If you intend to do any of the following in South Korea, please contact Risk Services at email@example.com or 642-5141:
- Hire a local to work for you as an employee
- Purchase or lease office or research space
- Purchase or lease an automobile
- Establish a long-term (over 90 days) or ongoing project
- Conduct a clinical trial
U.S. GOVERNMENT COMPLIANCE CONSIDERATIONS
Foreign activities may trigger many U.S. laws, including:
- Import Controls
- Export Controls
- Tax Reporting
- Foreign Bank Account Reporting
- Country Embargoes and Targeted Sanctions
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
- Anti-Boycott Laws
Import Controls. UC employees must adhere to U.S. import requirements, and may need to enlist the services of a customs broker, especially for shipments arriving by sea and subject to the Importer Security Filing 71730, also known as ISF 10+2.
Export Controls. Export controls may apply to advanced software and technology, research data, and other sensitive assets. UC’s Export Compliance FAQ contains useful information and can be found here. Go here for the University of California plan for compliance with federal export controls. If you plan on taking or sending potentially export-controlled materials to South Korea, consult the campus Research Administration Compliance Office at 642-0120.
Tax Reporting. The University and its employees may be taxed in foreign countries. The tax implications for operating in South Korea may be found at the Internal Revenue Service’s United States-South Korea Income Tax Convention. For further clarification, contact the Controller’s Office at:
- firstname.lastname@example.org or 642-0031 for tax advising and unrelated business income tax coordination, or
- email@example.com or 642-1336 for foreign tax form processing
Foreign Bank Account Reporting. The U.S. Treasury Department requires U.S. citizens with a financial interest in or signatory authority over a financial account in a foreign country, where accounts exceed $10,000 at any point during a calendar year, to report such accounts on a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FinCen Report 114). Those needing to complete the form should contact the Controller’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 643-9803 for assistance. An IRS 1040 Schedule B form (Part III–Foreign Accounts and Trusts) must be filed by the signatory for any foreign bank account, regardless of the account balance.
Country Embargoes and Targeted Sanctions. In general, collaborations between University personnel and scholars at foreign institutions or organizations do not require export licenses unless they involve export-controlled or -restricted research or involve scholars in sanctioned countries. Before engaging in an international collaboration, the University needs to determine whether export licenses are required and to verify that the foreign collaborator is not blocked or sanctioned. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is responsible for enforcing all U.S. embargoes and sanctions. Depending on each country’s embargo or sanction program, activities may be prohibited without specific authorization or license. UC’s International Collaborations webpage contains additional information on this topic.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is intended to stop bribery. It prohibits offering to pay, paying, promising to pay, or authorizing the payment of money or anything of value to a foreign official. The term “foreign official” generally includes any employee or contractor of a foreign government, and may include individuals employed by foreign universities. It is also unlawful to make a payment to a third party knowing that all or part of the payment will go to a foreign official. For more information, review the federal government’s Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. If you need further clarification, contact the UC Berkeley Office of Legal Affairs at 642-7122. Transparency International’s 2018 survey of perceived public sector corruption rated South Korea at 57 out of 100 (45th out of 180 countries reviewed, i.e. somewhat prone to corruption).
Anti-Boycott Laws. The U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for oversight of laws prohibiting individuals and entities from participating in boycotts not approved or sanctioned by the U.S. government. The Export Administration Act requires that requests to participate in such boycotts or to conduct activities in any of the boycotting countries be formally reported to the Department of Commerce and/or IRS.
For other compliance-related issues, refer to UC’s International Compliance webpage.
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR DOING BUSINESS INTERNATIONALLY
Foreign Bank Accounts. Employees wishing to open a foreign bank account should contact the Controller’s Office at email@example.com or 643-9803. Requests to open accounts must be made through the Office of the President’s Banking and Treasury Services Group by the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee.
Real Estate Agreements. Only employees with delegated authority to sign contracts on behalf of The Regents may enter into agreements, leases, or other contracts. Foreign affiliates or operations must submit to the Real Estate Services Office property management agreements, personal property leases, or contracts with a term longer than one year or in an amount greater than $25,000 per year. The campus then seeks approval from the University president or designee. For more information, consult the Guidelines for the Establishment and Operation of Foreign Affiliate Organizations and Foreign Operations
SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIALS WILL PLACE GWANGJU UNDER LEVEL-1.5 RESTRICTIONS STARTING NOVEMBER 19 DUE TO RISING CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) ACTIVITY. UNDER THE LEVEL-1.5 MEASURES, AUTHORITIES ARE BANNING GATHERINGS LARGER THAN 100 PEOPLE AT DEMONSTRATIONS, LARGE CONCERTS, ACADEMIC CONFERENCES, AND OTHER "HIGH-RISK" ACTIVITIES. VISA-FREE AND VISA-WIVER PROGRAMS REMAIN SUSPENDED WITH COUNTRIES THAT HAVE BANNED ENTRY FOR SOUTH KOREAN CITIZENS.
Note: this page contains basic risk information. For more details, please contact the Risk Services Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are traveling to South Korea on University-related business, please sign up for the University’s travel insurance program by going here. For more information on the travel insurance program, please go here
Because everyone’s health is unique, we suggest seeking the advice of a medical professional before traveling internationally. Members of the campus community interested in protecting their health while abroad may schedule an appointment with the University Health Services International Travel Clinic
The quality of South Korean medical care is very good, but can be limited in rural areas. The following medical care facilities in Seoul (listed in alphabetical order) accommodate English speakers:
- Ajou University Hospital
- Asan Medical Center (Seoul Choongang Hospital)
- Samsung Medical Center
- Seoul Adventist Hospital
- Seoul National University Hospital
- Yonsei Severance Medical Center
In an emergency, contact the police by dialing 112, and contact an ambulance by dialing 119.
Air pollution can cause health problems in Anyang, Busan, and Seoul. In spring, sandstorms carrying “yellow dust” (hwangsa) blow across the country from northern China. If you have a chronic respiratory condition such as asthma, please consult a medical professional prior to your trip and carry appropriate medications.
Tap water may be contaminated by pollutants, so travelers should drink bottled, boiled, or purified water only. Travelers should also avoid raw meat dishes and unpasteurized dairy products, as those foods may harbor bacterial and parasitic pathogens. Street vendors and unregulated food establishments often follow poor hygiene standards and foreigners should not patronize them.
Malaria is a risk primarily between March and December in the northern areas of Kyonggi-Do Province, although infected mosquitoes have been detected in Incheon and Kandwon-do. Japanese encephalitis, also transmitted via mosquito bite, is a risk in the Pusan vicinity and Kwonggi Province from June through October.
From a crime standpoint, South Korea is safe. Petty theft can be a problem in crowded commercial areas and transportation hubs. Robberies almost always occur at night and do not involve guns.
South Korea conducts routine air raid drills, usually on the 15th of each month. If you hear air raid sirens, get off the street and stay away from doors and windows. If you are on public transportation, disembark and seek shelter.
Criminal Penalties: While in Korea, you are subject to local laws. If you violate Korean laws, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Be aware that:
- Immigration violations can lead to arrest, fines, and deportation.
- There is little tolerance for illegal drugs.
- If you mail illegal drugs to/ from Korea, you will be prosecuted.
- Commercial disputes may lead to criminal charges being filed under local laws.
Be aware that some crimes are prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask officials to notify the Embassy.
Dual Nationality and Military Conscription: Dual national males (including U.S. service members) may be subject to compulsory military service. If you have family ties to South Korea, consult the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate or the Korean Military Manpower Administration regarding potential citizenship obligations before entering South Korea.
Passport Seizures and Exit Bans: If you are involved in a criminal investigation or commercial dispute, authorities may seize your passport and/or block your departure. While we may reissue a passport, we cannot lift an exit ban.
Exit Permits: Exit permits are not generally required. However, if a parent requests a travel restriction on his/her child, Korean authorities may prevent that child from departing even when traveling with the other parent.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is not criminalized. Korea is a conservative country in regards to LGBTI issues. However, there are an increasing number of LGBTI-oriented clubs, festivals and NGOs advocating for LGBTI issues. The ROK National Human Rights Commission Act prohibits discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation, but there are no laws specifying punishment for persons found to have discriminated on this basis. Same-sex marriages are not recognized. Korean citizens can legally change their gender identity.