South Korea requires travelers from PH to present negative COVID-19 PCR test result

The South Korean government is requiring travelers from the Philippines to present a negative coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test result using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) before they will be allowed to board their flights to that country starting July 20. 

Seoul, South Korea (Photo by Jonathan Hicap)

This was announced by the Korean Embassy in the Philippines on Thursday (July 16), which noted that “recently, there have been many cases in which COVID-19 has been confirmed among those who entered Korea on board an airplane from the Philippines.”

It said that “the South Korean government decided to require all foreigners (including transfer passengers) arriving in South Korea from July 20 to present a Negative COVID-19 PCR Test Result issued within 48 hours before flight departure time.” 

The negative COVID-19 PCR test result must be presented by the traveler “at the time of check-in at the airport and upon the time of arrival at the quarantine authority in Korea.”

As an example, the embassy said, those whose flight will depart at 11:55PM on July 20 must present a negative test result issued between July 19 and 20. 

The Korean Embassy also requires that the test result must be issued by one of its accredited hospitals in the Philippines. These are St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City and Taguig, Makati Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, The Medical City, Lung Center of the Philippines, Baguio Medical Center, PRI Medical Center in Pampanga, and The Medical City-Clark. 

“The above measures are not related to visa issuance, so even though you have already received a visa, you have to take an additional COVID-19 PCR Test before your flight,” the embassy explained. 

It added that the embassy “will stop accepting new visa applications at the Korean Embassy in the Philippines until further notice, and we will also stop processing visa applications that have already been received prior to this announcement,” except for the following types of visas: diplomatic, official, seamen, and spouse and child of Korean national.

In an earlier announcement, the Korean Embassy said that “any short-stay visa holder is required to go to the government isolation center for their quarantine period when entering the country (although the spouse of Korean citizens may transfer from the government facility to their personal homes for self-isolation). Also, the spouses with short-term visas may not change their visa status to the Marriage Immigrant visa (F-6) while in Korea.”

The embassy said the short-term stay (C-3) multi-visa issued before April 5, 2020 is currently suspended. 

“However, if the suspension of validity is removed, it can be used until the expiration date. Please apply for a new visa in order to enter South Korea during the period of validity suspension,” the embassy said.