South Korea offers many exciting work opportunities, from innovative start-ups to established companies. Furthermore, whilst working in South Korea international employees can learn more about this fascinating East Asia nation. Foreigners who wish to carry out paid work whilst in South Korea must have the relevant South Korean work permit or visa.
Different types of visa are available depending on the job role, travelers should understand the range of permits available and their requirements before applying. The following information can be found in this article:
Whether or not the new South Korea ETA can be used for work purposes is also explained.
Types of Working Visas in South Korea
There are several kinds of South Korean work visas available to foreigners. Applicants should check all the visa specifications carefully to ensure they obtain the correct permit.
Each of the following visas is valid for remaining in South Korea long-term, 1 year or more.
1) E1 Professor visa: to give lectures and conduct research
This visa is suitable for individuals who plan to give lectures and carry out research at recognized universities and colleges in Korea.
The E1 Professor visa is multiple-entry and generally renewed every year. The applicant must be a native English speaker with a valid passport from Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, or South Africa.
2) E2 Foreign language instructor visa: to teach English in South Korea
This is very similar to the E1 visa and has the same eligibility criteria. To teach English in South Korea it is necessary to have completed a Bachelor’s degree in Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, or South Africa.
The E2 English teacher visa is suitable for native English speakers who want to work in a private or public school or other language teaching institution.
It is a multiple-entry working visa for Korea that can be renewed every 2 years.
3) E5 Professional employee visa for specialist employees
The E5 South Korea work visa is for professionals such as lawyers, architects, and medics. To obtain the visa, applicants must hold an internationally valid qualification recognized by the Korean government.
It is initially valid for 1 year and can be renewed annually.
4) H1 Working holiday South Korea visa
Westerners who wish to take an extended vacation in South Korea and work at the same time can apply for the working holiday visa for Korea.
It is valid for 12 months and therefore the best option for travelers taking a gap year from their studies or regular work.
5) Other types of South Korea working visa
Whilst the visas listed above are some of the most popular kinds of South Korea work visa, there are several more to select from:
- E3 Research visa
- E4 Technology transfer visa
- E6 Artistic performer visa
- E7 Designated activities visa
- D5 Journalism visa
Can job seekers get a working visa in South Korea?
Foreigners who qualify for one of the working visas E1-7, but are yet to find a job, can apply for the D10 Job seeker visa before they go to South Korea.
One of the following conditions must be met to be eligible:
- Employed for at least 1 year by a Fortune 500 company in the last 3 years
- Graduated from a university in the top 200 on the Times Higher World University Rankings
- Graduated from a Korean community college in the last 3 years
How to Get a South Korea’s Work VisA: Document Requirement
Work permit applicants need the basic documents to obtain a Korea visa in addition to:
Employment specific paperwork:
Work visa documents
(from the sponsoring company in South Korea):
- Employer’s letter of invitation
- Company’s registration certificate and certificate of corporation
- Certificate of previous year’s tax payments
- Financial statement from the last fiscal year
South Korea work visa requirements stipulate that the passport should be valid for at least 6 months from arrival. The photograph must meet the South Korea visa photo standards.
Additional supporting documentation may be requested by South Korean authorities.
South Korea’s Work Permit Application Form
Foreigners should complete the working visa application form and present it in person at the South Korea embassy or consulate in their home country. It is not currently possible to get a Korean working visa online.
The application must be endorsed by the employer, in many cases, the visa is obtained by the employer on behalf of their new employee.
The form can be downloaded and completed at home, ready to be submitted along with all the relevant supporting documents, at the embassy.
A visa processing fee is paid at the time of making the application.
Application form for accompanying family members
The spouse and minor children of the working visa applicant need to obtain an F3 Accompanying spouse/child visa.
To do so, they should present the correct application form at the embassy, at the same time as their relative submits the working visa application.
As well as the F3 visa form, family members have to provide copies of the birth or marriage certificate and proof of financial stability.
How long does it take to get a working visa to South Korea?
Visa processing times vary however most Korean work visa applications take 2 to 4 weeks.
Employees should apply as soon as possible before the starting date of their new job in South Korea.
Is the South Korea ETA Valid for Working?
The South Korean Electronic Travel Authorization is expected to be launched in 2021. The ETA will be a new requirement for travelers arriving from a visa-exempt country and is valid for stays in the country of between 30 and 180 days, depending on the nationality of the applicant.
The South Korea ETA cannot be used to engage in paid employment in South Korea. To stay for a short period and work whilst in South Korea, a working holiday visa must be obtained.
South Korea ETA for short business trips
The ETA will, however, be valid for business activity. Westerners traveling to Seoul or elsewhere in South Korea to attend meetings or for other business purposes will be eligible for the new permit.
Once available, eligible travelers will be required to apply for a South Korea ETA online before departure.
Until ETA is launched, citizens of some countries can get the APEC Business Travel Card, the South Korea business visa waiver for trips of up to 90 days.