STEP 1 - SENDING VISA DOCUMENTS TO KOREA
As soon as you accept a contract with a school, the 1st step of the visa process will start. The first thing you will be asked to do is gather a set of important documents that are required to lodge an application for an E2 confirmation (visa) number at the Korean consulate. The documents need to be sent exactly as requested or they will not be accepted by the immigration office. Our visa representative will email full instructions to you as well, along with the shipping address and any additional requirements for your particular school. The instructions below are meant as a general guideline.
1. FBI Criminal Record Check
An original FBI criminal record check (CRC) must be apostilled by the Department of State. It must be less than 6 months old when it arrives in Korea.
The FBI CRC can take several months to be issued directly through the FBI office. To help speed up the process, we recommend using an FBI-approved channeller. We recommend using Accurate Biometrics as they are quick and reliable.
Similarly, the Dept. of State can take several weeks to process a mailed in application, which is why we recommend using an apostille company, such as Monument Visa. (Mention Teach ESL Korea in the referral section of their application for a $5 discount!) If you live near the Dept. of State, you can get your CRC apostilled in person. The turn around time is 2-3 business days and you will be told when to return.
* Do not remove the apostille page once it's stapled/attached or it will not be valid.
2. University Degree
A photocopy of your Bachelor Degree (or higher degree) needs to be notarized and apostilled by the Secretary of State in the same state it was issued in. (*Some Secretary of State offices are able to apostille out of state degrees, but please check with them first).
Most notaries offer a walk-in service, and if you live near a Secretary of State office you can get your documents apostilled the same day. If you don't live near the office, you can use the mail-in option, but allow up to 2 weeks for processing and mailing time.
If you chose to get your original degree apostilled, please note that it will not be returned by immigration.
* Applicants who have graduated but do not have their degree in hand, can submit a letter of graduation that is issued by their university. The letter must be written on official university letterhead, be dated and signed by the registrar.
** Some states (i.e. New York) require an extra step before the apostille can be attached. Please check with your Secretary of State office to see if this applies.
3. Signed Contract
You must sign an original copy of the contract that you have received from the school. This original contract will be submitted to the immigration office.
4. Signed Resume
A signed copy of your current resume with the correct address and contact information.
5. Passport Photos
The number of required passport photos will depend on your school and will be confirmed in our visa instruction email.
An additional photo will be required for your visa application at the Korean consulate (Step 2).
6. Passport Scan
A colour photocopy of the information (photo) page in your passport.
Do not send your original passport to Korea.
7. Health Statement Form
Health statement form is to be filled out by you. Please answer truthfully and inform us if you have any existing medical conditions or if you take any medications.
When you arrive in Korea, you will undergo a full medical exam at a clinic to confirm a clean bill of health.
Please note that you will be tested for the use of recreational drugs, including marijuana, which is illegal in Korea.
Applicants who fail the medical exam in Korea, risk having their visa revoked.
8. Visa Application Form (for immigration)
This is the visa form your school will submit to apply for your E2 confirmation number.
Please fill in your personal information, but leave the school's information blank. You do not have to sign the form, as it will be signed by your director.
You will fill in a different form when you apply for your visa at the Korean consulate (Step 2).
9. Sealed University Transcripts - Optional
Public schools in Korea require a set of sealed university transcripts. Transcripts must be sealed in an envelope with a stamp or signature over the seal.
Some private schools may request transcripts if additional support is required by immigration.
STEP 2 - E2 VISA APPLICATION AT THE KOREAN CONSULATE
When your Step 1 documents arrive at the school, they'll be checked and if everything is accurate, they'll be submitted to the local immigration office. Normal processing time is between 5-10 business days, but during peak times, it can be longer.
As you wait for your E2 number to be issued, you can prepare your visa application documents for the consulate, so once your E2 number is issued, you'll be able to submit your application in person or by mail. A general outline of requested documents can be found below, but we advise you to contact your local consulate in advance, as requirements can vary.
When your E2 number is ready, it will be sent to you by email (no physical documents will be sent to you by the school, unless you're an EPIK teacher).
1. Visa application form
Fill out a visa application form and include the E2 number that was emailed to you by your school director or school representative.
The E2 number includes 4 letters and 8 numbers. ie. IEBM 12345678.
Note: This is a different form than you sent to Korea in Step 2.
2. Passport Photo
Attach a passport photo (3.5cm x 4.5 cm) to the visa application.
The photo must be professionally take, in colour and on a white background.
3. Original Passport
Your actual passport needs to be sent as well, so the E2 visa can be attached. Your passport will be returned when the visa is ready.
4. Passport Scan
A colour scan of the information (photo) page in your passport.
5. Visa Fee
Visa fee of $45 USD in the form of money order if mailed in.
Cash or money orders are accepted for walk-in applications
Visa fees can change without notice, so please double check with the consulate before sending in a payment.
*6. Consulate Checklist
Some consulates still require this checklist, though interviews are no longer required.
Fill in and sign the checklist.
CONSULATES BY JURISDICTION
Visa document verification and visa applications can only be processed by the consulate in your jurisdiction. Below is a list of the contact information for each consulate, including the areas they cover. It is possible to complete your visa outside your jurisdiction, as long as you apply in person. This also applies to other countries. Your must be completed before you can fly to Korea as there are not Korean consulates or embassies in Korea.
Note that consulates only accept visa application in the morning hours (approx. 9:00 am - 12:00 pm) and passports can be picked up in the afternoon (approx. 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm).
Visa applications take the same amount of time to process whether they are submitted in person or by mail. We advise that you apply in person whenever possible, to ensure that your documents are accepted. Visa processing times can be anywhere from 2-7 business days, depending on the consulate and a rush service is not available.
DC, VA, MD, WV
Address : 2450 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, USA
Tel : (202) 939-5600
Hours of Operation : Monday – Friday 09:00am-12:00pm
Processing Time: 5 business days
STEP 3 - Alien Registration (in Korea)
When you arrive in Korea, you will have 90 days to pass your medical exam and to apply for your Alien Registration Card (ARC). You will not be allowed to leave Korea to travel until you have the ARC, because most E2 visas are issued with a single entry. You will also not be able to set up a bank account or any utilities in your name until you have the ARC, so it's beneficial to get the medical exam done as soon as you arrive. Most schools will provide assistance with these steps and some will pay for the expenses associated with the medical exam and the ARC.