Entry into the Republic of Korea

People who want to enter the Republic of Korea need to carry a valid passport and visa issued by the Ministry of Justice. While in the country, be sure to check the expiration dates of your passport and visa to avoid any difficulties stemming from overstaying your period of sojourn. Make sure to carry your passport with you, as it will be necessary for various purposes.

Alien Registration

Those who intend to stay in the Republic of Korea for more than 90 days have to register as an alien within 90 days. If the period of stay is, for example, 59 days in your passport, then you must apply for extension before the 59 days pass. If a person is granted permission to stay or has changed their status, he or she has to register as an alien as soon as his or her status has changed.

Extending Period of Stay

Foreign nationals who need to stay in Korea beyond the period of authorized stay have to extend their period of stay. If they apply for an extension of the period after it has expired, they will be fined. Although it's possible to submit an application form on the day before the period of stay expires, it may not be granted, which would make your stay illegal. Therefore, applying in advance is recommended. Application forms for extension are available at local immigration offices or branches.

Changing Visa Status

Foreign nationals who want to change their visa status need permission from the local immigration office.

  • Foreign nationals with short-term business visas (C-2) who want to invest in Korea (D-8)
  • Foreign nationals who have finished language training (D-4) and want to study in Korea (D-2)
  • Foreign nationals who wish to change their visa after marrying a Korean (F-2)

    Other Activities Outside Visa Status

    If foreign nationals staying for more than 90 days (people with 90-day short-term visas excepted) want to participate in activities that their present visa status does not allow, they need to get permission to engage in those activities.
    • Foreign students (D-2) want to have a part time job (S-3) while they continue to study
    • Missionaries engaged in religious activities (D-6) want to teach students at a university (E-1)

    Permission for Re-Entry

    Foreign nationals staying in Korea for more than 90 days who wish to leave Korea and return within their period of sojourn need a re-entry permit from the local immigration office before leaving. Single re-entry permits can be obtained the same day a person leaves Korea at the airport or harbor of departure regardless of where they are staying. If a person exits the country without a re-entry permit or doesn't enter within the period allowed for re-entry, the existing visa will be nullified. Be careful!

    Foreign spouses of Koreans (on F-2-1 visas) are allowed multiple re-entry within the period of their visa. However, if the F-2-1 visa holder is in the midst of divorce proceedings where the period of stay is extended by 3 months at a time, only a single re-entry permit will be issued. A foreign national who exits the country after obtaining a re-entry permit but fails to re-enter the country can apply for an extension of the re-entry permit at a Korean embassy or consulate.