All foreigners need a visa to work in South Korea. The visa application process is not difficult but it does require several steps and can involve several months. Therefore, all candidates are urged to begin the process as soon as possible.
Total Cost: about $200
Total Time: 1-3 months
What type of visa will you need?
Most teachers need an E2 VISA. Ethnic Koreans (Kyopos) are eligible for F2 VISA. Contact us if you are uncertain about your status:
How can you apply for a visa?
1) Obtain the required documents listed here. Click on the links to learn more about each document and how to obtain it.
- Certificate of Academic Degree (Diploma) + Apostille
- Employment Contract
- Criminal Record + Apostille
- Applicant Health Form
- Application Form
P.S. The Criminal Record + Apostille involves the longest wait since it must be obtained directly from the FBI, which does not offer expedited service. Therefore, we urge you to request it first.
2) Submit your visa application with the required documents to Korean Immigration. Generally, you can just send the documents to your employer and they will take care of the rest. We strongly recommend that you use a reputable shipping company, preferably UPS, FEDEX, or DHL. The U.S. Postal service can be unreliable when it comes to international shipping.
If your documents are all valid, your visa will be approved in about 10 days. At that point, you’ll be issued a Visa Confirmation Number.
3) Go to the nearest Korean Consulate or Embassy to collect your visa. You will need to leave your passport with them overnight and pick it up the next day. You will also be required to bring a few extra photos and about $60 in cash. Certain locations require an interview. We’ll let you know more about that if it’s necessary, but it generally only takes a few minutes and is more of a formality than anything.
If you are already South Korea, you will need to leave, pick up your visa in another country, and reenter. Sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not so bad. For more information, consult our guide to the Fukuoka Visa Run.
4) Register with Immigration
After you arrive in South Korea, you will be required to register with the Immigration Office within 90 days of your arrival. To register, you must complete the following steps:
Medical Examination at a Korean Hospital
Your employer will help you with this step. Be aware that the medical examination includes a drug test. We strongly advice you not to toke up in the month prior to your arrival.
Apply for Alien Registration Card
You employer will probably help you here too, but if you have to do it on your own, please consult our guide to the Alien Registration Card.