Where Do You Fit?
To visit Korea, you need to know where you will fit. The reason for your visit to South Korea determines what type of VISA you qualify to receive. Everyone will fit into one of the categories below:
4. Spouse of a Korean National
5. Living in South Korea
What is a VISA?
VISA is an endorsement or acknowledgment permitting an individual to enter a given country (South Korea) or a ‘consul’s recommendation’ allowing a foreigner entry into South Korea.
What is free Entry (Visa waiver)
For most people wishing to enter South Korea, will need a visa. However, if the person meets specific qualifications, then he/she may enter South Korea without a visa.
So what qualifies for free Entry? (Visa waiver)
1. Granted permission or immunity for reentry and enters South Korea before that expiration date.
2. If you are a National of a foreign country that has signed visa waiver agreements with South Korea.
3. You are seeking to enter South Korea in the interest of international goodwill, travel, or some other purpose that will be beneficial to South Korea who has been granted permission to enter by presidential decree.
4. You have a refugee travel certification and entering Korea before the expiration date.
1. Single Entry Visa – a single entry valid for three months from the date it has been issued allows you entrance for the duration of that visa.
2. Multiple-entry visa – allows you multiple entries for the duration of that visa remaining valid. It is valid for
Diplomacy (A-1) / Convention Agreements (A-3) visa status: valid for three years from the date of its issue.
Visa is provided under the multiple-entry visa Agreement: for the duration specified by that agreement.
Visa is provided for national benefit: the Minister of Justice specifies the duration.
VISA Categories – Tourist and Personal
Tourists (Less Than 90 Days)
Visa exemption (B-1), Travel/Transit (B-2) – For individuals that are visiting South Korea temporarily, usually as tourists or transiting from South Korea to another country. VISA free entry. You will need your passport and Disembarkation card.
Visiting and Staying with Family. Overseas Koreans (Less Than 90 Days)
Temporary Visit (C-3) – For individuals that will be staying in South Korea for a short term for travel/transit, visit relatives, attend sporting events, attend conferences, seeking medical treatment, participate in cultural or artistic events, attend a religious ceremony or something similar. You will need a passport, visa, and Disembarkation card.
Visiting and Staying With Family (More Than 91 Days)
1. Visiting and staying with relatives (F-1) – For individuals that come to South Korea to visit relatives or will be staying with their family relatives. Housekeepers that work for diplomatic or consular personnel or a foreign investor that invests more than $500,000 US dollars in South Korea. Those that stay in South Korea with Diplomacy (A-1), Official Mission (A-2) or Negotiation (A-3) Status.
2. Residency (F-2) – You are a spouse of a Korean national, or you have a permanent residence status (F-5 visa) You have been granted Refugee Recognition status.
3. Family Dependent (F-3) – You are a spouse or a unmarried child under the age of 20 of individuals that are in Culture/Art (D-1), Study (D-2), General Training (D-4), Press Coverage (D-5), Religious Affairs (D-6), Intra-Company Transfer (D-7), Corporate Investment (D-8), Management (D-9), Professor (E-1), Foreign Language Instructor (E-2), Researcher (E-3), Technological Guidance (E-4), Special Profession (E-5), Culture/Art (E-6), Specially designated activities (E-7) status.
4. Overseas Koreans (F-4) – individuals that previously had a Korean nationality, but have acquired citizenship of another country. Those that have non-Korean nationality but have at least one parent or grandparent who is Korean or had Korean nationality in the past.
VISA Categories – Business
Business (Less Than 90 Days)
Temporary Business (C-3-4) – For individuals that will be in South Korea for short-term to conduct research, consultations, installation/repair/inspection/operation of machinery for import/export, observations, contracts, liaison and something similar. You will need a passport, visa, and Disembarkation card.
Business (More Than 91 Days)
1. Intra-Company Transfer (D-7) – Individuals that have worked for more than one year for a branch, headquarters, or any other public institution, organization or company of foreign origin. You are now dispatched to South Korea as a specialist to the branch office, subsidiary or supervising office of the foreign country in South Korea, or any interrelated company that has been appointed by the Minister of Justice of South Korea.
2. Corporate Investment (D-8) – you are a specialist involved in the administration/production/ technological development/management of a foreign investment company as outlined in the “Foreign Investment Promotion Act.
3. Trade Management (D-9) – you are a specialist sent to a public/private organization in South Korea to conduct installation, repair, operation, or supervising the production of an industrial facility. You are a specialist wanting to establish and manage a company in South Korea, engage in trade or some other profitable business.
VISA Categories – Education
Education (Less Than 90 Days)
1. Temporary Visit (C-3) – you are staying in South Korea for short term to study, train, academic research, or something similar.
Education (More Than 91 Days)
1. Overseas Study (D-2) – You are coming to South Korea to strive for higher education (Bachelor, Master, or Doctor) or engage in research at a college, university or graduate school that was set up under the provisions of the ‘Education Law’ or an educational facility set up under the rule of the related special law.
2. General Training (D-4) – You are studying the Korean language at university in South Korea. You are attending education at educational facilities other than academic research organizations or educational organizations that fall under overseas study (D-2) status.
VISA Categories – Work
Work (Less Than 90 Days)
1. Temporary Employment (C-4) – You are looking for temporary short-term work in entertainment, fashion modeling, lecturer, advertisement, research or technical trainer.
Work (More Than 91 Days)
1. Professor (E-1) – You are a foreigner qualified by the ‘Higher Education Act’ to teach, lecture, aid in research in his/her field of expertise at educational facilities above college-level.
2. Foreign Language Instructor (E-2) – foreigners allowed by the Minister of Justice to teach spoken foreign languages at above-elementary schools or research facility, Company/broadcast station-owned facilities, other similar places.
3. Research (E-3) – invited by a public/private institution in South Korea to conduct research or development in natural science or advanced technology.
4. Special Profession (E-5) – foreigners that have an international license as a lawyer, CPS, physician, or other profession recognized by Korean law and wish to practice their profession as permitted by Korean law.
5. Culture / Art (E-6) – individuals that participate in musical, artistic or literary activities such as pop entertainment, musical performances, advertisement, fashion modeling, sports games.
6. Specially designated activities (E-7) – individuals that are involved in activities identified by the Minister of Justice in contracts with public/private organizations in South Korea.
7. Working Holiday (H-1) – you are a tourist looking for a short term work in South Korea to pay for expenses and has a nationality of countries that have entered into an MOU or official agreement on Working Holidays with South Korea.
VISA Categories – Other
Other (Less Than 90 Days)
1. Temporary Press Coverage (C-1) – you are participating in temporary news coverage or reporting.
2. Temporary Visit (C-3) – you are looking for short term stay to travel / transit, medical treatment, attend a major sports event, visit relatives, attend conferences, visit cultural or artistic events, attend a religious ceremony or something similar.
Other (More Than 91 Days)
1. Press Coverage (D-5) – You are staying in or dispatched to South Korea to collect news, engage in reporting activities or under contract to a newspaper, magazine, broadcasting station or other types of media of foreign origin.
2. Culture / Art (D-1) – you are involved in an academic activity or non-profit artistic activity. You are researching or being trained by an expert on Korean cultural art or tradition.
3. Religious Works (D-6) – A foreign or social welfare organization dispatches you to a related Korean organization or branch. You are a person invited by the Korean religious body or social welfare program to engage in social welfare activities.
4. Granting of Status of Stay – For people who lose Korean nationality or a foreigner who stays in South Korea but does not have the status of stay because of a legitimate reason. (i.e., You were born in South Korea) These individuals can apply for the permission of being granted the status of stay within 30 days of the reason happening.
South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs
South Korea Ministry of Justice Korea Immigration Service
Korea Customs Service
South Korea Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency