Contents

Andong International Mask Dance Festival

Living in Korea

Foreigner's Stay in South Korea

A foreigner's stay status in South Korea is categorized into three types: short-term stay, long-term stay, and permanent residence.

  • Short-term stay90 days or less
  • Long-term stay91 days or more
  • Permanent residence no restriction regarding period of stay

Foreigners who wish to stay in South Korea for more than 90 days from their date of entry must register their status or address within 90 days from their date of entry.

Scope of Activities and Employment

Foreigners who intend to work in South Korea must obtain the corresponding type of visa and must work only in the workplace reported to the immigration office. To change his/her workplace, the foreigner must obtain prior permission from or submit a report to the immigration office. The following are the types of visa that are allowed for the employment of a foreigner in South Korea:

Short-term employment (C-4), professor (E-1), conversation teaching (E-2), research (E-3), technical teaching (E-4), professional employment (E-5), arts and performance (E-6), specific activities (E-7), non-professional employment (E-9), inner-harbor crew (E-10), residence (F-2), overseas Korean national (F-4), permanent residence (F-5), tourist (H-1), working visit (H-2)

Alien Registration

Foreigners can stay in South Korea within the limits of the status and duration allowed by their visa.

  • Alien registration
    • Foreigners who stay in South Korea for more than 90 days after their arrival in the South Korea must get registered.
    • Exceptions: Foreigners with diplomacy (A-1), government affairs (A-2), pact treaty (A-3), culture and arts (D-1), religion (D-6), visiting and cohabitation with relatives (F-1), family dependency (F-3), or other (G-1) visa for Canadian citizens who will stay for less than 6 months in South Korea
  • Alien registration period
    • Foreigners who intend to stay for more than 90 days in South Korea: Within 90 days from the date of their arrival in South Korea
    • Foreigners who became eligible to stay in South Korea, or foreigners who changed their stay status: Immediately
  • Method of alien registration
    • Submit the required documents to the immigration office or its branch
    • Documents to be submitted: Certificate of alien registration application form, passport, 1 colored photograph, documents required for individual stay status application, application fee
  • Alien registration rules
    • All foreigners who intend to stay in South Korea should carry a passport or an alien registration card.
    • A foreigner who intends to stay in South Korea should present a passport or an alien registration card when requested to do so by an immigration officer or by a government officer who has authority to do such.

Report of Address Change

A registered foreigner should report his/her change of address to the competent city hall, district office, or immigration office for the new address within 14 days of the alteration date.

Grant of Stay

Foreigners who were born in South Korea must obtain a visa from the competent immigration office within 90 days from the beginning of their stay in South Korea, and those who lost their South Korean citizenship while staying in South Korea must obtain a visa within 30 days from the date of loss.

Extension of Stay

A foreigner who wishes to stay in South Korea longer than the permitted duration should apply for extension of stay at the competent immigration office before the last day of the permitted date, with the accomplished application form and the other required documents.

  • Application period
    • Foreigners who apply for an extension of their stay must submit an application during the 2 months prior to the expiration of their stay.
    • When the application for the extension of stay is submitted later than the expiration of the stay, a fine has to be paid.
  • Method of applying for extension of stay
    • Applicants or their agents can submit the required documents to the immigration office that has jurisdiction over their residence.
    • Documents to be submitted: Accomplished application form for extension of stay, passport, alien registration card, other documents required for individual stay status, application fee

Changing the Visa Status

Changing the visa status is required when foreigners residing in the Republic of Korea discontinue their previous activities in South Korea and intend to begin activities unallowable for their current visa status.

  • Basic principles of changing the visa status
    • Foreigners who intend to discontinue their current activities and to begin unallowable activities must leave South Korea first and must then re-enter the country with a new visa that will allow them to engage in new activities.
    • Foreigners who meet the requirements for changing their stay status, however, are allowed to change their stay status after undergoing a strict review.

      To begin engaging in activities that are not allowed for the permitted stay status, prior permission for changing the stay status must be obtained from the immigration office.

  • How to apply for stay status change
    • Applicants or their agents can submit the required documents to the immigration office that covers their address.
    • Documents to be submitted: Accomplished application form for stay status change, passport, alien registration card, other documents required for individual stay status, application fee

Activities beyond the Visa Status

When foreigners residing in the Republic of Korea intend to begin engaging in activities other than their current activities, they must first obtain prior permission to do so. When the additional activities require full-time work, the applicants must leave South Korea first and then re-enter the country with a new visa, or obtain permission for changing their stay status.

  • Basic principles for allowing additional activities
    • Holders of visas for a less-than-90-day stay cannot engage in additional activities.
    • Additional activities involving longer working hours and a higher pay will not be allowed.
    • Additional activities requiring employment in multiple workplaces and contrary to the national interest will not be allowed.
    • When a foreigner intends to obtain instruction from a professional about the culture and arts of the Republic of Korea, or to study the Korean language at the language institute of a university, permission for such additional activity is not required.
  • Application period
    • Permission to engage in additional activities must be obtained from the immigration office before such additional activities can be engaged in.

Changing or Adding Job Location

Foreigners residing in the Republic of Korea can change or add job locations within the scope of their stay status.

  • Standard of permission for workplace change/addition
    • In principle, workplace change/addition will not be permitted if it does not fall within the original terms of the current contract.
    • Workplace change/addition may not be permitted if the foreigner requesting it has frequently changed his/her workplace and has failed to abide by the South Korean immigration laws.
    • Workplace addition may not be permitted if the pay and hours of the new workplace is higher and lounger.
    • Workplace addition may not be permitted if the pay given by the new workplace is higher, and if the work hours are longer.
    • A foreigner may add up to two additional workplaces.
  • Application period
    • Before changing or adding any employment location, permission to do so should be obtained from the immigration office that has jurisdiction over the applicant’s residence.
  • Exceptions for workplace change/addition
    • Foreigners with the following visa types may report their workplace change or addition to the competent immigration office within 15 days from the workplace change/addition: professor (E-1), language teacher (E-2), research (E-3), technical training (E-4), professional work (E-5), arts and entertainment (E-6: except foreigners working for hotels and adult entertainment establishments), specific activities (E-7: except (31215) chefs and cooks (441)).

For more information on visa and alien registration, please visit the Korea Immigration Service website at http://www.immigration.go.kror check the Government for Foreigners' official website (http://www.hikorea.go.kr)or “Easy Legislation Information System” at the Office of Legislation's official website (http://oneclick.law.go.kr)