Travelers require various documents for a Korean visa application. These items must all be submitted at a Diplomatic Mission of the Republic of Korea in order to gain authorization to travel to South Korea.
Nationals of many countries must go through the visa application process in order to visit South Korea. However, citizens of a number of sovereign states currently enjoy visa exemption and may enter the country using only their passport.
In 2021, the South Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is planned to be launched. This may become a requirement for travelers who are can currently enter visa-free. The application will be done online, making the process much quicker and easier, but certain documents will still be required.
What Are the Requirements for a South Korea Visa?
In order to obtain a visa, required documents for Korea must be submitted as part of the traveler’s application.
Currently, South Korean visa applications must be completed at an overseas diplomatic mission (an embassy or consulate).
Foreign nationals must obtain an application form either from a diplomatic mission or by downloading it. They must then submit the completed form at the embassy or consulate, along with the necessary supporting documents. Payment is also required.
Procedures vary depending on the country in which the traveler is applying. It may be necessary to make an appointment for an interview at the South Korean embassy beforehand.
Starting from 2021, there will be an online application form for the South Korea ETA, which will allow travelers to apply from their own homes.
What Documents Do I Need for My Visa Interview?
When submitting an application for a South Korea visa, documents required include the following:
- South Korea Visa Application Form
- Passport with a minimum of 6 months’ validity remaining and at least 2 blank pages
- Passport-style photograph (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm) taken within the last 3 months
- Proof of return or onward travel (flight tickets)
- Proof of sufficient funds to cover the stay in South Korea
- Accommodation reservations in South Korea
The embassy or consulate may request that the applicant submit additional visa documents for South Korea, such as a cover letter explaining the purpose of the visit and/or an itinerary of the things that they plan to do each day while staying in the country.
Additional Documents for Other South Korea Visa Types
For other types of South Korea visa, such as business visas, work visas, and student visas, further documentation is required.
Work visa applicants must additionally provide an employment contract.
Those applying for a business visa must submit:
- Cover letter from their employer
- Invitation letter from the company based in South Korea
Student visa applicants have to also provide the following documents:
- Letter of acceptance from the South Korean school or university
- Reference letter
Documents Needed for the E2 Korea Visa
The E2 Visa for South Korea is a special visa for English teachers. It is only available to nationals of one of the following 7 recognized English-speaking countries:
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
The application is a little more complicated than others and involves apostilling documents for the visa for Korea. In particular, the teacher’s academic qualifications and background check must be authenticated.
In addition to a valid passport issued by one of these countries, the following documents are needed for the E2 visa for Korea:
- Apostilled photocopy of the teacher’s Bachelors degree
- Apostilled Criminal Background Check (National Level)
- The teacher’s personal Resume
- Notice of Appointment & Contract (in the case of the English Program in Korea (EPIK) and the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE))
- Visa Issuance Number & Contract (for Gyeonggi English Program in Korea (GEPIK) and Hagwon)
What Documents Will I Need for an Online South Korea ETA?
The details of the upcoming South Korean ETA have not yet been finalized. However, it is highly likely that in 2021, Korea online visa requirements will include the following, which are basic items needed for almost all types of visas and travel authorizations worldwide:
- Valid passport that will not expire for at least 6 months
- Email address
- Credit or debit card to cover the fee
The ETA system is designed for convenience. It will provide faster processing times and an easier application process, allowing travelers to submit their forms from the comfort of their own homes or offices, rather than going to an embassy.