In order to legally work as a teacher in South Korea, you must hold an E2 Visa. In a previous blog post (Chinese Z Visa Guide) we explained the step by step process of obtaining a visa to legally work as a teacher in China. Although there are a lot of similarities in both of these visa processes, there are also a few key differences. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of obtaining your E2 Visa after you’ve accepted a teaching position in South Korea. 

Required Documents

The following documents must be collected by you in order to begin your E2 Visa process:

Valid Passport

  • You must hold a passport from one of the following countries – Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom or United States.
  • Your passport must have at least 12 months until it expires

Bachelor’s Degree

  • You’ll need your bachelor’s degree certificate
  • You’ll then need to have a copy of this notarised by a notary public, and then authenticated with an apostille

Criminal Record Check

  • You’ll need to obtain a criminal record check. Depending on whereabouts you are from these can have different names, such as DBS Check (UK) or FBI Check (USA) etc.
  • All checks must be done at a federal level
  • Your criminal record check must be notarised by a notary public, and then authenticated with an apostille

Passport Photos

  • You’ll need 6 full colour passport photos. These will be used at various stages of the visa process

Immigration Forms

  • E2 Health Statement – This is a simple health questionnaire form that must be filled in
  • Employment Contract – You’ll need a copy of the employment contract that your school issues to you
  • CV – You’ll need a printed copy of your CV
  • E2 Visa Application Form – This will be required later in the process
  • Consulate ChecklistThis will be required later in the process

The above documents are all that is required if you’ve accepted a position in a Hagwon (private language school). However, if you’ve accepted a teaching position in a public school through the EPIK program then you will also need to obtain the following:

TEFL Certificate

  • You’ll need to have a minimum 120 hour TEFL certificate
  • This will need to be notarised by a notary public, and then authenticated with an apostille

University Transcripts

  • You’ll need to contact the university where you obtained your bachelor’s degree and request two sets of sealed university transcripts
  • These must remain sealed and unopened before being used in the visa process

Reference Letters

  • You must obtain two reference letters, either professional or academic

Step 1

Once you’ve obtained all of the documentation listed above, then there are two steps to follow in order to get your E2 Visa. The first step is that you will be required to send the following to your school in South Korea:

  1. A photocopy of the information page of your passport
  2. A notarised and authenticated copy of your original bachelor’s degree
  3. A notarised and authenticated criminal record check
  4. Two passport photos
  5. A completed E2 Health Statement
  6. A copy of your CV
  7. A signed copy of your employment contract
  8. A notarised and authenticated copy of your TEFL certificate (EPIK only)
  9. One set of sealed university transcripts (EPIK only)
  10. Two reference letters (EPIK only)

All documents should be sent by recorded delivery, and we recommend using a carrier such as FedEx or DHL to ensure their safe arrival in South Korea. 

Once your school in South Korea receives your documents, they will take them to the Ministry of Justice and Immigration, and roughly 7 – 10 business days later your Visa Issuance Number will be provided to your school. Your school will then forward this number to you via email.

Step 2 

Once you’ve received your Visa Issuance Number from your school, then you can begin the next step of the process, which is to apply for your E2 Visa at your nearest South Korean Embassy or Consulate. You can either physically go into the embassy to submit your application, or it can also be done via post. The following documentation will be required by the embassy in order to process your E2 Visa:

  1. Your Passport
  2. Completed E2 Visa Application Form – Your Visa Issuance Number will be used on this
  3. Completed Consulate Checklist – This is a very simple two page form you need to fill in
  4. One passport photo 
  5. One set of sealed university transcripts (EPIK only)
  6. If you request your visa to be posted to you, then be sure to provide a self-addressed envelope so that it can be sent by the embassy

The price of the E2 Visa does vary depending on whereabouts in the world you’re applying from. Therefore, we recommend that you check the website of your nearest embassy prior to making your application, as the price should be listed here, as well as answers to any other questions you may have. On average it takes around 7 – 10 business days for your E2 Visa to be put into your passport, and either picked up or posted back to you. Once you receive your passport back, with your visa inside, then you’re all set to board a flight and begin your journey to South Korea!