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International Travel

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Before You Go

2018 Winter Olympics

2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games PyeongChang, Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Visitor Information

The Department of State provides U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in South Korea the following information related to the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in PyeongChang in February and March, 2018.  The information and resources below will help you plan a safe and enjoyable experience.

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Before you go...
  • Print out our Traveler’s Checklist card and be sure to:

    • GET INFORMATION: Visit the State Department’s country information page for South Korea.  It provides up-to-date information about visas, safety and security, and other issues related to traveling in South Korea.
    • GET REQUIRED DOCUMENTS: Ensure you have a valid U.S. passport at the time of your planned trip.  If your passport will expire before or during your trip, renew it now to avoid rushing in at the last moment and paying extra fees for an emergency passport.  Remember to sign your passport – in ink – and complete the emergency information page. U.S. citizens are not required to have a visa for travel to South Korea for stays under 90 days.  
    • ENROLL IN STEP: Enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  This will enable the U.S. Embassy to keep you up-to-date with important safety and security announcements, and help us reach you in an emergency.
    • GET INSURED: Check your overseas medical insurance coverage to make sure it covers healthcare expenses and medical evacuation in the event of an emergency while you are overseas.  Western-style medical facilities are available in most large South Korean cities. Not all doctors and staff, however, are proficient in English. 

  • If you are a parent traveling solo with a child (or children) under the age of 16, we recommend taking along a completed DS-3053 "Statement of Consent" form(s), signed by the other parent and notarized no more than 90 days before you depart.  If you have sole legal custody of your child, we recommend bringing a notarized copy of your custody decree or other documentation (e.g. a death certificate for the other parent) showing you have custody.  This will be helpful if your child’s passport is lost while you are in South Korea.
  • Read about items prohibited or restricted in South Korea. South Korea strictly enforces regulations on importing and exporting items such as firearms, narcotics and prescription drugs, non-prescription health supplements, and radio equipment.  Amphetamines are illegal there. Do not bring amphetamines or other prescription narcotics into the country without obtaining advance permission in writing from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.  You can find more information here.
  • Learn about military service obligations if you have dual U.S. and Republic of Korea citizenship.  Men who have both Republic of Korea and U.S. citizenship (including U.S. service members) may be subject to compulsory military service in South Korea.  If you have family ties in South Korea, consult the nearest Republic of Korea embassy or consulate about potential citizenship obligations before entering the country.
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Safety and Security

For most visitors, the South Korea is a very safe country. Common crimes occur more frequently in major metropolitan areas, tourist sites, and crowded markets.  Visitors should take routine safety precautions, pay attention to surroundings, and report any concerns to local police.  Violent crime is not common, but stay alert and be cautious in crowded entertainment, nightlife, and shopping districts.  Please see our country information page for the Republic of Korea for current information on security and safety issues. Use these resources to stay up to date during your trip. 

  • Victims of Crime:  If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime while in South Korea, call (+82-2) 112 for emergency assistance or to report a crime to local authorities.  Call the U.S. Embassy at (+82-2) 397-4114.  We can help you find appropriate medical care, help you report a crime to police, contact relatives or friends on your behalf, explain general Korean judicial procedures, and replace a lost or stolen passport. Note that the South Korea takes personal safety very seriously and CCTV is used broadly to monitor public areas.
  • Please see the Department of State’s information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

Stay Informed

  • U.S. Embassy Seoul: Information about services the Embassy offers to U.S. citizens, security and travel information, fraud warnings, etc.
  • ACS Olympics Brochure : Learn about American Citizen Services during the Olympics.
  • U.S. Embassy Korea Facebook: Follow the U.S. Mission’s Facebook pages for the latest Olympics news and security updates.
  • The Bureau of Consular Affairs Twitter and Facebookaccounts: Follow these for up-to-date emergency messages leading up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
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Stay Informed
  • U.S. Embassy Seoul: Information about services the Embassy offers to U.S. citizens, security and travel information, fraud warnings, etc.
  • ACS Olympics Handout card: Printable card with information about American Citizen Services during the Olympics.
  • U.S. Embassy Korea Facebook: Follow the U.S. Mission’s Facebook pages for the latest Olympics news and security updates.
  • The Bureau of Consular Affairs Twitter and Facebookaccounts: Follow these for up-to-date emergency messages leading up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
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Tickets

CoSport is the only 2018 Olympic Winter Games authorized ticket reseller for residents of the United States. To purchase individual tickets or hospitality packages, visit CoSport’s website.  Be aware of scams, fake ticket websites, and unlicensed ticket resellers. Please note that scalping tickets is illegal in South Korea.

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Transportation and Accommodations
  • South Korea has a well-developed transportation infrastructure.  Visitors can travel from Seoul to PyeongChang (Gangneung or Jeongseon) by KTX (high-speed train), bus or car.  Further information about transportation to and from the Olympic venues can be found here.
  • Visitors should book hotel rooms or accommodations well in advance. Given the increased demand for hotel rooms, prices may fluctuate during this period. 
  • More information about the host cities, venues, and South Korea is available on the official Olympics website.
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Counterfeit and Pirated Goods

Although widely available, it is against South Korean law to purchase these goods and against U.S. law to bring them into the United States. The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Division in the U.S. Department of Justice has more information.

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Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea)

Effective September 1, 2017, U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, unless they are specially validated by the Department of State.  The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to North Korea due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention. For further information, please see our country information page on North Korea

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Phone Calls

To make calls within South Korea using a phone with U.S.-based SIM card, you need to first dial +82, followed by the area code (2 is the area code for Seoul) before the phone number. For, example, to call the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, you should dial +82-2, before dialing 397-4114.  To call the United States from South Korea, dial 001 + area code and phone number.

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Helpful Websites

Learn about your destination