Country Guide: South Korea

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Updated: November 20, 2015

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Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of Passport (identification and entry stamp) from shipper and accompanying family members
  • Work Visa, valid for at least 1 year
  • Detailed inventory
  • Original Bill of Lading  (OBL) / Air Waybill (AWB)
  • Certificate of Alien Registration / Residence Card (from Korean Immigration Office)
  • Certificate of Entry and Departure (returning Koreans)
  • Application for Duty Exemption issued by Foreign Affairs Ministry of Korea (Diplomats)


Specific Information

  • Goods must arrive at port of entry / airport of entry (POE / AOE) in Korea within 6 months of the owner’s arrival.
  • Clearance should take place at a bonded warehouse.
  • Personal effects cannot be Customs cleared prior to the shipper’s arrival.
  • All incoming shipments, excluding diplomatic shipments, are subject to open inspection by the Korean Customs Authority.
  • Evidence of at least 1 year abroad must be shown in Passport (returning Koreans)

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original Title
  • Original Registration Certificate
  • Original Purchase Receipt or Invoice
  • Detailed inventory (Diplomats)
  • Original insurance documents
  • Proof of ownership (Diplomats)
  • Insurance Declarations Page or policy information (Diplomats)
  • Customs Duty Exemption showing frame number or chassis number, engine number, model and type (Diplomats)


Specific Information

  • Vehicle must be listed on the inventory with full technical specifications (make, model, plate number, etc.)
  • In order to register and to drive in South Korea, the vehicle must pass the following Government tests:
    • Emission Gas Level Test
    • Noise and Vibration Test
    • Type and Model Approval
  • Documentary clearance does not require a physical inspection. 
  • Vehicles cannot be sold or transferred by a Diplomat to a non-diplomatic individual for 3 years; however sale or transfer between diplomatic individuals is authorized.
  • If a vehicle is sold or transferred to a non-diplomatic individual by a Diplomat within 3 years of vehicle importation, duties and taxes shall be charged by Korean Customs.
  • The vehicle must be identified on the detailed inventory.


Documents Required

  • Valid Health Certificate
  • Vaccination Record (must include rabies vaccination)
  • Proof of identification


Specific Information

  • Animals will be quarantined upon arrival to South Korea; currently, there is a 10-day quarantine required.
  • Animals should have vaccinations at least 30 days prior to import.
  • If rabies vaccinations are not older than 30 days, pets must remain in quarantine the 10-days plus the number of days to total 30 full days since the rabies vaccination.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • The following household goods may be imported duty free by persons 19 years and older within the limits indicated:
    • Alcohol (1 L)
    • Cigarettes (200), cigars (50), tobacco (250 g)
    • Perfume (2 oz.)
    • Personal items (gifts, new items, etc. up to $400)
  • Firearms, ammunition, and explosive materials, including fireworks (permission from the Korean authorities is required)
  • Narcotic and psychotropic drugs
  • Animals
  • Foodstuff
  • Plants and plant byproducts (subject to quarantine and approval by the authorities; denial of entry is possible)

Prohibited Items

  • Illegal drugs
  • Pornographic material
  • Counterfeit goods or materials
  • Subversive and treasonous materials

Consignment Instructions

Recommended:  Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.


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IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.