Working and Business > Teaching in Korea

Getting an E2 Teaching Visa


Getting an E2 Teaching Visa

An E2 visa is issued solely for the purpose of teaching language (English, Russian, etc), while the E1 visa applies to University Professors of English and other fields of study. Apparently, the application for an E2 visa must be from a country where that language is recognised by Korea as being the 'first' language of its citizens. For example, it seems French teachers must be from France, not Canada, while English teachers must be from specific designated countries.

NATIONALITY REQUIREMENTS: (updated September 2015)
Until recently, Issuance of an E2 visa (for the teaching of English) was limited to people (passport holders) from 7 countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the United States. Graduates of Quebec universities might be rejected when applying for an E2 visa - although there has been no official regulation excluding them from teaching English - due a perception that they either cannot speak English well enough or  that they have the ‘wrong’ accent.  The concern about 'correct' accents has diminished in recent years. 

In 2015, Korean media reported that Korea is also now accepting citizens of 4 additional countries for English teaching positions at primary and secondary schools nationwide - India, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. These are countries that have trade agreements with Korea. Requirements for applicants from these 4 countries are stricter than for the original 7 countries in that in addition to holding a Bachelor's degree or above, the degree must be in English studies and they must have a teaching degree/license from their home country. (Editor's Note: K4E has learned that immigration officials have told a school in the Seoul area that there are no such new regulations.)

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS:
The primary academic requirement for an E2 Visa is a completed Bachelor’s degree in any field. Immigration officials must clearly see that this is an actual degree and not a course equivalent to a degree. Various institutions may have specific additional requirements such as a teaching degree, TESOL certifications, etc.

NOTE: As indicated above, applicants from India, Malyasia, Philippines and Singapore must hold a degree  in English studies and have a teaching license from their home country. 

Since 2010, universitiy/college diplomas require an apostille.  This process can take some time, but the government has said it will only have to be done the one time.  As a result of he new apostille requirement sealed transcripts were no longer required.

Procedure 
- In general, all new applicants must submit the E2 visa application to the Korean embassy/ consulate in their home country.
- Any applicants who qualify within any of the conditions below can apply for an E2 visa at Korean embassy/ consulate of a third party country.
a. Applicants with a past history of an E1 visa (university professor), E2 visa (English instructor), E3 visa (academic research/ student visa), with no history of breaking Korean law
b. A member of the Korean University Education Union/ Community that verifies academic qualifications
Consulate interview

Applicants Requiring a Personal Interview
- In general, all applicants for an E2 visa require a personal interview.
Note: Applicants that qualify to submit an E2 visa application in a third party country may/ may not be required to have a personal interview.
※Any applicants who qualify within any of the conditions below can apply for an E2 visa at Korean embassy/ consulate of a third party country.
a. Applicants with a past history of an E1 visa (university professor), E2 visa (English instructor), E3 visa (academic research/ student visa), with no history of breaking Korean law 
b. A member of the Korean University Education Union/ Community that verifies academic qualifications
Interview Questions and Process
- Personal interviews will be conducted using the interview questions listed below (Consul’s Checklist for E2 Applicant)
- If the Korean e\Embassy/ Consulate deems that the applicant lives an unreasonable distance to be physically present for a personal interview, a web cam interview via the internet will be substituted
If the interviewer at the Korean embassy/ consulate deems the applicant is not suited for an E2 visa, the issuance of a new E2 visa will be denied regardless of the applicants past history.

AGE ISSUES:
Some recruiters and even some consulate websites discourage people who are 55 to 60 from applying to teach in Korea. There is no immigration regulation preventing the issuance of an E2 (or E1) visa to people in those age groups. And although many employers do prefer younger teachers, there are jobs for the older teacher with hagwons (private institutes) and universities. That said, there is a policy in public schools to cap the teaching age at 55,  and the retirement age in Korea ranges between 55 and 60 years of age. However, although the pickings are slim,  people of over 60 continue to find teaching jobs in Korea.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK:
-To prevent applicants with convictions for drug offences or sexual offences from entering the country, a criminal background check must be submitted.
- Only national government law enforcement agency issued checks will be accepted as of 1 January 2011. 
- The criminal background check must have an apostille (or postil) if the applicant is an American citizen, for example (this does not apply to Canadian applicants).
See below for more details: 
i) An apostille is a seal applied by the Department of State in the U.S. to authenticate a document in a foreign country in order to assess the authenticity of an official signature. The Apostille is recognized as form of an international notary seal. An Apostille can be used if both countries (the country issuing the document and the country in which the document will be used) are part of the international "The Hague Apostille Convention".
ii) Applicants from countries that do not have an apostille agreement with Korea , (i.e. Canada and China ), will have to submit the criminal background check for verification at the applicant's closest Embassy/Consulate.
iii) The criminal background check of applicants already in Korea must have an apostille/postil or be otherwise notarised by their Embassy in Korea.
- The criminal background check is only valid within 90 days/ 3 months of the E2 visa application.

(Criminal-check records are also required for C4 visa candidates who plan to work in English language camps here for less than 90 days.)

INTERVIEW AT KOREAN EMBASSY/CONSULATE:
Applicants are required to appear for a personal interview at the nearest Korean embassy or consulate in their home countries, with some exceptions such as, for example,  mission location unreasonably distant from applicant's location. (Criminal-check records are also required for C4 visa candidates who plan to work in English language camps here for less than 90 days.)

MEDICAL CHECKS**:
In their initial application package, prospective teachers must fill out a short, unofficial health statement regarding infectious diseases, drug use, and psychological problems. Then, within three months (90 days) following her/his arrival in Korea, the teacher's official medical data must be provided to the immigration office, as part of the application for residence registration. The medical exam to be conducted by government-approved public and general hospitals includes tests for narcotics and marijuana use and HIV or AIDS** and are at the teacher's expense. The employer does not pay the costs of these tests.
After entering Korea, applicants must submit themselves to a medical check at a government approved  hospital, public health clinic or general hospital.

Medical Health Report Process (from the Ministry of Justice posting 2008)
Process When submitting an E2 visa application ⇒ When registering for alien registration card.
Needed Documents:
Self Medical Report: After an applicant submits the self medical report to the school, the report must then be submitted with all other documents by the school when applying for the E2 visa.
Korean Health Medical Report issued by an approved government hospital, public health clinic, or general hospital
- After receiving the E2 visa the applicant must go to an approved government hospital, public health clinic, or general hospital and submit the report to the immigration office.
※ After an applicant receives their alien registration card, the applicant must submit the Korean Health Medical Report within 3 months/ 90 days.
Contents of Korean Medical Report:  A drug test, (for narcotics), a TBPE (Tuberculosis) test, cannabinoid test (cannabis) and possibly an HIV/ AIDS test**. 

Following receipt of registration card-
• After arrival in Korea and receiving an alien registration card, the applicant must submit themselves to a physical health test at the above mentioned approved places and submit the report to immigration.
• If the health report is not submitted within the 3 months/ 90 day period, test positive for drugs, alcoholism, or communicable diseases, the E2 visa will be cancelled and the applicant will be deported to their home country. 
- If the self medical report is positive for any history of narcotic drug use, HIV or AIDS**, or communicable diseases, then an E2 visa will not be issued.
- If the health report is not submitted within the 3 months/ 90 day period, test positive for drugs, alcoholism, or communicable diseases, the E2 visa will be cancelled and the applicant will be deported to her/his home country.
Note: Any applicant with any kind of criminal record will not be issued an E2 visa.
**HIV/Aids testing for E2 visa holders to stop: In 2016, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea recommended the government stop its mandatory HIV testing of foreign English teachers, thus supporting an earlier decision by UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that ruled against this policy in Korea. That said, K4E has had reports that foreign teachers are still being required to take these tests to keep their jobs. Although the NHRCK rendered its decision in September, there was still no mention of it on the commission's website as of 6 October 2016, according to the Korea Herald.
 
Reduce the inconvenience of having to return to their home country to receive a new E2 visa.
- To avoid the inconvenience of having to return to an applicant’s home country to receive an apostille for a criminal background check, a criminal check issued by the applicant’s embassy/ consulate in Korea may be accepted.
- Effective 01 September 2010, E2 visa holders who are changing jobs do not have to submit a criminal background check if they have already done so and if their stay outside Korea is less than 3 months between the expiry of the old and new visas. 

E2 VISA EXPIRY:
E2 Visas may be issued for 13 months - 12 months for the working contract and 1 additional month following the termination date of the contract.

PUNISHMENT FOR VIOLATORS (as per the Ministry of Justice posting 2008)
- A constant check will be put upon teachers to ensure no one violates the immigration laws. Illegal teaching, sexual offenders, and drug abusers will be deported and barred from entry into Korea for a time period.
- Private schools that hire illegal teachers shall receive more sever penalties. Private schools that hire illegal teachers shall be reported to the board of education and private school licensing board which will make running the business difficult.
- Sexual offenders, drug addicts, and alcoholic teachers that cause social problems in Korea will be blacklisted. This list of offenders will be posted by the Ministry of Justice and sent out to the educational centers and Korean hogwan union. These offenders will be barred from entry into Korea.

EXCEPTION FOR ETHNIC (OVERSEAS) KOREANS:
Ethnic Koreans who hold a non-Korean passport may be eligible for an F4 visa, which grants ‘Overseas Koreans’ most of the same rights as a Korean national. Those people for born in Korea but who now have citizenship in another country or whose parents were born in Korea may be eligible for an F4 visa. An F4 visa holder can work anywhere, including teaching. The visa is renewable every two years.

If you have any questions regarding E2 visa applications, call the Immigration Call Center (1345 - no area code required). 

Note: for information on other government offices that deal with issues related to working in Korea, click on http://www.korea4expats.com/article-government-information-sources.html. Note that it is best to access Korean government (and other) websites through Internet Explorer and that installation of ActiveX may be required.



Editor's Note: Korea4Expats.com tries to ensure that the information we provide is accurate and complete, so should you notice any errors or omissions in the content above please contact us at info@korea4expats.com.
Please note that government regulations and proceedures may have changed from what has been described above or may not apply in all situations/cases. K4E recommends that you check with the appropriate government office and/or officials prior to going forward.
  

Last Updated on 2016-10-16


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