Permanent Residence In Korea

Permanent Residence In Korea: All You Need To Know

Thinking of making your love affair with Korea a long-term commitment?

You’re not alone. From the hustle of Seoul to the serenity of Jeju, the allure is real.

This guide breaks down what you need to know about transitioning from a temporary visa holder to a bona fide permanent resident.

Contents hide

What Is A Korean Resident Permit?

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One needs to obtain a residency permit to stay for an extended time in a foreign country as a citizen. Different countries have their limits on the extended days where one can reside. 

In Korea, any foreign individual who wants to stay over 90 days must have a residency permit. The first step to gaining permanent residency is primarily to apply for an Alien Registration Card (ARC). 

What Is An Alien Resident Certificate (ARC)?

It is an official document that acts as proof to show that one can stay in Korea over an extended period of time without facing any legal reparations. The ARC contains the personal information of the resident. Some of that information includes the following:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Passport Number
  • Type of Visa
  • Address of Accommodation 

When Does The ARC Needs To Be Obtained?

 The Alien Resident Card must be obtained within 90 days of arrival. People with dual nationality or who have attained permanent residency do not need to apply. 

But People having the following visas do need to:

  • Work visas
  • Student visas
  • Marriage visas

Why Is ARC Needed?

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The alien resident certificate is essential because it allows one to do the basic needs of day-to-day living that otherwise would not be allowed to people other than nationals. Some of the tasks one can achieve after having ARC are:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Signing Contracts
  • Accessing healthcare insurance programs
  • Participating in Administrative matters
  • Getting access to Legal matters.

How Can One Gain ARC?

People need to follow specific steps to get an Alien resident certificate. Firstly, one needs to visit a local Immigration Office in Korea and fill out the form of ARC with the attached necessary documents.

Then, in a matter of days, one will be able to get an Alien Resident Certificate. 

What Are The Differences Between Temporary And Permanent Korean Residency?

One would need to apply for permanent residency if one wants to stay in Korea for an extended period and enjoy similar benefits as other Korean citizens. Korea offers different ways in which one can attain permanent residency.

Long-term temporary visas can also lead to getting permanent residency. Before one chooses which visa to apply for, one needs to know the differences between resident permits in Korea. 

There are two main types of residency permits in South Korea for foreign nationals, and they are:

  1. Temporary Residency Permit 
  2. Permanent Residency Permit

Both the permits have their own particular advantages as well as obligations. Their differences are given below in the table: 

DifferencesTemporary Residency PermitPermanent Residency Permit
Type of VisasPeople visiting Korea on tourist visas usually have access to temporary residency permits. Temporary residents have an F-4 visa.People have the F-5 type of visa for permanent residency. Other temporary long-term visas can also lead to permanent residency: F-2-7, F-2-99, F-5 and F-6.
DurationPeople with temporary permits are only allowed to stay in Korea for less than 90 days. A permanent Residency Permit allows one to stay in Korea indefinitely, thus not having the obligation to renew one’s visa.
WorkPeople holding only temporary visas might be allowed only a limited hour of work, and that too be on a contract basis.As permanent residents do not have to go through the hassle of renewing their visa, they can work long-term and permanently in Korea.
ObligationsThey need to renew their visas before expiration.Restricted travelI can only work up to the allowed hours.Need to have language proficiency.Undergo the process of naturalization.You can’t leave Korea for a specified period.

What Is Permanent Residency And Its Different Means To Attain It In Korea? 

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Not only does Korea cater to a dense domestic population, but it also aims to create a diverse and multicultural society by allowing foreign residents to settle comfortably in their country. Still, permanent residency is a painstakingly long process

For one to apply for permanent residency in Korea, one would need to live in Korea for several years and obtain an F-5 visa.

There are some temporary visas in Korea that can lead to permanent residency after the fulfillment of certain conditions. 

Before one can finalize which visa one needs to apply for to attain permanent residency, one would first need to know different types of residence visas and their processes as well as their differences.

Korea has three different types of long-term temporary visas that can lead to permanent residency:

  1. F-2-7
  2. F-2-99
  3. F-6

How To Obtain Permanent Residency In Korea Through F-2-7 Visa? 

Foreigners who have worked in Korea for one year on work visas can apply for an F-2-7 visa. Their initial visas should fall into either of the following types: 

  1. E-1 
  2. E-2
  3. E-3
  4. E-4
  5. E-5 
  6. E-6 
  7. E-7
  8. D-2 
  9. D-5 
  10. D-6 
  11. D-7
  12. D-8
  13. D-9
  14. D-10 

Process Of Obtaining The F-2-7 Visa

The hard part of applying for the F-2-7 visa in Korea is that it has various conditions. It also has a difficult point-based system to undergo to achieve this visa.

Point-Based System

All the applicants who apply for this visa are graded under a point-based system in which the applicants have to score 80 out of 120 points at the least to be eligible for an F-2-7 visa. It has the following criteria that are used to evaluate the applicants:

Age

The highest point one can gain under this points-based system for age is 25. Those between the ages of 30 and 35 can gain a 25 score, while those above the age of 51 receive the lowest score of 15 points.

Education

A person with the highest educational degree will be awarded the highest points. For example: 

  • A high school graduate is allotted 15 points. 
  • A doctorate, on the other hand, is awarded 35–33 points.

Earnings

One receives 10 points if a person earns around 100 million KRW (85,000 USD) or above per annum. If a person earns less than 20 million KRW (17,000 USD), then one will only receive 1 point.

Korean Language

Proficiency in the Korean Language also has points. A candidate with the highest level of competency receives 20 points. In comparison, a candidate with a low level of Korean receives 10 points.

Social Integration Program

Korea provides a program that offers free education to expats, helps them learn the Korean language, and accustoms them to different significant cultural behaviors so that they can easily integrate into Korean society.

One can attain 28 points through the completion of this program.

Volunteering

Other than the categories mentioned above, one can receive at least 1-5 points for volunteering or studying in Korea. 

Professional Experience Abroad

If one has a professional work experience of at least 1-3 years abroad, one can also get 1–5 points

Drawbacks Of F-2-7 Visa

An F-2-7 visa is a lot better than any short-term temporary visa. It makes one closer to the attainment of permanent residency in Korea. However, it also has its drawbacks.

Rigid Point-Based System

Sometimes, it takes a lot of effort to earn just a few points, but if not attained, the applications can get rejected. The application might not get approved even if a person is short of more than one point.  

The Validity

Validity of the F-2-7 visa is only three years. One might need to upgrade and go through the tough application process again after 3 years. 

How To Obtain Permanent Residency In Korea Through An F-2-99 Visa? 

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Suppose one falls in the category of applying for the F-2-7 or wants to avoid undergoing the rigorous point-based system. In that case, one can apply for an F-2-99 visa.

It does not have any point-based grading system. It solely depends on the duration of one’s stay in Korea.

  • To apply for this visa, one must stay in Korea for at least 7 years. The visa applicants must already be holders of either of the D-1, D-5, D-6, D-7, D-8, D-9, E-6-1, E-6-3, F-1, and F-3 visas.
  • Those with visas E-1, E-2, E-3, E-4, E-5, and E-7 are mandated to stay in Korea for at least five years or longer.

Conditions To Be Held

One must leave the country for a maximum of a month to be included in the continuous stay stipulation. One also needs to adhere to the following conditions:

Reasonable Person

To apply for this visa, one needs to ensure that one is a good person with a transparent background and no criminal charges

An Adult

Only adults over 19 are eligible for this visa.

Household Savings

One must have a household savings of at least 30 million KRW (25,500 USD) in either property or cash.

Income

One must have a stable income to apply for this visa. The last year’s income must be more than the annual per capita wage. 

Social Integration Program

One must have at least finished level 2 of the Korean Integration Program. 1 to 3 years is the validity period of this visa.

How To Obtain Permanent Residency In Korea Through F-6 Visa?

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The F-6 visa is also known as the Korean Spouse Visa. Korea does not offer any finance visa. So, first, one would need to get married to a Korean National to apply for this visa. 

Process Of Applying For F-6 Visa 

First, one needs to make an appointment at the Korean Immigration Office and gather the required documents before the interview.

One can easily download the form from the website and attach the following documents after completing the application form.

  1. Original Passports; copies of the passport too.
  2. Two passport-sized color pictures (3.5 mm x 4.5 mm)
  3. Alien Registration Card (ARC)
  4. Certificate of Marriage. 
  5. A valid and completed visa application form.
  6. Filled Invitation Form by Korean Spouse 
  7. Family Registry Certificate
  8. Personal ID certificate
  9. Past Tax records 
  10. Employment records 
  11. Evidence of marriage eligibility.
  12. A copy of the rental agreement contract or papers of the residence 
  13. Pictures of family members living together
  14. Images of the wedding to validate one’s marriage.
  15. General images with the spouse together 
  16. Proof of language proficiency shows that both parties can communicate with each other.

The processing of this visa can take up to six months, and the validity of this visa will be for one year. After fulfilling the stipulated time period for naturalization into Korean society, one can apply for permanent residency through this visa. 

What Are The Requirements Of Obtaining A Permanent Residency Permit In Korea?

When one has looked at the different conditions required by the three different long-term temporary visas that lead up to permanent residency (F-5 visa), one can conclude the following requirements to be eligible for permanent residency in Korea:

Residency Period

One usually has to reside in South Korea for a mandatory period ranging from 5 to 7 years. One can spend this period on a work permit, student visa, or even on a spouse visa. 

Continuous Stay

Other than the long period of residency, the stay also needs to be continuous. Long absences from the country can lead to the rejection of one’s application for permanent residency in Korea.

Good Citizen

The crime rate is extremely low in Korea; for Korea to maintain and improve its image, the government is very stringent on its policy of accepting foreign residents with a clean record.

Financial Stability

In most countries, finances count the most for a foreign resident to attain permanent citizenship. 

In Korea, one also needs to prove that one can earn enough to reside in Korea easily and take care of one’s family’s expenditures.

Korean Language And Social Integration Program

Koreans, like other Asians, take much pride in their language. Their culture and societal norms are reinforced through their language. 

So, the better an applicant is Korean and integrated into society, the better chance they will get accepted for permanent residency in Korea.

Employment History

One must also showcase one’s history of different jobs, especially in excellent and vital companies that have given one good review as a professional.

Health Check

One must undergo a detailed health check that ensures that a person is strong enough to contribute to the Korean economy and does not carry any disease that might lead to other Koreans becoming sick. 

Documentation

Complete documentation is significant. Even one missing document can lead to the rejection of one’s application for permanent residency.  

What Is The Application Process Of Permanent Residency In Korea?

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After one stays in Korea for a mandatory 5-7 years and also fills all the requirements to make one eligible for applying for permanent residency. One shall start the process of applying for the permanent residency. 

The applications differ slightly depending on the type of F-5 visa one has applied for. The general process for applying for permanent residency in Korea has been given below:

Gathering Documents

The first step is to gather the documents required for attaching to the permanent residency in Korea. The following documents need to be gathered.

  • Passports
  • ARC (Alien Registration Card);
  • Completed application form.
  • Record of employment and income
  • Proof of savings
  • Residence Certificate or rental contract
  • Evidence of a clean criminal record.
  • Certificate of KIIP (level 5).
  • Educational Record
  • Proof of Marital status

Filling And Submitting Application Form

Download the form from the website of the immigration office and fill out all the applications. Also, make an appointment with the immigration beforehand. 

Payment Of Fee

The whole process of applying for permanent residency in Korea costs around 200,000 KRW (170 USD). So, after filling out and submitting the application to the immigration office. One has to pay the fee.

Waiting Process

The officers reviewing one’s application might take 6 months to a year. So, one should apply for the application of permanent residency as soon as one can and wait patiently for the result.

Interview

The interview is not mandatory, but the applicant is often called for an interview. Missing the interview by the authorities might get one’s application rejected. 

Approval And Issuance

When the F-5 visa is approved, one quickly gets notified by receiving a permanent residency certificate. The card might have an expiration corresponding to the expiration date on one’s passport. 

Renewal And Updates

One needs to be on one’s toes to update any documents because of the changes that occur in one’s life. The authorities require the information of a permanent resident to be up to date. 

What Are The Requirements Of Permanent Residency For Family Members Of Foreign Nationals In Korea?

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There are specific guidelines for the family members of the foreign nation who have attained permanent residency in Korea. However, all the conditions depend on the type of permanent residency visa the foreign national holds. 

Some of the requirements for the family members to apply for permanent residency in Korea have been given below: 

Eligibility

The family members eligible to apply for permanent residency in Korea include the spouses of permanent resident holders and the children of Korean citizens or residents with F-5 visas.

Proof Of Relationship

Official documents like marriage certificates for spouses and birth certificates for children must be submitted to the authorities to prove the family’s relationship with the Korean citizen or F-5 visa holder. 

Residency Requirement

The family of a Korean citizen or permanent resident needs to have stayed continuously in Korea for at least 3 years via (F-6) spousal visa for the partner. Different relations require different stay requirements. 

Financial Stability

For adults, evidence of financial stability and employment is necessary. The family members dependent on the permanent resident or Korean citizen need to show that particular member can financially support the applicant.

Language Proficiency And Integration

Having command over language and clearance of the social integration program in Korea is always an advantage, which makes the residency process slightly more accessible

Health Check

Sometimes, family members also need to submit their health records or undergo a health exam.

Criminal Record

A clear criminal record is mandatory for applicants for permanent residency.

Documentation And Application

One needs to have complete documentation, a valid passport, and visas, with fully filled application forms that need to be submitted in time.

The next step is to wait for the approval and issuance of the permanent residency certificate.

What Is The Total Cost Of Getting Permanent Residency In Korea?

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There is no official source on the exact cost of acquiring permanent residency in Korea. However, the estimated cost is around 200,000 KRW (170 USD). An applicant has to spend on various things. 

Some of the steps that cause a potential cost during the process of applying for permanent residency in Korea have been given below:

  1. Application Fee
  2. Preparation of Documents
  3. Health Check Fee
  4. Administrative Fee
  5. Renewal fee of passport
  6. Photographs
  7. Travel Expense

What Are The Benefits of a Korean Permanent Residency Permit?

Who wants to avoid living in one’s country of choice and not dwell in the hassle of asking for a permit for everything? Thus, there are many advantages to gaining a permanent residency in Korea. Some of those are given below:

Indefinite Stay

One can stay in Korea indefinitely without any travel restrictions.

Choice Of Employment

One can easily change jobs. Also, I can easily explore the job market in Korea without any restrictions. 

Own A Business

Only permanent residents in Korea are allowed to initiate and own their business.

No Need For Re-entry Passes

Having permanent residency saves time and expenditure. One would not need to require any Re-entry pass upon entry after traveling outside Korea.

Vote In Elections

After 3 years of becoming a permanent resident of Korea, one is allowed to vote in the local elections.

No Renouncing Citizenship

The best part of attaining permanent residency in Korea is that one does not need to renounce the nationality of one’s home country. 

No Re-Entry Permits

Re-entry permits are mandatory for temporary residents of Korea, but for permanent residents, one only requires permission to re-enter Korea within a period of two years since departure. 

Social Welfare Programs

Permanent Residency allows one to become a participant in the social welfare programs in Korea, like the national insurance program, medical insurance subsidy for disabled fellows, and allotment of pensions. 

Property Ownership

One can easily own property as a permanent resident, making investment much more manageable.

Legal Protection

Legal protection is one of the most important benefits one gains as a permanent resident holder. One can demand protection from the state of Korea on equal grounds as that of the citizens or nationals of Korea.

Can The Permanent Residency Holders Travel?

There is hardly any restriction on travel for the permanent residents in Korea. If the permanent resident permit holders take care of the following requirements, then they can easily travel anywhere:

  • One must have a valid Permanent Residency Card.
  • One should also have a valid Passport from one’s home country.
  • Fulfill the visa requirements of the other countries where one wants to travel.
  • Fulfill all the documents on time for travel and undergo the entry and exit procedure of South Korea.

Can The Permanent Residency Permit Be Revoked?

Yes, the permanent residency in Korea can be revoked. The expiration date of the residency certificate corresponds with the expiration date of one’s passport. However, different factors might lead to one’s residency being revoked.

These factors have been given below:

Discontinued Residence

If a permanent resident discontinues to reside in South Korea for a long time, then it could lead to the questioning of the intention of the resident whether one wants to maintain permanent residency or not. 

Breaking Laws 

All the residents are supposed to obey South Korean law; if a permanent resident breaks the laws and commits any criminal act, one might get the permanent residency revoked.

Conclusion

You’ve come to the end of your journey in this article, but hopefully, it’s just the beginning of your lifelong adventure in Korea.

Navigating permanent residence is no walk in the park, but it’s your golden ticket to a more stable life in the Land of the Morning Calm. Ready to unpack those bags for good?

Stay Forever!

But wait! There’s lot more that you might be interested in to follow:

  • Types Of Visas In Korea
  • Work Employment Visa In Korea
  • Temporary Residence In Korea

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