Working and Business > Teaching in Korea

Criminal Background Check for E2 Visa English Teacher

Criminal Background Check ...

"To prevent applicants with convictions for drug offences or sexual offences from entering the country", the Korean government requires that applicants for the E2 visa to teach English must submit a criminal background check.

Criminal background checks must be from a national/federal agency (and provide nationwide information) as of July 15, 2011 (those applying ealier in 2011 may find themselves obliged to do so) reports . Note that in some countries this can take a few months. (Scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on Info Sources for Police Checks for E2 Visas) for links to different countries' agencies.

- 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). However, it may be required for other nationalitites as well. 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.)

Some applicants may still be 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 - as of July 2011 or earlier, these too will have to be from a national agency; local reports will not longer be accepted.)

Applicants with a felony on their record, no matter how many years ago, will not be granted a visa. Certain misdemeanors can also prevent you from having your application approved. 

For more information on getting an E2 visa to teach English in Korea, scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on the appropriate subject heading. There you will see a page where you can find links to relevant websites in a number of countries as well as information and links re apostilles.

Along with the information on this site (see topics below) US citizens can also get more information on the US Embassy E2 Visa Information page while Canadians can go to the RCMP Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services website.

Editor's Note: The information above is based on the information K4E has available at the time of writing. Given how difficult it is to obtain clear and complete information in Korea as well as how quickly rules can change, please see this as a guide and do follow-up with the appropriate Korean government bodies to confirm its accuracy and/or to get the most current answers. K4E would appreciate your feedback should you find out that our information is out-of-date. Contact us at

Last Updated on 2010-09-04

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