Public Safety Measures
Public demonstrations are a common occurrence in South Korea, particularly near the U.S. Embassy, Seoul City Hall, and areas surrounding military installations. It is advisable to steer clear of these areas and exercise caution when near large gatherings, protests, or rallies. Even peaceful demonstrations can quickly escalate into violent confrontations.
North Korea and the Korean Peninsula
Peace and Tensions
Since the armistice agreement in 1953, the Korean peninsula has generally enjoyed peace under United Nations monitoring. However, tensions can occasionally rise due to provocative acts by North Korea, such as ballistic missile tests and limited incursions into South Korean territory. Some of these provocations have led to geographically limited skirmishes. South Korea regularly conducts military training exercises and civil defense drills, which often elicit strongly-worded and threatening messages from North Korea. For more detailed information, refer to our Fact Sheet on North Korea.
Monsoons and Typhoons
During the June to August monsoon season or the May to November typhoon season, heavy rains and flooding may occur. To ensure you are prepared, familiarize yourself with general information about natural disaster preparedness. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website offers valuable resources and guidance.
Stay Connected and Informed
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
We highly recommend enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By registering, you will receive security messages via email and allow us to locate you swiftly in case of an emergency.
Rest assured that if the Embassy becomes aware of any specific and credible threats to the safety and security of U.S. citizens, we will notify you through our website, social media channels, and email.
Ensuring Your Safety: Crime Prevention Tips
South Korea is generally a safe country for visitors. However, it is important to take routine safety precautions, especially in major metropolitan areas, tourist sites, and crowded markets. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings.
- Report any concerns to local police authorities.
- Exercise caution when in crowded entertainment, nightlife, and shopping districts.
- If you must travel at night, consider traveling in groups.
- Use legitimate taxis or public transportation only.
Assistance for Victims of Crime
If you are a victim of a crime, dial 112 for emergency assistance or report the crime to local authorities. Additionally, you can contact the U.S. Embassy at 02-397-4114 to receive the following assistance:
- Help finding appropriate medical care.
- Assistance in reporting a crime to the police.
- Contacting relatives or friends on your behalf.
- Explanation of Korean judicial procedures.
- Emergency repatriation loan and limited medical support in cases of destitution.
- Aid in finding accommodations and arranging flight arrangements to the United States.
- Assistance with replacing a lost or stolen passport.
Safety Awareness: Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
The U.S. Embassy regularly receives reports of sexual assault involving U.S. citizens in South Korea. Many cases involve young women who were assaulted by acquaintances they met through social media, dating apps, or messaging platforms. Alcohol is often a factor, and the perception of overall low crime rates in Korea can create a false sense of security. While specialized hospital units and the police are available to assist victims, services in English and the responsiveness to the crime may vary. It is important to note that sex crimes are not punished as severely in South Korea as they are in the United States, making prosecution a challenging process for victims.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, resources and shelters are available in Seoul and other urban areas. However, these services may be limited in rural areas. Most facilities require a police referral. For immediate assistance, call 112 or the 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 1366 in Korea. You can also contact the U.S. Embassy at (+82) 2-397-4114.
Lost or Stolen Passports
In the unfortunate event that your passport is lost or stolen, please file a report at the nearest police station.
Avoid Counterfeit Goods and Scams
It is illegal to purchase counterfeit and pirated goods in South Korea. Additionally, bringing these goods into the United States is against U.S. law. For more information on this matter, visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Division.
Tourism Safety Measures
The tourism industry in South Korea is well-regulated, with enforced rules and safety inspections. Hazardous areas and activities are clearly identified with appropriate signage, and professional staff are present to support organized activities. Should an injury occur, medical treatment is readily available throughout the country. However, response times may be longer in remote areas. To ensure comprehensive coverage, we encourage U.S. citizens to purchase medical evacuation insurance. For more information on overseas coverage insurance providers, visit our webpage.
Remember, your safety is our priority. If you have any concerns or require assistance, please feel free to reach out to DHPL Travels here.