Bringing Prescription Drugs and Narcotics into Korea

Drugs brought into the Republic of Korea are subject to the regulations established by the Korean Food and Drug Administration and the Korean Customs Service, for more information please visit the KFDA website.  The procedures outlined below for importing/shipping medications or hand-carrying medications into the Republic of Korea are subject to change without notice.  We recommend that travelers plan in advance and confirm the procedures with the relevant Korean authorities before bringing any drugs into the Republic of Korea.

To carry narcotics into the Republic of Korea:

Before traveling, travelers must fax a written application to the Narcotics Control Division, Korean Food and Drug Administration per the instructions in “KFDA med permit procedures.”  The application must include:

  • a copy of the biographical page of your passport, showing your name, country, and passport number
  • a medical report and doctor’s prescription, indicating the name of the disease and narcotics prescribed
  • an application letter, stating your name, passport number, name and quantity of narcotics (in mg units) that you plan to bring in, your reasons for carrying it, and contact information including fax number or email address where you will receive the permit letter

A traveler’s application will be reviewed by the relevant Korean authorities, and if permission is granted, a permit letter will be sent to the fax number or email address provided in the application.  This permit letter will allow a traveler to bring those medications with them into the Republic of Korea.  If applicants do not receive a bring-in permit, they may wish to consult with their U.S. doctor for substitute medicines, or sources of local equivalent medicines in Korea. Amphetamine-based medications and other narcotics are routinely confiscated at the Korean port of entry, unless accompanied by a bring-in permit as described above.

For medicines that do not contain narcotics or amphetamines, in general (but with no guarantee due to ever changing policies) a three-month supply of medicines valued at less than $2,000 will be allowed to be brought into the Republic of Korea if they are for personal use and accompanied by a proper prescription from your doctor, a doctor’s letter stating the medical diagnosis, and a general statement from your doctor. The Korean Customs Service at Incheon Airport has authority over which medications will be allowed to be carried into the country.  Travelers may wish to consult with their U.S. doctor regarding substitute medicines, or sources of local equivalent medicines in Korea.

Please direct specific inquiries to:

Narcotics Policy Division

Pharmaceutical Safety Bureau

MFDS [Ministry of Food and Drug Safety]

Tel. +82 43 719 2801~16

Fax. +82 43 719 2800

E-Mail. Narcotics@korea.kr

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