Have questions? Ask us!

Immigration & Work Permits

Work Permits

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in South Korea, as established by immigration laws.  Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the South Korean market.  If you have yet to complete the incorporation process you can use an outsourced management company or GEO Employer of Record to sponsor the employee for the necessary permits.

Your Options

Have your own Company

There is a multitude of working visas available to apply for in order to work in Korea. They range based on occupation and specialisation of the visitors. The most common one is the E-7 Foreign National of Special Ability Visa.

This visa is intended for individuals who plan to engage in a field designated by the Minister of Justice of Republic of Korea (ROK) for the enhancement of national competitiveness. This type of visa requires employees to have a contract with a public or private institute in ROK.

This visa process is complex and requires a number of different documents. To be eligible for this work permit individuals need to have either a Master’s degree in the relevant field, or a Bachelor’s degree with at least 1 year of working experience in the relevant field, or at least 5 years of professional experience in the chosen field of employment. Companies sponsoring this category of employees are usually subjected to certain strict requirements: the company with less than 5 Korean nationals employed cannot sponsor foreign employees, and a number of foreign employees hired by the company cannot be more than 20% of Korean nationals being employed by it.

Documents from employee (for UK citizens; will vary depending on the country):
– visa Application Form (Form No. 21), a copy of passport, a photo in a standard format, fee
– recommendation letter of employment (or gold card) issued by Small and Medium Business Association or Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy (KOTRA);

– copy of employment contract;

– letter of guarantee;

– document of requirements;

– copy of academic credentials;

 

Employers sponsoring workers for this visa will typically have to submit:

– letter of invitation;

– information regarding number of foreign employees currently employed;

– copy of Certificate of Tax Payment for the previous year;

– copy of financial statements for the previous financial year;

– copy of company’s Report or Registration certificate under the Foreign Investment Promotion Act;

– copy of Corporate Registration (Certificate of Incorporation);

 

Period of stay under this visa is up to 3 years.

General fee for most of the single entry visas lasting for more than 90 days is USD 60. This fee will vary depending on the country.

The processing time for the application for most of the working visas is approximately 1 to 4 weeks from the date of submission (will vary depending on the country of residency and other specific factors).

Use the Shield GEO Employer of Record Solution

It takes around 2 to 4 weeks to secure a work permit (E-7) in South Korea.

The processing costs are and $4250 USD through Shield GEO’s local partner.

Documentation required (Employee): Copy of the personal pages of the applicant’s passport, CV, 2 passport photos, copies of degree/diploma/professional certificates and notarized copies of professional references.

The process for obtaining a Work Permit (E-7 Special Activity) for South Korea is as follows:

  • Shield GEO’s local partner and the employee sign a local employment contract (labour contract)
  • Shield GEO’s local partner makes an appointment with the Immigration Office in Korea to submit the documentation. If the applicant is in country then the applicant attends this appointment.
  • Processing times are 2 -4 weeks.
  • Once approved the applicant is issued with an (Alien Registration Card), if the applicant applies from outside Korea the ARC is sent to the Korean Consulate in the applicants country of residence and the applicant collects the ARC before entering Korea.

Types of visas in South Korea

Category Description of Visa
E-5 Professional This visa is for professionals with a national certificate (such as a certified public accountant, foreign lawyer, doctor, etc.) under the laws of the Republic of Korea who plans to engage in professional work in medical, legal, accounting, and other fields prescribed by the country’s laws.

Period of stay is usually for up to 1 year.

Documents:
- Visa Application Form, a copy of passport, a photo in a standard format, fee
- degree certificate and a copy of license
- recommendation letter from the head of a responsible government department. If you wish to work in Korean Free Economic Zone, you must submit an employment recommendation letter or a document proving the necessity of employment issued by the respective mayor or provincial governor.
- employment contract
C-4 Short-Term Employee This visa is for individuals who are planning to work in Korea for the period of time of less than 90 days (advertising, lecturing, IT consulting, music and arts, temporary show, modelling).

General documents required for this visa (for the citizens of UK, the list may vary depending on the country):

Visa Application Form (Form No. 17), passport, a photo in a standard format, fee
Employment Contract
Employment Recommendation Letter from the respective department (affiliated organisations)
Documents relevant to the establishment of institution (A copy of Business Registration Certificate or a certified copy of Corporate Register)

General fee: USD 40 for single entry visa (for all the single-entry visas, which are up to 90 days). This fee will vary depending on the country.

D-7-1 Intra-Company Transferee (Foreign Company) This visa is for employees who have worked for at least 1 year at a foreign public company or headquarters, branch (or any other office) of a foreign company, and is transferred to the affiliates, subsidiary, or branch in ROK in a certain field that require their expertise.

- application form for Confirmation of Visa Issuance (Form No. 21), a copy of passport, a photo in a standard format
- Statement of Invitation
- document demonstrating you are a highly required specialist (i.e. resume, a certificate of employment history)
- proof of an applicant's current employment status from an applicant's company
- dispatch order from an applicant's organisation
- document relevant to the establishment of a Korean branch
- copy of a permission for the establishment of a Korean branch or a copy of an Acceptance of Declaration
- document demonstrating that a Korean branch or a liaison office is operated properly
- record of the inflow of funds or capital to a Korean branch or liaison office in ROK

In case of a newly-established company, a business management outline is required to submit a Certificate of Tax Payment.

Duration: up to 1 year.
D-7-2 Intra-Company Transferee (Domestic Company) This visa is intended for employees who have worked for at least 1 year at an overseas corporation or branch of a public organization (or of a listed company), and is relocated to headquarters or head office in ROK for training or sharing their professional knowledge.

- Visa Application Form (Form No. 17), passport, a photo in a standard format, fee
- A document demonstrating that you are an indispensable professional specialist (i.e. resume, a certificate of employment history and others)
- unabridged Corporate Register of the headquarter (certified copy)
- Foreign Direct Investment Declaration or Overseas Branch Office Establishment Declaration
- document proving international wire transfer
- copy of business registration certificate or a certified copy of Corporate Register(unabridged) of the overseas branch office
- proof of employment or a tax payment receipt
- dispatch order(It should indicate the period of the overseas assignment.)

Duration: up to 1 year.
D-8-2 Business Venture Is for people who established a venture firm, or who has been confirmed with a preliminary venture firm (in accordance with the Act on Special Measures for the Promotion of Business Venture).

- Visa Application Form (Form No. 17), passport, a photo in a standard format, fee
- copy of Business Registration Certificate or a certified copy of unabridged Corporate Register
- Business Venture Confirmation or Prospective Business Venture Confirmation
- Documents demonstrating that you have either the intellectual property right or equivalent skills (know-how)
- copy of Patent Registration Certificate, Utility Model Registration Certificate, Design Registration Certificate, Trade Mark Registration Certificate issued by Korean Intellectual Property Office, a copy of Copyrights Registration Certificate issued by Korea Copyright Commission and others
- assessment result proving an excellent technical performance from Korea Technology Finance Corporation or Small and Medium Business Corporation

Duration: up to 1 year.
D-8-4 Technology and Business Start-up This is visa is granted to founder of an enterprise with intellectual property rights or any technical skills (or the equivalent, e.g. know-how) who has acquired a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Documents required for this visa:
- Visa Application Form (Form No. 17), passport, a photo in a standard format, fee
- certified copy of Corporate Register (unabridged) and a copy of Business Registration Certificate
- documents demonstrating that you have either intellectual property right or equivalent skills
- any documents proving points earned through the Points-Based System (copy of Patent Registration Certificate, Utility Model Right Registration Certificate, Design Registration Certificate, Trade Mark Registration Certificate for intellectual property rights holders
- application certificate issued by the head of Korea Intellectual Property Office
- certificate for completion or graduation of the OASIS program issued by the head of Global Investment Center designated by the Minister of Justice, award winner confirmation letter, official statement of selection, and etc.
- other documents that can prove points earned through the Points-Based System

Duration: up to 1 year.
H-1 Working Holiday This visa is for workers from the countries that signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) or other agreement in regards to Working Holidays policy, who plan to engage in a short-term job to cover traveling expenses while in Korea.

- valid passport
- recent photograph (taken within the last 3 months)
- visa applications
- proof of a roundtrip airline ticket
- proof of financial support or other documents that show you have sufficient funds to support yourself (for at least 3 months)

Some extra documents:
- proof of student status or proof of highest academic qualifications (reciprocity) for Japan and USA
- criminal record (reciprocity) for Canada, New Zealand, France
- medical exam (Reciprocity) for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and France

Duration: Up to 1 year (up to 18 months for U.S. participants)
+1 877 457 7691
Chat Now
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin

Subscribe

to our monthly Global Mobility newsletter