F-1 visa is not well-known type of visas in Korea. Unlike other visa types, F-1 visa has multiple activities allowed and eligible applicants. Some people may be confused of F-3 dependent visa for expatriates in Korea, but F-1 visa is not the dependent visa.

F-1 can be eligible for overseas Koreans who have special privileges for working visit visas (Chinese-Korean born), a cohabitee of an A-1 Diplomat visa holder or A-3 International Agreement visa holder. And it is also for family of oversea Koreans visa holders (spouse and underage children), parents of underage international students who are planning to attend or already attending an educational institute, and a domestic helper of investor visa holder (D-8) and foreign talents (E-1~E-7).

Among those activities allowed for F-1 visa, many expats are interested in inviting the foreign domestic helper to Korea. That is because some of them prefer to use English speaking helpers. It is not easy to hire an Korean helper in Korea who can speak English. There are some Korean helpers who can speak English out there, but most of them are already employed. Therefore many expats in Korea try to sponsor the F-1 visa for their helpers who are foreigners. Let’s see the basic qualification for an employer (expat) and a helper.

Qualification for an employer (D-8 visa holder)

  1. The investment amount for the D-8 visa holder’s company is more than USD 500,000.
    • If the investment amount is less than USD 500,000 and more than USD 100,000, the D-8 visa holder should be working in fields such as IT, Technology Management, Nano, Digital Electric, Bio and New Material.
  2. Salary income for last year and current year should be more than 3 times of Korean GNI for previous year. According to the immigration office, the GNI was USD 33,434 in year 2018. This figure can be changed regularly.
  3. Do not have any major legal violation in Korea
  4. Proper reason for hiring a helper. Many people write the reason in the invitation letter saying that their wives work in Korea as well. So they need someone taking care of their children and the house.
  5. Recently implemented rule: The age of the sponsor’s child should be less than 13 years old.

E-7 visa holder can also sponsor the F-1 visa for the domestic helper.

Qualification for the helper

  1. Should be between 20 years old and 58 years old.
  2. Should have more than middle school education. The immigration office requires the graduation certificate or degree certificate.
  3. Should have no legal violation in Korea including illegal stay.

If the employer is about to relocate to Korea with the current helper and the helper was employed for more than 1 year, the F-1 visa should be applied at Korean consulate in his/her current residence. If the employer is already in Korea with proper visa and he/she is going to sponsor the visa for the helper, the employer needs to go through the confirmation of visa issuance first in Korea, then the helper needs to go through the consular process to get the actual visa sticker. The initial visa period the helper can get from Korean consulate is 90 days, but it can be extended up to 1 year when an alien registration card is applied in Korea.

Standard Procedure (when not applying for the visa directly to Korean consulate)

  1. A domestic helper signs an employment contract with an employer.
  2. The employer apply for the confirmation of visa issuance (pre-approval number) at the immigration office in Korea
  3. The immigration office issues the pre-approval number about 2 weeks after submitting the application.
  4. The helper applies for the visa sticker at Korean consulate outside of Korea.
  5. She enters Korea with the F-1 visa sticker
  6. She applies for ARC at the relevant immigration office in Korea.

The F-1 visa process can be more complicated than other visa types. Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information on F-1 visa for the domestic helper or if you need our assistance.

If you are not familiar with D-8 visa and E-7 visa, please look into our other post here, D-8 Visa or E-7 Visa for Foreign Employees in Korea. Or please also see, D-8 Visa – Employee Transferred to Korea.