Current report how to enter Korea with F4 Visum and quarantine

As some of you might be interested, here is my current report about how to enter Korea under COVID-19 immigration restrictions.

Initial situation:
My (Korean) girlfriend, that lived in Germany with me, signed a new job contract starting July 1st in Seoul. As I am working during Corona only from remote and have an F4 Visum issued, I decided to join her for a while.
Anyhow, under the written rules it was unclear whether I am allowed to enter Korea into self-quarantine or not with an F4 but without registered residence. If not, I would have to go into center quarantine for 14 days, which is 100,000 KRW/day. My GF requested an official statement for our situation, and the government’s reply was, if we are staying in a suitable home (hotels/hostels are not) and have the written approval of the landlord, I am allowed to stay in self-quarantine even without registered residence in Korea. In case you need the government’s reply, refer to their reply in my case:

Preparations from outside of Korea
A Korean phone number at arrival is required, as the availability by phone will be checked before immigration, so no chance to buy a sim-card at arrival as usual. I have used a German reseller of KT sim cards, unfortunately, the number was changed. I had already prepared all documents with the assigned telephone number but on arrival, I received an e-mail that I got a new number.

On Airbnb, there are currently a couple of apartments already advertised with quarantine in the title. And due to the lack of tourist huge discounts are also offered, so we have just chosen one of the numerous providers and received the written statement.

Please check if your overseas health insurance is valid for travel during a pandemic. With an F4 you can enroll in the Korean National Health Insurance but only after registration of residence. Which is not possible during the quarantine. So you might be without insurance for 2-3 weeks. Nevertheless, possible COVID-19 treatments are fully covered by the Korean government, also all tests.

Pre-departure
I have printed and filled all documents that are currently listed on the consulate’s/embassy’s page. Please check with your local diplomatic mission which documents are required: in my case, it was the travel record declaration, the agreement to pay center quarantine, and the health form. Additionally, I printed the landlord’s confirmation and the reply from the government regarding self-quarantine for non-registered F4 holders and installed the app.

I couldn’t do the online check-in: I only got an „exchange for boarding pass voucher“ from Asiana (I assume the check-in agent has to check for non-Koreans the eligibility for entering before issuing the boarding pass, as my GF with Korean citizenship could easily check-in online). During check-in, the (external) agent had to call the Asiana supervisor three times: as the external check-in agents deal with a couple of airlines and destinations, they are not aware of all current country-specific visa rules.

Flight
The flight was pretty empty, approximately 80 passengers in an A350. Flight attendants wore surgical facemasks only during boarding and changed on the flight to KN94. All services were provided as usual.
During flight more forms were handed out: health form and travel history form.

Arrival
In the present circumstances there are a couple of gates to pass:

  • 1st gate – health check: they check if your health form is filled and your temperature is checked. If you have to go to the center quarantine, you will be grouped, if you are allowed to go to self-quarantine, you take the regular way to immigration.
  • 2nd gate – tracking app: there is at present a new version of the app. The officer is installing the app on your phone (you need to have WiFi or mobile data), confirming your address and assigning you to the local health authority.
  • 3rd gate – officer test calls on your phone and gives you a pile of additional documents to fill out.
  • 4th gate another office is checking if all documents are filled out correctly.

Eventually, you are allowed to go to the immigration officer.

Baggage claim and customs as usual. Total time required to do health check and immigration: 45min.

Transfer
Arrival hall is super empty and there is a fence guiding you to the very end of the arrival hall (section F). A couple of health officers, police officers and some military around, to make sure you are not leaving the fenced area. A couple of desks with destinations (bigger cities and provinces), you put your name in the list of destinations – for us it was the only Bus to Seoul. So instead of many different bus lines to Seoul as usual, during COVID-19 only one line to Seoul. We had to wait for another 40min and then were called. The bus had only 8 passengers and stopped at the health authorities in Mapo and Itaewon before we left at Jung-gu. The bus is more expensive than during non-pandemic times: 16,000 KRW for the ride.

Testing
At Jung-gu health officers picked us up from the bus stop and another pile of documents had to be filled out. Then we were tested in one of the booths. Afterwards, another officer drove us to our apartment. The next morning we received our results (both negative) via text message.

Quarantine
I saw in previous reports that the government provides you supplies and accessories as a fever thermometer. For cost-saving measures this doesn’t happen anymore: we got 2 days after arrival a very basic kit: biohazard trash bags, where we have to collect all of our trash for 2 weeks, disinfection for the trash bags, hand-sanitizer, face-masks, temperature display stickers instead of a fever thermometer and more forms to fill.

We were in the lucky situation that our landlord provided already packs of Ramen and bottled water. And the great Korean delivery system helps to survive. Our first groceries arrived less than 12h after order.

In summary, it is manageable to enter Korea. Nevertheless, unless you have a native Korea speaker at your side, it might be from time to time very difficult. As most of the elder Koreans don’t speak English very well. So I was happy my GF dealt with all of the discussions and especially the daily calls from the health authorities.

Anmeldung



Danke für deine Anmeldung, du hast eine Bestätigung per E-Mail erhalten. Bei Fragen erreichst du uns unter anmeldung@kadev.org

Wenn du das Paket Familiensuche gewählt hast, fülle bis spätestens 09.11.2019 dieses Formular aus: https://forms.gle/jvKrCzNtKMdvjZGQ7


Wenn du gerne Koreaner zur Veranstaltung einladen möchtest (die Teilnahme ist kostenlos für sie) hier der Flyer zu Veranstaltung bzw. als pdf zum Download.

Workshop zum Thema terre des hommes Deutschland

Zwei-tägiger KAD-Workshop zum Thema terre des hommes Deutschland e.V. und Familiensuche, Hannover, 19./20.10.2019

terre des hommes hat von Anfang der 1970er Jahre bis Ende der 1980er Jahre knapp 2000 Kinder aus Südkorea zur Adoption nach Deutschland vermittelt. Die Kooperation mit Südkorea war für den Verein von besonderer Bedeutung: Fast zwei Drittel aller durch terre des hommes vermittelten Adoptivkinder sind koreanischer Herkunft. Für die Biographien koreanischer Adoptierter in Deutschland waren die Handlungen der Organisation und die Veränderungen in ihrer Adoptionsarbeit entscheidend. Was wissen wir heute über das Adoptionsprogramm von terre des hommes? Wie hat die südkoreanische Adoptionspraxis die Vereinsarbeit geprägt? Wie hat sich die Vermittlungs- und Betreuungstätigkeit im Laufe der Zeit verändert und wie kam es zum Ende der Adoptionsvermittlung?

Am Samstag, 19.10., treffen wir uns mit Maria Holz, langjährige hauptamtliche Mitarbeiterin bei terre des hommes, um mit ihr über diese und andere Fragen zur Adoptionsarbeit des Vereins zu sprechen.

Am Sonntag, 20.10., gibt Tim Hanstein einen Überblick über den derzeitigen Stand der Familiensuche in Südkorea. Was sind mögliche Vorgehensweisen? Wie sind vorsichtig geschätzte Erfolgsaussichten? An wen kann ich mich für Unterstützung bei der Suche vor Ort wenden?

Der Workshop ist offen für alle koreanischen Adoptierten in Deutschland (max. 25 Teilnehmende). Vorkenntnisse sind nicht notwendig. Es gibt die Möglichkeit, mit Maria Holz ein Einzelgespräch zur eigenen Adoptionsakte zu vereinbaren (ausgebucht). Interesse bitte bei der Anmeldung angeben.

Anmeldung: https://forms.gle/aQC34ZPscdkdFjPA8

Programm:

Samstag, 19.10.2019

Veranstaltungsort: wasmitherz e.V., Windthorststr. 3-4, 30167 Hannover

Thema: terre de hommes

13:30 Uhr: Begrüßung
14:00 Uhr: Vorstellungsrunde, Bericht von Maria Holz
15:00 Uhr: Q&A
17 Uhr: Einzelgespräche (nach Anmeldung)
18 Uhr Zusammenfassung und Auswertung des Tages
19 Uhr informeller Ausklang
20 Uhr gemeinsames Abendessen

Sonntag, 20.10.

Thema: Familiensuche

Veranstaltungsort: wird noch bekannt gegeben

10:30-12:30 Bericht von Tim Hanstein und Diskussion