Question from KBC Member “What visa would you suggest I go for?”

Somewhere along the way (beginning 'round about the time I published this article, I guess…), I started getting questions about visas in Korea. Having sat down with the official from Korea Immigration for an hour or so earlier this year, I realize this topic isn't as complicated as it seems. But the reason it seems complicated is because of the rather passive-aggressive approach immigration takes to sharing the information. There seems to be a clear attitude that if a foreigner wants to stay in Korea, it's up to that person to figure it out.

At any rate, I got this question from a KBC member recently:

Dear Steve, Since i currently have a problem with getting an appropiate visa for an intern i hope you can help me or might know what to do. I've been an exchange student at SNU and through a professor I managed to get an internship at GS Energy starting in January. I wanted to go for the working holiday visa and the ambassador in Denmark said it should not be a problem when I applied. However as of now it seems like it is not good enough. What visa would you suggest I go for? The internship is paid. Any help is appreciated.

Here's what I replied:

There isn't an "intern visa" in Korea. To do it right, you'll need to get your employer to sponsor you on a regular employee visa, probably an E-7. Here's an article with details. Even if it's an unpaid internship, I don't believe you'd be able to legally work at it under a tourist visa. But that doesn't mean you can't do it….

2 Responses

  1. François says:

    Dear Steve, I just read your article and I am currently in the same situation as this student. I study at Hanyang University and I will start my 6-months internship in Janaury. I just would like to know how this student dealt with this visa issue. Thank you in advance for your help. Regards, François

  2. anne says:

    As I check the visa information of the Korean Embassy in Berlin, Germany, they make it clear that:
    – if your internship is shorter than 3 month and is not paid, you can work with the tourist visa. The 3 month period is visa waiver period for EU nationals. Citizens of other countries may have different situation.
    – if your internship is longer than those 3 months and will be paid you need to apply for a D-4 visa, which among other documents, will require from you and your company a “Certificate for Confirmation of Visa Issuance”. To get this certificate, the company has to first fill out some application form and submit it along with a few documents to a local immigration office (