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E2 Visa Korea Requirements for English Teachers

Wondering how to obtain a work visa to teach English in Korea? Learn more about the Korea E2 visa requirements to legally work as an English teacher in Seoul, Busan and more.

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To teach English in South Korea, you need to apply for an E2 (or E-2) work visa. Please note, the information below is for U.S. citizens. Other nationalities have different processes.

What are the E2 Visa Requirements for Korea?

The E2 visa Korea requirements can vary from one Korean consulate to the next. Each consulate will require some or all of the documents we list below. Before you order any documents, check with your Korean consulate on their E2 Visa requirements. 

What is an E2 Visa in South Korea?

The E2 visa is the legal document you need to work as an English Teacher in South Korea. This E2 teaching visa is required by all Korean educational institutions and delivered by your closest Korean consulate.

How to Apply for E2 Visa Korea

  1. Gather & submit the required E2 Visa documents

  2. Send required documents to your hiring school in Korea

  3. Interview at the Korean Consulate and finalize your E2 Visa Korea application

VIDEO: Watch International TEFL Graduate Cecilia Cervantes talk about her experience teaching English under the E2 teaching visa for South Korea:

Ready? Let's dive right into the E2 visa requirements for Korea:

Step 1. Gather and Submit the Required E2 Visa Documents

The E2 visa South Korea process can begin before you get a job offer. In general, applying for a visa takes quite some time so the more (and sooner) prepared you are, the quicker the process.

What Are the Documents Needed for E2 Visa Korea?

Bachelor's Degree from an Accredited University

Your university degree (or copy of) must first be notarized and then apostilled (Apostille Authenticated). Most consulates will accept a copy of your university degree rather than the original. Once your degree, or copy thereof, is notarized it then needs to be apostilled from your state.  An Apostille is like a notary, but it is used mainly for documents that are used for international purposes. Apostilles are generally obtained at the Secretary of State's office in your home state. Check with your local Korean Consulate if they will accept a photocopy of your degree or if they need the original. 

Sealed Academic Transcripts

  • University transcripts are used more for public school positions, but some private schools may ask for them as well.
  • Contact your university registrar and ask them to mail you your university grades in a SEALED envelope with a stamp and/or signature over the seal.
  • DO NOT open your transcripts.

FBI Criminal Background Check

  • Korean Consulates no longer accept state or local background checks.
  • Order your FBI Check on the FBI website.
  • Order at least two copies as some private schools now require two authenticated copies - one to process the visa in the U.S., and one to register you as a teacher once you arrive in Korea.
  • FBI Checks can take 3 months to obtain (plan ahead!)
  • The record check must be less than 6 months old.
  • The results should be sent directly to you.
  • When you apply for your FBI Background check, you must also request that it be “Authenticated”.  You can write a short note that you must enclose with your fingerprints and application forms stating that the background check is being used for employment abroad, and therefore needs “authentication.”  When you receive your results back, the background check should include a seal and a signature on it.  If it does not, you will need to send it back to the FBI and request that it be “authenticated,” which will take an additional few weeks. 
    • Once you receive your FBI Check in the mail and it is “authenticated” you then need to send your FBI Background Check to get an “Apostille.” You can request the apostille directly through the following company’s website. This process will take an additional 2 – 3 weeks. 
    • If you are not from the U.S., please contact your TEFL Advisor or the nearest Korean consulate in your country to determine which background check is required for citizens of your country.

Health Check Statement

  • This is a questionnaire form from the Korean government where you personally answer the questions. Once you arrive in Korea, a full blood test and physical exam will be administered.
  • The test will include testing for narcotics, TB, HIV and other communicable diseases.
  • If you do not pass the health exam in Korea you will likely have your visa revoked and can lose your job.

Photocopy of Your Passport

  • Photocopy the information page of your passport (the page with your picture on it and the adjoining page with your signature).
  • Make sure you have at least 6 months left on your passport before it expires.
  • Make sure there is at least 1 completely empty page in your passport.

An Updated Resumé

  • Print a copy of your resume (CV).

Signed Copy of Teaching Contract

  • The contract will be provided to you by email once you agree to the contract and the school accepts you as their teacher.

Four (4) Passport-sized Photos

  • Standard passport photos - the same that you would need for a new passport.

Two (2) Letters of Recommendation

  • Provide two letters of recommendation.

Step 2. Send Required Documents to Your Hiring School in Korea

When you have a job offer, your next step is to send the required E2 visa documents to the school you will be working for in South Korea. Your school will need to get a Visa Issuance number for you from the Ministry of Justice and Immigration in Korea.

Required Documents (Please check with the school you will be working for as some documents may be different.)

  1. Copy of original degree with Apostille (check with your Korean consulate if they need an original or if a photocopy of the original is ok).
  2. Two sets of sealed university transcripts.
  3. Notarized FBI  criminal background check and appropriate authentication.
  4. Health Check Statement.
  5. Photocopy of the information page of your passport.
  6. Copy of your resume.
  7. A signed copy of the contract.
  8. Two passport-sized photos.

Do NOT send your documents via the United States Post Office (USPS) or Purolator. Delivery can take 5 days to 8 weeks or more and there is no way for us or the school to keep track of your documents once they are in Korea (USPS and Purolator can't track it within Korea).

  • Once you've sent your documents, please retain a copy of your invoice with the tracking number of your package and the address you sent it to.
  • This will cost $40 to $80 to send depending on the company you chose, the weight and the service you use. It sounds rather expensive - and it is - but well worth it when you are sending your original degree, transcripts and your record check that all can take a very long time to replace if lost.
  • Your school will take these documents to the Ministry of Justice and Immigration in Korea to get a Visa Issuance Number for you.
  • Within 7-10 working days, the immigration office will issue a Confirmation of Visa Issuance Number also referred to as the Visa Reservation Number or Visa Confirmation Number.
  • The number will look something like this: UJBO 08007392 (the first four characters are letters, the remaining characters are numbers)
  • The school will then forward this number (by e-mail) to you or a recruiting company if you are working with one. You will need this code to put on your teaching visa application for the Korean consulate.

Visa for teaching English in Korea TEFL

Step 3. Interview at the Korean Consulate and Finalize Your Work Visa Application

Once you receive your Korea Visa Issuance Number you can schedule your interview at the Korean Consulate. 

Each consulate has different Korea visa requirements for the interview. Please check the website of your Korean consulate to see how to make an appointment. Some consulates require you to mail your application materials before the interview while others allow you to take everything in person.

Once you have your Visa Issuance Number it is time to send or take your application and application documents to the Korean Consulate or Embassy nearest to you. Check his link to find out which office has jurisdiction for your state.

You will also need to download the E2 teaching visa application form from the Korean Consulate Website in your area and complete it.


Required Documents to Apply for an E2 Teaching Visa at the Korean Consulate

Please check with your Korean consulate as some Korean consulates require different documents.

  • Completed Korea E2 Visa Application Form
  • Passport: Make sure you have your passport ready. That means it must have 6 months of validity left on it and that there is at least 1 empty page. Make sure it's signed too.
  • Photo: You will need to send a passport picture with your application or a picture that is 2 inches by 2 inches. 
  • Confirmation of Visa Issuance Number: Fill in the reservation number at the top of the application form.
  • Transcripts: Send one set of sealed transcripts to the consulate.
  • Consuls Checklist: A simple two-page document required by the consulate. Check your consulate’s website to download a copy.


What is the E-2 Visa Cost & Fee?

The E2 visa South Korea cost will be $45 USD (Please check with the consulate as visa fees change regularly.) * This HAS TO BE cash or money order – as an American you are generally given a multi-entry visa immediately upon application (typically without having to ask for it). Make sure of this if you don’t have this multi-entry capability, your visa will expire if you leave Korea to visit Japan or Thailand or elsewhere for vacation.

How Long Does it Take to Get E2 Visa Korea?

Each Korean consulate has different processing times (from one hour to 5 days). Once the consulate receives your application and paperwork, they will contact you to arrange an interview. Some consulates will let you call to book an interview before you have your South Korea visa number. Others will not. Call your consulate to see how they want you to book your interview. And, of course, always be nice.

You will be required to visit the Korean consulate IN PERSON unless special arrangements can be made. Once you receive your passport back with your Korea E2 visa, you are all set to begin your journey to teach English in South Korea!

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