Working and Business > Foreign Workers in Korea

Visas for Foreign Workers

Visas for Foreign Workers

On-line Re-entry application:
Foreign Workers with D-3, E-8, E-9 and E-10 visas are among those who can apply for re-entry visas on-line. For more information, visit Hi Korea Portal or telephone 02-2650-6390. (

Renewal process for E-9 vsas (implemented in 2009)
As of early 2009, foreign nationals who work at Korean firms in Korea on E-9 visas can stay for up to three years without extending their visas, and also skip the mandatory one-month absence to renew their contracts for a further two-years. Note: employment must be with the same firm for the full 5-year period. Previously, foreign workers on E-9 visas could stay for up to three years by extending their visa every year. After three years, they were forced to go overseas for at least one month to renew contracts with the same employer  for two more years.

Visa Renewals when changing jobs (as of 2010)
Korea’s Ministry of Labor announced in December 2009 that foreign workers in Korea would no longer be required to renew their visas abroad when changing jobs within Korea. In the past, when foreign citizens living in Korea switched jobs, they were required to leave the country to apply for a new visa. Under the new regulations, expats hired by either foreign or domestic companies in Korea may renew their visas for up to two years without leaving the country.

Changing jobs (as of 2009)
Past regulations also made it illegal for foreign employees in Korea to change jobs more than three times on the same three-year work visa. The 2009 regulations revision created an exemption from this rule for foreign workers who have been laid off due to economic conditions or other situations beyond their control.

Ethnic Koreans with foreigh passports
Ethnic Koreans who hold foreign passports are currently regulated by a separate set of employment rules from other foreigners in Korea. Overseas Koreans wishing to work in Korea may obtain a five-year employment pass known as an H-2 Visa. Employees holding the H-2 Visa may switch jobs as well as leave and enter Korea at will. Of the more than half a million foreign passport holders currently working in Korea, the vast majority are ethnic Koreans. Foreign firms operating in Korea often find that these individuals are well-suited to manage local Korean staff (in most cases they speak fluent Korean) and effectively deal with the complex Korean hierarchical business culture while also understanding Western business values. See K4E Information page - Visa for Ethnic Koreans

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Last Updated on 2012-08-27

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