E-2 Visa Process for South African Applicants

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This page details the entire process necessary for South African applicants to get an E-2 visa to teach in Korea. Please follow this procedure carefully as even a small mistake like a missed signature could result in having to submit the paperwork all over again. Please note that this page has been updated (July 2010) to reflect recent changes in immigration policy.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns you have. We will guide you through the entire process. Also, please let us know right away if you notice any procedural information that has changed so that we can update our files.

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 embassy in Pretoria. We recommend making a photocopy of all your documents. These documents will be explained in greater detail in steps 1-3 below. The total set of documents required are:

  • Copy of university degree (with apostille) Please note that as of August 31st, 2010, original university degrees will no longer be accepted.
  • 2 sealed transcripts
  • criminal background check (Police Clearance Certificate) + 1 photocopy
  • health statement (2 copies)
  • a valid passport
  • a copy of the information page in your passport
  • a resume
  • 4 passport photos
  • a signed contract
  • Consul’s checklist

✳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 embassy when you apply for your visa.

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

It is advisable that you start collecting the documents you will need well before accepting a job. You will need all of the above documents for whatever job you want to accept. Some of the documents, particularly the criminal background checks (CBCs) can take time to process resulting in job offers being taken back. Get started on collecting your documents now.

  1. Copy of university degree (with apostille)
    1. Your degree must be a Bachelor’s degree (3 or 4 years) from an accredited university.
    2. 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.
    3. To make a notarized/apostilled copy, make a photocopy and have this copy certified by the Department of Education (Tel. 012-312-5261). Then, send or take this certified copy of your degree to the Department of Foreign Affairs for Apostille authentication (Tel. 012-351-1268). It takes about 45 minutes to get the apostille stamp.
  2. Two sets of sealed/stamped university transcripts
    1. 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. For examples of acceptable transcripts, click here. 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.
    2. 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 embassy in Pretoria (currently the embassy in Pretoria is not requesting this set of transcripts). Also, please make sure that the transcripts are individually signed across the seal and in separate envelopes.
    3. Do NOT open or tamper with the envelope in any way. If the seal has been opened, the transcripts will not be accepted.
  3. Criminal Background Check (Police Clearance Certificate)
    1. Get started on this document early. Criminal background checks (CBCs) are accepted by Korean immigration for up to six months from the date of issue. The processing time for the Police Clearance Certificate is around 4 weeks.
    2. You can request this Police Clearance Certificate from the South African Police Services in Pretoria. You will need to bring the fee of R59.00 with you and also bring appropriate ID with you (a copy of your passport pages and another piece of ID) You need to ensure that they have a sex-offender check done and have it indicated on the Certificate that this has been done. Have them send the results to you. For more information about this Certificate and the process of obtaining it, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs website at: http://www.dfa.gov.za/consular/policeclear.htm
      Criminal Records Center
      Tel: (012) 393 3709
      Fax: (012) 393 3909
    3. Once you receive your Police Clearance Certificate, you must then bring it or send it to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria for apostille authentication. Please call the office beforehand to ensure that you send everything you need.
    4. Fees – There is currently no fee for the Apostille in Pretoria.
    5. You will receive an Apostille certificate that verifies your Police Clearance Certificate is authentic. See an example here. This will need to be attached to your CBC when you send it to Korea.
      (Please remember to make a photocopy of your completed Police Clearance Certificate with Apostille authentication as you might need a copy of this for the Korean embassy in Pretoria).
  4. Health statement (2 copies)
    1. This is an easy step – simply fill in the health questionnaire from the Korean government. You will need to prepare two copies, one for immigration in Korea and one for the Korean embassy in Pretoria (currently the embassy is not requiring this copy). The two forms must be completed with exactly the same answers. Please complete your answers honestly.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  5. Valid Passport
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Your passport must be signed.
  6. Photocopy of the information pages of your passport
    1. Only copy the information pages of your passport (the picture/information and signature page)
  7. Resume
    1. 1 copy of your current resume, signed, with your correct address and contact information
  8. Signed contract
    1. 1 copy of the school contract, signed and dated by you
  9. 4 passport sized photos
    1. 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm, in color, and date stamped on the back (photo must have been taken within the last six months and have a white background)

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:

  • original degree (or certified/apostilled copy)
  • photocopy of the information pages of your passport (do NOT send the actual passport)
  • 2 sets of university transcripts, sealed and stamped across the fold
  • Police Clearance Certificate with apostille authentication
  • one copy of your health statement
  • 2 passport sized photos, in color and date stamped on the back (must be taken within the last six months)
  • a signed copy of your contract
  • a copy of your resume, signed and containing your current contact information

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 – ABCD 01234567. It usually takes 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 embassy.

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

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

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

  • 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. Some of the areas of the form that you may have questions about:
    • Section 8. Classification – OR (ordinary)
    • Section 16. Occupation title – teacher
    • Section 21. Desired length of stay – 1 year
    • Section 23. Address in Korea – you can use the school’s address
    • Section 27. Who will pay for your trip – Employer
    • Section 31. Guarantor in Korea – the director of your school
  • Passport – make sure that it meets the requirements mentioned in step 1
  • Photo – 1 passport sized photo, 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm, in color and date stamped on the back (not more than six months old).
  • A photocopy of your university degree (not currently required by the embassy in Pretoria)
  • A photocopy of your CBC after it has been apostilled (not currently required by the embassy in Pretoria)
  • 1 set of sealed and stamped transcripts – stamped across the seal (not currently required by the embassy in Pretoria)
  • Official health statement – the answers must be the same as the one sent to Korean immigration (not currently required by the embassy in Pretoria)
  • Consul checklist: A two page document required by the consulate to confirm your information. Download it here.
  • Fee – The cost for the visa stamp will be R350.00. This has to be in cash or a money order (no travelers checks). Please call your regional embassy to confirm this fee before sending it.

Note: Items 4-7 are currently not required by the embassy in Pretoria, as they are in consulates and embassies in different countries. However, please call the embassy before bringing or sending anything to confirm what they expect as policies do sometimes change very quickly.

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

Before you receive your visa in your passport, the embassy will want to have a short interview with you. This interview will normally take place about an hour before you are set to receive the visa. Most of the interview will be background questions to confirm the information you submitted. (Note: This interview is for first time E-2 visa applicants only. If you have previous experience in Korea, you do not need this interview.)

Contrary to what you may hear from some recruiting agencies, this interview is not simply a formality. I have been advised by Korean consulates to instruct applicants to please dress appropriately for the interview and be prepared to answer questions about their expected jobs as well as their background information.

As of April 1st, 2008, if you live away from Gaetung, you will need to submit a self-introductory CD. Personal interviews will not be allowed. The personal interview will only be for applicants staying in and around Gaetung. Please contact the embassy for instructions on submitting the self-introductory CD.

Note: This process may seem a bit intimidating at first but remember that we are here to answer any questions you have. We recommend that you use our checklist for korea to ensure that you have covered all the steps properly. Also, please keep us informed on how you are progressing so that we can make your travel arrangements. These arrangements will be made once the date for receiving your E-2 visa is confirmed by the Korean embassy.

Click here for contact information and details about the Korean embassy in Pretoria.

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