Korean work visas outlined

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Korean Work Visas Outlined

The following are a brief overview of the five (5) types of available visas in Korea that are issued to foreign employees of commercial businesses: C-2 D-7, D-8, E-4 and E-7. Other employment-type visas that are not covered in this memo are: E-1 (for professors and other academicians), E-2 (foreign language conversation teachers) and E-3 (for researchers).

In addition, if you are born in Korea and are either green card holder or citizens of another country should note that there is a resident visa called F-4 (passed into law in 1999) which allows one to reside in Korea indefinitely and work at almost any other jobs. This F-4 visa is very convenient, and in order to apply for one, you need the proof of your green card or citizen status in another country and your Family Census Register. Especially if you are a citizen of another country, then you should seriously consider applying for F-4 visa instead of any of the visas described below, because F-4 visa is much more convenient in that the Korean employer does not have any power over your visa status in Korea, you can work for almost any employer in Korea and it is a relatively simple process.

  1. C-2 Short-Term Business Visa

If you do not qualify for any long-term temporary working visas, you can always apply for C-2 visa (equivalent to B-1 visa under the U.S. immigration law) that allows you to engage in business activities in Korea up to 90 days). You must, however, re-apply for another 90-day C-2 visa at a Korean Embassy or Consulate, after the expiration of the 90-day period, or be subject to a substantial fine. This is why you often see many U.S. citizens leave Korea and return within one or two days to renew their C-2 visas, so they can stay in Korea for another 90 days.

  1. D-7 Commercial Residence Visa

If you are a foreign employee of a branch or liaison office of a foreign parent company who need to be dispatched to Korea by the foreign parent company, D-7 visa is for you. You as the foreign employee must have 1 year or more of working experience at the parent company’s headquarters, branch or other offices.

The common documents that must be submitted are:

  1. applicant’s passport;
    b. completed application form with passport-size photograph;
    c. letter of invitation from the local company in Korea confirming the purpose of the applicant’s visit to Korea;
    d. a dispatch order or certificate of employment from the local company in Korea;
    e. copy of permission to establish the local office;
    f. certified copy of company registration or copy of business entity certification of the local office;
    g. copy of certificate of remittance of operating capital for the local office or business plan thereof;
    h. affidavit of support from the local office duly notarized by a notary public in Korea; and
    i. resume or personal work history of applicant.
  2. D-8 Corporate Investment Visa

If you are a foreign employee of a foreign-invested corporation, whether a wholly-owned subsidiary or a joint-venture company, under the provisions of the Foreign Capital Inducement Act, then D-8 visa is for you. You as a foreign employee must have some expertise and should be employed in a position related to the management, administration, production and/or technological aspects of the local company.

The documents that must be submitted are:

  1. passport of applicant;
    b. completed application form with passport-sized photograph;
    c. letter of invitation from the local company confirming the purpose of the applicant’s employment in Korea;
    d. dispatch order or certificate of employment from the local company;
    e. certified copy of company registration or copy of business entity certification of the local company;
    f. copy of the approval letter for foreign investment or certificate of foreign-invested company;
    g. affidavit of support from the local company duly notarized by a notary public in Korea; and
    h. resume or personal work history.
  2. E-4 Technical Training Visa

If you are a foreign technician who has been invited to Korea by a public or private Korean organization for the specific purpose of providing professional knowledge in the natural sciences or technology with respect to a specialized industrial field, then E-4 visa is for you. Such foreign technician is frequently invited to Korea for the purpose of providing technical assistance or training pursuant to a technical licensing agreement or other agreements of such type.

The documents that must be submitted are:

  1. applicant’s passport;
    b. completed application form with passport-sized photograph;
    c. letter of invitation from the local company confirming the purpose of the applicant’s visit to Korea;
    d. dispatch order or certificate of employment from the local company;
    e. copy of diploma or certificate of qualification of applicant;
    f. approval report for the technical license agreement or confirmation of service transaction or designation as a defense industry;
    g. documents related to the establishment of the public or private organization of the local company, including a certified copy of company registration or business entity certificate, etc.
    h. affidavit of support from the local company duly notarized by a notary public in Korea; and
    i. resume or personal work history of applicant.
  2. E-7 Special Activity Visa

This E-7 visa is similar to E-4 except this is reserved for all other special activities that are specially designated by the Ministry of Justice. Therefore, if you are going to be working for a domestic, Korean company and you possess certain skills or knowledge that are unavailable in the Korean domestic market, such as foreign attorneys and tax accountants, then this E-7 visa is probably for you. It should be noted that E-7 visa is generally granted for only those positions that are difficult to fill with domestic Korean employees due to the shortage of Korean workers.

The documents that must be submitted are:

  1. applicant’s passport;
    b. completed application form with passport-sized photograph;
    c. letter of invitation from the local company confirming the purpose of the applicant’s employment in Korea;
    d. copy of diploma or certificate of qualification of applicant;
    e. employment reference by the Minister of the relevant Ministry;
    f. employment contract;
    g. documents relating to the establishment of public or private organizations, including a certified copy of the company registration or business entity certificate, etc. of the local company;
    h. affidavit of support from the local company duly notarized by a Notary Public of Korea; and
    i. resume or personal work history of applicant.

End.