Work visas & permits

Guide to procedures and paperwork

Anyone who is planning to work during their stay in South Korea is legally required to apply for a visa. In addition, in case the dependent has family members who also plan to work while in Korea, they too must apply for a work visa in order to be legally protected.

Types of work visas

The most commonly used employment visas include:

  • The Short Term Employment Visa (C-4)
  • The Corporate Resident/ Company Assignment (Intra-company Transfer) (D-7)
  • The Foreign Investment Visa (D-8)
  • The Trade Management Visa (D-9)
  • The Professional Job Visa (E-5)
  • The Specific Job Visa (E-7)

The above listed visas must be obtained at the Korean Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over the applicant's place of legal residence. The work permit application is initially filed by the sponsoring employer in South Korea with the Ministry of Justice and the Entry Inspection Division of Immigration Office. The Ministry of Justice then confers with the representing agency, where appropriate, and determines whether the visa should be authorized.

Upon approval, the Ministry of Justice issues a Certificate of Confirmation of Visa Issuance (CCVI) that must be submitted by the applicant to a Korean Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Basic requirements to qualify

The employee needs to present the following:

  • 2 passport-style photographs
  • Copy of passport ID page
  • Resume/ CV
  • Copy of academic credentials
  • Original assignment letter/ contract
  • Proposed job description

From the transferee's family (if applicable):

  • 2 passport-style photographs
  • Copy of the marriage certificate of the spouse
  • Copy of birth certificates of the children
  • Copy of passport ID pages

From the sponsoring company in South Korea:

  • Letter of invitation
  • Copy of company’s Report or Registration certificate under the Foreign Investment Promotion Act
  • Copy of Corporate Registration (Certificate of Incorporation)
  • Copy of Certificate of Tax Payment for the previous year
  • Copy of financial statements for the last fiscal year
  • Information regarding company’s current foreign employees

Commonly requested documents for a work visa application

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of the application
  • Passport-style photograph(s)
  • Completed and signed visa application form
  • Original CCVI (see above)
  • Application fee

Please note that the South Korean authorities and/or consulates reserve the right to request additional information and/or documentation.

Time frame for a work visa application

The processing time for the CCVI application is approximately 1 to 4 weeks from the date of submission. Upon obtaining the CCVI, the transferee is required to submit a visa application at the South Korean Embassy/Consulate.

Relocating with family

The spouse and/or children of a dependent should also apply for their visas, permits, and alien registration at the same time. All members of the traveller’s family over the age of 16 are subject to finger printing at the time of application. If the accompanying spouse plans to work while abroad, he/she must also apply for employment authorization.

Registering with the social security system

If an employee is scheduled to work for a non-Korean company for a period of less than 5 years, he or she is not required to register with the social security system. Otherwise, if someone is hired by a Korean company or plans to work in Korea for a period of 5 years or longer, he or she is required to enrol in the social security system in Korea. Most employers will outline such details in their work contracts.

Further reading

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