Below you can find a basic introduction about immigration in Korea.
Entering South Korea
There are many ports of entry to Korea however the procedure remains the same. You will need to have a valid passport with 6 months or more remaining on the expiry date. First you head through the immigration counter and they will check your passport. You will also have to give them an arrival card which you get on the plane before you arrive or can fill out before heading through immigration. They don’t usually ask any questions and give you a tourist stamp or stamp your Korean working, student visa etc
From January 2012 all foreigners entering Korea will be required to get their two index fingers scanned and their face’s photographed.
Tourists and Business Travellers:
Over 50 countries have an agreement with South Korea allowing citizens to travel to Korea. The length of stay depends on the agreement made between South Korea and your country. For a full list and more details visit out Tourist Visa Page.
Tourists are not allowed to engage in work while in Korea however non-profit business trips and short term study at a language school is acceptable.
Foreigners who wish to work in Korea must have a working visa before they arrive. Arriving in Korea on a tourist visa to look for work is not allowed. Most people find a job online, apply and then the company sponsors and sorts out the visa which you then collect in your nearest embassy. If you are already in Korea and wish to get a working visa you must find a job that is willing to sponsor your visa. You will have to get together all the necessary documents, forms and you must obtain the work visa from an embassy or consulate in a country outside Korea. This is known by foreigners in Korea as a visa run. The most popular destination for visa runs is Japan.
If you wish to study full time in university in Korea or a language course you will need a student visa. The exception is if you attend a language course for under 90 days, you can study on a tourist visa. There are 2 visas for studying in Korea, the D-2 Visa and the D-4 Visa. The D-2 visa is for people studying full time at a university and the D-4 visa is for people studying at a language school or language course. The process for getting the D-2 and D-4 visa is the same. Click here for a step by step guide on getting a student visa.
In Korea the spousal visa is called the F-2 visa. If you marry a Korean citizen you are entitled to get the F-2 Visa. From 2011 you can not register a marriage in Korea while on a tourist visa. You must register your marriage at a Korean embassy abroad.
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