Unless you hold Korean citizenship, all people wanting to work in Korea need a visa and all dependent families wishing to live in Korea need a visa. Once hired by IBS, the administrative staff at your Center will be responsible for helping you with any visa and immigration matters. The contents in this chapter are subject to change without notice but are provided to give you a general overview of the process. For up-to-date information or scheduling a reservation at an immigration office please visit the Korean Immigration websites:
Korea Immigration Service (K, E) is a basic page which will redirect you to other immigration-related sites. It is a good starting point to see what kind of services are available.
Hi Korea eGovernment for Foreigners (K, E, C) is a general site that focuses on visas but also provides other immigration-related information and registration for appointments at Immigration offices.
You can reach Immigration directly by calling 1345 from within Korea or 82 (Korea’s country code) and then 1345. Support is available in (1) Korean, (2) English, and (3) Chinese from 9 AM until 10 PM. Other language support includes (4) Vietnamese, (5) Thai, (6) Japanese, (7) Mongolian, (8) Indonesian, (9) French, (10) Bangladeshi, (11) Pakistani, (12) Russian, (13) Nepalese, (14) Cambodian, (15) Burmese, (16) German, (17) Spanish, and (18) Arabic but only are available from 9 AM until 6 PM. Select the language you want by pressing the number next to the language you desire and press *.
1345 services include information on immigration locations and hours, immigration representatives who will discuss your visa options, and as of October 2015 the number also connects you to lawyers or legal advocates to assist in a wide variety of legal situations.
If you are already residing in Korea on a work visa which has not yet expired, it is generally possible to change from one kind of work visa to another without needing to leave the country. If you are currently in Korea on a tourist or landing visa, it is not possible to change to a work visa without first leaving Korea. Most international staff newly hired at IBS are hired while living outside of Korea and will apply for a visa at their closest Korean embassy or consulate.
The content on this page has been taken from the 2019 edition of Living in Korea. The book was created in support of our international researchers and has been completely rewritten. The book is available as a 6 MB download here and in paperback form in IBS Centers.