IMPORTANT: This is a guideline ONLY and Visa requirements and processes do change from time to time. It is very important that you coordinate the visa process with your recruiter and/or employer along with the Korean Embassy or Consulates in the country where you will apply for the visa. There are a lot of documents required so it’s always a good idea to double check with your school/recruiter and the consulate to ensure you have everything you need and do not send unnecessary things.
Korean Consulate Visa Webpages:
The legal working visas for teaching English in Korea are the E-1 or E-2 Visas unless you are working for a short-term summer or winter camp in which case you will need a C-4 (Short-term Employment Visa). E-1 Visas are for university teachers and professors. E-2 Visas are for all other teachers, such as those working in elementary schools or private language institutes.
Where to apply:
Visa Application Steps:
Step 1 Find a job. You can easily find a job that suits your preferences by searching our database. Filling out all sections of your resume on ESL HitchHiker makes finding a job even easier as many recruiters search our site looking for qualified teachers. Once you find a job, negotiate, settle and both you and the employer sign the contract, you can begin the visa application process.
Step 2 Gather the following documents for your visa application:
*Note on Criminal Background Check*
Step 3 Send these documents to your recruiter or school in Korea. Send the package tracking number to your recruiter or school so that they can track the package and its expected arrival.
*Note on Sending Documents* It is safest to send the documents by FedEx or DHL. While this will cost more money, it will arrive in Korea much quicker and enable you to track the documents until they are delivered.
Step 4 The recruiter or school will bring your documents to the local immigration office. Within 7-10 days the immigration office will issue a Confirmation of Visa Issuance Number. The school or recruiter will send you this number via email.
Step 5 Time to go to your local consulate or embassy. You can apply for your visa in-person or through the mail. You will need the following things:
*Note on Applying by Mail* If you apply by mail, you will need to include a prepaid postage return envelope with your complete address for the consulate to return your passport.
Step 6 (Only for first time teachers) Once the consulate receives all of your application and documents they will set up an interview with you. All first time teachers need to have a face-to-face interview with the consulate although some may make exceptions if you live far away. It’s a good idea to let them know you would like to pick up your passport and visa after the interview so you don’t need to make two trips to the consulate. Now you have your brand new visa in your passport and you are ready to fly over to Korea.
Once in Korea you will have a few more steps to obtain your Alien Registration Card, which you must obtain within your first 90 days, and do an official medical check, where they will test for TBPE, Marijuana, and HIV along with general health. Your employer will help you with both of these steps.