Employment Visas (E-Series) in Korea

Category : Visa/Legal Issues/Tax
Nov 28, 2014

It’s exciting to be working and living in a new country. You’ll of course need a legal working visa to do so. The E-series visas are all employment visas. Contracts (and therefore) visa validity periods are normally one year, but can be issued for up to three years. E-series visas need to be applied for from outside of Korea. You’ll have to do so before you arrive or go on a visa run to a nearby Asian country (usually Japan). Other than that, gathering documents and preparing for your arrival is all you need to worry about!

 

E-Series Visas

  1. E-1 Professor (교수)
  2. E-2 Foreign language instructor (회화지도)
  1. E-3 Research (연구)
  2. E-4 Technology transfer (기술지도)
  3. E-5 Professional employment (전문직업)
  4. E-6 Artistic performer (예술흥행)
  5. E-7 Designated activities (특정활동)
  6. E-8 Training employment (연수취업)
  7. E-9 Non-professional employment (비전문취업)    
  8. E-10 Vessel Crew (내항선원)

 

à Note: WorknPlay’s article on the E-2 Visa for Foreign Language Teachers can provide you with more information on that visa. This article pertains to all others.

 

Visa Application Process

Basic steps

  1. Find a job, and sign a contract sent to you from your employer.
  2. Send the signed contract along with specific documents listed below (different for each visa application) back to the employer.
  3. The employer will apply for a visa issuance number to the Korean Immigration Service in Korea.
  1. The processing takes about two weeks.
  2. Your employer will send you a visa issuance number.
  1. You must take the number, along with a few other documents to the Korean embassy or consulate in your country.
  1. Express processing takes two business days (you can drop off your documents in the morning on day one and pick them up the next day)
  2. Regular processing takes four to five business days.
  3. You must pay a fee to the consulate: For a single-entry visa: 30USD, multiple-entry visa: 50USD
  1. You will receive a temporary visa in your passport to enter into the country.
  2. Once you arrive in Korea, you must go to Korean Immigration to register for your Alien Registration Card (ARC).
  1. Head to Korean immigration within 30 days or your visa will expire.
  2. The process usually takes about two weeks but can be as much as four weeks.
  3. You must pay 10,000KRW for processing.
  4. You have to go back (two to four weeks later) to immigration to pick up your ARC or you can have them mail it to you for a few extra won.
  5. Since this card is your ticket to living legally in Korea and you use it to do almost everything including buy a phone, shop online, use a credit card, get deals and point cards, and receive health insurance, it is advised to go as soon as possible.

 

Required Documents for Processing at the Korean Embassy/Consulate:

ALL visas require the following documents for processing at the consulate in your home country. Take them after you have received your visa issuance number.

  • The completed relevant visa application form
  • Your passport
  • 2 passport color photos taken within six months (3cm x 4cm)
  • Copies of all original documents such as your passport, your degree(s), your certificate of employment
  • The visa processing fee

 

à Note about Additional Documents: These documents are required when you send your working contract to your employer in the first place. Korean Immigration needs to verify that you have the credentials to do the job you are hired to do. You should also have these documents when you go back in person to Korean Immigration in Korea. This applies to all the additional required documents for any of E-series visa.

 

  • Related articles: Visa Runs from Korea to Japan; Extending your Visa or the D-10 Visa Option in Korea.

 

E-1 Professor (교수)

An E-1 visa is given to professors or lecturers working at post-secondary institutions like universities or colleges. You’ll get this visa if you’re coming over for a full-time job as a professor. As well if you’re coming over for a sabbatical or be a guest lecturer for a year you’ll be on this visa.

 

à Note: Some ESL teachers work at universities as ESL professors. They usually will receive an E-1 visa but not always. They may be categorized as a foreign language instructor and will therefore receive an E-2 visa.

 

Additional Documents required for the E-1 Visa

  • Your certificate of career
  • Your degree (s)
  • Your certificates of employment
  • Your contract of employment in Korea
  • An agreement of exchange or a warrant of detachment from your previous university-if you are coming to Korea as a visiting/exchange professor
  • A copy of the business registration of the academic institute
  • Documents related with BK21 (if applicable)
  • A letter of recommendation from the Minister of Science and Technology for the high-quality human resources of science (if applicable)

 

E-3 Research (연구)

This visa is for those doing scientific or technological research in Korea. You could be working at research institutes (national or private), universities, colleges, corporations, the government, or non-profit organizations. Most likely you’ll be working alongside Korean counterparts to combine research and collaborate on projects.

 

Additional Documents required for the E-3 Visa

  • Any documents proving the existence of the inviting organization (a copy of the business registration)
  • Your degree
  • Your certificates of employment
  • Your contract of employment in Korea

 

E-4 Technology Transfer (기술지도)

This visa is a bit similar to the E-3 visa in that you are coming to do technological based research or work. However, in this case you will be transferring from a public or private company or institution abroad to a Korean counterpart. Most likely you are going back to your home workplace after a year or two spent in Korea. You are here to provide specific expertise in the field of technology. You need to get permission from your company in order to be categorized as an E-4 visa holder.

 

Additional Documents required for the E-4 Visa

  • A warrant of detachment or a certificate of incumbency from your home institution;
  • The receipt of technology introduction contract report, the technology introduction contract, or your certificate of designation
  • Any documents proving the existence of the inviting organization (a copy of the business registration).

 

E-5 Professional Employment (전문직업)

According to Korean law there are a few professions named as professional that can receive this visa. Although they don’t altogether seem professional, this is the list:

  1. Aircraft pilots
  2. Doctors
  3. Medical residents allowed entry by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, or medical students who have graduated from a Korean medical school or dentistry school
  4. People involved in the Geomgang Mountain tourism development business or those who operate a ship used for Geomgang Mountain tourism (these days tour operations from South Korea have been halted due to poor North-South relations)
  5. Essential staff of the shipping industry hired by the Korean Transportation Corporation

 

Additional Documents required for the E-5 Visa

  • Your degree(s) and certificates of qualifications
  • A letter of recommendation of employment from the head of state administration or the document which can prove the necessity of employment
  • Your contract of employment in Korea.

 

E-6 Artistic Performer (예술흥행)

Artistic performer is a pretty broad visa category. It could be anything from acting on TV, singing at the Hyatt Hotel, being extras in movies, dancing in big productions or performing in less public venues. Immigration has broken down the visa requirements into three sub categories. Essential documents depend on the exact work you will be doing.

 

1. You will be performing according to the regulation of the Performance Act.

Additional Documents required for this E-6 Visa

  • A recommendation letter of performance from the Motion Pictures Grade Committee
  • The performance plan for your work
  • A reference letter from an employer

 

2. You want to perform at a hotel or entertainment spot other than those described in Article 1 of the Tourism Promotion Act.

Additional Documents required for this E-6 Visa

  • A recommendation letter of performance from the Motion Pictures Grade Committee
  • The performance plan for your work
  • A reference letter from an employer
  • A certificate of qualification or your employment certificates
  • A HIV-negative confirmations

 

3. Others

Additional Documents required for this E-6 Visa

  • A letter of recommendation of employment from the head of state administration or the document which can prove the necessity of employment;
  • A certificate of qualification or your employment certificates
  • A HIV-negative confirmation Statement
  • A reference letter

 

E-7 Special Designated Activities (특정활동)

This is a bit of a catch all visa. If you’re not doing something listed under any of the other E-series visas and you’re not investing in a business or starting a business here you’ll probably get this visa. You could be working for a Korean or foreign company; you could be working as a manager or coach; or you could be work in IT or some technology related company. Full-time writers and journalists employed by Korean companies fall under this category too.

 

Additional Documents required for the E-7 Visa

  • Your degree(s) and certificates of qualifications
  • A letter of recommendation of employment from the head of state administration or the document which can prove the necessity of employment
  • Your contract of employment in Korea
  • Any documents proving the existence of the inviting organization (a copy of the business registration)
  • A reference letter.

 

E-9 Non-Professional Employment (비전문취업)

Non-professional employment means you are an unskilled laborer. There are nearly ten times the numbers of migrant laborers in Korea as English teachers! This is because Korea has a highly educated workforce who wants to work in professional fields. After studying for decades, who wouldn’t want work in their field of expertise? That also means that Korea must import foreign workers. Korea brings in migrant workers from surrounding Asian countries like China, Philippines and Vietnam. If you are coming to do hard labor, you’ll be on this visa.

 

Additional Documents required for the E-9 Visa

  • Employment permit statement of foreigner employees under Article 8 of the Foreigner Employee’s Employment Law
  • Standard labor contract
  • Any documents proving the existence of the inviting organization (a copy of the business registration)
  • A reference letter
  • Other documents that Immigration permits necessary.

 

E-10 Vessel Crew (내항선원)

This visa is for seamen. If you are operating a vessel for passenger or freight transportation you’ll get an E-10 visa. If you’re making a quick stop over in Korea you won’t be getting a work permit. This visa applies to those who will be here working for more than six months.

 

Additional Documents required for the E-10 Visa

  • A crew labor contract
  • Foreign crew employment statement (received from the Chief official of the District Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries if working under their jurisdiction)
  • A business license for coast passenger transportation or the coast freight transportation registration under the Marine Law (depending on the business)
  • A reference letter
  • A letter of recommendation for hiring foreign crew (received from the Korea Shipping Association)
  • Any other documents which Immigration requests

 

Visiting Immigration

All application documents can be downloaded from the HiKorea Immigration Website. You can also make reservations for an appointment at immigration so you won’t have to wait in long lines. Do that online too.

Immigration Homepage

HiKorea Homepage

Phone: 1345, press 3 for English- use this number to call for all visa or immigration inquires. Do not call the individual branch offices.

Tags : Work. Visas. Employment.

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.

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