Moving to South Korea

Moving to South Korea

Ports: By Sea: Busan, Inchon; By Air: Seoul, Busan                                                    

Prohibited: Firearms; Weapons; Drugs; Narcotics; Pornography; Imitation Bank Notes, Coins or Similar Notes

Cont: None

Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco

Required Documents: Packing List

Customs Regulations: 2 bottles of wine or spirit per adult can be brought into Korea.


Remarks: In the case of removing shipment, shipper can bring wine and spirit with his/her household goods and personal effects.

Customs duty/tax based on Customs assessed value as below:

Wine: 52.95% of duty & 15.295% of tax.

Cognac: 164.5% of duty & 26.45% of tax.

Whiskey: 176% of duty & 27.6% of tax.

Beer: 249.7% of duty & 24.97% of tax.

Diplomatic Removals

Required Documents:  1) Exemption Certificate of Duty issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2) OBL or AWB 3) Inventory 4) Customs application sealed and signed by Ambassador or any person who is registered with Korea Customs Bureau.

Customs Regulations:



Firearms and Weapons

Required Documents:

Customs Regulations: One hunting gun (used) duty-free. This should be registered with the Police, but expect difficulty in clearing.



Household Goods and Personal Effects

Required Documents:  1) AWB or OBL 2) Inventory 3) Passport(s) of all family members 4) Work permit from Embassy stating that owner will be in Korea for over 12 months 5) General Declaration for Customs (upon personal arrival at airport)

Customs Regulations: Articles (1 each) are duty-free if owned for more than 6 months. Goods must arrive at OE/AOE in Korea within 6 months of the owner’s arrival.

Clearance: 3 to 4 days for air, 8 to 12 Full Container Load (FCL) via Busan, 15 to 30 days for Less than Container Load (LCL) via Busan. Customer presence not required in Seoul, Busan, or Inchon, but is in Kimpo

Remarks: Foreign importers should hold work visa valid for over 1 year or resident permit valid for over 1 year. Returning Korean must have been overseas for more than 24 months, if accompanied by family 12 months. Use Busan as port of entry for FCL surface shipments to avoid embargo problems.

Clearance is supposed to take place at a bonded warehouse. While the presence of the shipper is not required during Customs Inspection, it is recommended for returning Koreans Incoming shipments are subject to 100% inspection by Korean Customs authority. NOTE: SEE “OTHER REGULATIONS” BELOW

New Furniture

Required Documents:

Customs Regulations: New Furniture and Electronics are subject to duties



Pets and Animals

Required Documents:  1) Certificate of Vaccination  2) AWB 3) Passport(s) of owner and family

Customs Regulations: Dogs and cats:

  • Health certificate, issued within 7 days before departure, from origin country.
  • Certificate of rabies vaccination, injected at least 30 days prior to entry in Korea.



  • Health certificate, issued within 7 days before departure, from origin country.
  • For parrots, CITES documents have to be prepared at origin and destination countries.

Remarks: Dogs and cats – will be released within 24 hours after being inspected by an animal quarantine official at the airport of entry. Birds – 5 days of quarantine.


Required Documents:  1) Same requirements as household goods/personal effects 2) Original certificate of registration 3) Original receipt or invoice 4) Insurance policy

Customs Regulations: Dutiable regardless of whether new or used.


Remarks: A car cannot be sold or transferred for three (3) years after Customs clearance. This can only be done after payment of the Korean Customs duty which is calculated at that time.

Other Regulations

As of June 1, 2005 all wood packaging material (WPM) excluding paper products, will be required to be treated and marked under International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures-Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging in International Trade ISPM15.

The wood packaging material regulation for Korea allows for the option of heat treatment for both coniferous and non- coniferous packaging material under ISPM 15 (heat treatment to the core temperature of 56 degrees C for a minimum of 30 minutes) with the official ISPM mark OR treated with methyl bromide (MB) and officially marked.

However, there is a discrepancy between information provided by USDA and the Korean Government in regards to the acceptance of coniferous WPM from the U.S. fumigated with MB.  According to USDA, Korea is not allowing the importation of household goods shipments fumigated with MB.  On the other hand, Korea’s National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS) indicates that the use of MB is permitted. You may reference the following web page:

It is recommended to verify any regulation with your Ocean Carrier and/or Korean Agent prior to consigning a shipment to Korea.

Wood packaging material that’s considered processed wood produced from glue, heat, and pressure or a combination thereof (plywood, veneer panel, particle board, etc…) are exempt from the treatment and marking.

Please note:
The information on this page is intended as a guide and  NOT as a complete or definitive resource.
The information on this page should not be used as an authoritative reference.


Updated June, 2005