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Home » South Korea Work Visa – Documentation, Validity and Application

South Korea Work Visa – Documentation, Validity and Application

South Korea has one of the least unemployment rates globally. Therefore, competent foreigners should find it reasonably easy to get a job there. Do you think you have what it takes to gain employment in South Korea? Then let’s walk you through how to secure your South Korea Work Visa.

South Korea is a country in the Korean peninsula of East Asia. It shares borders with the Yellow Sea, the Sea of Japan, and North Korea. In addition, South Korea is a developed country by international standards. They have the third-highest life expectancy in the world, one of the highest GDPs, and an unemployment rate of only 3.53%. This makes the country a haven for job seekers.

Because there are many different types of visas and stringent standards, it is essential to comprehend the procedure to avoid irritation and delays. Therefore, this post will go through the requirements, categories, application procedure, and costs associated with obtaining a South Korean work visa.

Why should you apply for a South Korean Work Visa?

A South Korean Work Visa is a legal stamp in your passport that grants you permission to enter, stay, and work in the country for a predetermined period. The Republic of South Korea provides a work visa for foreign employees who have gained or seek to gain employment in South Korea.

Work visas ensure and prove your rightful presence in the country; they serve as a type of protection for the employee, employer, and nation. They also allow you to obtain a residence permit to live in South Korea for their validity period.

Types of South Korean work visas

There are many complex categories of work visas in South Korea, each specially defined for a particular class of workers. Some of the most common ones include:

E-1 Professor Visa:

The Professor visa is for people who intend to do tertiary-level research or lecture in a college or university. Although it allows multiple entries, the visa is only suitable for a year. You can, however, extend it annually. In addition, you may be able to extend the visa’s validity in extraordinary circumstances for up to five years.

E-2 Foreign language Instructor visa:

Foreign language instructor visas in South Korea are specifically for foreigners who wish to work as foreign language instructors at institutions that businesses or broadcasting organizations run. Foreign language teaching assistants for elementary, middle, or high school are also eligible for this visa. It is a two-year multiple-entry visa. You can also extend it for an additional two years.

E-3 Research visa:

The E-3 visa is for foreign nationals whom government or private organizations invite to perform advanced technology or natural scientific research. The multiple-entry visa has a one-year validity period. However, you can extend it once every additional year. In rare circumstances, you may have the option of renewing your stay for a further five years if necessary.

E-4 Technological Guidance:

The E-4 Technological Guidance visa is open to foreigners with high-level technical knowledge. However, a public or private entity has to invite them, primarily if they can provide specific expertise that is not accessible in Korea. The multiple-entry visa has a one-year validity period and can be renewed once per year.

E-5 Special Profession:

You may apply for this visa if you’re a professional, such as an architect, attorney, doctor, accountant, etc. To qualify, you must possess an international license and have authorization from the Korean government to work in their area of competence. This type of visa can be multiple-entry or single-entry. The multiple-entry visa is extensible once per year for one year. The three-month single-entry visa is extensible once per year for another year.

E-6 Culture and Art:

It is designed for expats participating in musical, artistic, and literary activities. This includes for-profit modeling, pop entertainment, adult entertainment, hotel and business entertainment, and sports. The multiple-entry visa is valid for one year and can be renewed in one-year intervals.

E-7 Specially Designed Activities:

Expats participating in activities planned by the Korean Ministry of Justice through a public or private organization are eligible for this visa. It can also be a multiple-entry or single-entry visa. The multiple-entry visa has a one-to-three-year validity period and is renewable every one to three years. The three-month single-entry visa is extensible once per year.

D-5 Long-term News Coverage Visa:

If you’re an employee at a foreign media body (broadcast, newspapers, magazines, etc.), this visa is for you. It is a three-month single-entry visa that you can extend at one-year intervals.

Other Relevant Types of South Korea Work Visas

You can utilize several other visas to conduct business or commercial activities in South Korea. They include;

#1. C-3 Short-Term Visa:

This covers the subtypes of the C-3-1 (general visa) and C-3-4 (business visa). It can’t be utilized for profitable endeavors and has a 90-day time restriction.

#2. C-4 Short-Term Employment Visa:

This visa permits visitors who intend to remain for 90 days or fewer to engage in contract work, such as commercials, lectures, fashion modeling, research, and service delivery.

#3. D-8 Foreign Investor Visa:

This visa is intended for foreign investors in technology-related firms or jobs needing specialized knowledge. It is valid for two to five years, depending on the visa subtype. There are four subcategories under this:

  • D-8-1 visa (Incorporated Enterprise Investment)
  • D-8-3 visa (Unincorporated Private Enterprise Investment)
  • D-8-2 visa (Business Venture Investment)
  • D-8-4 visa (Technology and Business Startup)

#4. H-1 Working Holiday Visa:

The purpose of the working holiday visa is to allow employees from nations that have ratified the Working Holidays policy through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) or other arrangements to work in Korea temporarily to pay for their travel expenses. The visa is valid for up to a year or up to 18 months for US citizens.

A D-10 Job Seeker Visa

Foreigners who meet the requirements for one of the visas above but are still looking for employment should apply for the D-10 visa. They can relocate to South Korea in search of employment by requesting a D-10 visa. However, the requirements for qualifying are fairly stringent and are detailed below:

In the last three years or less, your former employer must have been on the Fortune 500 list.

  • You graduated from a university ranked in the Times Higher World University Rankings.
  • You recently (within the previous three years) completed your studies at a community college or other higher education institution in Korea.
  • You’ve finished a research program at a Korean research institution in the previous three years and hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • The head of a diplomatic mission recognizes you.

Additionally, you can apply for this visa if you want to pursue an internship in Korea.

Requirements for a South Korean Work Visa

Even though there are many categories of South Korean work visas, there are some general requirements for most applications. Some of them include;

  • A valid passport; with at least two blank pages.
  • A colored passport-size photograph (3.5 mm by 4.5mm).
  • A police clearance certificate.
  • A valid employment letter/contract containing your salary offer and other financial benefits.
  • A visa application form.
  • A visa application fee.
  • Professional and educational certificates to prove your qualification.

To apply for a work visa, you need to contact your country’s South Korean embassy, consulate, or visa application center. You will book an appointment with them and submit the above documents on the agreed date. If your employer requests the visa on your behalf, you must submit a “Confirmation of Visa Issuance” form. Then, remind them to apply for it at the South Korean Immigration Office Portal.

Depending on the kind of work visa you’re applying for and the country you’re applying from, the embassy may request some extra documents from you. Make sure you confirm this from them when you book an appointment.

South Korea Work Visa Costs

The cost of a South Korean work visa must be paid in USD. You will be charged extra for online payment services if you apply for your visa online.

The cost of your South Korean work visa is based on the type of visa you apply for.

  • A single-entry visa for 90 days or less costs 40 USD.
  • A single-entry visa for 91 days or longer costs 60 USD.
  • The cost of a double-entry visa is 70 USD.
  • A multiple-entry visa costs 90 USD.

Processing Time for South Korea Work Visa

The processing period for a South Korean work visa application might range from two weeks to two months, depending on the kind of visa. The application procedure should thus be started well in advance for expats.

South Korea Work Visa Application Form

South Korea allows for both online and physical visa applications. They are:

  • e-visa application (via the visa portal)
  • visa application (via Korean embassies abroad)
  • confirmation of visa issuance application (via the visa portal)
  • proof of visa issuance application (via Korean immigration offices)

Regardless of the type of work visa you want, you may only apply if you do so via a sponsor, such as your employer or a visa agency. Visas (both electronic and regular versions) may be obtained directly by the applicant or through a sponsor.

You can find the application forms online. They are offered in both Korean and English.

Frequently asked questions?

#1. How can I get a south Korean work visa?

Expats can apply for a visa physically at their embassy or online through their visa portal to obtain a South Korean work visa. To apply for a work visa, expats must have a sponsor letter from their employer or a pertinent South Korean government agency.

#2. Is it hard to get a work visa in South Korea?

A South Korean visa may not be as simple to get as some applicants may think. The application procedure might be complex because several methods are based on what you do and what you need, and the visa criteria are strict.

#3. How long does it take to get a South Korean work visa?

The processing time for a South Korean work visa is about two to four weeks. Hence, you should begin your application process about six weeks to two months before you plan to travel. This will enable you to cover any delays that might occur.

#4. Is it possible to work in South Korea without a degree

Finding employment in South Korea without a college degree will be exceedingly challenging. At the very least, a bachelor’s degree and some work experience are required. However, a working holiday (H-1) visa could be worth a shot.

#5. How much money do I need in the bank to apply for a South Korean visa?

There is no minimum balance requirement for visa applications specified by the Embassy. The amount in your bank account, however, ought to be sufficient to cover the duration of your trip to Korea. The daily cost of a visit to Korea is about PHP 10,000 (which already includes airfare and accommodations).


Several South Korean work visas are available depending on professional and educational credentials and the country’s needs. Therefore, choosing the category you belong to might not be simple. Additionally, applying is difficult because there are numerous categories, each requiring a different set of documents. Nevertheless, we have attempted to reduce these complications in this article in the hopes that it may help you with the visa application process.

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