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.
There are a number of different visa types available for working at IBS, and for dependent families to live in Korea, but most of the visas that IBS sponsors are E-1, E-3, and E-7. C class visas are for short-term work and IBS uses C-4 to hire persons for less than 90 days. D class visas are for education and certain job types. D-2 is available for UST students engaged in an MA or Ph.D. course and this visa does permit holders to legally work but only under certain conditions. D-4 is for education programs that do not offer a degree.
E class visas are for long-term employment. E-1 is for professors or lecturers at a university, E-3 is for researchers, and E-7 is specialized employment not necessarily research based. F class visas are frequently the hardest to obtain as they are for residents (F-2), accompanying spouse and children (F-3), ethnic Koreans with overseas citizenship (F-4), permanent residents (F-5), or married to a Korean citizen (F-6).
Only one visa type, the F-5, allows holders to vote in local elections. But all visa types are not allowed to participate in political activities in any other way, shape, or form. This includes, but is not limited to participating in political protests, speaking at political rallies, or holding placards about election candidates.
|Visa type||Eligibility||Maximum residence period|
|Individuals who do short-term employment and are financially compensated for it. Work can include lectures, research activities, or a wide variety of other jobs.
Holders of C-4 can legally work in Korea.
|Individuals studying in an accredited university program for BA, MA, MS, or Ph.D. studies. Visa also allows holder to conduct specific research at a college, university, graduate school or other academic institutions established under the provisions of the Higher Education Act.
It is possible to work under this visa class but only under very specific conditions and only after the first semester of study has been completed. These conditions make it difficult to find work outside of a university or institutional setting. Thus, it is better to think of this as a non-work visa unless arrangements have already been made.
Holders of D-4 can legally work in Korea but it can be difficult to do so.
|Individuals studying in programs that do not hold accreditation and do not offer a formal degree. Can include those who are obtaining training for research and technology at national and public research institutes. Holders of a D-4 visa are not allowed to work.
Variations of this visa class include:
D-4-1: Korean language trainee
D-4-2: General trainee (other)
D-4-3: Elementary/middle/high school student
D-4-5: Chef trainee for Korean cuisine
D-4-6: General trainee (private institute)
D-4-7: Foreign language trainee
Holders of D-4 cannot legally work in Korea.
|Individuals who are qualified, as defined under the Higher Education Act, who wish to teach or conduct research at educational facilities. Applies for full-time lecturers or professors hired by academic organizations (e.g. college or university). Also applies for research professors in certain academic fields, laboratories attached to a university or college, or individuals who provide lectures or conduct research at science-related educational facilities.
Holders of E-1 can legally work in Korea.
|Scientists and engineers engaged in science or high technology research at a college, university, national institute, public institute, or non-profit research institute in science and technology.
Holders of E-3 can legally work in Korea.
|Skilled individuals who possess specialized knowledge, technology, or skills as defined under Article 16 of the Framework Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in the Republic of Korea.
The law was updated in 2015 so that international students who received a degree within Korea are no longer limited to jobs that are directly related to their university program major.
Holders of E-7 can legally work in Korea.
|Individuals who will stay in Korea more long-term compared to previous visa types. Can be obtained via a few different methods. If an F-2 is held for 3 years, then the holder can apply for F-5 permanent resident status.|
F-2-1 or F-6 can be obtained by marrying a Korean citizen.
F-2-7 is nicknamed the “points-based visa” as applicants can “earn” the visa if they get enough “points” as determined by the combined social value of their age, education, tax bracket, work experience before moving to Korea, and Korean language ability, among other aspects. Points are removed for violations of Korean Immigration law, including taking more than two weeks to regis