Best Visa Types For Korea
As the Korean pop culture also known as the Korean wave/Hanryu (한류),is getting more famous these days individuals from all around the world wish to visit this country of miracles for at least once in their life. Korea is a small country but with a great infrastructure in big cities and well-developed economy. Besides, it is not only home to all these famous Korean Idols, but it also is a country full of history where traditions and modernity clash at every corner! It makes Korea worth to be explored.
However it can be complicated to know how to stay there and which Visa to get so today we will cover some of the Visa solutions you can opt-for to have the best experience in this beautiful country. Please note that every country has different requirement so for information on how to apply, documents required, procedures, and fees, we urge you to send the inquiry to your school or to the Korean embassy of your country!
1. Tourism - K-ETA
All inbound travelers previously exempted of visa must now apply for the K-ETA at least 72 hours before their departure to Korea.
The K-ETA is the new policy allowing residents of more than 60 countries to come and stay in Korea for short term tourism or business stay without having to apply for a visa.
The duration of stay is up to 3 months depending on your country, to verify the eligibility and duration of stay for your country visit the official website.
If your country does not appear in the list you must unfortunately apply for a visa to stay in Korea, even for tourism purposes. The tourism visa is the C-3-9 and has recently been reabilitated with the lift of the COVID restrictions.
How to apply?
You must apply online, the application process is quick and easy, however you must beforehand think about having a couple documents near you:
- Valid e-mail address
- Valid passport information
- Valid address in Korea
- Picture of yourself (if applying through the mobile app you will be required to take a picture on the spot)
- Credit or debit card to pay the fees of 10,000KRW (around 9USD)
Once you finished applying you are all done! Your K-ETA will be sent to your e-mail address within 24 hours after completing your application. And the good news is that it will be valid for 2 years!
2. Student Visa (D-2)
This is the most common visa for international students and exchange students who are enrolling in Korean universities or study at even higher levels of education. This visa is single-entry only and all D-2 visa holders will have to apply for the ARC within the first 90 days of their arrival. This ARC will be your ID card for all the duration of your stay, once you have it you will be able to freely travel back to your country or overseas for a trip and come back anytime to continue your studies. For more information see our guide to the ARC.
This visa is renewable and applicable for 2 years, the requirement is that you will have to be enrolled in a university or institution. Extension of this visa is based on your school terms; how many school terms tuition fees you have submitted and the performance of the applicant. Those are basically the terms of studying in a university; you must fulfill the credits and university hours in order to maintain the visa. One advantage about this visa is that you can do part-time job on the side to fund your stay
3. Training Visa (D-4)
D-4 visa on the other hand, is a different visa but with a similar purpose. This visa is for foreigners applying for a training course. Normally, the training course is the Korean Language program offered for individuals that would like to attend a Korean program to improve their Korean skills before being admited into an university or people who aim to just study the language. The duration is up to 6 months but can be extended based on the student capabilities to go further in the program.
Foreign students can get this one easily since Korean Language programs are a lot cheaper than going for a full degree course. They must be enrolled in any institution that is officially recognized by the immigration. Enrolling in a big college such as Yonsei University, Hongik University,etc. is the most common way to get recognized. This visa did not previously allow the visa holders to work part-time, but it does now, only in the event of an extention of duration of the visa (after 6 months).
4. Working Holiday Visa (H-1)
Available for young people aged from 18 to 30 years old in a dozen selected countries. This visa aims to provide opportunities to young individuals from selected countries to travel and work in Korea for up to 12 months. Working in a totally different environment while having the chance to travel around the country in your free time certainly does improve your experience.
We strongly recommend individuals who wish to stay in Korea longer to apply for a Working Holiday visa as it gives you a whole new different experience and perspective than just being an exchange or international student in Korea.
Note that you can benefit from this visa only once so you must take your decision wisely!
Websites that could be helpful for your researches
Visa navigator - to find which visa you can apply to
Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs - click the "Countries & Regions" tab, find and select your country to access your Embassy's website (link under the "Overview" info)