Korea Working Holiday Agreements

Category : Education/Teaching / Travel/Events / Visa/Legal Issues/Tax
Mar 24, 2015

Korean Working Holiday Agreements


What are Working Holiday Visas?

A wonderful way to travel for an extended period of time is through working holiday visa programs. Working holiday visas are agreements made between two governments that allow young citizens (usually between the ages of 18 to 30 or 35) to visit each other’s country. Countries sign pacts as a way of cultural exchange. It improves relations and gives young people a chance to broaden their horizons. Working holidays are an opportunity to learn about another place in great detail. This visa allows the holder to live and work without a job sponsorship visa.  It is usually 12 months or more which is much longer than short tourist visas (usually only a few months).


Korea’s Agreements

Korea is on board with working holiday visas. Currently, Korea has the same agreement with 12 countries. All visas are for 12 months except for the United States which has an 18 month long agreement. The working holiday visa in Korea is the H-1 Visa.

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. Denmark
  4. France
  5. Germany
  6. Japan
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Ireland
  9. New Zealand
  10. Sweden
  11. Taiwan
  12. United States



  • You must be between the age of 18 and 30.
  • You must be without accompanying dependants – This time, you gotta leave the kids at home!
  • You must possess a return travel ticket and sufficient funds.
  • You must have a travel plan and tour schedule in mind.
  • You must possess a valid passport.



  1. Holders cannot be employed in certain jobs such as receptionists, dancers, singers, musicians, acrobats, or in places of adult entertainment.
  2. Holders are prohibited from teaching a foreign language. If you want to teach ESL (or other languages) you need to find a job first and get an E-2 foreign language instructor visa (see the article The E-2 Visa for Foreign Language Teachers in Korea for more info on that).
  3. Holders are not allowed do jobs that require a license or skill, like practice medicine or law. You need an E-5 visa to do those jobs.
  4. Holders may not work in journalism (D-5 visa), religious activities (D-6 visa), or academic research (E-3 visa). You must have the respective visas for jobs in those fields.
  5. Working holiday agreements are deliberated for holiday. You may work with the primary intention to supplement your travels. You are not here to hole up in a flat and hoard away cash.


Visa Application Procedure

All visas must be applied for through the Korean embassy/consulate in your home country. You need to bring all the required documents and you must have the visa in your passport before you leave your country.


Check the Embassy/Consulate websites for more information on the extra procedure. Each country differs slightly.

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. Denmark
  4. France
  5. Germany
  6. Japan
  7. Hong Kong
  8. New Zealand
  9. Ireland
  10. Sweden
  11. Taiwan
  12. United States


Documents Required to Apply for the H-1 Visa


  • Original bank statements issued within the last 3 months to show sufficient travel funds (the equivalent of more than 2,000USD).


  • A written travel plan. The travel plan is loose idea of what you want to do during your year in Korea. It’s not set in stone and you can always make changes.
  • Travel plan example: I will spend the first 4 months living and working in Seoul, and then I will travel to Busan and live there for another 4 months. In between my working experiences I will travel for 1 or 2 months around Korea. If necessary I will move once more to Gwangju for my last few months.


  • A Criminal Background check. The criminal background check (CBC) must be notarized or certified with an apostille from your national notary authority. Korean immigration will accept CBCs up to 6 months old at the time of application.

à Tip: Get your criminal background check done as soon as possible. In many countries, it can take up to one month.


  • A round trip ticket or a ticket on to a further destination. This is not always checked but it is advised to at least have a planned date for departure.


  • Proof of medical insurance for the duration of your stay in Korea.


Arrival in Korea

Once you arrive in Korea you have 90 days (three months) to go to Korean immigration to register for your Alien Registration Card (ARC). This card will allow you to open a bank account, get a phone, and book tickets for transportation and entertainment. It is imperative that you have your ARC while living in Korea and you must turn it in when you depart from Korea.


à Bring: your passport, the completed application visa form (found at immigration) and the visa processing fee (10,000KRW- possibly more) when you arrive in Korea.


Visiting Immigration

You can also make reservations for an appointment at immigration so you won’t have to wait in the long lines. If you need more information about your Korean H-1 visa or about the process once you arrive in Korea, please call or check the website.

Immigration Homepage

HiKorea Homepage

Phone: 1345, press 3 for English


Major Immigration Offices



Seoul Regional Headquarters

  1. Phone: 02-2650-6212~5
  2. Address: 319-2 Sinjeong 6 (yuk)-dong, Yangcheon-gu.
  3. Directions: Omokgyo Stn: line 5, exit 7. Walk straight for 10 minutes.

Google maps: Click here


Sejongno Branch Office

  1. Phone: 02-732-6220
  2. Address: SK Hub Bldg. 2F, 89-4, Gyeongundong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  3. Directions: Anguk Station: exit 6, walk straight about 200m.
  4. Google maps: Click here



  1. Phone: 032-890-6305~6   117
  2. Addess: Hangdong 7 (chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Incheon
  3. Directions: Bus: Take Incheon City Bus #3, #12 or #24 to Jungbu Police Station. Then walk for 10 minutes.
  4. Google maps: Click here



  1. Phone: 031-695-3817
  2. Address: 1012-6 Yeongtong-dong, Yeongtong-du, Suwon-si
  3. Directions: Bus 5, 7, 7-2, 9, 310, 900 to Yeongiljung bus stop. Walk in the same direction as the bus. Look for Yeong-il School. It’s behind the school beside Bandal Park.
  4. Google maps: Click here



  1. Phone: 051-461-3091/3095
  2. Address: 17-26, 4-ga, Jungang-dong, Jung-gu.
  3. Directions: Jungang-dong Station: line 1, ex. 10 or 12. Walk straight for 10 minutes.
  4. Google maps: Click here



  1. Phone: 053-980-3512
  2. Address: 1012-1, Geomsa-dong, Dong-gu.
  3. Directions: Dongchon Station: line 1, exit 1- about 200m
  4. Google maps: Click here



  1. Phone: 042-220-2201-2204
  2. Address: 16-8, Jungchon-dong, Jung-gu.
  3. Directions: Oryong Station is the closest subway station. Take a bus from there to Sun Hospital. It is across the street.
  4. Google maps: Click here


  1. Phone: 062-381-0312
  2. Address: 366-1, Hwajeong 3 dong, Seo-gu.
  3. Directions: Ssangchon Station: exit 1. It is about 500m from the exit.
  4. Google maps: Click here



  1. Phone: 064-722-3494
  2. Address: 673-8, Geonip-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju
  3. Directions: Take a bus to Jeju Girls’ Commercial High School. Then walk about 5 minutes.
  4. Google maps: Click here




-Working Holiday Agreements

-H-1 visa

-visa application process


-Korean consulate

-working in Korea

-documents required

-countries with a working holiday agreement



Tags : Education. English. Travel. Visa.

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.