Types Of Visas In Korea

Types Of Visas In Korea: Explained

Much like its diverse landscapes, from bustling cities to serene countryside, Korea offers a myriad of visa options tailored to various purposes.

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, eager student, or a wanderlusting tourist, there’s a Korean visa with your name on it.

Let’s demystify the choices together.

Why One Needs A Korean Visa? 

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There can be various reasons one would require a Korean visa. People who are not Korean citizens or permanent residents of Korea will require a Korean visa if they want to visit Korea for different purposes. 

Some of the reasons have been given below:

  • For Touring
  • For Attending an event 
  • For Visiting family
  • For Studying
  • For Looking for jobs.
  • Or even for Working
  • Or want to settle down in Korea permanently.

Each specific reason, as mentioned above, requires a different Korean visa. Some of the Korean visas with the purpose of visits have been shown in the table below:

Types Of Korean VisasReasons Of Visits
C-3-9 General Tourism VisaFor Touring in Korean
C-3-3 Medical Tourism VisaShort-term visa for medical treatment that allows stay for 90 days.
C-3-4 Business Tourism VisaFor market research or consultation, for business or contract, trade.
C-3-1 Short Term VisaFor participating in sports events, conferences, general or short-term training, or visiting family relatives, etc. 
C-3 Short Term VisaFor the foreign domestic helper who works for a Korean national.
Temporary Visa for JournalismC-1For temporary news coverage by media organizations, they can stay for 90 days or less.
Short-Term Employment VisaC-4For temporary performance, advertisement modeling, contests, matches, etc.
Diplomacy, A-1,2Visa used by diplomats and public officials for an official visit to Korea 

Study Visas
Study D-2 VisaFor pursuing degrees like Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, or student exchange programs and short-term courses.
General Training D-4Language training and other training activities, including government-sourced scholarships
Dispatch Visa D-5,6,8Getting dispatched for duty at a branch office of media organizations, religious organizations, or investment companies.




EmploymentVisas
Job-Hunting D-10To stay in Korea to look for a job 
Professorship E-1As professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) 
Foreign Language Teaching E-2For Teacher assistants or aides in primary and secondary levels after having passed the exams of EPIK, CEPA, TaLK, and CPIK 
Research E-3For research in a government-funded research facility.
Professional Employment E-5Aircraft pilots, captain of companies, or a person who has been    appointed by the head of a private organization 
Special Occupation E-7For Administrative staff in foreign embassies stationed in Korea.
Working Holiday H-1For Nationals of the countries that signed the MOU



ResidenceVisas
Co-Habitation F-1Domestic assistant of foreign officials 
Residence F-2For the spouse of an F-5 visa holder or a foreign child of a Korean national 
Dependent Family F-3Spouse or unmarried minor children of D-1,2, D-4-9, E-1-7 visa holder 
Oversea KoreanF-4For Overseas Koreans 
Permanent Residence F-5For Eligible applicants that qualify for permanent residence in Korea
Marriage Immigration F-6For the spouse of a Korean national to migrate permanently 
Entertainment Visas E-6Any literary or activity that also earns profits, like concerts, painting exhibitions, literature festivals, book launches, etc.

What Are The Different Types Of Visas In South Korea?

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There are different types of visas in South Korea. They are mainly classified based on the reason for the stay, how long the stay will be, and how many entries the applicant will make into South Korea. 

So, on the basis of duration of stay, the South Korean Visas have been classified into two main categories as following:

  • Short-Term Stay Visa
  • Long-Term Stay Visa

Short-Term Stay Visa

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Short-term visit visas in South Korea allow one to stay for a maximum of 90 days and also allow a single entry. One can take this visa for different reasons like tourism, visiting family, or attending sports, musical, or literary activities.

  • South Korea Tourist Visa (C-3-9)
  • Tourist / Transit (General) (B-2-1)
  • Tourist / Transit  (B-2-2)
  • Group Tourist (C-3-2)
  • Business Visitor (General) (C-3-4)
  • Business Visitor (Agreement) (C-3-5)
  • Business Visitor (Sponsored) (C-3-6)
  • Direct Transit Visa(Air-side)(C-3-10)
  • Short-term Visitor (Overseas Korean) (C-3-8)
  • Working Holiday (H-1)

Long-Term Visit Visa

The Long-term visit visa allows one to stay in South Korea for more than 90 days and may also allow multiple entries. 

The duration of the long-term visit visa may extend from 3 months to 5 years, depending on the reason and purpose of the visit.

One may apply for long-term visas for any taxable employment, enrollment in Korean educational institutes, investments, or initiating start-ups. 

Also, family visits and getting medical treatment come under long-term visa activities. 

Both professionals and non-professionals can apply for the Long-term visit visa in Korea. Their purposes have been sorted below: 

Professionals Applying For Korean Long-Term Visas:

  • People want to invest in Korea.
  • Foreigners visiting for professional work. 
  • Trainees in specific fields.
  • Diplomats 
  • People Conducting Official Business
  • Any individual undergoing Intra-Company Transfer
  • Individuals participating in International Trade.

Non – Professionals applying for Korean Long Term Visas:

  • A dependent family member visiting family in Korea.
  • Studying or undergoing Korean Language Training
  • For journalists.
  • For people participating in religious affairs
  • Koreans living Overseas have a Korean national as a parent.
  • Spouse of a Korean citizen who wants to migrate to Korea through Marriage.
  • People who need to get medical treatment in Korea.

Further Classification Of The Korean Visas 

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Each South Korean visa type is classified under the following alphabetic series of sub-classes:

A Series (Diplomacy Visa)

The Korean Visas A1 – A3 are used for diplomats, government officials, and other state officials following any signed agreements or any professional of the international organization. 

B Series (Tourist Visa)

The Korean visas B1 and B2 are commonly known as tourist and transit visas. People can apply for these visas who either want to visit Korea as a tourist or are staying in Korea for a limited time when transiting through Korea while going to their destination. 

Usually, people taking connecting flights apply for a transit visa (B2) when the stay over includes waiting in the airport for long hours. 

C Series (Short-term Multipurpose Visa)

The C1- C4 visa allows one a short-term stay for a maximum of 90 days and allows one to do either of the following tasks:

  • Temporary news coverage
  • Short-term business transaction
  • Visit and tour South Korea 
  • Short-term employment

D Series (For Professionals) 

The D1- D10 visa allows professionals to visit Korea and accomplish tasks. The professionals include artists like painters, writers and musicians, singers and actors, and performers. 

Other than performers, this visa helps students, industrial and medical trainees, journalists, religious preachers or researchers, corporate investors, international trade participants, and job seekers to visit Korea and fulfill their assigned tasks.

Furthermore, the D series visa has different types, which have been given below:

  1. Business Visa
  2. Job-Seeker visa
  3. Investment Visa
  4. Self-employment Visa
  5. Student Visa

All of the different types of visas belonging to the Korean D-Series Visas have been further explained in detail below:

Business Visa

One would require a business visa to invest in Korea or to dwell deeper into any business initiative in Korea. One can choose from the following types of business visas for different types of investment that one may want:

  • Intra-company transfer (D-7)
  • Corporate investment (D-8)
  • Trade management (D-9)

Job Seeker Visa (D-10)

If one has not secured a job in South Korea but wants to work there, one can apply for a Job seeker visa. By applying for a D-10 visa, one can look for a job and get familiar with the Korean culture and language. 

Investment Visa

As the point-based system of Korea is rigorous, one may not qualify for the D-8-4 start-up visa. In this case, one may apply for an investment visa D-8-1. 

One can invest 100,000 USD or 134,435,500.00 SKW or more into one’s company.

Self-Employment Visas

South Korea also issues self-employment visas to people wanting to pursue business in Korea. The different types of self-employment visas given to people depend on the industry in which they want to start their business.

The following examples show the associated Korean self-employment visas in relation to specific industries.

  • D-8-4 visa is issued to people who want to work in technology and start their business ventures, which promotes economic growth in Korea.
  • D-10-2 start-up visa allows foreigners to prepare for entrepreneurship in Korea by attending Overall Assistance of Start-up Immigration System (OASIS) training.

Also, the self-employment visa follows a point-based system. To get allocated with a D-10-2 visa, one needs to gain 340 points in total. One would need 80 points to qualify for the D-8-4 start-up visa. 

All the self-employment visas allow only single entry into Korea and are valid for three months. One may apply for an extension with one-year intervals in between. 

Study Visa

If one plans to study in South Korea, one will need to apply for a (D-2) student visa. Any specific requirements that make a student eligible for this visa and the maximum duration of allowed stay in Korea depends upon the selected course, degree, and institution.

The following table gives details that include the duration requirements needed to be known by the applicants to apply for Korean study visas:

DurationType Of Visa Selected Degree/ Selected Course Documents Required for EntryDocuments Required for Departure
< 90 daysStudy (D-2)Bachelor’s Degree (D-2-2) Master’s Degree (D-2-3) Doctor’s Degree (D-2-4) Research Process (D-2-5)Student Exchange Program (D-2-6) Passport,VisaPassport, ARC, Re-entry Permission from.
Language Training(D-4)To study the Korean language at a university or any language institute. 

E Series (Employment Based Visas)

Employment visas are usually long-term, meaning one can stay for more than 90 days in South Korea by accessing E-series employment-based visas.

One’s job determines the type of work permit or employment visa that one may be issued in South Korea. There are various options for long-term employment visas there, some of which have been given below: 

E-1 Professor Visa

E1 visa, which is also known as the Professor visa, is issued to senior educators, lecturers, and researchers. They need the qualifications that get them selected in Korean Universities as professors.

Not only is it a visa allotted to prestigious people with excellent academic experiences, but there are other advantages of this visa. It is a multiple-entry visa, meaning one may enter or leave Korea multiple times within its validity period.

The usual validity of this visa is for one year, but it can be renewed after one year. Also, in some cases, one may be allowed to stay as long as one needs to renew the visa every five years.

E-2 Foreign Language Instructor Visa

The E-2 Foreign Language Instructor, as the name dictates, is issued to individuals selected to teach a foreign language in either Korean schools in a company or a broadcast-owned educational facility. 

The educational institute needs to be above the elementary level. This visa is also given to the foreign language teaching assistants working at school in either of all the levels: elementary, middle, or high school. 

It is a multiple-entry visa which is valid for two years. It can be renewed after two-year intervals.

E-3 Research Visa

Human Resource Development and research are significant priorities for South Korea. So, it issues the E-3 visa to foreigners invited by public or private educational institutions to conduct research in natural sciences or progressive technology. 

Thus, people with STEM education and the proper credibility may easily qualify for this visa. The multiple-entry visa is valid for one year and can be renewed in one-year intervals. 

One may also be allowed to stay as long as one has to conduct the research. Thus, one can renew the visa after every five years.

E-4 Technological Guidance Visa

South Korea is a technologically advanced country trying to be more progressive in all spheres of education and research. Thus, the Technological Guidance visa is given to those who offer special skills that can help Korea develop even more.

The expats with skills in specific technology and natural sciences domains are invited and selected for well-paid jobs by public or private educational institutes and organizations in Korea. These top-notch individuals can get this visa. 

This visa can be multiple-entry or single-entry, depending upon the nature of the job the applicant has secured in Korea. The multiple-entry visa will be valid for one year, and the single-entry visa will be valid for three months.

E-5 Special Profession Visa

People having the following professions can be issued the E-5 visa in South Korea:

  • Architects
  • Lawyers
  • Physicians
  • Accountants 
  • Engineers

These professionals must have an international license and a Korean license or official permission to practice freely in their respective fields.

It has 1-year multiple-entry validity and 3 months for single-entry visa validity. It can be renewed for the same respective duration after the visa expires. 

E-6 Culture And Art Visa

This visa is intended for foreigners who want to participate in musical, literary, or cultural activities. Some sports activities and competitions may also allocate this visa category to athletes.

It is a multiple-entry visa that is valid for one year.

E-7 Specially Designed Activities

In South Korea, the Korean Ministry of Justice organizes some activities aimed at social progressive discourses. The expats selected to participate in these activities can be given E-7 visas on arrival in Korea. 

It is also a multiple-entry visa with a 1-year validity and offers the option of a 3-month valid, single-entry visa. The duration will be decided about the nature and duration of the activities held by the Ministry of Justice in Korea.

D-5 Long-Term News Coverage

The D-5 visa is offered to journalists and reporters working for foreign media. They may be part of international broadcasts, newspapers, magazines, etc. 

This visa is a 3-month valid, single-entry visa. It can be renewed for three months after one year.

F Series (Family Visa)

The F1 – F6 visa from the F Series is allotted to people who must visit or join their family in Korea. The family should be Korean residents, spouse or child of a Korean citizen, overseas Korean, or permanent residents in South Korea. 

The spouses need an f-3 visa and unmarried minor children of Korean citizens to stay in South Korea legally. 

G Series (Medical Visa)

The G-1 visa is given to those facing any medical issues and needing treatment for themselves or a family member. 

The medical issue might have arisen due to an industrial accident that took place under the authority of a Korean employer in Korea.

H Series (Working Holidays Visa)

South Korea has signed an agreement with some countries that allow young people to work as well as travel in South Korea for a limited period.

So, the expats who want to work and travel in Korea and belong to the countries that have signed this agreement with South Korea can be issued H1 and H2 working holiday visas.

M1 Visa (Military Visa)

Security personnel and military have a special place in every country as they protect the nation and are responsible for keeping national secrets. So, the country issues the M1 visa to specific military personnel. 

Issuing an M1 visa makes it easy for the Korean authorities to identify if the people visiting Korea might be part of the active military of another nation.

Requirements And Procedure For South Korea’s Visa

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The required documents and procedures for applying for a Korean visa may differ for different visas. However, almost all visas require one to have the following:

  • A completed application form for the specific visa one is applying for.
  • A valid and original passport with 2 copies of it.
  • Colored passport-sized, recent photographs of the applicant. 

One may also need to present additional documentation with the visa application. 

Confirmation of employment in Korea or educational and professional certificates with recommendation letters can be asked. Also, clear criminal records and paid tax records may be required in some cases.

One will also need to pay a visa application fee, which can be different for different visas. For example, for a South Korean Self-employment visa application, one must pay at least 25 USD or 33,608.88 KRW in fees. 

Means Of South Korea’s Visa Application Form

South Korea facilitates visa applicants by allowing access to online and physical means for submitting and processing visa applications. One can get the Korean visa application by: 

  • Korean E-visa application portal through the Internet.
  • Visiting the Visa application centers in the Korean Embassy or Korean consulates. 

After one submits the desired visa application with all the required documents through the means mentioned above, one can quickly get the confirmation or rejection of one’s visa application, too. 

One can be informed through the following means:

  • Confirmation/rejection of visa issuance application via the visa portal
  • Confirmation/rejection of visa issuance application via Korean immigration offices.

Usually, the whole application process differs in accordance with the type of visa one applies for. For example, there is one similar thing for all work or E-series visas.

Employment-based Korean visas can only be accessed if a Korean employer has sponsored it. One will only obtain an application if one has applied through a sponsor, a Korean employer, or a visa agency. 

Tips To Remember For Korean Visa

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One should be aware of some general information before choosing which type of Korean visa one needs. 

Some of the tips to keep in mind while looking at different Korean visas have been given below:

Register With Local Authorities

If a person has opted for a long-term stay and has to stay in Korea for more than 90 days, then one immediately needs to visit the local immigration office and register with the authorities within three months of their stay. 

Counsel Recommendations

One should always be aware of the culture and customs of the country one is visiting, as many countries allow the entry of a foreigner on the recommendation of a council. 

Similarly, in South Korea, one can enter only after getting a valid visa if the person is allowed through the consul’s recommendation. It means that one may not be allowed to enter Korea even on a valid visa if the consul does not allow it. 

Validity

One needs to be sure about the validity of one’s visa, as staying beyond the valid time may lead to criminal proceedings. South Korean visas mostly have a validity of three months for single-entry visas and 1 year or multiple-entry visas. 

Thus, the visa applicant must renew or apply for it at least a month before the expiration date to ease getting a valid visa. Otherwise, one might face repercussions of delaying the process. 

Fee

The fee for the Korean visa application is usually paid in US Dollars or South Korean Won (KRW). The fee may vary for different types of visas and also for different numbers of entries.  

Point-based System

One must consider the Korean immigration point-based system to attain a Korean self-employment visa. Korea also uses a point-based system for determining the eligibility of different visas. 

For example, one would need at least 380 points for a self-employment visa in Korea. The following table shows the pre-requisite points and selective points one needs for the Korean self-employment visa:

Pre-Requisite PointsSelective Points
80 points are awarded for owning an intellectual property like a patent or utility.15 points on completing OASIS-1: Intellectual Property Class, basic course.
50 points are awarded for having Intellectual property ownership of a particular design.25 points for completing OASIS-2: Intellectual Property Class, advanced class.
20 points for having an Intellectual property application, a patent, or a utility.25 points for completing OASIS-4: Start-up class.
Having a design as an Intellectual property application also gives one 10 points.15 points on completing OASIS-5: Start-up Coaching and Mentoring program.
25 points are awarded for participating in OASIS-6.15 points on graduating from OASIS-7, a Start-up Incubator.

Permanent Residence

Korean Immigration Point-based systems are also critical when it comes to getting a specific long-term stay through the F-2-7 visa.

If one gains through this type of visa, then the rights an individual gets are similar to expats having permanent residence

However, one can only gain permanent residence status by completing all F-5 type visa form requirements.

Conclusion

With this comprehensive overview, navigating Korea’s visa maze just got a tad easier. Whatever your reason for venturing to the Land of the Morning Calm, ensure your visa aligns with your ambitions. Korea, in all its multifaceted glory, is ready for you.

Happy Applying!

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

  • Freelancer Visa In Korea
  • Spouse Visa In Korea
  • Job Seeker Visa In Korea

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