Korean E-2 Visa Documents: Part Two

The quick but expensive route: This post is for those of you that want to teach in Korea within the next 2-3 ish months. These are directions on how to get all of your visa documents done in about 5-8 weeks. This is the expensive route though, and it it will cost you between $225-$450 depending on your circumstances (mostly depends on whether or not you have a passport already). If that is too expensive and you have the extra time, you may want to consider Part One.

First things first, again, the list of e-2 visa documents:

Required by all employers

  • FBI Criminal Background Check (FBI CBC) – authenticated and apostilled
  • Passport – must have at least 18 months left til expiration
  • University degree – notarized and apostilled
  • Photocopy of passport information page – not the cover, the one with your photo on it
  • Passport photos – four official photos
  • Contract – with live signature
  • Health Assessment form – provided to you by employer at contract signing

Required by some employers

  • University transcript – sealed with official stamp and signature of university registrar
  • Consulate Interview – depends on the consulate and employer
  • Letters of recommendation – usually two or three, sealed, with contact info, live signature, and dates of employment
  • Marriage certificate – if applicable obviously, the vital record from the health department not the county clerk

These are posted in what I feel is the order of importance/which take the longest. Prices will be marked in green bold. Time frames will be marked in red bold.

This is going to get wordy, so click Read More if this is your thing, keep scrolling if it’s not.

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Korean E-2 Visa Documents: Part One

The Inexpensive But Long Route: This post is for those of you who don’t plan to teach in Korea for at least 3-5 months. Expect this process to take at least 10-12 weeks, if not 12-16, to get everything together. The up side to this long wait is you shouldn’t have to spend more than $150-$300 depending on your circumstances (mostly whether you have a passport or not). If that is too long of a wait and you have the extra money, you want to read Part Two.

First things first, the list of e-2 visa documents:

Required by all employers

  • FBI Criminal Background Check (FBI CBC) – authenticated and apostilled
  • Passport – must have at least 18 months left til expiration
  • University degree – notarized and apostilled
  • Photocopy of passport information page – not the cover, the one with your photo on it
  • Passport photos – four official photos
  • Contract – with live signature
  • Health Assessment form – provided to you by employer at contract signing

Required by some employers

  • University transcript – sealed with official stamp and signature of university registrar
  • Consulate Interview – depends on the consulate and employer
  • Letters of recommendation – usually two or three, sealed, with contact info, live signature, and dates of employment
  • Marriage certificate – if applicable obviously, the vital record from the health department not the county clerk

These are posted in what I feel is the order of importance/which take the longest. Prices will be marked in green bold. Time frames will be marked in red bold

I’m going to cut this here since this is about to get long. If you need this information keep reading.
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Korean E-2 Visa Documents: The Details

The visa document process for Korea is tedious, time consuming, full of possible pitfalls, and potentially expensive. So we decided to break it up into a few different posts.

THE DIFFERENT POSTS

The details: That is this post. Information on timing, a list of the required documents, useful or important links, with a bit of personal experience thrown in.

The long but inexpensive route: This post will be for people who do not plan to teach in Korea for at least 3-5 months. Expect it to take at least 10-12 weeks, if not 12-16, to get everything together. The up side to this long wait is you shouldn’t have to spend more than $100-$250 depending on your circumstances.

The quick but expensive route: This will be for people trying to teach within the next 2-3 months. You could get everything in about 4-6 weeks but it will cost you between $200-$400 depending on your circumstances.

Now, on to this post about details.

THE DETAILS POST

1. Timing: referring to when you want to begin your contract

Once you know you want to teach in Korea, decide when you would like to begin teaching. Maybe your lease is up in August so you want to teach in September. Maybe it’s as soon as possible. Maybe it’s once you have money saved. No matter what the deciding factors, try to have this time frame picked out while being both realistic about your options and flexible with potential employers.

The time frame you choose for your teaching abroad contract will greatly impact which document route you need to take from the above two options (long and cheap, quick and expensive). It will effect practical decisions you need to make, such as if to or which TEFL/TESOL program to take, finances to sort, housing, arrangements for belongings, et cetra. And it will also impact when you should begin job hunting and interviewing.

Here is what it comes down to. If you want to teach in September, for example, you need to be hired and signed by end of July or beginning of August. The reason is because even after all your documents have come in, after all your interviews, and a final decision, it still takes 4+ weeks for Korean Immigration in Seoul and your local Korean Consulate to process your visa. I didn’t know that and it set me back a bit, effecting my finances and housing situation.  It’s a practical decision you should make ahead of time so you can choose the more realistic document obtaining route and eventual contract. Again, you can be flexible but have some perimeters set, such as September at the earliest and best but can accept contracts as late as end of October. I really wanted to teach in September because of my lease but didn’t make this decision til July. So I had to spend a lot of money getting my documents on time.

2. The document list: all the documents you will need to obtain an E-2 visa

Required by all employers

  • Passport – must have at least 18 months left til expiration
  • University degree – notarized and apostilled
  • FBI Criminal Background Check (CBC) – authenticated and apostilled
  • Health Assessment form – provided to you by employer at contract signing
  • Photocopy of passport information page – not the cover, the one with your photo on it
  • Passport photos – four official photos
  • Contract – with live signature

Required by some employers

  • University transcript – sealed with official stamp and signature of university registrar
  • Consulate Interview – depends on the consulate and employer
  • Letters of recommendation – usually two or three, sealed, with contact info, live signature, and dates of employment
  • Marriage certificate – if applicable obviously, the vital record from the health department not the county clerk

3. Tips: exactly like it sounds, the odds and ends of this decision and process

  1. Begin collecting your documents as soon as possible, but no more than 6 months before you want to move. The FBI CBC is only valid 6 months.
  2. Have your documents before you start applying and interviewing. We were only waiting on one document but got some negative feedback about it even though we had it tracked and were expecting it soon. Once we could say “we have it all” we got a lot more offers. And choices are great.
  3. Get doubles of everything. This is important if you want to teach in a public school or if your consulate requires an interview with documents.
  4. If you are about to move or take a TESOL/TEFL course away from home, get your university diploma documents first. Some states won’t apostille out of state diplomas. Like Oregon, unfortunately.
  5. Assume everything is going to take the longest estimated time. Some times it is even longer than that. I said it was tedious and pitfally. Be prepared so you don’t have to be as annoyed as I have been.
  6. FedEx is your friend.

That’s it for the details.

Part One and Part Two will be written and posted back to back. Expect it in the next day or so.

cheers,
sarah

sarah’s esl overseas decision

I was a bit late on this, didn’t think about being a teacher until the fall semester of my senior year in college. Little too late and way too in debt to change my mind at that juncture.

So I was graduating with a B.S. in Anthropology and I loved my subject but not enough to make a career out of it (Indiana Jones is an awesome but exaggerated anthropologist). Being a teacher crossed my mind and I did pretty extensive research on how to teach without a degree in teaching. Doable, but since I wasn’t planning to stay in my state it was going to have to wait. No point in taking this and that test to have to do it all over again in about a year. I figured I would get my long term living situation sorted then approach teaching.

Fast forward one long year.

It’s finally time for that career reevaluation. I was teaching preschool to get some experience but I wasn’t happy with it. I was in a long term relationship with Sean who was already teaching but was not certified. Therefore he was making $10/hour even with extensive experience and wonderful teaching rapport.

Sean and I knew we wanted to be together long term, we knew we wanted to travel, and we knew that teaching was ideal for us both. Sean had been interested in teaching in Asia and fortunately knew people who had taught abroad.

So it started.

My reasons:

1. I have student loan debt, but not that much. On average, teaching in Korea could pay off my loans in under 2 years. And that’s with using some savings for traveling, saving for my nephew and niece’s college fund, and comfortable living. That is insane to think of for me. I figured I would just die with that debt.

2. I want to be either a teacher or a counselor (I love kids, never want to have my own) but I am not ready to go back to school. This gets me some experience, a résumé boost, and helps me postpone going to school.

3. I had nothing better to do. I was working in a bakery after college then a preschool. The best I was making was $11.50/hour. I wanted something different, I wanted something new, and I wanted to make a decision that would propel me out of the college/post college life and into adult life. I was tired of living paycheck to paycheck and not utilizing the skills I knew I had- whether they were backed by 3-5 years experience for entry level work or not. Being in the millennial generation is great.

Sean and I agreed we would pursue teaching overseas. It was fairly easy to decide actually. I love traveling and have gone on extensive road trips multiple times in my adult life. I studied Anthropology because I love how biologically/evolutionarily humans are all so similar, and yet culturally we can be so far apart. Living in another country is my substitute for field work, which I was too lazy to do in college. With this decision I get to combine traveling with pursuing my new career.

It felt natural, like it went so well with myself and my relationship. Having a partner on board probably made it that much easier. Later when I told people we were doing this the general reaction was “yeah, I can see that”.

Asia was the first choice because:

1. We were both interested in Asia academically, culturally, and had never visited before.

2. The European market is very hard to get into due to the EU system. Basically for Europe it is much easier to hire within the EU and avoid visa paperwork.

3. It was financially better than South America or the Caribbean.

But there will be more on Asia in another post.

It has been a year since I made this decision. In that time I have moved in with my boyfriend, moved across the country, gotten married, taken a teaching certification summer course, and spent a lot of money. It has been an incredible year, and an especially incredible summer. And here I am now. TEFL/TESOL certified, signed a contract, in the visa process, with a 30 days notice in at my apartment. Ready. And stressed. But stoked.

cheers,

sarah