROK will be returned to their country of origin, not necessarily the point of embarkation. All costs and leave associated with returns will be the responsibility of the member.

Pre-travel COVID testing requirements occurs in many nations around the world and each nation is different.  Members are expected to turn to the DoD Foreign Clearance guide and check it regularly ahead of international travel to foreign countries by visiting,