Americans – E2 Visa Instructions
Americans, please follow these instructions to get your teaching visa for South Korea. This information is for teachers going to private language schools only. The process for public schools is different.
This details some of the basic documents required for an E2 visa. These will vary between public and private schools. Please contact your Footprints Placement Coordinator for details that pertain to you and your school.
And hey, if you haven’t even applied for a job in Korea yet, you should fill out our one-minute online application. It’s free and our team will connect you to the hiring directors in the best schools (and then help guide you step by step). This saves you time and hassle not having to figure everything out on your own.
STEP 1 – Document Collection, Notarization and Apostille Authentication.
You must begin organizing the following documents before you get a job offer:
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 same 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.
B) University Transcripts
- This means you need to contact your university registrar and ask them to give you your university grades in a sealed (that’s unopened) envelope from your university with a stamp or signature over the seal.
- You’ll have to order two sets of sealed transcripts.
- One set will be sent to your school in Korea.
- The other set will be sent to the Korean Consulate only once your reservation number has been issued – this is explained in Step 2.
- Remember: DO NOT open them!
C) 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.
* Many American teachers have found that getting their FBI Check takes far longer than they had originally thought and it has led to job offers being revoked and unnecessary expenses for those who did not get this done correctly.
- Have the results sent to you.
- 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 which can 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 (see the E2 visa guide for a sample Affidavit. If your notary has their own version, use that one). Then, send or take the notarized copy to the Secretary of State for Apostille Authentication.
- Please note: we strongly recommend getting the apostille through the Department of State. Schools in Seoul will not accept apostilles that are done through your Secretary of State.
D) Health Statement
- This is a simple questionnaire form from the Korean government on which you personally answer the questions. Once you arrive in Korea, a full blood test and physical exam will be administered.
- The test will include testing for narcotics, TB, HIV, and other communicable diseases. The government suggests that they are not testing for THC or marijuana but please note that smoking marijuana in Korea is a criminal offense and is NOT handled lightly. Foreigners are not exempt and are in fact targeted. DO NOT BRING ANY DRUGS TO KOREA, OR USE ANY THERE.
- If you do not pass the health exam in Korea you will likely have your visa revoked and will not have a job or health insurance.
E) Passport Photocopy
- No, this is not a photocopy of the cover of your passport – we have had that a lot…
- It is a photocopy the information page of your passport.
- Make sure you have at least six months on your passport before it expires.
- Make sure there is at least one completely empty page in your passport.
- Print a copy of your resume.
G) Signed Copy of the School Contract
- The contract will be provided to you by e-mail once you agree to it and the school accepts you as their teacher.
H) Five Passport-Sized Photos
- These are standard passport photos – the same that you would need for a new passport.
- The photos must not be older than 6 months.
We move on to Step 2 once you have been offered and have accepted a teaching contract in Korea.
STEP 2 – Send your Documents to Korea
- copy of original degree with Apostille
- one set of sealed university transcripts
- notarized FBI Check with Apostille
- health check statement
- photocopy of the information page of your passport
- copy of your resume
- a signed copy of the contract
- two passport-sized photos
Do not send your documents via the United States Post Office (USPS) or Purolator. Delivery can take 5 days to 8 weeks or more and there is no way for us or the school to keep track of your documents once they are in Korea (USPS and Purolator can’t track it within Korea).
Once you’ve sent your documents, please retain a copy of your invoice with the tracking number of your package and the address you sent it to. Please send Footprints a copy of the tracking number and tell us what company you used.
This will cost $40 to $80 to send depending on the company you choose, the weight, and the service you use. It sounds rather expensive – and it is – but it is well worth it when you are sending your authenticated degree, transcripts and background check that all can take a very long time to replace if lost.
Your school will take these documents to the Ministry of Justice and Immigration in Korea to get a Visa Authorization Number for you.
Within 7-10 working days, the Immigration Office will issue a Confirmation of Visa Issuance Number; also referred to as the Visa Reservation Number or Visa Confirmation Number.
The number will look something like this: UJBO 08007392 (the first four characters are letters, the remaining characters are numbers).
The school will then forward this number (by e-mail) to you (or us). You will need this code to put it on your teaching visa application for the Korean consulate.
STEP 3 – Mail or Bring your Visa Paperwork to the Korean Consulate
We move to this step assuming that you have received your Visa Confirmation Number. If you don’t have it, please check with your Placement Coordinator and they will contact the school to see where things currently stand. Korean Immigration usually takes 7 to 10 business days to process applications in Korea.
Once you have your Visa Issuance Number it is time to mail or take your application form and visa documents to the Korean Consulate or Embassy nearest to you. Check the links below to find out which office has jurisdiction for your state.
E2 Teaching Visa Application Form – here are some fields on the application form that you might have questions about :
- Classification: OR – ordinary (unless you are a diplomat!)
- Occupation: English Teacher
- Purpose of Entry: To teach English
- Potential Length of Stay: 1 year
- Address in Korea: same address to which you sent all your documentation
- Who Will Pay For The Expense For Your Stay?: Employer
- Guarantor or Reference in Korea: same person to whom you sent all your documentation
Take the Visa Application form and the required documents to the Korean Consulate with jurisdiction for your state or area.
Required Documents to Apply for an E2 Teaching Visa at the Korean Consulate:
- Completed E2 Visa Application Form
- Passport: Make sure you have your passport ready, that there is 6 months validity left on it and that there is at least 1 empty page. Make sure it’s signed too.
- Photo: You will need to send a passport picture with your application.
- Confirmation of Visa Issuance Number: Fill in the reservation number at the top of application form.
- Transcripts: Send one set of sealed transcripts to the consulate.
- Consul’s Checklist: A simple two page document required by the consulate.
- Fee: The cost will be: $45 USD
* This must be cash or a money order.
* As an American you are generally given a multi-entry visa immediately upon application (typically without having to ask for it). Make sure of this – if you don’t have this multi-entry capability, your visa will expire if you leave Korea to visit Japan, Thailand or elsewhere for vacation.
Always call your consulate to ensure you are familiar with their procedures.
Each consulate has different processing times (from one hour to 5 days), so ask them when it will be ready and let us know as soon as you know so plans can be made. If you didn’t go in person, call the consulate to make sure they received your documents and to find out when your visa will be ready.
They might request an interview IN PERSON with the Consul General if they need additional documents and proof. Your visa will be processed after that.
Once you have received your passport back with your E-2 visa, you are all set to begin your journey to Korea! Your Placement Coordinator should have been working with you on arrangements for your flight arrival and your airport pickup. Keep in touch with your Placement Coordinator so they can make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.
Here is a list of Korean Consulates in the United States and their jurisdictions. Please find the one that is responsible for your US state or US overseas territory:
Atlanta Consulate – responsible for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virgin Islands
Boston Consulate – responsible for New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont
Chicago Consulate – responsible for Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
Honolulu Consulate – responsible for American Samoa, Hawaii
Houston Consulate – responsible for Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas
Los Angeles Consulate – responsible for Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, South California
New York Consulate – responsible for Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania
San Francisco Consulate – responsible for Colorado, Northern California, Utah, Wyoming
Seattle Consulate – responsible for Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington
Washington DC Consulate – responsible for Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia
Guam Consulate in Hagatna – responsible for Guam, Northern Mariana Islands
Read on : Did you like this guide to applying for a Visa in Korea as a US citizen? We have built other useful guides for teachers and people working online or overseas. Check out our comprehensive guide to online teaching jobs and learn how best to write or update your teacher job resume (including a sample resume for teachers without experience). Dig in deeper by learning how to create a positive learning environment or what you can do to practice culturally responsive teaching. A wealth of similar guides and articles are available in our resources section. Are you eager to apply for jobs and register for programs? You can do that quickly on our easy general application that covers all the teaching jobs that we offer. For a little bit more background information on the steps required to teach english abroad and online, head to our home page. And if you have a specific region in mind, read up on teaching english in Korea and teaching in Dubai – or scroll down for other popular destinations.