South Korea at a Glance
Visa Requirements for South Korea
Types of Visas
South Korea offers different visa types for expats who visit the country to work or do business. The duration of your stay and your type of employment usually determines which kind of visa you need to apply for. The most common ones are:
- Temporary Employment (C-4)
- Intra-Company Transfer (D-7)
- Foreign Language Teaching (E-2)
- Special Profession (E-5)
- Specially Designated Activities (E-7)
- Training Employment (E-8)
- Non-Professional Employment (E-9)
- Temporary Journalism (C-1)
- Short-Term Business (C-2)
Once you have received your visa, you have to enter the country within the following 90 days. After this period of time, your visa expires and you have to go through the application process once again.
The Process of Applying for Your Visa
If you plan on taking up gainful employment, you probably need a temporary employment visa (C-4). Ask your future employer to assist you with the application process. If you are going to work for a multinational company, they may even handle the visa application for you.
However, if you are taking care of the details on your own, you should get in touch with the South Korean embassy or consulate nearest to you. Expats usually apply by submitting the following documents:
- a completed application document
- one passport-sized photo
- a valid passport
- an employment contract
- a copy of your Korean employer’s certificate of registration
- a recommendation of employment by the responsible Korean minister or another document which attests the necessity of your employment
- proof of payment of fees
Keep in mind though that the exact application requirements depend on the visa type you will apply for. Your employment visa is only valid for the time and place of your employment. This means that with the expiration of your contract your visa is not valid anymore and you have to leave South Korea within two weeks. Of course, you can try to secure a new job. In that case, you have to contact the Immigration Office for a new visa.
No matter which type of visa you apply for, it will fall in one of three categories in terms of fees:
- single entry visa for no more than 90 days (40 USD or equivalent)
- single entry visa for more than 90 days (60 USD or equivalent)
- double-entry visa (70 USD or equivalent)
- multiple entry visa (90 USD or equivalent)
However, not all nationalities are required to pay these fees. You can take a look at South Korea’s immigration site for a list of countries which fall under the fee-exempt agreement.
Registering as an Expat
Even after you have successfully applied for an employment visa, there is still more red tape to deal with. Are you planning to stay in South Korea for more than 90 days? In that case, you need to apply for an Alien Registration Certificate. Contact the Immigration Office in Seoul or one of the branch offices and turn in the following documents:
- an application form
- a valid passport
- one passport-sized photographs
- the registration fee (about 10,000 KRW)
Once you’ve done so, you will receive a foreign registration card which is valid for one year. Please remember that, with every change of your visa status and every move, you are required to go through the registration process again.
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