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Work visas in South Korea fall into three broad categories: Professional, Non-professional, and Business visas.
Non-professional visas (available for the following sectors)
Foreigners who will live in South Korea for 6+ months must apply for an “Alien Registration Card” (ARC). Foreign-nationals must apply for this card within 90 days of arriving in South Korea. The ARC helps facilitate essential services for foreign-nationals in South Korea. Services such as banking, medical insurance, internet, and more are not available to foreign-nationals without a valid ARC.
The following documents are required to apply for a work visa in South Korea;
Applying for a South Korean work permit can be done both online and offline. The follow steps are typical when applying for a South Korea visa.
Often, the employee’s job type is the determining factor for how the application should be submitted. For any work visa in South Korea, there must be a Korean entity as the sponsor for the foreign employee.
Typically, any employee on a Non-Professional visa is not permitted to change his or her work location; however, in some extreme circumstances (related to the closing of a company, the cessation of business, or non-payment of wages), an employee on a Non-Professional visa can petition the Korean government for permission to accept a new role.
For professional roles, it is possible to transfer employer; however, like in much of Asia it is important for the employee to maintain a good relationship with their previous employer, since a release letter would be required. Here is an example of a basic employer transfer document, but keep in mind these documents are subject to change annually or sometimes more often. Contact your South Korean immigration contact (or South Korean EOR) for more information regarding your specific case.
Employees may bring their spouses or dependent children when hiring in South Korea.
Note, however, that there is an extra step in that you must apply for a visa for your spouse and each child separately. The F-3 Visa is specifically for dependent family members, and can be renewed annually to a maximum length of the employee’s visa duration. Other, non-dependent family members can apply for a visa type F-1, valid for 30 days, once per year.
Your business can easily hire employees in South Korea without opening a local entity. We handle local employment law, complex tax regulations, and international payroll in 180+ countries worldwide. All you need to do is focus on your business.
Typically, yes, South Korean visa holders (“employees”) are allowed to bring their dependent spouse and unmarried children to Korea, provided the employee applies for the F-3 Visa for each of the dependents who will come with them to Korea.
Each mobility case is different, so we encourage you to contact us for a free global mobility consultation to ensure the current visa application environment is suitable for your company’s* specific project.
*For individuals who are contacting us to inquire about visas, employment opportunities, etc., you should apply for a role at our Careers page.
The South Korean work visa must be renewed in 1 – 3 year intervals. Many South Korean work permits are multi-entry, but the exact requirements depend on several factors, including the nationality of the applicant, the type of work visa the employee holds, and more. When we review your company’s case, we will be able to offer an estimation of the timeline with confidence.