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Navigating Korean Bureaucracy: Visa and Residency Matters

Navigating Korean Bureaucracy: Visa and Residency Matters

Applicants for a South Korean visa should be aware that obtaining one is not certain. The visa requirements are extremely stringent, and the application procedure can be perplexing due to the numerous options available based on what you do and require. The fees of Korean visas are the most basic component. The costs are common and are paid in US dollars, with rates ranging based on how many entries you want your visa to permit you.

If you’re applying for a permanent residence visa, you should be aware that you’ll be evaluated using an immigration point system. A point system is also in place for a particular long-term stay F-2-7 visa, which is popular among expatriates since it gives benefits that are quite comparable to those granted by permanent residence status. However, you may only stay in South Korea indefinitely if you have a permanent resident visa of the F-5 kind.

Before finally deciding on whether to get a permanent residency in South Korea or not, consider knowing all things you need to know about life in South Korea, such as expat taxes, retirement and the cost of living in South Korea. If you want to weigh in your decisions and plan your journey well, talk to an expat advisor.

The first step in living in Korea permanently as a foreigner is to understand the immigration system. There are different visa types available, including student visas, work visas, and permanent residency visas. Each visa type has different requirements and limitations.

Anyway navigating Korean bureaucracy can be a complex process, especially when it comes to visa and residency matters. However, with the right information and preparation, you can navigate through the system more smoothly. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Types of Visas

Types of Visas

1-1. Short-Term Visitor Visa (C-3)

This visa is for tourists and individuals visiting South Korea for a short period of time, usually up to 90 days. It is suitable for tourism, business meetings, conferences, or visiting family and friends.

1-2. Working Holiday Visa (H-1)

This visa is available for individuals aged 18-30 (or 35 for certain countries) who wish to work and travel in South Korea for a specified period. It is typically issued to promote cultural exchange between participating countries.

1-3. Student Visa (D-2)

This visa is for international students enrolled in a recognized educational institution in South Korea. It allows them to study full-time and, in some cases, work part-time during their studies.

1-4. Employment Visa (E)

There are several types of employment visas based on the nature of work and qualifications. These include the E-1 (Professor), E-2 (English teacher), E-7 (Skilled labor), E-9 (Non-professional jobs), and more. Each visa has specific requirements and eligibility criteria.

1-5. Investor Visa (D-8)

This visa is for individuals who plan to invest and engage in business activities in South Korea. It requires a minimum investment amount and the establishment of a business entity.

1-6. Marriage Visa (F-6)

This visa is for foreign nationals who are married to a South Korean citizen or a long-term alien resident. It allows them to live and work in South Korea for an extended period.

1-7. Cultural Arts Visa (D-1)

This visa is for individuals engaged in cultural or artistic activities, such as artists, musicians, or performers, who intend to stay in South Korea for a specific period.

1-8. Research Visa (E-3)

This visa is for researchers, scientists, or scholars who are conducting research or academic activities in South Korea.

1-9. Visa Extensions

If you need to extend your visa beyond its initial validity period, you must apply for an extension before your current visa expires. The specific requirements and procedures for visa extensions can vary depending on the type of visa you hold. It's important to submit your application well in advance to avoid any issues.

2. Alien Registration Card (ARC)

Alien Registration Card (ARC)

The majority of people who remain in South Korea for more than 6 months must get an Alien Registration Card(ARC). Expats in Korea utilize ARC as a kind of personal identification. You will receive a Resident Registration Number with this card, which is required for opening a bank account or registering at a local medical practice.

Alien Registration Cards (ARC) show Korean names of foreign card holders.

To apply for an ARC, you must make an appointment with your local Immigration Office. Every working day, they are usually open from 9:00 a.m. until 18:00 p.m. Arrive on time and bring your passport, a colored passport ID picture (3.5 mm by 4.5 mm), and any other documentation required for your visa type.

If you are unsure which papers you require, contact 1345 (in Korea) or 821345 (outside of Korea) for assistance. Make a note of the names of the papers you want in Korean, as translations may cause misunderstanding.

When applying, you must fill out an application form, which is accessible at the Immigration Office for free. Immigration of fficers are ready to assist you in filling out the form and ensuring that you have all of the necessary papers. That’s where knowing the Korean names comes in helpful, because they’ll be able to inform you if you’re missing anything.

You will have to pay an issuance fee, which is currently set at 30,000 KRW (25 USD).

3. Temporary and Permanent Residency in South Korea

Temporary and Permanent Residency in South Korea

Those interested in learning how to get a permanent residency in South Korea should be aware that, while the government makes it difficult to obtain official information, obtaining permanent residency status is not impossible. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to go through several phases of the application process, from temporary residency to applying for additional long-term possibilities until you are qualified for an unrestricted stay. A large sum of money or a marriage certificate, on the other hand, might provide you with a shortcut that will allow you to escape the lengthy application procedure.

4. Application Requirements for Permanent Residency in South Korea

Application Requirements for Permanent Residency in South Korea

The F-5 visa allows you to stay in South Korea permanently. To acquire it, you must meet the following qualifying requirements:

  • Investing at least 600 million KRW (500,000 USD) in a Korean company and employing at least five Koreans. (Korea also offers investment visa)

  • Marrying a Korean citizen or someone who holds an F-5 visa.

  • In South Korea, obtaining a degree is possible. A bachelor’s degree in science or engineering, or any master’s degree, is acceptable. You must also have lived in the country for three years and have a sufficient yearly income (greater than the country’s gross national income per capita).

  • Getting a doctoral degree and a career in high-tech industry in South Korea.

  • Operating a business in Korea for at least three years while on a D-8-4 start-up visa, grossing at least 300 million KRW (256,100 USD), and employing at least two Koreans for at least six months.

  • Having your outstanding skill in Science, Education, Culture and the Arts, Sports, or Management acknowledged by the Ministry of Justice.

  • Holding an F-2 visa for at least five years while earning enough money to sustain yourself and your family and having a basic understanding of Korean culture and traditions.

  • Having had an F-4 Overseas Korean Visa for at least two years, as well as having paid adequate income or property taxes.

Before you can apply for complete permanent residency in South Korea, you must first get another F-type long-term residency visa. The F-2-7 and F-2-99 appear to be the most popular models.

5. National Health Insurance (NHI)

National Health Insurance (NHI)

As a resident in South Korea, you are required to have National Health Insurance (NHI). NHI provides access to affordable healthcare services, and the premiums are typically deducted from your salary or self-employed income. You need to enroll in NHI at your local district office or the National Health Insurance Corporation office.

6. Paying tax

Paying tax

As a resident in South Korea, you may be subject to taxation on your worldwide income. The South Korean tax system requires residents to report their income and pay taxes accordingly. Understanding the tax regulations and filing requirements is crucial to ensure compliance with the law.

As a resident, you are entitled to certain rights and benefits, such as access to public services, education, and social security. However, you also have responsibilities, including adhering to local laws, fulfilling tax obligations, and complying with visa regulations.


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