Things to Know Before Moving to Korea Known for K-Pop and K-Food, South Korea is a hub of bustling life. You can explore different parts of the Korean lifestyle. Recently, more and more expats have been moving to Korea, which means you won’t be alone. Living in Korea will be an exciting adventure and also broaden your perception of different cultures. Developed and modern, Korea has high living standards and a reasonable cost of living. 1. Language Even if you don’t speak Korean, you can survive in Korea. Many Koreans can understand English even if they don’t speak it. With the increasing number of foreigners visiting Korea, more and more Koreans have begun to learn foreign languages such as English, Chinese, and Japanese. Most of the signs (and menus) in Korea are in English, which means you can find your way around easily. Tourist sites also have guides that can speak English, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. 2. Safety South Korea is actually a very safe place to live with CCTV cameras everywhere and a no-gun policy implemented. Let’s say you go to a restaurant or cafe; you can leave your things at a table and not be afraid that your things will be stolen! At night, the streets are well-lit and you can find people in restaurants and pubs or strolling around town. Korea’s so safe, you can walk around outside after midnight without fear. I mean I go to convenient stores at 2 or 3 am when I can’t sleep. 3. Food I am pretty sure everyone knows Kimchi by now. Right? Kimchi is a side dish you will find in almost all the meals in Korea. While Korea offers a variety of meat, pork and chicken are the most popular. One of the most popular dishes in Korea is samgyupsal, which is grilled pork belly and is traditionally eaten with side dishes, lettuce, and rice. You may also know this dish as Korean-BBQ. There are a lot of restaurants with foreign cuisines as well. So, you won’t feel left out if you haven’t adapted to Korean food. 4. Public Transportation The small country of South Korea is connected by an intricate system of busses, subways, and trains. Seoul has some of the best transportation which makes traveling fast and efficient. Traveling from one place to another is also affordable, with subway fares starting at 1,250 KRW, which is around $1 USD Bus transportation is another efficient way to travel. With a variety of town busses, intercity busses, highway busses, and airport limousine busses, you can get around Korea easily. Korea also has dedicated bus-only lanes that allow you to get anywhere even during rush hour. If you’re traveling from Seoul to Busan at the other end of the peninsula, riding the bullet train only takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bullet trains are not only quiet but also comfortable and run often throughout the day. Korea’s public transportation is constantly expanding and improving with new subway lines expected to open over the next few years. 5. Shopping Korea is well-known for cosmetics and clothes. Almost every street corner has some type of beauty store which sells everything from skincare to snacks. Unfortunately, clothing in Korea is typically one-size-fits-all, but some stores do sell a variety of sizes, such as H&M and Zara. Shoes in larger sizes are hard to find, but you can find some online. Myeongdong, Hongdae, and Dongdaemun are some of the hot shopping locations and you can find clothes for around $10 USD. Underground shopping centers are also great places to find bargains for around $5 USD. 6. Lifestyle The Korean lifestyle is fast-paced and never slows down. The work culture in Korea is completely different compared to other countries. One of my favorite work cultures in Korea is the staff diners. (Hoesik), the tradition of eating and drinking after work is not uncommon and many workers eat and drink with their bosses and return home late. University students also enjoy drinking in the evenings, and if you live in a college town, you will see many hanging out in pubs and bars. Understanding the Korean culture will help you better understand the people. People make up a culture and you have a chance to learn a little about what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes. As long as you’re open and positive, you will have the best adventure of your life in South Korea!
ESL Visa Documents Needed for U.S.A Citizens 1. Copy of Passport 2. Copy of Apostilled Diploma (Apostille Stamp Visible) 3. Apostilled Criminal Background Check (Original) 4. Self-Health Assessment 5. Three Signed Contracts – Please make sure to sign all three copies 6. Two Passport Style Photos 7. Isolation Consent Form 8. Visa Issuance Application Form Preparing your diploma A) University Degree (notarized and authenticated with Apostille. Note: Korean immigration will no longer accept original degrees: only photocopies notarized with Apostille.) -must be a four-year Bachelor’s degree (at minimum) in any discipline -must be from an accredited university -to get a notarized copy with Apostille: * Make a photocopy. * Have the copy notarized by a notary public (this does not have to be in the state as your university). * Send or take the notarized copy to the Secretary of State (in the same state as the notary public) for Apostille Authentication. Preparing your background check B) FBI Criminal Background Check (notarized and authenticated with Apostille. Note: all American Teachers MUST submit an FBI criminal record check. State or local checks will no longer be accepted.) -Your FBI check cannot be more than six months old when you apply for your teaching visa. -Only FBI Checks are accepted: * This will likely take two months to process. -After receiving the FBI check, get it apostilled through the Department of State in Washington, DC. It can take 6-8 weeks to get your apostille if sent through the mail, so be sure to either go in person or have a friend/relative get the apostille for you. There are also private companies that get the apostille for you in only a matter of days. -In some cases, it is possible to get the apostille through the Secretary of State in your own state. In this situation, start by having your FBI check notarized, using a form called an Affidavit. Then, send or take the notarized copy to the Secretary of State for Apostille Authentication.
(D-4, D-2, D-10) to E-2 If you are currently on a D-2 (student visa) or a D-10 (job-seeking visa) you can prepare the necessary documents and visit the immigration office. However, you are not eligible if you have stayed abroad for more than 3 months on a D-series visa. How to apply (Visitation Only) 1. Qualifications (All ①, ②, ③ requirements must be met) A person who is legally holding a D-4 (language training), D-2 (student visa) or a D-10 (job-seeking visa) A person who meets all E-2 visa qualifications A holder of a concluded and signed contract by the employer and representatives of the institution. Required documents Application form Passport and foreigner residency card Employment contract Degree or career certificates Documents related to the establishment of the facility (business registration, academy establishment certificate, real estate registration, etc.) A criminal record Physical health examination (sealed) Application fee Fee (130,000won) Duration Information provided to the applicant upon visitation Attached find the general application form
If you are currently on an E-2 visa and want to change your workplace after finding a new job. You must report the change of workplace and residency to the immigration office within 15 days. Reservation for visiting can be done at https://www.hikorea.go.kr/resv/ResvIntroR.pt How to apply (Visitation Only) 1. Target A person who has completed the employment contract and want to change company due to company closure or change of employer A person who has quit or retired due to personal reasons and has obtained a letter of release from the original employer. Note: regardless of qualifications, a person who quits or is fired due to personal reasons cannot change a visa WITHOUT a letter of release 2. Procedure Submit a basic ‘change of workplace application form’ and a prescribed document with reasons for the change within 15 days. Since a change of workplace sticker or seal has to be stamped on your passport, this procedure CANNOT be done online. Required documents Application form, Passport, Foreigner residency card Employment contract (original and copy) Business license Letter of release from the previous employer Documents related to the establishment of the facility Letter of release is exempted for the person who has completed a contract. However, if the change is due to the closure of a company, a document with proof of arrears or wages can replace the letter of release. If the remaining period of stay is shorter than the new contracts period + 1 month, you have to apply for ‘permission to extend the period of stay. Additional documents might be required for evaluation. Income taxation document Application fee Free Duration Information provided to the applicant upon visitation Attached find the general application form
Extension of stay in Korea If the instructor wants to renew a contract with the company, they must apply for ‘permission to extend the period of stay.’ The application must be before the foreigner registration card expiry date. Please keep in mind that the issuance duration is about 2~3 weeks. How to apply (Online/Visitation) Extension of stay application can be done online or by visitation. In the case of online applications, Instructors can apply after signing up as a member in HiKorea. 1) E-Application: https://www.hikorea.go.kr/cvlappl/CvlapplStep1.pt#this ① Process: Apply> Pay service charge> Receive> Processing 2) Reserving an appointment: https://www.hikorea.go.kr/resv/ResvIntroR.pt ① Process: Reserve an appointment >Visit the immigration office or its branch office at the reserved date> Apply> Receive> Process 3) Process time: varies depending on the application method, evaluation necessity, or the number of applications submitted. Required documents Application form Passport and foreigner residency card Original and copy of employment contract Documents related to the establishment of the facility Business registration certificate Academy establishment certificate (for applicable persons) Earned income taxation document Documents with proof of residence (e.g., house contract) Current status of students and syllabus. Application fee Online: 50,000won Visit: 60,000won Duration Online: 10 days ~ 2 months (approx.) Visit: Information provided to the applicant upon visitation Attached find the general application form
Registration of ESL teachers in Korea Instructors must register for foreign residency within 90 days of arrival. Failure to do so, the visa will be automatically canceled. Only through the issuance of residency cards can foreigners have the right to work and access other conveniences. A foreigner residency card is required for registration of health insurance, phone number, bank accounts, and other necessities like the internet. How to apply (Visitation Only) Online visit reservation (HiKorea) https://www.hikorea.go.kr/resv/ResvIntroR.pt visit the immigration offices under their jurisdiction on the reserved date. Current status of immigration under the jurisdiction Required documents. Application form (Attachment No.34), Passport, Passport photo (1) Business license Physical health examination (sealed) Proof of residence (house contract) Other residence qualification documents Application fee 30,000won (cash only) Duration 2 ~ 3 weeks (approx.) Residency card delivery service. Instructors can either pick up the residency card at the immigration or use delivery services at a fee. (Currently preferred due to high spread of covid-19) How to use service Request for delivery service during application. Pay at the atm machine in the office and submit a payment receipt. Delivery fee 4,000 won Duration Within a day after mailing (next day if mailed at later hours) Attacched find the general application form
E2 Medical Check Physical health extermination is required for foreign residency registration and registration with the office of education. Therefore, it should be conducted as soon as possible after arrival and completion of the quarantine period. This examination can only be performed at the Ministry of Justice designated hospital. Any other hospital results will be rejected by the immigration, and you will be subjected to a re-examination. Please confirm with the hospital you wish to visit in advance. Please confirm the hospital’s Submission documents and schedule in advance to avoid any setbacks. Ministry of Justice designated hospitals 2021 How to get a health check-up Visit any Ministry of Justice designated hospital Request a physical examination for E-2 Visa. Required documents Passport 3 passport photos Examination fee 70,000~ 130,000 won (for more than 2 copies additional of 1,000~5,000 won per copy) Duration 3 ~7 days Precautions: 1. Examinations results must include a general physical examination and BPE Test (drug test) 2. check if you need a reservation before visiting. 3. At least 3 copies of the examination results are required. (Immigration office, Office of Education, Employer.) 4. Examination results must be requested and submitted sealed. Unsealed results will be rejected automatically. 5. Other preparations NO food intake at least 8 hours before the examination (recommended just drink water) Attached find an E-2medical check form
E-2 Visa issuance process Like any other country in the world, you must obtain a visa to enter and stay in Korea. It is therefore, Importance to understand the documents and procedures necessary for visa issuance. If you have all your, prepared; it will take about 1~2months. (Might be longer due to delays caused by covid-19) How to apply Visa issuance number With the documents sent by the applicant, the employer will apply for a visa issuance number at the immigration office in Korea. The applicant will visit the Korean Embassy in their country to complete the visa application. Required documents ① Resume ② Passport copy ③ Passport photos (3pieces) ④ Employment contract (3copies) ⑤ Certificate of education background. Choose one of the following (copy of degree certificate, certificate of degree acquisition, and certificate of graduation containing proof of degree acquisition) *Confirmation of Apostille or consular confirmation for the diplomatic mission abroad. *In the case of a domestic degree, un-apostilled copies of degree certificates are allowed. *Exemption for previous publicly verified documents. ⑥ Apostilled criminal background record. issued within 6 months. (Must include record from across the country) *Confirmation of Apostille or consular confirmation for the diplomatic mission abroad. * Must be issued within 6 months. *Exemption for previous publicly verified documents. (Only if you re-apply within 3 months of departure. If the date of entry exceeds 3 months, you have to submit a new record.) Names of major national criminal certificates and issuing agencies. The U.S.A - FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation): identity history summary check/criminal record (FBI-approved channeler, state) must include criminal history across all the states. *Apostille Agency: Canada – RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police): a national repository of a criminal record. *Apostille Agency: Korean consulate or embassy England – Home office police: criminal records bureau, disclosure Scotland, access Northern Ireland, ACPO criminal record office: basic disclosure, ACPO criminal records office authentic document. *Apostille Agency: foreign & commonwealth office (FCO) Australia – AFP (Australia federal police): standard disclosure, national police certificate *Apostille agency: department of foreign affairs and trade South Africa – (South African police service): clearance certificate *Apostille Agency: department of international relations and cooperation (DIRCO) Ireland – national police of the Republic of Ireland: police certificate *Apostille Agency: department of foreign affairs New Zealand – Ministry of justice: criminal record *Apostille Agency: department of internal affairs. ⑦ Self-Health certificate. Example of a self-health certificate Application fee: The domestic fees are covered by the employer Duration: 1~2 months (approx.) Visa issuance eligible countries The United States of America Canada England Ireland Australia New Zealand South Africa Attached find an E-2 self health statement
What is an E-2 VISA? E-2 visas are issued to foreigners who meet the qualifications set by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Korea. With an E-2 visa, you can offer foreign language guidance to foreign language academies, elementary schools, educational institutes, affiliated language research centers, broadcasting centers, and corporate language training. 1. Conversation guidance concept This refers to teaching how to communicate with each other at foreign language centers, corporate, and other educational institutes. Teaching a specific subject, literature, or translation does not qualify as a conversation guidance activity. (e.g., teaching English at an international school is not classified under conversation guidance activity 2. Place of work Foreign language academies, Elementary schools, educational institutes, Affiliated language research centers, Broadcasting Companies, Corporates, and other Organizations. These institutes must have language training permission from the government. 3. Length of stay The maximum length of stay is 2 years + 1month at a time. Qualifications and requirements for native instructors. The following are qualifications for instructors who can offer conversation training guidance. 1. Foreign language academies. A citizen from a native speaking language who has obtained a bachelor’s degree or has an equal or higher educational background. In the case of English. A citizen from the U.S.A, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, and South Africa. Graduates for a Korean university who have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher are accepted if they graduated from high school or vocational college from a country with the native language. 2. Ministry of education (middle, elementary and high school) ① Native English assistant teacher -A citizen of a native-speaking country who has obtained a bachelor’s degree from the country of origin. -For English; U.S.A, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, and South Africa. ② English assistant teacher under the Korea-India agreement (CEPA) -A citizen from India who has obtained a bachelor’s degree or has an equal or higher education and a teaching certificate. (English major) ③ Overseas English volunteer scholarship student (TaLK) -A citizen of a native English-speaking country. -A person who has completed university for at least 2 years, (in the case of British people 1 year) in the country of origin or graduated from a junior college or higher. -Alternatively, a person who has received formal education in the relevant foreign language (English) and has completed at least 2 years at a domestic university or graduated from a junior college or higher. 3. Spouses of professionals and non-English speaking international students Spouses of E-1 ~ E-7 (E-6-2 NOT included) and international students (limited to Master of Science and engineering, Ph.D. or higher) who holds TESOL qualifications and a bachelor’s degree or higher. TESOL is a training course that qualifies teachers from a non-native country to teach in non-English speaking countries. 4. Other qualifications documents Certificate of education background. Choose one of the following (copy of degree certificate, certificate of degree acquisition, and certificate of graduation containing degree acquisition facts) Apostille criminal background record issued within 6 months. (Must include records from across the country) Clean self-health check. See native instructor visa documents.
How to land the Best ESL Job Abroad Can I increase my chances at getting the best ESL job abroad? Yes, you can. How, you ask? Here are a few ways that you can make a great first impression! 1. Get TESOL/TEFL Certified Being TESOL/TEFL certified opens doors to many countries around the world. While some teaching positions do not require TESOL/TEFL certification, being qualified offers many more opportunities. Understanding the basics of teaching English and classroom management can help you be better prepared to teach abroad. 2. Proofread Your Resume and Cover Letter As an ESL teacher, spelling and grammar mistakes may cost you a job! Have a family member or a friend proofread your resume and cover letter. Also, make sure to use clear and legible fonts to increase readability. If you have experience teaching children or adults, be sure to include it in your resume to increase the chances of landing an interview. Sometimes, a short self-introduction video can help you stand out from other applicants. As the competition is quite high, nothing will set you apart better than a great introduction video. Learn more about how to film a short introduction video here. 3. Gain Real Teaching Experience If you live in a college town, there are opportunities for you to teach ESL to foreign students or guitar to your friends. Volunteering to teach or tutor in your local community also offers a great way for you to practice and learn from real-life experiences. Maybe you can start an art class in your own home! 4. Prepare for Your Interview Make sure that you make a note of the scheduled interview time and show up! Make sure that you have the correct contact information and that everything is working properly before your big interview. No matter who your interview is scheduled with, whether it be a recruiter or the actual school, be there! Before your interview, make a list of the questions you want to ask about the school and work life. Preparing for your ESL job interview abroad helps you know the right questions to ask before taking the job and making the big move across the world. You’re interviewing them, just like they’re interviewing you. 5. Research and Negotiate Researching the job field in your target country will help you better understand what questions to ask. Different countries also have laws pertaining to foreign workers and you can see whether you qualify for any benefits. If you have questions about a position, don’t be afraid to ask! If statements in a contract are unclear, you can ask for clarification or request that edits be made. These are just a few things you can do to stand out in the English teaching market and can help you secure a great teaching position abroad. Don’t be afraid to interview with several schools to see which one best fits you and your lifestyle!
Living with an ESL teacher salary in Korea With all the benefits awarded depending on the contract, teachers can save approx. $1,000 per month. Let’s do a little breakdown including expenditure. Keep in mind every country will be different due to differences in taxation. Example: Jane/ American/ Single/ Entry level. Salary and taxes: in Korean Won Category Deductubles Monthly Annual Income 2.000.000 24.000.000 Tax 200.000 2.400.000 National pension 90.000 1.080.000 Health insurance 69.000 838.800 Total 359.000 4.318.800 Income after tax 1.640.100 19.681.200 Severance pay 2.000.000 Return lump sum 2.160.000 Total 23.841.200 Monthly expenditure: This might vary depending on your activities. Income after tax 1.640.100 19.681.200 Utilities 100.000 1.200.000 Movies 10.000 120.000 Travel 50.000 600.000 Take out/eating out 200.000 100.000 Snacks/coffee 100.000 1.200.000 Groceries 200.000 2.400.000 Transportation 50.000 600.000 Total 660.000 7.920.000 Total savings 980.000 11.071.200 How to become an ESL teacher in Korea. Qualifications and requirements for ESL Instructors There are basic qualifications for teaching English in Korea and specific qualifications depending on the institute. The basic qualifications align with Korean Government’s basic requirements to acquire an E-2 visa. Qualifications: A citizen of the 7 English-speaking countries (U.S.A, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, and South Africa. Holds a Bachelors’ degree from an accredited university. Apostille national-level criminal record. (Issued within 6 months) Clean self-health check/drug test.