Moving to Korea > Immigration and Visas

Immigration Rules Changes-Updates

Immigration Rules Changes-...

Changes to immigration rules are not alway well known so the following provides information on some of the immigration regulations that have been implement in recent years. K4E tries as much as possible to keep up with the changes to immigration regulations as they occur. However, given that these occur wtih some frequency and are not generally widely publicised, we may miss some. Therefore it is always best to consult immigration officials (best to check with more than one to improve the probability of accurante information). 

E-7 visa change re Foreign Students Employment
Prior to 10 February 2015, foreign nationals who had earned college degree in Korea and who wished to acquire an E-7 visa, had to find a job related to their major. This requirement has been removed meaning that foreign nationals with a Korean degree can now obtain employement in a wider range of fields and are no longer restricted to employment opportunities in their major field of study. 

D-10 visa extension
In the past, minimum 3.0 GPA, a national certificate, and recommendation letters of professors were required to apply for a D-10 visa. These requirements are no longer necessary and the length of stay for holders of a D-10 visa has extended from one year to two years.

Marriage registration required in Korea only
As of 21 June 2014, both partners no longer have to register their marriage in their countries in order to receive a F-6 visa.  Now a couple only needs to register marriage in Korea to receive the F-6 visa.

Foreign nationals are no longer required to visit a Korea Immigration office for issuance or conformation of visa.  Individuals can now apply for e-Visa at The e-Visa is a system that allows the applicant or the inviting party to be notified with approval upon submission of the application form and required documents online through the Republic of Korea’s Visa Portal. The applicant or the inviting party will receive a notice of approval after submitting the relevant documents without having to visit the immigration office or the diplomatic office, and the e-Visa holder will be able to enter Korea without an additional Visa label (visa sticker).
As of 8 December 2014, visas in the following categories can be issued online:
Professor (E-1), Researcher (E-3), Technical Instructor/Technician (E-4), and Professional (E-5) Visa for the applicant and Dependent Family (F-3) Visa for accompanying family members.
Foreign National of Special Ability (E-7) visa for the applicant and Dependent Family (F-3) Visa for accompanying family members.
Short-term General (C-3-1) Visa for a prospective investor invited by a promotion agency of the Immigrant Investor Scheme for Public Business and accompanying family members
Short-term Group Tourist (C-3-2) Visa for Chinese group tourists who can apply for their Visa through a designated travel agency
Short-term Medical Tourist (C-3-3) or Recuperation & Treatment (G-1-10) Visa for foreign patients and their caregivers who are invited by an ‘outstanding medical facilitator’ designated as e-Visa agency.
Business Visitor (General) (C-3-4) visa for an invitee of a domestic company

Immigration-Related Certificates can be issued at Eup, Myeon, and Dong offices
As of  1 January 2011, Eup, Myeong and Dong offices nationwide can issue immigration –related certificates.  In addition, immigration-related certificates can be issued online via the Minwon 24 website at no charge (note that you will have to download ActiveX to access).

Family Member can apply for immigration related certificate on behalf of applicant
As of January 2011, a spouse or family member can apply for an immigration related certificate  on behalf of the applicant without first obtaining a letter of authorization from that person, on condition that the certificate in question  will clearly benefit that person (the applicant). Others applying on her/his behalf, however, will still require a letter of authorization written by the applicant.

Automated Immigration Clearance available for some foreign residents
Automated Immigration Clearance service, which was available for Korean nationals only, has now been extended, on a trial basis, to the following foreign residents:
- F5 (permanent residents0 visa holders who have been in Korea for more than 3 years
- D8  (corporate investor) visa holders who have invested more than 2million USD.

Extension of permanent residency for E-6 visa holders (Artistic performers)
Regulations that prohibited E-6 visa holders from obtaining permanent residency were removed in 2011. E-6 visa holder who have resided in Korea for more than five years, can apply for a permanent residency (F-5) visa. 

H-2 Visa changes 
Ethnic Koreans who hold foreign passports are regulated by a separate set of employment rules from other foreigners in Korea. Overseas Koreans residing in China and Russia were only granted an H-2 visa if they had obtained Korean nationality and were invited by their relatives. This is no longer the case.
H-2 visa holders can now work for one to three-star hotels. The Tourism Promotion Act previously prohibited ethnic Koreans from working in hotels.
H-2 visa holders can now stay up to five years if they have a reference letter written by their previous employer or any specific reasons or inevitable circumstances.

ARC for A1-A3 visa holders
As of August 2010, A1 - A3 visa holders (includes SOFA visa holders and diplomats) can get an Alien Registration Card (ARC). SOFA holders should bring the following documents with them to apply for their ARC:
1. Passport
2. SOFA Identification
3. One passport-sized photo
4. Fee: 10,000 won
An A1-A3 visa holder wanting to obtain an ARC should contact 02-1345 before going to Immigration.
K4E Note: We confirmed the information by telephone since at the time of posting there was no mention of this on the immigration websites we checked, including hikorea.

Permission to add or change workplace not necessary*
As of 15 November 2010, eligible foreign workers who change or add a workplaces just have to report the change to an official immigration office/branch. They no longer have to obtain permission to make the change/addition.  This change is applicable to the following visa categories:
Professor (E-1)
Foreign Language Instructor (E-2)
Researcher (E-3)
Technical Instructor (E-4)
Professional Employment (E-5)
Artistic Performer (E-6) and
Special Occupation(E-7).
Note that the qualifications requirements for the new or added positions still apply (BA or higher degree required to teach).

*The following are still required to obtain prior approval for any workplace change
- E-6-2 visa holders working in the hotel or adult entertainment industry under the Tourism Promotion Act.
- E-7 visa holders working as a salesperson, a chef, or a cook  (fall under the quota system)
- foreign employees laid off or having resigned from a company for personal reasons or who have not obtained their employer’s consent.
The exempted foreign workers must still obtain prior approval for a workplace change/addition from the Ministry of Justice.

Employers not required to report a change in a foreign employee’s workplace
Until end 2010, employers were required to report any change of  a foreign employee’s workplace (even within the same company) within 15 days of the change occurring. Failure to do so could have resulted in a 2 million won penalty. Employers no longer have to report the change.

Exemption from Re-entry Permit
As of 1 December 2010, foreign residents who depart Korea during their permitted period of stay can re-enter the country within the year without having to obtain a re-entry stamp (permission) first. The period of exemption for F5 visa holders has been extended from one year to two years.

K4E Note: Immigration rules do change, sometimes very quickly, so if you notice that any of the above is out-of-date or incorrect, please let us know at  


Last Updated on 2020-09-01

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