South Korea is one of the seven countries that entered the US Visa Waiver Program this year. The other countries are Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. South Korea had been hoping to be included in the program for years and the country had complied with every requirement that the program had set. The last being the exchange of information on suspected criminals.
I got my 10-yr US visa when I was still a Philippine-passport holder. It became void the moment I changed my citizenship. I was planning to travel to the US this winter but that would mean I would need to get a new visa. Thanks to the US VWP, I could now go to the US as a tourist for a maximum of 90-days without a visa as long as I use the new electronic passport. However, with the current exchange rate my plans changed. I decided to postpone my trip until spring next year. I would need 1,333 won for a US dollar. An increase of 40% from the last time I visited the US!
I read that Hawaii tourism is rejoicing over the inclusion of South Korea to the US VWP, while some expats living here are sulking? Anyway, those who plan to study or work in the US would still need to get a visa. Of course one should never forget to get a travel medical insurance when traveling!