If you’re flying to or from Incheon Airport, you’ll most likely need to get your hands on negative COVID-19 test results in English within 24-72 hours (depending on the current regulations) before boarding or exiting the plane. The following are my suggestions on where to take your COVID-19 PCR test in Seoul, South Korea. Of course, good luck and safe travels!
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If there are any other places that you’d like to add or have had positive (or negative) experiences at, please leave a comment down below and share the wealth of information for future travelers!
Check Airline, State, and Country Restrictions
Don’t forget to check airline and state/country restrictions. For example, in 2021, the state of Hawaii only accepted test results from the following four hospitals in Korea in order to by-pass the state’s previous 10-day traveler quarantine: (1) Yonsei University Health System Severance Hospital (Seoul), (2) Kangbuk Samsung Hospital (Seoul), (3) Asan Medical Center (Seoul), and (4) Inha University Hospital (Incheon). If you’re flying to Hawaii, you can read more about the testing restrictions on Hawaiian Airlines and the Hawaii State website.
There is some mixed news about Korean Air and Asiana airlines potentially accepting results in Korean rather than English for boarding their airline. This article, “대한항공·아시아나 한글 ‘코로나 음성확인서’ 허용” (Korean Air and Asiana allow ‘corona negative confirmation’ in Korean), from Korea Daily on June 30th, 2021, states that “As of the 30th of last month, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, respectively, through their websites, specify that the ‘COVID19 PCR negative confirmation certificate’, which is a required document for entering the United States, can be written in Korean as well as English.”
Please double-check with your airline to see whether or not Korean test results will be valid ahead of time, but if so, the costs of testing may be cheaper than finding a place to issue an English medical certificate.
Expect to Pay for Your Test Results
PCR and antigen tests for international flights with results in English are not covered by insurance, so expect to pay between 60,000 to 400,000 KRW for test results.
Unfortunately, the free COVID-19 testing centers — like public health centers — in Seoul do not offer certificates that are required for flying (outbound from South Korea.) The free testing at local public health centers is also available only to long-term residents (with valid visas) and citizens of South Korea. If you are a long-term visa holder or citizen of South Korea, you can still get tested at a local public health center for free upon return to South Korea to satisfy the arrival requirements.
Tourists will be turned away from local public health centers. If you are a tourist or visiting Korea short-term, you will have to pay for all COVID-19 tests.
Antigen Tests Are Cheaper
Antigen tests are considerably cheaper than PCR tests. Double-check your destination country’s entry requirements to see if you can take an antigen test instead of a PCR before boarding your flight.
For example, at the Incheon Airport COVID-19 Test Center, the antigen is only 24,180 KRW.
However, if you need to test for COVID-19 in order to satisfy Korea’s arrival requirements, you’ll need to pay for a PCR test, not an antigen test.
Public Health Centers Are For Returning Locals
The local public health centers are for local residents or citizens of South Korea. If you are a long-term visa holder (local resident) of South Korea or you are a citizen of South Korea, you may go to your local public health center after returning to South Korea and take a free COVID-19 test at your local health center to satisfy the COVID-19 entry requirements.
In this case, you will have to go to the health center according to where your home address is registered in Korea legally, e.g. if you live in Seocho-gu, you must go to the Seocho-gu Public Health Center.
The hours of each public health center are listed on the Ministry of Health and Welfare website. Most if not all public health centers are open on weekends and holidays until around 1:00 pm.
Public health centers cannot be used for outbound (leaving Korea) travel.
Again, tourists and short-term visa holders will be turned away from testing at local public health centers. There are signs now at the public health centers. Only Korean nationals and foreigners with a long-term visa and valid alien registration card (ARC) will be allowed to test at their local public health center.
Where can I get a PCR test in Seoul, South Korea?
For the most accurate information, you can call 1339 locally to find the nearest COVID-19 screening center. There are many, many places to take the test, so this list is not the end-all, be-all but merely suggestions. You may also see some fluctuations in price from year to year. I have done my best to get an accurate estimate by contacting the clinics or through accounts from those who have taken the test at particular places, but sometimes, prices change.
For a more comprehensive list of hospitals and clinics near you, you can also take a look at the list provided by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (Korean language only) and contact the hospitals and clinics individually for prices and appointment availability. Many have at least one person on staff that speak at least some English, but it does require some sleuthing to find their contact information beyond a phone number if you’re located overseas.
Word of advice: try to avoid big hospitals like Gangnam Severance Hospital as they are the most expensive. Public health Centers are also only available to local residents (long-term) and citizens of Korea for inbound testing (after arriving back to Korea) and will not issue test results for outbound travel (flying from Korea.)
Update (10/14/2021): I have heard some chatter that it may be possible to get a PCR test at a local public health center for free and then presenting the text message with negative results to a local hospital to get an English certificate for 20-30,000 KRW as a way of saving money.
However, I DO NOT recommend this method as there are hospitals that may refuse you or the results may end up not being valid for travel. As test results need to be done within a 48-72 hour period before your flight, this could end up being a very expensive mistake. In my case, I would rather shell out the money to pay for a test that I know will fulfill the exact requirements of the airline and country that I am flying to.
Definitely, look ahead at the country’s requirements for testing. Many countries only require a negative antigen test as proof which has a short turnaround and is much less expensive than PCR tests.
Incheon Airport COVID-19 Test Center
For most people, the Incheon Airport COVID-19 Test Center is probably the easiest place to get tested and one of the most reasonably priced. The Incheon Airport COVID-19 Test Center is available by appointment and opens on weekends.
How to Book a COVID-19 Test at Incheon Airport
Book your test early, if possible, through safe2gopass.com. Walk-ins are also possible, but you may have to wait quite a bit of time depending on availability. You can call the center at 032-741-9000 to make an appointment.
Please do not wait until the last minute to book your appointment for pre-departure testing! Appointment slots are limited and are often booked at LEAST a week or so ahead. And obviously, bring your passport with you.
Location of Incheon Airport COVID-19 Testing Center
There are four (4) testing centers at Incheon Airport. Two of them are located side-by-side at the Terminal 1 parking lot and the other two are located at the Terminal 2 parking lot.
Test Cost at Incheon Airport
The PCR pre-departure test at Incheon Airport costs 116,000 – 120,000 KRW for residents* of South Korea with Korean health insurance and 124,000 – 130,000 KRW for foreigners without Korean health insurance (tourists.) The price for post-arrival PCR testing is 80,000 KRW.
* Take note that if you’re a foreigner living in Korea and have Korean health insurance such as NHIS, you will be paying the same price as the locals or Korean nationals.
Incheon Airport COVID-19 Testing Center Hours
The Incheon Airport COVID-19 Test Center operating hours for pre-departure tests are between 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends (lunch break is between 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.) In order to get the test results on the same day, you must take the test early in the day.
The post-arrival testing center at Incheon Airport is now open 24 hours! Note the differences below between pre-departure and post-arrival testing hours. Due to the changes in regulations in Korea after July 25th, 2022 in which arrival passengers will have to take a test within 24 hours upon arriving to Korea, they made it just a little easier to take the post-arrival test at Incheon Airport.
Operating hours for Incheon Airport COVID-19 Testing Center:
- Pre-departure testing: 07:00 – 18:00
- Post-arrival testing: 24 hours open
For tourists visiting Korea, I highly recommend booking a slot at Incheon Airport to get the PCR test required within 24 hours upon arrival over and done with — especially as you’re required to quarantine until you receive your test results back. I wrote a little blurb about my antigen test experience at Incheon Airport last time I flew to Italy on a morning flight from Seoul in late 2021 below.
Incheon Medical Center
If you’re already in Incheon, you can take the PCR test with an English medical certificate at the Incheon Medical Facility (not the airport.) The cost of testing will be approximately 160,000 won to 200,000 won according to an old notice from 2020 on their website, however, I’ve heard more recently that the cost of the PCR test is about 80,000 won, the English certificate is 20,000 won with an additional fee of 1,000 won. Definitely call ahead to check the price when making an appointment. One Korean traveler also noted being able to take the PCR test for flying on a Sunday at Incheon Medical Center’s emergency room.
The Incheon Medical Center is located at 217, Bangchuk-ro, Dong-gu, Incheon, Republic of Korea. Incheon Medical Center is open on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, you can call them at 032-580-6148 (English/Vietnamese), 032-580-6149 (Chinese), 032-580-6152 (Korean/English). There are several international staff members that you can email directly at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.
National Medical Center
The National Medical Center is located at 245, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (Naver Map). The total cost of PCR testing with English results at the National Medical Center varies depending on whether you will be arriving on a weekday or in the afternoon. should be about 141,930 KRW total with the English certificate. The PCR test itself will cost 121,930 won and the English medical certificate will cost an additional 20,000 won. If you are going to China, expect to pay more for an additional IgM test. You can also call them at 02-2260-7114 for more information.
I’ve attached a medical notice from the National Medical Center regarding PCR testing for overseas travel below and ran it through Yandex translator. The translation is not the best, but you get the idea. Most importantly, the National Medical Center is open on weekends and holidays.
Chung-Ang University Hospital
The PCR test with English test results should cost about 157,000 won in total. This price includes the COVID-19 PCR test cost of about 117,000 won, a medical fee of about 20,000 won, and the English certificate fee of 20,000 won. The hospital is located at 102, Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, Korea, and there is an International Healthcare department for Russian, English, Mongolian, Chinese and Japanese translation. You can call Chung-Ang University Hospital at 02-6299-3023/3025 or email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seoul Sacred Heart Hospital
It’s been reported that Seoul Sacred Heart Hospital also offers English PCR test results for traveling and will cost you around 115,000 KRW in total. The COVID-19 test fee is 95,000 won, the English medical certificate costs 20,000 won, and there’s an optional doctor’s note for an additional 20,000 won if necessary. Seoul Sacred Heart Hospital is located at 259 Choui-ro, Cheongnyangri-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul. You can reach them by calling them at 02-966-1616 or by emailing them directly at email@example.com.
Seoul Children’s Hospital
The total cost of the PCR test with an English certificate is 103,860 KRW. The PCR test fee is approximately 92,860 won and the English confirmation certificate issuance fee is about 11,000 won. You can call the Seoul Children’s Hospital at 02-570-8000 for more information.
The Seoul Children’s Hospital address is 260 Heolleung-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul (서울 서초구 헌릉로 260 서울시립어린이병원, Naver Map) You do not need a reservation prior to visiting, according to those that have recently visited. Their visiting hours for COVID-19 screening are Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
It will take approximately 24-48 hours from start to finish to receive the test results in English, and if you test in the morning, you’ll receive your English certificate in the afternoon the following day. If tested on a Friday, documents are issued on Monday. You will have to pick up the results in person and bring your passport again.
Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital
One of the cheaper options in Seoul, you can also take the COVID-19 PCR test at Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital (59 Daesagwan-ro, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul). Their phone number is 02-709-9058. The cost of the PCR test at Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital will be between 120,000-140,000 KRW depending on whether you hold Korean insurance. The COVID-19 test cost is 76,940 won, the medical fee is about 22,370 won, and the cost of issuing a medical certificate in English is 20,000 won. You can read more about the test certificate on their website. You must bring your passport and ARC (if you have one.)
Gangnam Severance Hospital
You can head to Gangnam Severance Hospital (211 Eonju-ro, Dogok 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul) to take a PCR test with English results ready for you the next day. You won’t need to make an appointment, but you’ll need to bring your identification (ARC and passport) as well as your flight information.
Some people have said that getting their results from Gangnam Severance Hospital can cost up to around 400,000 KRW, so definitely check out smaller hospitals and clinics if possible. If you have the time, shop around.
The International Clinic at Yonsei Severance Hospital
The International Health Care Center at Yonsei Severance Hospital (50-1 Yonsei-ro, Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul) also offers PCR testing for international flights with results that can usually be picked up after 5 p.m. and an English certificate ready the next day. The cost of the PCR test may cost up to 284,970 KRW depending on whether you have Korean health insurance.
The International Clinic’s reception is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. You can call the International Clinic in English at 02-2228-5800.
The pre-screening clinic for a COVID-19 test is open by appointment from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. You can make an appointment directly on their Korean website, Hawaii Visitor Pre-screening Program.
Kangbuk Samsung Hospital
The PCR COVID-19 test for travel at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital (29 Saemunan-ro, Gyonam-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul) will cost around 131,000 KRW — the COVID-19 PCR test is priced at 110,000 won and the English test result certificate will cost an additional 20,000 won — updated to account for a price rise in 2022. Additionally, it is not covered by health insurance. The International Health Services department can be contacted by phone at 02-2001-5100 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also make an online reservation. Operating hours are between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays only.
Samsung Medical Center
Samsung Medical Center (81 Irwon-ro, Irwon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul) also offers the COVID-19 test with English results. After speaking with a staff member there on May 14th, 2021, she informed me that the cost of the test itself is 328,000 KRW (weekdays) or 380,090 KRW (weekends). Test results are sent via email on the following day. For tests done on Fridays or Saturdays, the results will be sent by email on the following Monday. For a medical statement, you have to see the doctor, and the consultation costs will be 70,000 KRW. So, the total cost will be at least 398,000 KRW. To speak to hospital staff in English, you can call 02-3410-0200 or e-mail the International Health Services at email@example.com. You can also fill out their online form.
The Tuntun Pediatric Clinic
According to a comment below, the PCR test at Tuntun Pediatric Clinic in Mapo-gu, Seoul costs approximately 120,000 KRW (100,000 KRW plus an additional 20,000 won if you need the test result certificate.) The clinic is located at 563, Dohwa-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea (Naver Map). You can call them at 02-704-7575 or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can I get a rapid antigen test in Seoul, South Korea?
When looking for rapid antigen tests (신속항원검사는) in South Korea, I’ve heard that your best bet would be to find otolaryngology clinics instead of big hospitals which usually offer only PCR testing. The benefit of only needing an antigen test is that the documents and the testing can be prepared the same day and usually within the hour. They’re also significantly cheaper than PCR testing albeit not as accurate.
Again, these are only quick suggestions on where to go if you need an antigen or PCR test in South Korea, however, if you want to find something closer to your location, I highly recommend looking at this list of screen clinics on the Ministry of Health and Welfare website. You can use the Google Translate plugin on the Chrome browser to switch the language from Korean to English. The contact information for the hospital or clinic is provided as well as hours and location. Public Health Centers cannot give you a free PCR or antigen test with English certificates for traveling, and you will have to pay for your test results. Major hospitals are also often more expensive. If you only need an antigen test, look for an ENT or otolaryngology clinic.
Seocho St. Mary’s E.N.T. Clinic
If you only need an antigen test — for a flight to the United States, for example — you can try going to the Seocho St. Mary’s E.N.T. Clinic (Seocho Sungmo Otolaryngology Clinic or 서초성모이비인후과의원). The clinic is located at 3, Banpo-daero 21-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul (Naver Map). The antigen test itself will only take about half an hour and the cost will be 59,100 KRW.
Min’s Otolaryngology Clinic
Again, if you need rapid antigen testing done, check your local otolaryngology (ears/throat) clinic. Min’s Otolaryngology Clinic (민이비인후과의원) is located on the 2nd floor, Seongbo Building, 10 Teheran-ro 26-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (Naver Map). The cost of rapid antigen testing is 69,100 KRW here.
Jongno Yonsei Otolaryngology Clinic
You can take an antigen test at Jongno Yonsei Otolaryngology Clinic (종로연세이비인후과의원) for around 55,000 KRW. The clinic is located on the 3rd floor, 57 Sambong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (Naver Map), near Jonggak and Gwanghwamun Station. The results will be issued within 20-40 minutes. Appointments can be made in advance, and operating hours are between 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Dana’s Department of Otolaryngology and Internal Medicine
Seolleung Dana Ivy Throat Clinic (선릉다나아이비인후과의원) also provides antigen and PCR testing with English results. For PCR tests, the website says that the PCR test costs around 120,000 KRW with English results available the next day. The antigen cost is about 70,000 KRW.
One of the reasons why I recommend this clinic? It is one of the few clinics in Gangnam that is actually open on weekends, including Sundays. I was able to book an appointment for an antigen test way ahead of time by messaging them on Naver Talk in English. I know well how stressful it is to find a clinic that is open on Sundays in South Korea. It ain’t easy — especially as a foreigner.
The Seolleung Dana Ivy Throat Clinic is located on the third floor of 310, Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울 강남구 테헤란로 310, Naver Map).
According to Naver, their hours are:
- Weekdays 09: 00-20: 00 (Lunch break 13: 00-14:00)
- Saturday 09: 00-18:00 (Lunch break 13: 00-14:00)
- Sunday 10:00 17:00 (Lunch break 13: 00-14: 00)
- Public holidays 10:00-17: 00 (Lunch break 13: 00-14:00)
Gangnam Seoul ENT Clinic
Han Ho commented below that you can get rapid antigen testing for about 70,000 KRW at the Gangnam Seoul ENT Clinic in Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea. The clinic is located at 2F, 403, Hyoryeong-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea (Naver Map.)