Changing My Visa Status

Part of the process of changing jobs in a foreign country (yes, Korea is the foreign country) is changing visa status. For me, I’m going from an E7 visa to an E2 visa. E7 is the special occupations visa, while E2 is for foreign language instructors. The list of special occupations according the Ministry of Immigration is here.

With a little help from my friends, after the video is a list of requirements for changing visa status.

Change of Status for Registered Foreigners

Location: local Immigration Office (ie, close to where I intend to work)
Process Time: about one month. I can stay in Korea during the process without an E2 visa but I am not allowed to work during that time. I do not need to leave Korea to change my visa (pooh, I really wanted to eat ramen in Fukuoka).

Required Documents
1. Application Form (Template #34, apparently) 체류자격변경허가신청서: You can try to download it from their website if it allows you to register. I entered my details (ID, password, email address, etc) and the dialog box says “Please enter NAME in English”. The problem is that you need to enter an Alien Registration Number on the previous screen so on this screen my name has already been filled and cannot be changed. I’m told I can just fill the form in at the office when I go for my appointment. And….. that’s 10 minutes I’ll never get back.

2. Passport 여권: Obviously

3. One passport-size photograph 여권용 사진 1매: If you go to a Korean photo shop they may even photoshop (heh) your passport photo free of charge. In fact, you may have to insist they leave it untouched.

4. Alien Registration Card 외국인등록증: Yes, it actually says alien on it. Yes, I pretend I’m from Mars, and that means I have the same superpowers as Martian Manhunter.


5. Service Fee 수수료: KRW 130,000. The website says KRW 50,000 but maybe if I pay the premium fee I’ll get the premium service.

6. Employment Contract 고용계약서 원본 1부, 사본 1부: An original and a soft copy. The original is on the university’s stationery and so has the university crest and name printed throughout. Compare the contract from the world’s biggest shipbuilder.

7. Business Registration Certificate 사업자등록증 등 설립증명서 등 사업장 입증 서류 (대학교에 요청. Yes, universities are a business. Anyone telling you otherwise is a liar or a communist. Or both.

8. Teachers’ Schedule 강사별 강의시간표 (대학교에 요청): This is meant to be the schedule of teachers already working at the university but since the semester has not started yet I don’t think I can get this until the orientation day.

9. Proof of Education 공적확인 받은 학력증명서: This can be a copy of a degree, a proof of degree, or a proof of university graduation. I have two of those three on hand but crucially either one of those needs to be confirmed by a public authority (ie, apostille). My current employer has my original masters degree and initially refused to return it to me. I was told that Korean companies always keep originals of degrees forever (perhaps on the assumption that the employee will be working at that company forever). I suppose in some weird way this makes sense as to get a replacement degree from a Korean university it only costs ~KRW 40,000 and can be done as many times as one wishes. From my university, it is much more expensive and can only be done ONCE. Therefore, the university prefers to issue proof of graduation certificates instead (about AUD 11.00, postage extra). If I’m super lucky, I already got a notary to sign as to the authenticity of my degree when my saint of a mother sent it to my employer 5 years ago.

I’m still waiting for the 4급 사원 in the archives department to find my degree.

10. E2 Visa Drug Test E2 Visa 용 채용신체검사서: It’s a medical exam, but really it’s a drug test. This test can only be done at certain hospitals. I have the complete list of hospitals if any reader needs to do this test. Send an email. Importantly, I must not open and read the results of the test.

11. Criminal Background Check 공적확인 받은 범죄경력증명서 (6개월 이내 발급: Confirmed by a public authority, in my case by the Australian Federal Police.

12. House Rent Contract 집 임대차계약서: Done, as mentioned in this post. Ironically, I thought this part would take much longer than it did. We found the apartment after an afternoon of looking (though the roommate had put some deskwork into it before we went to Daejeon that day) and had the papers and deposit paid by the end of the day.

So that’s the document side of it. The other part involves setting an appointment (which will need to be done by phone for reasons mentioned in 1. Application Form) and then physically applying for the visa status change.

And THEN we play the waiting game.


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