Congratulations! You were offered a job teaching in South Korea, either at a public school or private school. Now you need to get your visa, and it can take a long time. Don’t worry, I’m here to help!
What visa do I need?
You will be applying for an E-2 Visa. This visa is used solely for teaching English in South Korea.
What documents do I need?
- Apostilled Degree (see below for more details)
- Sealed University Transcripts
- Copy of signed contract
- Personal health statement
- Your passport
- Passport Photos
- Apostilled background check (see below for more details)
What’s an apostilled degree?
I had NO idea what an apostilled degree was. This is a seal of authenticity, a simply notarizing your degree is not enough. You will have to get your degree notarized, then you will need to send it to your state’s Secretary of State to receive another stamp. This only took me about 3-5 days to send it and receive it again. (Of course this varies by state and the current demand).
Step 1: Copy your degree (I did it at Kinko’s)
Step 2: Get the copy notarized (do NOT notarize your actual diploma. Just the copy!)
Step 3: Send the notarized copy to the Secretary of State for your state. (do NOT send your original diploma, only the copy)
Step 4: Rejoice when your diploma copy comes back! You are one step closer to Korea!
What is the procedure for an apostilled background check?
This is the longest part of the process.
Step 1: Go to your local police department and request fingerprints for a federal background check. (Check their website before going as some police departments only provide fingerprints on certain days)
Step 2: Mail your application and fingerprints to the FBI with a money order/check/etc. (This can take up to 2-12 weeks and the results of the background are only valid for 6 months) Be sure to include a note that states “Please provide an FBI seal and signature from a Division Officer for the purpose of obtaining a Federal Apostille.”
Step 3: The FBI no longer apostilles the background check themselves, so you will need to send the background check to the US State Department. This can take up to 10 days depending on the mail service. I was very short on time and used a professional courier service (US Authentication Service) who walked into the US State Department on my behalf. They quoted me a rather high price, but I needed a 3 day turn around. It is much cheaper if you have more time and are not in a rush. I understand the price is around $40-50.
Step 4: Now it’s party time, because the longest part is over!