When traveling to Korea, travelers are allowed to bring the following without having to pay duties and taxes: 1liter of liquor, 2 ounces of perfume, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 250 grams of tobacco products, and other goods worth up to $400. Only those at least 19 years of age are allowed to bring liquors and cigarettes.
The traveler must also declare cash or checks worth $10,000 or more. This total amount includes all currencies brought during the travel.
A traveler who goes beyond these allotments must already pay the applicable customs duties and taxes.
The person must declare expensive items originally purchased in Korea prior to the intended travel back to the country. This exempts him/her from paying duties when bringing the items back to Korea during the travel. For dutiable and expensive items brought such as golf clubs, laptops, and cameras, as long as they are intended to be taken out of the country upon leaving, these items may be exempt from duties. A note about the declaration shall be placed in the passport. However, if the said items are not brought when leaving the country, the person is obliged to pay duties. It is also ideal to bring proofs of ownership of expensive and restricted items through official receipts. This avoids possible delays when any item needs to be checked by a Customs officer.
Restrictions on certain items to be imported and exported to and from Korea are mainly for the protection of the country’s economy and security, the safeguarding of consumer health and well-being, and the preservation of local plants and animals in Korea.
A shortlist of the restricted items include: quarantine-required goods (food, animal, and plant materials and their derivatives); guns, firearms, knives, explosives, and other weapons (including replicas); and health and drug-related products, including traditional medicines containing endangered species and/or locally produced extracts. Permits are required when bringing these items.
Prohibited items not allowed for either importing or exporting in Korea include the following: books, publications, paintings, drawings, films, and other artistic and media items that may disturb constitutional orders, harm the public, or cause danger to public security or custom; materials revealing confidential information about the government; items used for intelligence activities; and counterfeited, forged, or imitated financial products and currencies such as (but not limited to) coins, currencies, bank notes, and other negotiable instruments.
“Korea Customs Service (English).”
“Korea Customs Service (Korean).”
“Import Regulations by South Korea Customs,” Visa HQ.
“Customs/Import Duties,” Life in Korea.
“Airport Safety, Duties and Customs,” Study Abroad Handbook.