I’ve had lots of trouble getting my Korean work visa in time in order to start work here in Cheongju. Eventually, I decided to go to Japan and get it there. This was the best decision I could have possible made! It was a super easy process, saved me money and I was able to start working in South Korea! Here’s my guide on how to get your E2 Korean work visa in Japan!
Getting the Korean E2 visa in Japan was the easiest way to get it for me! Applying for the visa literally only took 2 minutes, it was cheap and I received it only 2 days later! I would recommend anyone to go to Japan and get the visa there.
Facts about the E2 Korean work visa
The first thing to know is that you cannot get a Korean work visa directly in South Korea but you have to apply for it outside the country at a Korean consulate or embassy. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be your home country or the country where your passport was issued.The E2 visa is valid for 13 months from the date of application and enables you to freely leave and enter the country as you wish. Having a Korean E2 visa apparently also makes traveling in Asia much easier. I heard from friends who work in Korea that it was much easier for them to get a Chinese travel visa (and cheaper) than for people without a Korean visa. That’s a great bonus!
Getting the E2 visa is really easy once you have all the necessary documents ready to work in Korea. Korean immigration is very strict and, unlike China, requires you to have official documents and certifications in order to be able to legally work in Korea.
What you need
- Signed and dated Contract (two copies)
- Original University Degree/Diploma (or a notarized copy, with an apostille* certificate attached or certified by a Korean diplomatic office)
- One notarized criminal record check with an apostille certificate* attached (for Canadians: the notarized criminal record check should have the vulnerable sector search included, and to be certified by a Korean diplomatic office)
- One set of official transcripts showing the studies/courses leading to your degree. This must be sealed in a university envelope, with a stamp or seal across the back of the envelope
- A photocopy of the front page of your passport
- One completed and signed self-assessed health statement
- Four passport-sized photos (light background)
It’s a lot of work and pretty expensive to get all the documents ready. It took me a little more than 6 months to get everything done. However, once you got them, you’re basically set. Your school applies for the work visa and you will receive a visa number. All you need to do then is to go to the nearest Korean embassy or consulate with your passport, the visa application form and that visa number.
Why I didn’t get my E2 in China
Since I lived in China for the past year, I decided to apply for the Korean visa at the nearest Korean consulate in Wuhan, Hubei. I had prepared all my documents and even had my school contact the consulate beforehand to make sure I had all the necessary documents. Wuhan is 1.5 hours away by high-speed train and the ticket wasn’t cheap either. Next, I arrived at the consulate and basically got rejected. Huuuuge bummer. They told me since I entered China on a work visa in my German passport and want to get my E2 visa in an American passport, my application cannot be processed.
I was terribly sad and confused why it mattered what I had done in China to be able to go to Korea. It just sucked. But, that’s China…
Getting the E2 in Japan
My school has experience in sending foreign teachers over to Japan to get the work visa and they recommended to get it in Fukuoka. The city is connected to Busan by ferry which only takes 3 hours and is fairly inexpensive. For detailed information on how to get to Fukuoka by ferry, please check out my previous post.
Once you are in Fukuoka, it’s super easy to apply for your visa:
Go to the Korean Consulate
In order to get the visa processed as fast as possible (2 days), you need to be at the consulate before 11 AM. Take the metro line Kuko-Hakozaki to Tojinmachi stop. It’s fairly close to Ohari Park, one of many attractions in the city.Once you get off the subway, take exit 1. There are yellow signs with “EXIT” on them and even saying “Korean Consulate”. Once you climbed the stairs of the exit towards the light, it will take around 15 minutes to get to the consulate.
Walk straight for a few blocks until you come to an intersection where you turn right. On your way, you will see a BMW seller which means that you’re approaching your intersection, it’s the next big crosswalk. It’s easier to cross the road first, then turn right and walk straight. You will walk for about 10 minutes, passing a 7-11 on the right. You’ll see a “dome” building appearing, the Yahoo stadium. Continue walking andyou will see a building in traditional Korean style and a South Korean flag waving – that’s the consulate. Cross the street and the entrace of the consulate will be on the right of the building. Check out this great guide with photos on CONLEYS OVERSEAS;
At the Consulate
I had already filled out my application form and simply submitted it, along with a passport sized photo and my passport. Finally, I paid 5,400 Japanese Yen (around $45; €40).
Picking up the visa
The visa will be reading on the second day after your application. You need to be at the consulate after 1pm to be able to pick it up. If you arrive earlier, you will kindly be sent away and ordered to come back at 1pm. Don’t forget to bring the pick-up receipt and you will receive a Korean E2 visa which allows you to work in South Korea legally and is valid for 13 months.
Don’t Forget To Have Fun!
Before I thought about seriously studying Chinese, I’ve always had an interested in Asian cultures. Interestingly, I was torn between learning Japanese or Chinese and in the end, chose Chinese due to it’s importance in business, rich culture and the fact that there are more Chinese people worldwide than any other people. From this moment on, Japan had been kicked out of my mind. However, I am more than happy to have had the opportunity to travel to Japan. Find out the top things to do in Fukuoka in my next post!