There are many different visa categories in Korea. Some of them are for international students and some of them are for foreign workers. Now days many expats from global companies all around the world are staying in Korea with different visa categories. So it will be helpful for mobility managers of those global companies to have an idea which categories of visa their expats can get in Korea. To help them, we would like to explain about the most common visa categories in Korea. For more visa categories, please see here.

D Visa Category

D-8 Visa: This is one of visa categories for expats with international assignments. When a head office assigns their employee to work its local affiliate company, the employee can get this visa. However, it is important to know how the local affiliate is registered in Korea. There are two types of foreign companies. One is a foreign invested company and the other is a branch office. If the local affiliate company is the foreign invested company, it should have the company document called “Certificate of Foreign Invested Company”. If the local affiliate company is the branch office, it should have the company document called “Permission of Establishment of Branch Office”. The local company should be the foreign invested company to be eligible for D-8 visa. More information is here.

D-7 Visa: This visa category is very similar to D-8 visa. If the head office assigns their employee to work its local affiliate company, the employee can get his visa. In contrast with D-8 visa, the local company should be the branch office to be eligible for D-7 visa. More information is here.

D-9 Visa: A foreign company exports its machine or industrial equipment to a company in Korea. The exporting company needs to send its employee to the importing company to install, manage and maintain the equipment, then the employee is eligible for D-9 visa. There is another scenario. A foreign company orders shipbuilding or industrial equipment construction to a company in Korea. The ordering company needs to send its employee to the contracted company in Korea to supervise the work, then the employee is eligible for D-9 visa. More information is here.

D-4 Visa: A foreign invested company hires a foreigner as an intern. The foreigner is eligible for D-4 visa. The company should have the company document, “Certificate of Foreign Invested Company” and have a specific internship program. If a head office assigns its employee to its local affiliate in Korea as an intern, the employee is also eligible for D-4 visa. The local affiliate company should be the foreign invested company.

E Visa Category

E-7 Visa: When a local company in Korea hires a foreigner directly, the local company needs to sponsor E-7 visa. There are 85 specific occupations for E-7 visa, so the employee should fall into those occupations. Please look into the occupations here. Some people are confused of D-8 or D-7. Please make sure that it is completely local hire with local employment contract. This visa is one of difficult visa categories to get because immigration office requires strict qualifications. More information is here.

E-2 Visa: This visa is for foreign language instructors who teach foreign languages at foreign language academies, educational institutions or language schools. Many English teachers from Canada and USA apply for this E-2 visa to work at English Hackwon (private institution).

F Visa Category

F-3 Visa: This visa category is for dependents. The dependents who stay in Korea with D-7, D-8, D-9 and E-7 are eligible for F-3 visa. People call the visa categories like D-7 “Primary Visa”. On the other hand, people call F-3 visa “Dependent Visa”. Applicants can apply for the primary visa and the dependent visa at the same time. Or they can apply for the dependent visa later.

F-1 Visa: Foreigners staying in Korea with D-8 and E-7 can invite a domestic helper (housekeeper and nanny). Employers, foreigners with D-8 and E-7, need to sponsor F-1 visa for a potential domestic helper. So the helper can work in Korea legally. Immigration office has strict qualifications for the employer and the helper. More information is here.

F-4 Visa: An applicant used to have a Korean citizenship and lost his/her citizenship after getting a foreign nationality. Then the applicant is eligible for F-4 visa. Or either of the applicant’s parents/grand parents used to have a Korean citizenship and got a foreign nationality. Then the applicant is eligible for F-4 visa. Immigration office has a strict rules and conditions for female applicant because of Korean men’s military duty.

These are the most common visa categories in Korea we normally deal with. Of course, there are many other visa categories in Korea.