Moving to Korea > Immigration and Visas

Visa or Entry Problems

Visa or Entry Problems

Potential Problems that may arise from unfamiliarity with Korean rules and regulations can include:

If the wrong visa classification is marked in one’s passport, or if proper entry/exit tamps are not done at entry or departure, then the visa holder may be obliged to lave Korea to have the error corrected, even though the mistake was made by a government official. For this reason, it is a good idea to check all marks in your passport when a visa is issued or when entering and leaving Korea. NB: occasionally, albeit rarely, an officer will not have stamped your passport on entry. This will cause problems for you when you leave, so you may want to – diplomatically – ask if your passport requires a stamp.

A resident who temporarily leaves Korea with the intention of returning must obtain a re-entry permit before departure (unless he/she has obtained a valid multiple entry visa). Re-entry permits can be obtained when the initial residence registration is made at the Immigration Office and can be renewed as necessary. Leaving without a re-entry permit may result in the invalidation of your visa and the major inconvenience of having to go through the entire application process all over again.

English Teachers (E-2 visas) whose employment is not sponsored by approved and well-established firms face extreme difficulties in obtaining visas to enter and remain in Korea. They may also be subject to legal penalties, including fines, detention and/or deportation.

Dependents of holders of employment visas, who engage in part-time employment without a proper visa endorsement may also be subject to the same legal penalties, including fines, detention and/or deportation.

If a person enters Korea for tourism (C-3), study (D02) or training (D-3 or D-4) but wishes to stay on for business (D-7) or investment (D-8), it is not possible to adjust the visa without leaving Korea. The same problem arises for person who enter Korea with a short-term business visa but wish to remain with resident status. Any change in employer, which entails a change of visa sponsorship, normally requires departure and re-application even when the transfer is between affiliated entities.

Residence visa, depending on the classification, must be extended every year. Initial renewal may be done without leaving Korea, but indefinite renewal is not permitted even for long-term employment visas, and after several renewals the person is required to leave Korea and repeat the visa application process. Thus, there is no equivalent to an unlimited ‘permanent resident status’ tat would provide employment permission to an expatriate in Korea.

Immigration Help Line: 1345 (press 3 and then * for English). No need to put in area code even from cell phone.

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 2011-07-15

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