Moving to Korea > Immigration and Visas

Entrance Documents

Entrance Documents

*All information below should be confirmed with the Korea Immigration Service or with the Ministry of Justice

Passports are required for every member of the family and are required prior to any visa applications. Children under 13 can no longer be on a parent’s passport nor can spouses appear on each other’s passports.

Visas are required for all foreign nationals if they are planning to work in Korea.

Business visas require that the intention of activities be clearly stated on the visa application form.

Work visas are requested by your employer. Korea operates on a system of employer-sponsored visas. If you are already in Korea, you must obtain your work visa from an embassy or consulate outside Korea. However, if you are staying with the same employer and extending your visa, it can be processed in-country. Work visas are usually valid for one year from the date of issue and take about 2-4 weeks to process. Once you have your work visa, you have 30 days in which to get your residence permit from Immigration (alien registration card). While you are at the Immigration Office (list below) to get your registration card, you might want to get a multiple-entry stamp in your passport as well (US citizens usually get one automatically but most other foreign nationals have to get it separately). There is a small fee for the re-entry stamp. Note: Working in Korea without a valid work visa and registration card may result in fines, imprisonment and deportation.

Cancellation of Work Visa and/or Residence Permit: you must surrender your Alien Registration Card to the immigration officer when you leave the country at the end of your contract and/or when you are leaving the country for good.

Dependent visas are required for the spouse and children of an Employment Visa holder. They will each also require a residence visa, alien registration certificate and multiple re-entry permit. The Employment Visa holder and her/his dependents should all obtain them at the same time. Should an accompanying spouse with to work in Korea, he/she must obtain her/his own employment authorization in order to work legally.

Note: Unmarried Partners (Opposite or Same-Sex) cannot obtain a dependent permit/visa. A request for a Dependent's visa requires proof of 'legal' marriage.

Tourist visa: Foreign visitors who plan on staying longer than 30 days must also obtain a visa or visa extension (unless they fall under a Visa Exemption Agreement – see the list below). All visas, including long-term visas, are for a single visit. Anyone wishing to leave Korean and then re-enter during their allowed period of stay must obtain a re-entry permit. For more information, click here.

Re-entry or Multiple Entry Stamp: Foreign residents must either obtain a multiple-entry stamp in their passports when they leave the country, if they plan to return. Without the re-entry or multiple-entry stamp, the work visa ceases to be valid and the whole visa application process must be done all over again. The multiple-entry stamp can be obtained after the alien registration card has been issued and it is worth the expense if you are going to travel out of the country frequently. The re-entry stamp can be obtained at the airport prior to departure, but it is only good for the one re-rentry.

Visa Extensions for tourist visas are possible in special cases such as accidents, health problems, flight cancellation, etc. Applications for visa extensions can be made at a local immigration office at least one day before the day of expiration. Visa extensions are usually issued one to three days following receipt of the application and are good for 90 days normally. Documents required along with the completed application form: a recent passport-size colour photo and the application fee.

ONLINE APPLICATIONS: It is possible to apply for some of the above via on-line applications. Go to the Korean Immigration website or to to the Hi Korea e-government for foreigners website and click on e-application. Note that the government sites still require that you download Active X to proceed with online applications. In fact, you may have difficulty accessing the e-government site directly if you don't have ActiveX -

K4E Editor: 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 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 2012-09-20

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