[FAQ] Transfers at Incheon Airport and COVID-19

Are you flying in to Korea via Incheon Airport? Or does your itinerary include a transfer at Incheon Airport?

We understand that travelers visiting Incheon Airport for the first time may be curious with questions, especially during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. So we prepared a FAQ for questions related to transfers and COVID-19!

Q1. Can I leave Incheon Airport during my layover/stopover?

All travelers must stay within the transfer lounge until getting to their connecting flight. While “transit tours” were available for passengers of connecting flights during their layover/stopover, they are currently unavailable due to COVID-19.

Q2. Is it a time limit on staying in the transit area in Incheon Airport?

All travelers are allowed to stay up to 24 hours in the transfer lounge. So, plan ahead before booking your connecting flight.

Q3. What can I do in Incheon Airport while waiting for my connecting flight?

There are transfer lounges in the east and west wings of Terminal 2. The lounge features Internet and relaxation zones, where you can charge your mobile devices and relax in reclining chairs. You can also use Incheon Airport’s free public showers, and treat your jet lag in the nap zone. There is also 24-hour cafe for those who transfer at night.

Some facilities may be shut down temporarily due to COVID-19, so make sure to visit the website and check whether they are open. Click here for location and business operation details!

Q4. What should I do to transfer from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 in Incheon Airport?

  1. Arrive on the second floor of Terminal 1.
  2. Like departure, go through security check for transfer.
  3. Get on the shuttle train on the first underground floor in Terminal 1 to go to Concourse (about 5 min).
  4. Walk 10-20 m on the first underground floor in Concourse and go through the auto transfer gate (ATG).
  5. Go to Terminal 2 via the shuttle train on the first underground floor in Concourse (about 5 min).
  • Passengers who do not have a boarding pass must go to Transfer Desk on the fourth floor of Terminal 2 to receive a pass.
  1. Go to Concourse on the third floor of Terminal 2 to get on your flight.

Click here to transfer from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1!

Q5. Do I have to self-quarantine for 14 days to transfer at Incheon Airport?

While self-quarantine applies to travelers entering Korea, passengers with a conjunction ticket can transfer without having to self-quarantine.

What if you book an additional ticket, not the conjunction ticket? Since you have to enter the general area for entry and then check back in, it is not regarded as transfer, and therefore, you must quarantine yourself. However, if you use an airline that allows you to transfer without entering the general area, you can transfer without having to self-quarantine. So, travelers booking flight tickets individually must check with their airline whether they can transfer via Concourse.

Q6. Do I need a COVID-19 PCR negative certificate when I transfer at Incheon Airport?

Since it is considered entry if you pass from airside to landside, you need a COVID-19 negative certificate and have to self-quarantine for 14 days.

However, these are regulations of Korea, and your final destination country may have different regulations and your airline different requirements. Since it varies depending on your nationality and destination, it would be accurate to check with the government agency in your destination country.

Q7. I want to know more about the required COVID-19 PCR negative certificate.

Only PCR negative certificates issued within 72 hours from the departure date are accepted. It should be issued in Korean or English. If it is issued in a local language, you must submit a copy translated in Korean or English and a translation certificate.*

(*A personally translated copy must be certified by a public notary or embassy. An officially translated copy (including certified translators) does not require additional certification.)

If you receive your PCR negative certificate via email or online, you must print and submit it so that your test results can be checked during screening.

If you depart from designated countries (countries with stricter disease control except for the UK and South Africa), only the PCR negative certificate issued by a designated test station is accepted. The certificate is accepted for other countries regardless of the dissociated test station.

Q8. Do I have to self-quarantine after entering Korea?

All travelers entering Korea must self-quarantine for 14 days as required by the Korean government. While travelers are allowed to stay in their own place, passengers must follow strict self-quarantine regulations. If you use some other accommodations where self-quarantine is possible, you must inform the accommodations of why you stay there.

Q9. Can I shop at duty-free stores after entry but before self-quarantine?

You can if you have not entered the general area. However, duty-free stores in Terminal 1 are currently shut down due to COVID-19, and you can shop at duty-free stores in Terminal 2.

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22 Comments

  1. Good Morning,
    I am a Guatemalan currently living in Japan. I need to do an emergency travel to Los Angeles next week and the best option in terms of cost and time is with ASIANA.

    The option is a transfer flight in Incheon (Tokyo to Seoul to LA). Time between flights is 4 hours and a Half and the ticket is with the same company.

    It is possible to do it? or do you recommend me to look for other options.

    • Hello,

      is it possible to do the PCR and AgM anti body test while transferring within 24hrs?
      Would be great to update the health status to enter another country!

      Best Niclas

  2. Hello,
    Can ask you a question? Due to current limitation of our country situation, I have to travel from UK to Seoul first and transit there, then travel to Myanmar with relief flight from Seoul.
    My question is can I transit in Incheon airport for 24 hours as my first flight will arrive early and my transit time will be more than 24 hours? I have a plan to stay at transit hotel during that time.

    • I have this question also! Our layover is 30 hours.

  3. I have a question, i came from UAE ( Philippines Passport Holder), i want to travel to South Korea then connecting to philipines, is it Possible?
    Do i need a visa?
    Or Quarantine?
    I hope u can help me.
    Thanks and Regards
    NickO

  4. Hi I am a Filipino and i will be traveling from Madrid-Istanbul-South Korea on July. Just 3 hours after I arrive at Incheon airport, I have a flight to Philippines. I have to get my luggage since I booked these flights separately. Can you enlighten me if I need a transit visa or not?

  5. i have a layover for 15hrs do i need to quarantine ? or its ok to wate for my flight at the air port? going to philippines

  6. Hi my layover in Incheon airport is 37hrs, do i need visa if more than 24hr

  7. I’m a Philippine passport holder and traveling in the next 3 days coming from Rwanda through Abu Dhabi via Ethihad airline and my travel itinerary requires me to transfer in Incheon airport (5 yrs lay over) and to have my last flight to the Philippines via Cebu Pacific Airline. I understand that I have different tickets, does this mean that I need to go out from the airport, need a Visa or even quarantined? Please enlighten me on this. Thanks, Jonathan

    • Hi what happened to your flight? I will also be traveling soon and booked my flight separately going back Manila.
      I don’t have check in luggage so do I need to go through immigration or can I just go straight to transfer desk? I hope you will be able to help me. Thanks

  8. Hello! I arrive from the US to Incheon Airport on Tuesday, July 6. I have a flight to Russia on Wednesday, July 7 on a different airline. I will be there less than 24 hours, but I need to take another covid test in the airport in the basement of terminal 2, then fly out of terminal 1. Am I allowed to do this without two weeks of quarantine? I don’t think I can just stay in the transfer lounge because of the covid test. Please advise. Thanks, Kelly

  9. Hi, my layover in incheon is 36 hours. What do I need to do? Is this okay?
    Please reply. Thank you

  10. I Coming from bangladesh by qatar airlines arrived 17.25 i will fly next day at 10 AM BY Asian airline what i need do? please let me Krow

  11. I am coming from the Bangladesh buy Qatar Airways HR 1715 arrived I WILL fly next day by Asian Airlines AT 10 am date 07,09,2021 I Need to stand by In airport 17HR for next airlines it is a possible or what to do please let me know my email thank you

  12. I am confused with the PCR requirement at Incheon Airport.

    So, if I am just staying in Incheon airport for transit, do you still require PCR test? I am Canadian, travelling from Canada to the Philippines. Philippines does not need PCR as it is mandatory for travellers entering the country to quarantine.

  13. hi i have 2 diffrent tickets
    london to incheon airport qatar airways
    i will only be transit there
    cebu pacific to manila
    where is cebu pacific transfer desk ?
    i did email cebu pacific but no reply again
    thank you

    • Hi Greg!

      What happened to your flight?
      Where you able to check in for Cebu Pacific in transfer desk?

      I hope you will be able to help me.
      I will be traveling tomorrow

  14. Hello. My layover at ICN is 37 hours. Is it possible to stay at the airport without the need for 14 day quarantine and a visa?

  15. Hello my layover is 33 hours . I am flying from Spain to Frankfurt , then to Incheon with my next flight to my destination, New Zealand. Luthansa airlines had booked all my flights and have changed it numerous times to this final itinerary resulting to me having 33 hours layover on 14 August. I will be arriving and leaving from the same Terminal (1).
    Is there a visa that I need??? If so what? Would be great if someone could answer this common query .

    • I would love to know if anyone replies. Because I am nervous and trying to find this out myself .

  16. Hi! Im a Philippine passport holder and travelling in the next 3 days via Etihad airlines, my travel itinerary requires me to transfer in Incheon Airport for 5 hrs, to have my last flight vis Cebu Pacific going to the Philippines. I have booked 2 separate flights with two different airlines, transit is in ICN. Do I need to get out of the transit area to get my boarding pass and luggage? Im already planning on not having a checked in luggage just to stay in the transit area. But what about my boarding pass? Please help me.

    • Hi what happened to your flight? I will also be traveling soon and booked my flight separately going back Manila.
      I don’t have check in luggage so do I need to go through immigration or can I just go straight to transfer desk? I hope you will be able to help me. Thanks


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