International Jobs Visa Info

South Korea Work Visa Information

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South Korea is a vibrant country known for its advanced technology, rich culture, and strong economy. It’s home to global companies like Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, making it an attractive destination for professionals from all over the world. Many people choose to work in South Korea to gain international experience, enjoy a high standard of living, and immerse themselves in Korean culture.

Importance of Understanding Visa Requirements

Before you can work in South Korea, you need to get the right visa. A visa is an official document that allows you to enter and work in the country legally. Understanding the visa requirements is crucial because it ensures that you are legally allowed to work and live in South Korea. Without the proper visa, you could face legal issues, fines, or even deportation.

Types of South Korea Work Visas

South Korea Work Visa Information

There are several types of work visas available for people wanting to work in South Korea. Each type of visa is designed for different kinds of jobs and professional needs.


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1. E-1 Professor Visa

This visa is for individuals who wish to work as professors at educational institutions like universities.

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2. E-2 Foreign Language Instructor Visa

This visa is for those who want to teach a foreign language, most commonly English, at schools or private language institutes.

3. E-3 Research Visa

Researchers working in natural science or high technology fields can apply for this visa.


4. E-4 Technological Guidance Visa

This visa is for professionals providing technological advice or expertise.

5. E-5 Professional Employment Visa

This visa covers various professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, and medical doctors.

6. E-6 Culture and Art Visa

Artists, performers, and those working in entertainment can apply for this visa.

7. E-7 Special Occupation Visa

This visa is for individuals in specialized fields that are not covered by other work visa categories. It includes engineers, IT specialists, and other professionals with unique skills.


8. D-5 Long-term News Coverage Visa

Journalists and correspondents who plan to stay in South Korea for extended periods for news coverage can apply for this visa.

9. H-1 Working Holiday Visa

This visa allows young people from certain countries to work and travel in South Korea for up to a year. It’s a great option for those looking to experience the culture while earning money.

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Eligibility Criteria for Work Visas

South Korea Work Visa Information


To apply for a work visa in South Korea, you need to meet specific eligibility criteria. These criteria vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for.

1. Educational Qualifications

Most work visas require you to have a relevant degree or certification. For example, an E-2 visa applicant usually needs a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution.

2.. Professional Experience

Certain visas, like the E-7 Special Occupation Visa, may require you to have professional experience in your field.

3. Employment Offer from a South Korean Employer

You generally need to have a job offer from a South Korean employer who can sponsor your visa application.


4. Specific Requirements for Each Visa Type

Each visa type has unique requirements. For instance, the E-2 visa requires a clean criminal record and a health check.

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Understanding these requirements is the first step toward working in South Korea. Be sure to gather all necessary documents and meet all criteria before applying for your visa.

Application Process

Applying for a work visa in South Korea involves several steps. Here’s a simplified guide to help you through the process:


1. Gathering Required Documents

Before you apply, you’ll need to gather various documents. The exact documents can vary based on the type of visa, but generally include:

  1. Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay.
  2. Completed Visa Application Form: You can download this form from the Korean embassy or consulate’s website.
  3. Passport-sized Photos: Typically, two recent photos are required.
  4. Employment Contract: A signed contract from your South Korean employer.
  5. Proof of Qualifications: Diplomas, certificates, or any other documents that prove you have the necessary qualifications for the job.
  6. Criminal Background Check: This should be recent and, in some cases, apostilled or notarized.
  7. Health Check: Some visas, like the E-2 visa, require a health check.

2. Submitting the Application

Once you have all your documents ready, you can submit your application. Here’s how:

  1. Where to Apply: Submit your application to the South Korean embassy or consulate in your home country. You can find the nearest embassy or consulate using the Korean embassy locator.
  2. Application Fees: Be prepared to pay a non-refundable visa application fee. The fee varies depending on the type of visa.
  3. Timeline for Processing: Processing times can vary, but it generally takes about 2-4 weeks. It’s a good idea to apply well in advance of your planned departure date.

Document Requirements

It’s essential to ensure all your documents are in the correct format and meet the specific requirements:

1. Detailed List of Necessary Documents for Different Visa Types

Each visa type may have specific document requirements. For example:

  • E-2 Visa: Requires a degree certificate, sealed transcripts, and a clean criminal record check.
  • E-7 Visa: May require proof of professional experience and a detailed job description.

2. Specific Format and Notarization Requirements

Some documents need to be notarized or apostilled, especially educational certificates and criminal background checks. Make sure you check the specific requirements for your visa type.

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3. Translation Requirements for Non-English Documents

If your documents are not in English or Korean, you may need to have them translated. Some documents may also require notarization of the translation.

Post-Arrival Procedures

After arriving in South Korea, there are a few more steps to complete:

1. Alien Registration

  1. What is an Alien Registration Card (ARC)? The ARC is a mandatory ID card for all foreigners staying in South Korea for more than 90 days.
  2. Where and How to Apply? Apply for the ARC at a local immigration office within 90 days of arrival. You can find more information on the Hi Korea website.

2. Health Insurance Registration

You must enroll in the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS). Your employer usually assists with this process.


3. Bank Account Setup

To receive your salary and manage finances, you’ll need to open a bank account. Most banks require your ARC and passport.

4. Housing Arrangements

Your employer may help you find accommodation, or you can search for apartments through various real estate agencies or online platforms.

Visa Extensions and Changes

1. Conditions for Visa Extension

You can apply for a visa extension if you need to stay longer. Typically, you need to show proof of employment and meet other specific criteria for your visa type.

2. Procedure for Changing Visa Status

If you change jobs or need to switch to a different type of visa, you’ll need to apply for a change of status at an immigration office.


3. Consequences of Overstaying a Visa

Overstaying can lead to fines, deportation, and future entry bans. Always ensure your visa is valid and apply for extensions well before it expires.

For detailed information on extensions and changes, visit the Korea Immigration Service website.

Rights and Responsibilities of Work Visa Holders

1. Legal Rights Under a Work Visa

You have the right to work and live in South Korea legally. You are also entitled to labor protections similar to those of Korean citizens.

2. Employment Protections

South Korea’s labor laws protect you from unfair treatment, ensure safe working conditions, and guarantee minimum wage.


3. Obligations to Maintain Visa Status

You must comply with visa regulations, including working only for your sponsoring employer and reporting changes in your employment or personal status to immigration.

4. Reporting Changes in Employment or Personal Status

If you change jobs, move, or have other significant changes, you must report these to the immigration office within 14 days.

Resources and Support

1. Government Resources

2. Expat Communities and ForumsJoining expat communities can provide support and valuable information. Websites like and forums such as Korea Bridge are helpful.



Understanding and following the visa requirements is crucial for a smooth transition to working in South Korea. Make sure to gather all necessary documents, meet eligibility criteria, and comply with all regulations. Seeking professional advice when needed can help ensure that your move to South Korea is successful and hassle-free.

For more detailed information, you can visit the official Korea Immigration Service website.

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