Information on Types of Korean Visas
Each Korean visa has have very specific criteria.
If you want to know more detailed information then we have listed, go to the Korean Immigration Bureau website at http://www.moj.go.kr/mojeng/index.php. There is information about many kinds of visas, extensive Frequently Asked Question sections and question and answer boards.
The standard visa issued for teaching english in Korea is the E2 Visa.
If you are wishing to teach english through our program you must:
The E-2 is a teacher's visa, which allows you to work as a teacher for any legitimately registered educational institute in Korea. You can teach in an English language school, public school or language center.
- Be a native born speaker of English (your first language).
- Have the minimum qualification of a Bachelors degree.
- Hold a passport from ONLY the following countries:
Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, UK & Ireland or USA.
The E1 visa is applicable to working as a professor or similar higher status at a Korean University or Educational training establishment.
These visas are renewable for an additional year after the first year, only if the person works under the same management and if the institution acts as your sponsor.
- You are not allowed to work for another company with an E1 or E2 teaching visa, nor can you have a part time job.
- If you are not a native speaker of English, you can't work even if you have an Masters in English.
- 2 or 3-year college graduates with Diplomas are not allowed to get an E2 work visa, even though they may have a TESOL certificate. All teachers must have a bachelor's degree.
The F-1 visa is a Korean family visa. You are able to receive a F-1 visa through your biological family, native Korean spouse, and native Korean friend if these people are willing to represent you legally under their name. The sponsor would be legally responsible for any crimes or financial debt you caused. The F-1 visa is a one-year visa, after 1 year you must leave the country and have a new visa reissued.
While staying in Korea you cannot work in a legitimate company.
If you are the spouse or child of a person who qualifies for an E2 visa, then you will qualify for the F3 visa in the following circumstances.
For example, if a spouse is Chinese, they can't be an English teacher, even if he/she has a Bachlor in English. However, they can get an F3 visa and come with you. Also, if you want to bring your child, your child can get an F3 visa. Your child will be able to attend a foreign school in Korea. You need to show proof that they are your children. (Birth certificate or other government documentation).
- If you do not intend to work.
- You do not hold a passport from a qualifying E2 visa country.
- You are not a native speaker of English.
Only Canadians are allowed to stay in Korea on a tourist visa (B-2) for 6 months. Australians and New Zealanders can stay in Korea for only 90 days on the same visa. Most others nationalities are allowed to stay in Korea for 30 days.
B2 Tourist Visa and ?No-Visa Entry? Classification
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Tourist entry for citizens other than Canadians is called the 'No-Visa Entry' and it is just for short-term tour or transit. This no-visa entry is given to foreigners according to the principles of reciprocity or priority of national interests.
It is totally against the law to work on a tourist visa and if caught you can be heavily fined and deported.
For Korean descendants (Korean-Americans etc.), you can get an E2 visa or an F4 visa. The E2 process and requirements are as listed above.
Working in Korea as a Korean-Canadian/American
Working in Korea as a Korean-Canadian/American, or Kyopo, has its advantages as well as its disadvantages. First, the obvious advantage is being familiar with your own culture, finding out why your parents act the way that they do and the history of their country. You do not have to apply for re-entry into the country if you happen to travel to one of the nearby vacation spots. The documents needed are different depending upon your age and whether or not your father was granted Canadian/ American citizenship at the time of your birth. You will need a copy of your Canadian/American birth certificate stating your father's name as well as a copy of your father's family record (Hojuck deungbon) available from any Korean office and can be requested by anyone on your father's side of the family. If you are younger than 21 or if your father was not yet a Canadian citizen at the time of your birth, then you will also need a copy of your father's citizenship card.
If you cannot speak Korea very well, be prepared to receive some criticism. The biggest disadvantage about being a Kyopo is that since you look just like everyone else, they expect you to be Korean. If you ca'?t speak the language, then be prepared for looks of shock, people running away from shock and embarrassment, and occasionally a lecture. Along the same lines, since Kyopos do not look like foreigners, it may be difficult to get a job as an English teacher since there are some who hold the view that Kyopos cannot speak English as well as someone who is Caucasian.
This came into effect after December 3rd, 1999. This visa allows OAKs (Overseas Adopted Koreans) to live and work in Korea indefinitely. This means OAKs are able to work and live in Korea just as a native Koreans.
- Many employers request that any ethnic heritage Korean teachers they employ specifically obtain the F4 visa instead of the E2 visa.
- It can be extremely difficult to obtain a job in Korea with an E2 visa if you do have Korean ethnic background.
Who can obtain this visa?
How does this benefit you?
- People of Korean decent residing overseas that immigrated after 1948.
- Overseas Korean Nationals (Haewe-Hankook/Dongpo = Kyopo)
- Foreign National Koreans (Wekook-Kookjeok-Dongpo = OAKs, Overseas Adopted Koreans)
- Koreans born overseas with another citizenship.
- Koreans who have changed their citizenship.
This visa does not guarantee you obtain the following:
- Legal status in Korea for two years and renewable without having to leave the country. If you decide to move within these two years, you must notify Seoul Immigration office.
- You no longer need a sponsor from a school, company, family or friend. This means working, school, or family visas are not necessary.
- You can buy land, property, housing, or open up a business.
- Private tutoring is now legal.
- Employment in companies will be a little easier to obtain, as the companies will not have the hassle of foreign paper work for a work visa. But speaking Korean is always a plus!
How to obtain this visa:
- When buying a cellular phone (as a foreigner) we may not be able to purchase it under your own name. It is up to the company if they are able to trust you. If they do not trust you, then you should ask a native Korean to sponsor a cellular phone for you.
- Applying for a bank loan, credit card, or wiring money overseas from Korea. It is up to the bank if they want to trust you. If they do not trust you, then you should ask a native Korean to sponsor you.
- Employment means 'white collar' jobs such as teaching, company worker, government worker, etc. BUT you are not allowed to work (as the Koreans would say) any of the 3D's. This means, dangerous, dirty, and difficult jobs. ie. factory worker, street vender, janitorial, maintenance, house cleaner, etc.
The F-3 visa is an educational visa that allows you to act as a student in any school that accepts you as long as the school process a visa as a sponsor. This is good for six months to one year with a possibility of up to two years depending on the type of program you request.
- From overseas you may go to the nearest Korean embassy or consulate. Calling first is recommended!
- In Korea you should go to the Seoul Immigration office in "Oh Mok Kyo Dong". There is a special department specifically for this visa on the 2nd floor, room 204. When arriving on the first floor there is a written notice only in Korean.
The E-7 visa is a general work visa that allows you to work in a legitimate company. This visa is renewable for one year after the first duration, only if you work under the same management and the company and they act as your sponsor.
Applicable only to citizens between the age of 18 and 30 years, and if their countries have a signed agreement with Korea for reciprocal allocation of placement.
When you get your visa processed most likely your passport will be stamped with a single entry visa. This visa allows the teacher to enter Korea once on the E-2 teaching visa.
- You are restricted to short term work to fund your travel only.
- You CANNOT work as an English teacher.
Teachers who plan to go abroad during their contract period must purchase either a multiple entry or a single entry visa at the immigration office (Note: Americans are usually issued multiple entry visas automatically when the E-2 visa is stamped into their passports, but please check to make sure).
The cost is 30, 000 won for the single entry visa and 50, 000 won for the multiple-entry visa. It is the responsibility of the teacher to obtain this visa if they wish to travel abroad. The teacher is also responsible for obtaining a new multiple-entry visa if they are on a second year contract. Renewing your work visa does not automatically renew your multiple-entry visa. Check your visa well in advance of travelling abroad to avoid disappointment.
Without this visa you will be allowed to leave but not to return. Teachers who do not plan to go abroad do not need to obtain this visa. If you forget to take care of this visa before you leave, you may purchase the visa at the airport on your way out of the country. However, only one-journey single entry visas are available.
Excellent information regarding the Alien card can be found at http://www.seodaemun.seoul.kr/eng/foreigner.html .
After you commence work you will be advised by your employer to visit the Immigration office to register for your Alien Registration Card. If this does not happen in the first 2 weeks, please ask your employer to proceed with your paperwork so that you can do this. It can be completed within 90 days, but the sooner the better.
The Immigration office will also require that you be fingerprinted. The new Alien Registration Card and your passport will be ready for pick up within a week. The administrative staff person in charge of general affairs will usually take care of this for you. Your residence card is the most recognized form of I.D. in Korea; Korean nationals carry a similar identification card. While it is certainly uncommon to be asked to produce your residence card for a police officer's inspection, it is required under Korean law that you carry it on your person at all times. If you lose your card, it is fairly easily replaced - simply report it as lost at the nearest police box. You will be issued an official report of its loss that you then give along with your passport to the Academic Supervisor. The Academic Supervisor will have the person in charge of General Affairs apply for the card's replacement at the Immigration office.
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