Extending your Visa vs. the D-10 Visa

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

Your alien registration is about to expire but you don’t want to leave the country just yet. Fear not! You have options: you can either extend your visa or switch your visa to a D-10 visa - the job seeking visa. You need to consider what you plan on doing after your contract finishes, in order to determine which route you want to take.


Extending your Visa

When you extend your visa, you can be given up to 30 days on your Alien Registration Card (ARC). You need to apply before your ARC expires. You also need to show that you have plans to leave the country (i.e. with an air ticket purchased). You’re visa will be extended until the day you leave which must not be more than 30 days from your ARC expiration date.


à Keep in mind:

  1. Give yourself time. Extend your visa well in advance (a least a week ahead or more). You’ll be in BIG trouble if you let your ARC expire. The fines and hassle aren’t worth it, so save your savings and make sure you get the extra time on your card. Fine charges depend on your expired visa status and how long you overstayed but it can be into the millions of won.
  2. E-2 visa holders now receive a thirteen month visa while contracts are only twelve months. This allows teachers to arrive before their contract starts and/or stay a bit after it finishes. This extra month is included in your visa sojourn period. You can still apply for another 30 days extension after this thirteen month period ends. Other E-series visa holders have twelve month periods of sojourn.


The Pros to Extending

  1. This visa is great if you just want to hang around Korea for a bit longer. Maybe you want to do some cross country travel, check out a national park or finally visit Busan.
  2. It’s also nice to have extra time to get packed up and take care of all the little details you need to finalize before you head off. See the article on Leaving Korea for those specifics.
  3. Extending is free, so go ahead and take a few extra days.
  4. The application procedure is convenient: go in person to Korean immigration or extend online (applies to certain visa holders only).


The Cons to Extending

  1. The extension is a maximum of 30 days. After that point you must leave the country even if you want to keep traveling.
  2. The extension does not permit employment.
  3. If you want to find another job after your contract finishes, you should switch to a job seeking visa, the D-10 visa (as described below).


Extension Procedure

The process of extension is easy! You can visit your district immigration office. Give over your documents to the immigration officer. They will examine your departure date and mark the date on the back of your ARC in permanent marker. After that you are legally free to stay in the country beyond your original ARC expiration date. It takes only a few hours!


If you apply online, the processing time is at least five business days. Scan your documents and then follow the application procedure. Be aware that only some visa holders can apply through the HiKorea Immigration website.


à Note: You can make a reservation for an appointment at immigration to save time. Go to the Hi Korea online reservation service.


Online Extension permitted for the following visas:

Cultural Arts(D-1), Study Abroad(D-2), General Training(D-4), Journalism(D-5), Religious Affairs(D-6), Professorship(E-1), Research(E-3), Technology Transfer(E-4), Professional Employment(E-5), Non-professional Employment(E-9),Family visitation(F-1, younger than 17 only), Dependent Family(F-3), Working Holiday(H-1), Working Visit(H-2)


à Note: E-2 visa holders must visit immigration in person.


Documents required for in person and online applications:

  • Your passport
  • Visa extension form
  • Your ARC
  • Your airline ticket
  • Fee: FREE!


The D-10 Job Seeking Visa


The D-10 visa is a relatively new visa installment offered by Korean immigration. This visa allows holders to stay for up to six months in Korea legally with the purpose of looking for a job. You must be actively searching for employment, not just bumming around the country. This is the perfect visa for you if you came to Korea with a job, have now finished your contract and want to move to a new job. Rather than packing up, heading back home and job searching from your home country, you can stay in Korea and search here. Once you find a job you don’t need to go on a visa run, you can easily transfer your D-10 to your new employment visa.


The D-10 visa may also be applied for from abroad. It’s a great option if you’re hesitant to sign up for a year-long work contract without first meeting your future boss or learning about Korea. However, if you have never worked for a Korean company in Korea eligibility conditions apply (see below).



  1. The period of sojourn is six months. If you do not find work within that period you must leave the country (some exceptions apply).
  2. You may not continuously stay in Korea with a D-10 visa. If you don’t find work within six months, you must leave and wait another year before reapplying. At that point you can always apply for job from abroad (some exceptions apply).
  3. You must apply for the D-10 visa before your current work visa expiries. You will be fined if you let your visa expire and then you may not be able to get a D-10 visa.
  4. If you have graduated from a two or four year Korean college/university program you may extend your D-10 visa once for another six months. In this case, the total period you may hold a D-10 visa for at one time is one year.
  5. If you: hold a Master’s or PhD from a Korean university, graduated from a Times Higher top 200 school, or worked for a Forbes 500 company, you may extend your D-10 for a total of three times for six month periods each time. In this case,, you may stay in Korea for a total of two years with a D-10 until you must leave the country or find a job.



There are 3 different criteria to be eligible for a D-10. You only need to fall into one category to apply. If you do NOT have experience working or living in Korea you must fit into number 3.

  1. If you have worked in Korea before and completed your employment contract you are eligible for a D-10 visa. You also must prove your work experience in Korea with a letter of release from your job and an employment certificate.
  2. If you are graduating from a Korean university, you may apply to look for work here. You need a GPA of 3.0 or a letter of reference from your professor.
  3. If you are applying from abroad you must fill at least 1 of the following criteria:
  1. You must have studied at a Times Higher top 200 ranked school; or
  2. You must have worked at a Forbes 500 company.

You need to show proof of either (or both).


The Process

From abroad:

  1. You must visit the Korean Embassy or consulate in your home country if you want to come to Korea to look for work. You must meet number 3 of the eligibility criteria and show proof (documents listed below). Processing takes around 5 business days. Make sure you give yourself ample time to get your visa before your flight departs.
  2. When you arrive in Korea you need to apply for your ARC. Go to Korean immigration within 30 days of your arrival to get it. It costs 20,000KRW and takes between 5-10 business days.


Within Korea:

  1. You must visit Korean Immigration if you would like to switch from your employment visa to a D-10 visit. Bring all the required documents (see below) plus 70,000KRW. Your visa will be issued within 5 or 10 business days.
  2. Once you find a job, you don’t need to reapply for a visa all over again and you don’t need to go on a visa run. You’ll only have to show documents to your employer (like your degree and employment certificates), not to immigration. This is assuming that you find a job in the same line of work
  3. For Example: you go from one teaching job (E-2visa) to a D-10 visa to a new teaching job (E-2 visa).

If you switch job fields you may be required to bring additional documentation to immigration to prove that you are qualified for the new line of work

  • For Example: you go from an entertainer (E-6 visa) to a D-10 visa to a teaching job (E-2 visa). You will have to show a criminal background check at that point).


D-10 Visa Documents required:

  • Passport + copy
  • Application for visa issuance (completed at immigration or the embassy)
  • Plan for seeking employment
  • 1 recent passport style photo (3cmx4cm)
  • Fee in Korea: 70,000KRW; fee at an embassy: 30USD for single entry, 50USD for multi-entry


For those applying within Korea after job contract finishes:

  • Letter of Release from your Korean employer


For those applying outside of Korea or from tourist visa:

  • Proof of academic achievement from a top 200 ranked school (degree certificate, transcript)
  • Proof of employment history from a Fortune 500 company (career/employment certificate, reference letters)



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 the 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 : Visa. Travel. Employment. Study.

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.