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E-2 Visa Process for American Applicants
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2017-06-20 00:15:29

This page details the entire E-2 visa process for American applicants who want to teach in Korea. Please note that this page has been updated (August 2012) to reflect recent changes in immigration policy. You may wish to print this page out as you go through the instructions for preparing your visa documents.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns you have. The following is a list of all of the documents you will need to teach in Korea. Some of these documents need to be sent to your employer in Korea and others need to be sent or taken to the Korean consulate/embassy which services your region. We recommend making a copy of all your documents. These documents will be explained in greater detail in steps 1-3 below. The total set of documents required are:

1.University degree (Notarized and apostilled authenticated). – TWO COPIES Please note that as of August 31st, 2010, original university degrees will no longer be accepted.

2.FBI criminal background check (CBC) with apostille) – TWO COPIES Please note the changes to the criminal background check below.

3.health statement (2 copies)

4.a valid passport and a copy of the information page of your passport

5.a resume

6.4 passport photos

7.a signed contract

8.2 sealed transcripts (University transcripts are no longer currently required, although some Korean consulate in the U.S. have requested a set of transcripts when providing a visa stamp)

* Please make a photocopy of your university degree and criminal background check (after it has been completed). You might need these copies to send to the Korean consulate in your region (depending on the consulate).

Note: Your name must appear the exact same on all documents submitted. If you have a middle name, middle initial, or if one or more of your documents is written differently, it could create problems with your application. Your middle name (if you have one) should be written in full. Initials should not be used for any of your documents. Contact us if you have any questions about this.

Step 1: Gather all your documents

You should start collecting the documents you will need well in advance of your job search if you are serious about teaching in Korea. You will need all of the above documents for whatever job you accept. Some of the documents, particularly the FBI criminal background checks (CBCs), can take 6-8 weeks to process resulting in job offers being taken back. Getting started on collecting your documents now will make your job application process go a lot smoother.

1.University degree (notarized and apostille authenticated) – Two copies

  • Your degree must be a Bachelor’s degree (3 or 4 years) from an accredited university.
  • Please NOTE: As of August 31st, 2010, Korean immigration will no longer accept original degrees. Only notarized and apostilled copies will be accepted by immigration.
  • To make a notarized/apostilled copy of your degree, make a photocopy and have this copy notarized by a notary public. Then, send or take this notarized copy of your degree to the Authentications Office of your Secretary of State for Apostille authentication.
  • NOTE: This notarization does not have to be in the same state that the degree was issued in, but the notary and apostille need to be done in the same state.
  • You will have to make two copies for your notarized/apostilled degree – one for Korean immigration and one for the Ministry of Education in Korea.

2.FBI Criminal Background Check (CBC) – TWO copies

  • Get started on this document early. FBI Criminal background checks (CBCs) are accepted by Korean immigration for up to six months from the date of issue. Processing times for the FBI criminal background check can be up to three months, so it is well-advised to start processing this document before you begin your job search.
  • Please note that as of December 31st, 2010, all American teachers must submit an FBI criminal record check. State or local checks will no longer be accepted. Only FBI criminal record checks will be accepted.
  • These FBI criminal record checks are valid for 6 months from the date of issue.
  • Have your criminal background check mailed to you.
  • When you receive your CBC from the FBI, you will need to send it to the State Department to be apostilled. When sending off your FBI criminal background check, be sure to include a request that the CBC is to be used overseas. Then, the FBI will place their seal and signature on the document which would then allow it to be apostilled by the U.S. Department of State (link below). The FBI will include this authentication seal only if you request it at the time of ordering your CBC. Some applicants have forgotten to request this at the time of ordering their CBC.
  • Note: As of recent changes in policy, teachers are required to submit TWO copies of their criminal check. One copy is for immigration (for visa purposes). The second copy is for the Ministry of Education in Korea.

3.Health statement (2 copies)

i.This is an easy step – simply fill in the health questionnaire from the Korean government. Download the form here. You will need to prepare two copies, one for immigration in Korea and one for the Korean consulate in your region (some consulates require you to submit a copy and some don’t). The two forms must be completed with exactly the same answers. Please complete your answers honestly.

ii.This questionnaire will be testing for serious medical conditions like HIV or TB. It is important to note that while the marijuana test has been dropped from the health test, using drugs in Korea is still a serious offense. Do NOT bring drugs into Korea.

iii.Shortly after you arrive in Korea, a full physical and blood test will be administered at a local hospital (within 90 days of arrival). It is advisable that you have a health check in your own country before submitting this form.

4.Valid Passport and a photocopy of the information pages of your passport

  • All applicants must have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months after arrival to Korea. Failure to have this minimum will result in being denied access into Korea when going through customs. However, we recommend having a minimum of 12 months’ validity on your passport after your arrival to Korea.
  • Make sure that your passport has at least two blank pages for the consulate to place your visa. Failure to have these blank pages will result in the consulate refusing to process your visa.
  • Your passport must be signed.
  • Photocopy of the information pages of your passport


  • 1 copy of your current resume, signed, with your correct address and contact information

6.4 passport sized photos

  • 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm, in color with a white background, and date stamped on the back (photo must have been taken within the last six months and have a white background)

7.Signed contract

  • 1 copy of the school contract, signed and dated by you

8.Two sets of sealed/stamped university transcripts*

  • Sealed and stamped means still in the unopened envelope from the applicant’s school with the university stamp or registrar signature across the back seal. Korean immigration is very strict about this requirement. It is advisable for applicants to contact the registrar’s office when they order their transcripts to specifically request for their transcripts to be stamped as not all universities automatically do this.
  • You should order 2 sets of transcripts from the registrar office of your university as you will be required to submit one copy to immigration in Korea and one copy to the Korean consulate in your region. Note that not all consulates are asking for this extra set of transcripts but some are (Houston and Atlanta, for example, both require it). Also, please make sure that the transcripts are individually signed across the seal and in separate envelopes.
  • DO NOT open or tamper with the envelope in any way. If the seal has been opened, the transcripts will not be accepted.
    • Note: Transcripts are currently not required by immigration in Korea, but some of the Korean consulates have requested a set of transcripts when providing the visa stamp.

Step 2: Sending your documents to Korea

Once you have gathered all of the documents listed above and accepted a teaching position in Korea, you now need to send some of the above documents to Korea to begin processing your visa at Korean immigration.
The documents you will need to send to Korea are:

1.university degree notarized and apostilled (DO NOT send the original degree) – two copies

2.criminal background check with apostille authentication from State Department – two copies

3.one copy of your health statement

4.photocopy of the information pages of your passport (do NOT send the actual passport)

5.4 passport sized photos, in color with a white background and date stamped on the back (must be taken within the last six months)

6.a copy of your resume, signed and containing your current contact information

7.a signed copy of your contract

Please do NOT send your documents by regular mail to Korea as this is quite slow, more likely to get lost and cannot be tracked. Please use either FedEx or DHL. Once you have sent these documents, please email us the tracking number and the courier company you have used so that we can track your documents.

Once we receive your documents, your school will take them to Korean immigration and receive your Visa Issuance Number. This number will be a code where the first four characters are letters and the remaining characters are numbers. It will look something like – UBDO 06004321. It will usually take 7-10 business days to receive this number.

Once we get this number, we will email it to you. You will need this code to put on the top of your visa application form that you need to bring to the Korean consulate.

Step 3: Getting your E-2 visa stamp at the Korean consulate

This is the final step in the visa process. Once you receive your Visa Issuance Number, you are ready to go to the Korean consulate in your country. If you live far from the consulate, you can send your documents by regular mail. Please do NOT send them by mail. Contact the Korean consulate that services your region to determine your consulate’s preferred method of the post as not all consulates are the same. If you are sending your documents, be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope with the appropriate postage affixed so that the consulate can return your documents.

Required documents to bring/send to the Korean consulate are:

1.The completed E-2 Teaching Visa Application form. Download the form here. Make sure to fill it in properly and attach the Visa Issuance Number at the top of the form.

2.Passport – make sure that it meets the requirements mentioned in step 1

3.Photo – 1 passport sized photo, 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm, in color with a white background and date stamped on the back (not more than six months old).

4.A photocopy of your university degree (some consulates request this, but not all.)

5.A photocopy of your CBC after it has been notarized and apostilled (some consulates request this, but not all)

6.1 set of sealed and stamped transcripts – stamped across the seal (some consulates request this extra set of transcripts)

7.Official health statement– the answers must be the same as the one sent to Korean immigration (some consulates request this, but not all)

·Fee – The cost of the visa stamp will be $45 USD. This has to be in cash or a money order (no traveler’s checks). Please call your regional embassy to confirm this fee before sending it.

 Note: Items 4-7 are required by some consulates but not by others. Different consulates, even within the same country, have different accepted procedures. Therefore, please contact your local consulate before sending anything to confirm which items they expect.

Once the consulate receives these documents, it will usually take 3-5 business days to process your visa. When you call the consulate, please ask them how long it will take to process and then let us know so that we can confirm your travel arrangements.

NOTE: Teachers who continue to work in Korea will be able to renew their visa in Korea (at immigration). First-time teachers must have their visas processed outside of Korea.


Once you receive your passport back with your E-2 VISA, you are all set to begin your journey to teach English in South Korea!