Private School Visa Process
Private School Visa Documents Preparation
(To obtain a work visa for a Private School position)
Obtaining Your Work Visa:
Once a contract is agreed to and signed by our applicant, the next step in the process is for the employer to obtain an E-2 visa work permit from Korean Immigration for him or her. Up to this point, even though the school has extended an offer of employment and the applicant has accepted and signed the contract, the teacher is not officially an employee. Any agreements are only binding subsequent to the applicant being approved for a work visa from Korean Immigration.
Below is a list of documents each applicant will need to send the school.
PLEASE NOTE: Many teachers have found that gathering these documents takes MUCH longer than they originally anticipated (especially the criminal background check), and this in some cases has led to job offers being revoked, leading the teachers having to go through the entire process all over again.
PlanetESL strongly suggests that applicants begin gathering these documents immediately.
1. Apostilled and Notarized photocopy of Bachelor's Degree
The applicant must have a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited university to be considered for a teaching visa by Korean immigration. Please note: Canadians need to get a notarized photocopy of their degree verified by their nearest the Korean consulate.
For more information about apostilles, visit www.apostilleinfo.com
3. Apostilled and Notarized Criminal Background Report
Beginning from January 1st 2011, applicants will be required to submit a national level CRC when getting or changing a visa, obtaining an alien registration card etc. Please ask PlanetESL if you have questions about this very important change!
When you are applying for your criminal background check, be sure that you also request a Sex-Offender Registry Check (some reports do not specify that a sex-offender check has been done). Once obtained, the background report must be Notarized and Apostille authenticated. *Note: Canadians have to get a notarized copy of their CRC verified by their nearest Korean consulate instead of having it Apostilled.
For the Apostille to authenticate your record check for international use it MUST have a local notary stamp/seal on it FIRST.
Note: For US Citizens, Apostille authentication can only be obtained at the authentication office of your local Secretary of State or from the Secretary of State office in D.C. It is important to call the Secretary of State office in your state to find out what will be required to obtain the Apostille, as some require an application and other will not apostille the FBI check at all. If they won't, you will have to mail it to the Secretary of State in D.C.
IN PERSON DROP OFF is the quickest way to get this done. If you live too far away from your Secretary of State office, it is advisable to send your documents to a friend or family member and have them take the documents in person.
MAIL IN applications can normally take 2 to 3 weeks to process and should be used if no other options are available. If you must mail in your application, be sure to include a RETURN ENVELOPE with postage and address back to you and the fee in the form of a cheque or money order.
For more information about apostilles, visit www.apostilleinfo.com
4. Two Copies of the Original Contract Signed by the Applicant:
Unless the employer has defined the exact start date on the contract, it should be left blank on both copies. The start date will be amended once the applicant arrives in Korea. All work visas are for a one-year duration only, which automatically begins the day the applicant enters Korea, regardless of the actual start date on the contract.
5. A Filled-out and Signed E-2 Applicant Medical Statement:
This is a self-assesment and does not require a visit to a doctor. However after arriving in Korea and before applying for their Alien Registration Card (ARC), teachers are required by law to undergo a medical examination at a designated hospital in their area. The exam will include drug and HIV testing and must be completed within 90 days of arrival. Your school will assist you in arranging the exam. Drug abuse is a very serious issue in South Korea. Any applicant who fails the medical exam will have their teaching visa and employment contract immediately cancelled and will have to reimburse the costs for the flight to Korea, and also pay for their return flight to their home country.
6. A Full Resume With Correct Mailing Address and Phone Number:
The resume must bear the applicant's signature.
7. A Color Scan of the Information Page of the Applicant's Passport.
Please only scan the information page (with photograph)
8. Two Recent Passport-sized Color Photos
Because of the unreliable nature of regular postage delivery, all documents must be sent by registered courier. FEDEX, UPS and DHL work best in Korea. The cost is usually between forty and one hundred dollars (depending on the company and location) and delivery can be insured and is usually done within three business days. Please contact PlanetESL for the school’s mailing address, as these documents should be sent directly to the school.
After your school has received your documents and submitted them to Korean immigration, it usually takes between five to ten business days for the issuance of the visa approval number.
The Interview at the Korean Consulate & Having the Visa Issued:
As of January 1, 2010 applicants who have not previously been issued an E-2 English teaching visa by Korean Immigration are not required to visit the Korean consulate in the jurisdiction of their permanent address for an interview prior to their work visa being issued. But as many consulates outside of English speaking countries are not familiar with the E-2 visa issuance process it is often easier to do it in your home country.
Once all visa documents have been sent to your school in Korea, the applicant should contact the Korean consulate that has jurisdiction in their area and find out when they can book their interview. Every consulate is a little bit different. Some will allow you to send in your documents and book the interview before they visa approval number is issued in Korea, while others may not. Following is the list of items you will need to take/send to the Korean consulate prior to your interview:
Visa Application Form: Some common confusing areas on the application form are:
- 8. Passport Classification: OR - ordinary
- 16. Occupation: English Teacher
- 19. Purpose of Entry: To teach English
- 21. Desired Length of Stay: 1 year
- 23. Address in Korea: Put your school's address here
- 27. Who Will Pay For Your Trip?: Employer
- 31. Guarantor in Korea: Put your director's name, address and phone number here.
Typical documents you'll need for the interview:
- Your passport with remaining validity with at least 1 year remaining validity and a copy of the information page on your passport
- Two recent passport-size color photos
- Completed visa application form (Your school's information is written in the employment contract that you signed.)
- The visa fee ($65 CAD, US$45, NZ$50 USD, A$75, UK￡27) *Note: Fees can change without warning so applicants should check with their local Korean consulate. Applicants not in their home country may incur additional fees.
- Your visa issuance number
- One official transcript that's sealed (unopened) and stamped/signature on the back of the seal to indicate that it hasn't been tampered with. (This requirement may vary with each consulate or embassy, so applicants need to check with them directly.)
Applicants can usually send the above documents to the Korean consulate with jurisdiction over their area by courier before receiving the visa approval number, and then call the number in by phone once it is received. This will save some leg-work, but applicants should call before sending in their documents to verify that this can be done.
PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT SEND YOUR VISA DOCUMENTS BY REGULAR MAIL as this can take anywhere from one to three weeks depending on the season. Overnight express is necessary unless the departure date is more than a month away. Prepaid return postage must always be included as consulates will not pay to return documents. In rush situations, it always helps to provide a copy of the flight itinerary to the consulate. Visas are ALWAYS issued faster if the teacher goes to the consulate in person, as opposed to sending their passport and documents via courier.
Applicants who live a sufficient distance from a Korean consulate or embassy may be permitted to do the interview by webcam, though we have not heard to date of any such instances.
Once the interview has been conducted and the work visa approved, the consulate will stamp the visa in the teacher’s passport and send it back via the prepaid postage method. The visa usually takes between three and five business days to process after the interview, though as little as one hour has been heard of. Once the teacher has their passport with visa in hand, they can prepare to depart for Korea.
Planet ESL handles all flight arrangements and ensures that both the teacher and the school are provided with flight itineraries as soon as they are available. Reservations are normally placed once the teacher's work visa has been approved by Korean Immigration. Once the teacher confirms the return of their passport from the Korean consulate in their country with their work visa stamped in it, Planet ESL will have the flight ticket paid for and issued, usually in the form of an electronic ticket which is sent to the teacher's email address. The teacher must normally arrive in Korea one or two days before the start date of their contract.
Once the teacher arrives in Korea, an escort meets them at the airport and transports them directly to the school. Arrival and contact information is always given to the teacher prior to departure. And then the real adventure begins!