Let this serve as a brief guide to Korean visas. Most of the visas in Korea have a self explanatory title but in case something is still a bit unclear, there are short definitions provided here. For more information on working visas, student visas, working holiday visas, F-series visas, the E-2 visa and tourist visas please see the individual articles. Below are the visas and other terms and procedures that you may run across during you the expat immigration process in Korea.
Keep in mind that Korean immigration does change its policies quite frequently. Documents required for visa application change and differ from visa to visa. It is important to double check exact details. This guide was researched and written in January 2013. As of publication, the information is current and up-to-date.
List of Korean Visas
Short-Term Stay Visas (valid for three months)
Non-Employment or Business Related Visa
Long Term Stay Visas
Working Holiday Visas
General Visa Procedure
There are two main ways to get a Korean visa, either applying from the Korean embassy/consulate in your home country or by applying directly to Korean immigration in Korea.
Most employment visas require you to apply from abroad. For those it’s a three step procedure:
You may be coming to Korea without a job sponsorship. In that case, you don’t need to send your documents to Korea to get a visa issuance number. You just need to go to the Korean embassy/consulate with your documents. They will provide you with an issuance number and a visa in your passport. Then you just have to go to immigration once you land.
Visas applied to at the Korean Embassy/Consulate:
Visas applied to within Korea:
Some visas can be obtained within Korea. All you need to do for these ones is gather your documents and go straight to Korean immigration. They will change your ARC card for you.
A visa run means you have to leave the country to apply for a new visa status from abroad. If you come to Korea as a tourist and find a job while traveling here, you’ll need to go on a visa run to have the visa sticker put into your passport. As well, if you’re changing visa statuses you’ll also have to leave the country. For example, you’ll need to go on a visa run to go from an E-2 visa to an E-7 visa. Visa runs are most commonly done to Osaka or Fukuoka in Japan because both cities have a Korean consulate and are close to Korea.
à Check out the article on Visa Runs from Korea to Japan to learn more about the procedure.
Extending your Visa
Extending your visa is a simple procedure that requires a quick trip to immigration. If you have a working visa (E-series), your visa will be extended up to the day you leave the country and must not exceed one month. You must show a ticket out when you apply for an extension. For other kinds of visas it may not be possible to get an extension. You will have to leave the country and reapply. Please read the article Extending your Visa and The D-10 Visa Option in Korea for details.
In most cases, visiting Korean Immigration in Korea is very straightforward although it can take up a whole afternoon. Bear these tips in mind before you go!
Phone: 1345, press 3 for English- use this number to call for all visa or immigration inquires. Do not call the individual branch offices.
Major Immigration Offices
Seoul Regional Headquarters
Google map: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=319-2+Sinjeong+6+(yuk)-dong,+Yangcheon-gu&hl=ko&ie=UTF8&ll=37.521725,126.869473&spn=0.009888,0.021136&sll=37.519144,126.869521&sspn=0.15712,0.338173&hnear=%EB%8C%80%ED%95%9C%EB%AF%BC%EA%B5%AD+%EC%84%9C%EC%9A%B8%ED%8A%B9%EB%B3%84%EC%8B%9C+%EC%96%91%EC%B2%9C%EA%B5%AC+%EC%8B%A0%EC%A0%956%EB%8F%99+319-2&t=m&z=16
Sejongno Branch Office
Lindsey lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea for over 5 years. While there, she dabbled in different areas of work and explored the culture. She spent time teaching elementary students, business English to adults and high school students about college preparation. She also studied Korean, wrote blogs and tasted as many foods as she possibly could including fermented skate fish. Over the years, Lindsey developed a love for Korea and the culture. She is keen to share her knowledge of Korea with others and she will always consider Korea a second home.