Category: Visa

Getting My F-4 Visa

My Heritage

I’ve wanted to experience living in South Korea since I was 11-years old. Some of my fondest childhood memories are watching my grandmother’s Korean variety shows while eating rolls on rolls of her fresh 김밥(Kimbap, Seaweed rice). 

 

An overseas Korean and his mother
A picture of me and my mother who is half Korean and half Puerto Rican.

In the summer of 2022 I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and this past spring 2024 I received an offer to teach in South Korea. In order to legally teach English in South Korea, a work visa is required. I was under the impression that I would be using a regular, 1-year, E-2 Teaching Visa (E-2 Visa Info); however, I was shocked to learn that I qualify for a 교포 (Gyopo, National), F-4 Visa (F-4 Visa Info). For context: a 교포 (Gyopo) is someone who is ethnically Korean, but has spent most of their life living outside of South Korea. 

 

Overseas Korean

To preface, I’m 25% Korean, 25% Puerto Rican, and 50% White. Aside from a few family friends,  I grew up in an extremely small town with little to no Asian culture. In 2012, I was exposed to the idea of teaching English overseas. Once I learned about this opportunity, it felt like I received a golden ticket to learning more about my Korean culture. 

 

Family picture of an overseas Korean family.
My Korean grandmother and Puerto Rican grandfather with my mother and her sisters.
An overseas Korean family.
My Korean Grandmother at the center of it all!

I qualified for the F-4 Visa due to my grandmother previously holding Korean citizenship. She moved to the United States in 1973 after marrying my Puerto Rican grandfather; therefore she was eventually naturalized as an American citizen. Here are some pictures of my grandparents!

 

F-4 Visa: Overseas Korean (Gyopo)

The F-4 Visa is reserved for someone who’s parents OR grandparents have previously held Korean nationality and withdrew their Korean citizenship; hence the word 교포 (Gyopo, National). This visa has more benefits than a traditional E-2 Teaching Visa such as:

  • not needing a job contract to move to South Korea.
  • being able to legally tutor students as a part-time job. (Must be registered with your local Ministry of Education Office.)
  • holding the visa for 2 years with easy renewal. (After first renewal, it is valid for 3 years.)
  • the ability to apply for the F-4 Visa for while in South Korea on a tourist visa.

While the F-4 Visa has some great benefits, much more documentation is needed to receive it from a Korean consulate. Each consulate office requires different documentation, so applicants must call their local consulate office to double check their requirements (List of all Korean Consulates in the USA). With that being said, here are the documents that I was asked to prepare for the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Washington DC:

 
  • FBI Background check specifically apostilled by the Department of State (Instructions on how to apostille documents)
  • Completed visa application from the Korean Embassy website
  • 2 x 2 printed color photo of the applicant
  • 2 x 2 printed color photo of the previous Korean national
  • A Korean family registry
  • The applicant’s passport and birth certificate
  • The previous Korean national’s passport, naturalization papers, etc.
  • The applicant’s mother’s proof of nationality (birth certificate, passport, naturalization papers, etc.)
  • The applicant’s father’s proof of nationality (birth certificate, passport, naturalization papers, etc.)
  • The applicant’s grandfather’s proof of nationality (birth certificate, passport, naturalization papers, etc.)
  • $55 cash

            When in doubt, bring everything you can to prove your family member previously held Korean citizenship and is no longer a Korean citizen. This can include: marriage licenses, death certificates, photographs, retirement documents, etc. The more legal documentation you can provide, the better chance you have of receiving the F-4 Visa as quickly as possible.

 

A record of an ethnic Korean's family tree
This is an example of an official Korean family registry.

To Be Continued..

Preparing all of the documentation listed above was a grueling process to say the least. With my turn-around time being only 2-3 months, I made sure to get started on finding these documents as soon as I finished my call with the Korean Embassy.

My meeting with the consulate is going to be in June. Stay tuned for an update on how my F-4 Visa meeting goes and the amount of time it takes to receive it!

 

Gabriel (Gabe) White is a soon to be English teacher in South Korea. He is a Korean, Puerto Rican-American  from the Richmond, Virginia area and received a bachelor’s degree in English from Virginia Commonwealth University. Being involved in student organizations like Filipino Americans Coming Together at VCU (FACT@VCU) and VCU Globe during his college years, Gabe learned just how much he enjoys experiencing new cultures. In his free time, Gabe loves teaching local dance classes, spending quality time with his loved ones, exploring new cities, and watching nostalgic movies. 

Timeline To Teach English In South Korea

An Experience of a Lifetime

Are you dreaming of an exciting adventure in South Korea? If so, you might be curious what steps you need to take. Here is an in-depth timeline of the process from submitting your application to landing in South Korea in only a matter of months! Without further adieu, here is the exact timeline to teach English in South Korea.

 

Month 1: Application & Interview

  • Day 1: Emma, our excited and adventurous teacher, takes the first step and applies to teach English in January for a start date in May!
  • Day 3: Then, an Aclipse Recruiter reaches out and they arrange a day and time to speak- either for information purposes or for an interview.
  • Day 6: After she completes an interview with our Aclipse Recruiter, Emma is now ready for the next steps. The excitement is building!
  • Day 7: Emma has passed her initial interview with flying colors and submits the application items. Now, she waits to hear back from her Aclipse Recruiter to find out her application results with schools in Korea!
  • Day 11: Great news! Emma receives the initial offer letter from the school! Her Aclipse Recruiter checks in to congratulate her and to schedule a follow-up call.
  • Day 13: Then, Emma and her Aclipse Recruiter have a phone call to review any questions on her initial offer and to discuss next steps, which is prepping her documents for the E2 Visa.
  • Day 14: Emma accepts her offer and signs a Memorandum of Understand (MOU). This is an intermediate agreement before a final contract is signed with a specific location.
  • Day 15 to 24: In the meantime, she works diligently on gathering her documents for the E2 Visa. Her Aclipse Recruiter checks in to support her and answers any questions that arise.
  • Day 25: Emma submits the required documents for her E2 visa and her Aclipse Recruiter reviews them for accuracy.
  • Day 26: To make sure everything’s in line, Emma’s documents are looked over by an Aclipse E-2 documents expert before she mails them to South Korea.
  • Day 30: Once verified, the Aclipse documents expert ships her documents to HQ in South Korea and Emma receives a confirmation email to let her know. Things are starting to feel extra real now!

Month 2 and 3: Visa & Location Placement

  • Day 33: In just a couple days, Emma’s documents arrive at headquarters in South Korea.
  • Day 34 to 49: Meanwhile, Emma is engaged regularly by her Aclipse Recruiter, to start preparing the logistics for her upcoming adventure!
  • Day 50: The placement process beings and Emma is given a heads up by her Aclipse Recruiter.
  • Day 57: Emma strikes gold!! She receives her contract in the first week of the placement process! She asks her Aclipse recruiter any questions about the contract and sets up an official welcome call with HQ in South Korea
  • Day 60: Emma is excited to speak with HQ and is able to ask any remaining questions that might remain.
  • Day 64: Now that she feels 100% secure about all the details, she sends her signed contract back to her Aclipse Recruiter.
  • Day 69: Emma’s E-2 visa documents (along with her signed contract), arrive at Korean Immigration office so they can process a “visa code” to finalize the visa. Processing times usually take between 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Day 83: Now that everything is being officially processed by Immigration, Emma receives her final pre-departure information from her Aclipse Recruiter and they review together.
  • Day 84: Meanwhile, Emma’s visa code is ready!
  • Day 85: She then submits her FINAL E2 Visa application to Korean Immigration and informs her Aclipse Recruiter.

Month 4: Departure & Arrival!

  • Day 98: Emma’s visa has been put in her passport, and she explores her different flight options!
  • Day 99: Then, she quickly books her flight and informs her Aclipse Recruiter.
  • Day 100 – 114: In the weeks leading up to leaving, Emma and her Aclipse Recruiter have a lot of communication. They discuss her arrival and provide details on what will happen when she gets off the plane. Her Aclipse Recruiter sends Emma final reminders and tips for training and settling in, ensuring a smooth transition! Emma feels very prepared for her upcoming teaching adventure.
  • Day 115: And, finally, Emma arrives in South Korea – she’s done it!

You’ve Made it! You’re in South Korea!

From applying to booking your flight, taking the proper steps to teach English in Korea with Aclipse is quite an adventure in and of itself! Luckily, the countdowns, check-ins, and celebrations with your recruiter make it as stress free and efficient an experience as it can be. You can be rest assured that nothing will be missed and you will land in South Korea as fast as you possibly can. Apply today!

Bethany Coquelle, growing up and living in both the east and west coasts of Canada, serves as an Overseas Recruiter specializing in South Korea placements since 2017! With a multicultural family and a passion for cultural exchange, she understands the transformative power of connecting people from diverse backgrounds. Inspired by the impact teachers can have on students’ lives, Bethany is dedicated to linking educators with their ideal positions abroad. Whether guiding through the intricacies of teaching in South Korea or providing a compassionate ear, she is committed to supporting your educational journey.

Getting An Alien Registration Card

What Is An Alien Registration Card?

Obtaining an E-2 visa upon your arrival to Korea does not actually give you permission to live in Korea. I know, I was confused at first too! But, an E-2 visa is a legal document you need to teach English in South Korea regardless of educational institution. An Alien Registration card, or ARC, is an identification card that foreigners are legally obligated to carry with them at all times. According to Yonsei University (2014), “It is illegal to stay in Korea for more than 90 days without being registered, regardless of your visa at entry.” 

 

How To Get Your ARC

To register for an Alien Registration Card, you must go to a Korean Immigration office and provide an application form, passport, 1 color photo (3.5cmx4.5cm), proof of residence, application fee of 30,000 KRW, and medical check-up record for tuberculosis. The staff at your branch will schedule an appointment for you weeks in advance and provide all necessary documents (application form, proof of residence, and medical check-up record). However, you are responsible for providing your passport, colored photo, and application fee the day of your appointment.

 

Sample E-2 visa grant form for teachers in Korea
ARC Application Form

Immigration Office

The day of your appointment, you’ll feel like you’re at a DMV. You’ll sit down, wait for your number to be called, go to the help desk, present your folder, sign a couple of papers. That being said, you’ll be on your way out within 10 minutes. And, yes, the people at the immigration office speak English! The great thing about this Company is that they basically hold your hand when it comes to setting up legal documentation. With that being said, try to release some of that weight off your shoulders. I promise everything will be okay! If you have any other concerns about the ARC process, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea is a great website that conveys helpful information.

 

Amber Ochoa is from Los Angeles, USA, and just recently moved to South Korea in May. She studied Biochemistry as an undergraduate. After graduation, she began venturing out and embracing her love for adventure. She finds that “nothing holds greater power in our life than the unknown.” One night while applying to random jobs on Indeed, she came across an English teaching position in Seoul, Korea. Flash forward, she is now teaching at CDI, Mokdong branch. She claims that Creverse found her and ended up becoming a blessing in disguise. Amber says giving knowledge to students & inspiring them for higher achievements in life is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Visa Application Process in the U.K

From Manchester to Guri

Hello everyone! My name is Sam, and I’m moving to Korea in August 2023 to teach English at the CREVERSE Guri Dasan April Institute. There are so many things I’m looking forward to! I can’t wait to explore Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, and taking yacht cruise underneath the Gwanganri bridge in Busan at night. All whilst enjoying the extremely rewarding job of teaching English! Here are a couple of pics that are getting me more excited. But let me get back to the topic at hand! To teach in Korea, you need an E-2 teaching visa, and here are the step by step directions on the visa application process in the UK, after you receive your visa code.

Gyeongbokgung, also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace, was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. Built in 1395.

Luxury yacht tours have become popular in Busan over the last few years, where you can view waterfront landmarks such as Gwangan Bridge and Marine City. 

A Quick Disclaimer

Everything I explain in this blog is a step-by-step guide on how I got through the visa application process in the U.K. I am only suggesting that you take a similar approach and hope to give you a clearer understanding through key websites, phone numbers, emails etc. that I used to tackle this process.

Also, everything I explain in this post is for people who are waiting for or have received their VISA code from CREVERSE.

Visa & KVAC Important Links

The first thing I did was visit Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website which is a site you can use to find updates and guides on applying for Visas in Korea. You can use the website to find key contact information for KVAC, whom I decided to call. I wanted to ask to check what documents were needed and they directed me to the Korean Visa Application Center website.

They helped me through the website to find their guide

It’s a good idea for you to call them to make sure that you don’t need any additional documents—based on your nationality, or any other personal circumstances.

I was still confused though, as this guide didn’t include the documents needed or other important details. So, you can find this information here, and if you scroll down to the E2-1 visa you can see all of the required documents. When you go through this link, make sure to also download the forms they ask you to fill out as they will be important for your application.

Finally, you can see another link on the picture above, where it says “Please check your visa fee here.”

If you click this you can see the fees for your visa according to your nationality. So please check this link and you will know exactly what you owe when you pay for your visa.

 

Step-by-Step Guide Part 1

KVAC London Guide 

  • Make sure you have followed my important links section and filled out all the required documents so you’re ready for the visa process.
    KVAC also ask for an extra piece of paper with your address and contact details in Korea. I personally contacted my recruiter who then provided me with the relevant details. On this extra paper I also wrote them a note saying what I have attached inside the envelope and that I look forward to their response. It gives your application a professional touch.
  • Calculate your visa fees. If you’re British that should be 60+180+15 (255 Euros). I recommend adding the 15 Euro Courier fee so that they will send your passport and visa back to you.
    (It is in Euros because they deal with their embassy in Germany. All your documents therefore initially go to London and then to Germany.)
  • Follow the instructions to send your money to their international account. Most Banks allow for international transactions for a small fee (Natwest charged me only 15p.)
  • Then you should email them at kvacukinfo@iom.int making sure your email subject reads like this: Your full name/ E2-1 / Proof of Payment.
  • Then send this email with the following details:
  • Name of nationality
  • Visa type (E2-1)
  • Write your payment details broken down – visa service fee 60 / Visa fee 180 / Courier Fee 15.
  • Attach a receipt of your payment transaction.

Step-by-Step Guide Part 2

After you send this email, then you should send your documents to the KVAC London address that is provided in the guide.  You don’t have to wait for their confirmation but send it two to three days after your email. Make sure you send your real passport too. I recommend getting the most secure first class tracking you can get from your local post office – mine offers good compensation if my documents were to be lost, plus I could track my delivery.

  • Make sure to add your return details on the outside of the parcel, Your Name, Address and visa category.
  • After you have done all of this, wait until KVAC contact you to say your documents are all okay. They will then promptly forward them to Germany. After that you can track the process on the link they provide in their guide: https://www.visa.go.kr/main/openMain.do.
  • If you paid for their return courier service, they will then send back your printed off visa + passport. The whole process from sending your documents to London should take around 2 weeks, but this is subject to change.
  • Note that if you don’t pay the courier service, you can organise to collect your documents in London. See the guide from earlier to see how this is possible.
  • Please be sure to read the ENTIRE guide and thoroughly check every link and your documents so you are sure what you are doing.

Conclusions

Thank you for reading my blog on the visa application process in the U.K. with KVAC. I hope it was helpful. I wish you all the best of luck with your visa, and most importantly, I hope your experience in Korea will be as special as mine has been for me so far! 감사드립니다!!!

Sam Pearce is from Manchester, United Kingdom and graduated from Liverpool Hope University in 2019 with an undergraduate degree in History. However, since graduating he has become interested in the education industry! This has taken him to Sri Lanka, Italy and South Korea. Now he is planning to return to South Korea as a Creverse instructor in Dasan, Gyeonggi-do. Teaching English was a great decision for Sam, who not only loves benefiting children’s lives around the world positively, he can now also experience new cultures and learn about history in places that really interest him. Sam’s other interests include Karate (which he is a black belt in); playing football (he plays for a team in South Korea) and even going to the Norebang to do karaoke; amongst many other things. 

How To Get Your RCMP Check In Canada To Teach In Korea

The desire for adventure has you applying to teach English in Korea, Congratulations! You’re on your way to an opportunity of a lifetime! But there might be questions that you have regarding the documents needed for the visa, like:

  • Is an RCMP check the same as a criminal records check?
  • Where should I get that done?
  • How much is getting all these documents going to cost me?
  • What does apostilled even mean?

Worry not! I’m going to give you a play-by-play guide to make the process for any Canadian resident a breeze!

**This process can take up to 4 weeks! Be sure to start ASAP!

 

Step 1: RCMP Check - Location and Explanation

What is an RCMP Check? Essentially, it’s the government police looking into your personal information to see if there is any correlation between yourself and any convicted laws.

The process to obtain one is just as straightforward.

 1st: Head to the RCMP station that is nearest where you live/the address on your identification. Check here for official directions. (Ex: If you live in downtown Vancouver, you have 3 different stations to choose from! Congratulations!)

Or

Visit a nearby Commissionaires Office as their processing times may be faster than visiting an RCMP detachment to apply.

2nd: Before you go, check if you need to book an appointment! (Ex: Places in the interior only offer service one day a week, so MAKE SURE when they offer it and to get in ASAP)

Check here for the hours of most of the interior RCMP stations in B.C.

If you don’t see your specific station within the link, no sweat! Just google “RCMP station (Your city)” and the nearest should come up

Check the Commissionaires Site for their appointment schedule.

 

Step 2: RCMP Check - Execution

When you have all the information, it’s time to apply for your RCMP report! Make sure you have 30-50$ on hand, most stations will do the request but there will be a service fee.

 **Important: Be sure to clarify that the Application type: Employment (Other) and that Application Specifics is Teaching in Korea (This will make things easier for the clerk to process your order)

 They may send you to a postal station nearby to have a courier cheque made out due to the documents being sent to Ottawa, Ontario to be run through the RCMP’s main database. This process might seem like it’s taking an eternity but worry not! The average time it takes for citizens who have never been convicted of a crime is 2-3 weeks. Some places are faster, some places are slower. Have patience, because it is on its way.

 

Example of a Certified RCMP for Canadians getting a visa to teach English in Korea

Step 3: Apostilling Documents - Location and Explanation

Good news! You’ve received your RCMP report! Now it is time to apostille your RCMP report and your degree copy! But what does that even mean?

Apostilling a document is essentially “authenticating public documents so that they can be recognized internationally in foreign countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty” (CT Corporation Staff, 2024)”

Step 1: Have your RCMP report and degree scan “notarized” by a public notary.  

Look up a few different notaries in your region to find one near you.

I utilized Charlene Silvester Notary Public (link: https://www.vernonnotary.com/) and had absolutely no problems!

 Step 2: Take your notarized RCMP and notarized degree copy to be apostilled at the provincial office. The cost for the apostille is $20 per document.

 

Example of a Certified RCMP for Canadians getting a visa to teach English in Korea

Conclusion

You have your apostilled documents. A job well done! You’re now all set to send off all the documents needed to start the visa process.

 Now get ready for a year of adventure, excitement and living to the fullest!!

 

Morgan Hunter is from Vernon, Canada, and has a Bachelor’s in Journalism from Thompson Rivers University. Morgan had originally started writing film reviews and that love of writing spurred his interest to teach English worldwide. This led him to Aclipse and South Korea where his adventure would began! This is his first year teaching in South Korea, where he will begin at the Chungdahm Institute in Daegu! 

How to Obtain Your Visa Documents in the U.S. to Teach in Korea

Before you can board the plane and fly to South Korea, of course some planning and paperwork needs be completed and mailed to the Aclipse headquarters in order to receive your visa. Below is a list of what items and documents you will need to obtain if you are a United States citizen in order to teach in Korea.

Before I talk about how to obtain each document, I first want to list the documents themselves, which I have provided below. 

1) 2 passport photos

2) 1 apostilled copy of your bachelor’s degree

3) Latin degree translation (if necessary)

4) 1 apostilled criminal background check (CBC).  When applying for your CBCs do not apply too early. They should be valid through one month after your target start month. ie. Target start month is May, your CBCs should be valid through June.

5) Degree verification from university OR degree verification through American Databank.

6) Your original E2 health statement form with signature and blank date.

7) A copy of your passport which you can scan and email to your recruiter. Just make sure your passport will be valid throughout your entire stay in Korea.

Although It seems like an overwhelming task to obtain these documents, it’s really manageable and just something that has to be done. The most important part is to simply begin and not procrastinate. And I can’t stress enough the value in asking questions. Prior to this experience I’d never needed to provide so many official documents and perhaps you’re in the same boat – that’s okay; that’s why Aclipse has a fantastically equipped and patient team to help you!

Specifically, I want to address obtaining your apostilled CBC and diploma copy.

Obtaining Your Apostilled CBC:

If you are an E2 Visa holder, like I am, you will need to obtain one background check.that needs to be apostilled. Now you maybe asking yourself how do you go about obtaining an Apostilled CBC?

The first step that must be taken to get your CBC is getting fingerprinted at your local police station. This process took about 20 minutes from start to finish. Next, you’ll need to complete and print a specific form from the one of the FBI channelers. This form needs to be mailed along with the fingerprints to the address specified on the FBI channeler website. You’ll also need to prepare a money order, check, or completed credit card form for the amount requested per copy of the results. Include the money with the fingerprints and form. And then you wait for your CBC!

Your CBC is a federal document, which means it needs to be apostilled at the federal level. Once I received my CBC, I mailed it myself to the US Department of State to apply for the apostille, but this method could take as long as six weeks to process and has in the past resulted in start date delays, so you need to do so as soon as possible. You can also send your CBC to Aclipse by making a payment on their Paypal account, and they will send it to Washington Express and get it apostilled for you, which is an easier method.  

Below are examples of what your CBC and the apostille of the CBC look.  One thing of note is is to make sure your CBC has the same name that is on your passport.  This is crucial and make sure to double check this prior to mailing it to Aclipse.

(Above is an example of a CBC, depending on where you get it your CBC maybe white or a light blue)

(Above is what an apostille for your CBC should look like. This will be attached on top of your CBC)

Obtaining Your Apostilled Diploma:

The first thing I did was take my actual university diploma to a FedEx shop nearest me to make a copy of it. Then, I mailed the photocopies to the SC Secretary of State’s office. DO NOT DO THAT!! FIRST, you MUST make sure to get the copy of your diploma notarized prior to getting it apostilled. I thought I ONLY needed an apostilled diploma. But it turns out, I can’t get an apostille without first getting it notarized, so I had to get a new photocopy of my diploma made, and then I went to my bank and had them notarized. For fear of being short on time, I decided to drive to my Secretary of State’s office and had my CBC and diploma apostilled in person. It took me three hours round trip, but it honestly saved me the headache of wondering if my documents would return to me on time.  One other key thing your should know is that your diploma needs to be notarized and apostilled in the same state.  You can’t get it notarized for instance in Massachusetts and apostilled in New Hampshire.  Below are examples of what a notarized and apostilled diploma look like.

(Above is an example of a notarized diploma. A notarized diploma should have a stamp that says “Notary Public” on it)

(Above is an example of an apostille for the diploma. Each state will have a different apostille which will be attached on top of your diploma, but they should all have the state name written on it along with the word “Apostille.”)

Along with obtaining an apostilled diploma, if your diploma is written in Latin, you will need to obtain a Latin translation from your University. Also, if your name is different on your diploma from your CBC and passport you will also most likely have to obtain a letter from your university stating you are the same person as the one in your passport. For instance some diplomas may just have a middle initial, while the passport may have the full middle name. 

I hope my account of getting my CBC and diploma apostilled didn’t confuse anyone further. It’s especially important for me to share my blunder with my diplomas. While there are a few steps to take, they need not cause headache or sweats. Most importantly, ask your recruiters questions if you are confused or having issues. 

Linda Gaida was raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina and graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2016 with a degree in Romance Languages. While passionate about environmental studies and conservation, her interests now lean towards education! Her curiosities and studies have taken her to Romania, Portugal, Peru, India, and now South Korea, where she works as an English teacher for ChungDahm Learning in Busan. Deciding to teach abroad was an easy decision to make for Linda: while she gets to experience a culture foreign to her own, she is able to benefit the global society by teaching children English and helping them pursue their own ambitions. Linda is also interested in yoga, climbing, hiking, backpacking (anything involving movement), cooking and writing poetry.

How to Obtain Your Visa Documents in South Africa to Teach in Korea

Obtaining the necessary documents to teach in Korea can be really stressful and a big headache if you do not know where to start or how to go about it. From experience, following a methodical order of things needed to be done will help speed up the process. Every citizen coming to Korea has a different route to follow and one needs to know the specific requirements for their nationality. The method of obtaining documents is different in every county. So what may be allowed in America, may not be allowed in South Africa.

For South Africans, acquiring the necessary documents to teach in Korea is pretty straightforward and is much easier than other nationalities’ lengthy processes. There are 5 things you need to have and a particular order of steps that you should follow in order to use your time efficiently. This blog will lead you step by step to make the sure process is easy and efficient.  

If you live outside of Johannesburg and Pretoria, it is highly recommended that you make use of a third party service, such as Docs4Expats or DocAssist. From personal experience, Docs4Expats, run by Noma, is a trustworthy and efficient courier service that is well-connected and has a speedy overturn rate. If you prefer to not sit waiting, Noma does everything for you, once you have paid the required fee. Before you begin gathering the required documents, make sure you know which ones and how many of each you must obtain if you go through Aclipse to teach in Korea.  The documents you need are:

  • 1 apostilled copy of a criminal background check (clearance certificate)
  • 1 apostilled copy of your university degree
  • 2 passport photos
  • 1 degree verification

Step 1: Apostilled Police Clearance Certificate

The Criminal Record Centre in Pretoria processes all South African Police Clearance Certificates. First, you have to have your fingerprints taken at the nearest police station along with a copy of your passport/ID book and your original passport/ ID book. Next, the applicant can opt to use the SAPS postal service or their own courier service. It is advised that you use an external courier service, like Docs4Expats, for quick processing. If you live in Johannesburg or Pretoria, it is much quicker to drop off your PCC at the CRC yourself. If you drop it off or use an external courier, the process will take about 6 weeks. The process cost for one PCC is R96,00.00 which you can be paid at the CRC or via a bank transfer or directly to your courier service. A re-issue of the PCC can be made within 6 months, and it will cost an additional R96, 00.00. 

A final step is to authenticate your certificate. You have to get your PCC Apostilled at any High Court in South Africa. For convenience, there is one in Pretoria, which you can go directly to, with your PCC and University Diploma, after collection. Another option, is to pay for a third party to process your PCC and Apostille it at the same time.  

While you are at the police station kill two birds with one stone, and get a copy of your passport information page certified. Take your passport and 3 x copies of your passport and get all of them certified by a ranked officer. You will need this at a later stage in the application process.

Tip: request 2 copies of your PCC for future use, it takes some time to request a new one, even though it is valid for 6 months.

Step 2: Notarized and Apostilled Photocopy of University Degree 

The Korean government wants foreign teachers to bring their original university diploma with them to Korea to present to the Korean Education Office when it is requested. However, in South Africa you have to apostille two copies of your University Degree. First, you need to make two clear A4 copies of your degree, black and white is fine, then you need to submit your original degree and the copies of your degree to a South African High Court to Apostille the document, thus authenticating it. You can opt to do it yourself, after receiving your PCC, together with your original and copied university diploma and take it to the High Court in Cape Town or Pretoria.  A more convenient way, is to use a courier service like Docs4Expats, that will Apostille all documents once they have received your PCC and your emailed copies of your university degree.

Tip: Wait for your PCC to arrive. Afterwards, take your PCC, original and copies of  your University Diploma to the High Court to get it apostilled.

Step 3: University transcripts

While you wait for your PCC to be processed, you can email your universities registrar and get them to mail you 2 sets of University transcripts. You only need one for the application, but a back up transcript is always helpful. You must tell your university to seal the back of the transcripts with the Universities official stamp. The transcripts must not be opened before coming to Korea, the Korean Education Office requests all of them to remain sealed and will not accept them otherwise.

Step 4: Passport Photographs 

Getting a good set of passport photographs for teaching in Korea is important. By the time you look again, you can’t believe almost all of them are gone. You need passport photographs for contracts, ARC registration, visa application, and a Korean Health Check.10 photographs should be sufficient and follow the Korean photograph guidelines, regarding size and posture. These should be 3.5cm by 4.5cm and in color. All photographs have to be the same shot. You can go to any studio or photo printing shop in South Africa. Make sure to specify the correct size and color.

Tip: Ask for a digital copy in the correct sizes, then you could just reprint it at a studio in Korea.

Extra Tips:

  • Make sure your passport is valid for the duration of your stay in Korea
  • Apply at AA for an International Drivers Permit
  • Have photocopies of all original documents, and authenticate them at SAPS

How to Obtain Your Visa Documents in New Zealand to Teach in Korea

Kia Ora, my name is Samantha and I’m from originally from Taranaki in New Zealand. I graduated from Victoria University with my BA in English literature and Theatre which I then followed up with a Diploma of Primary teaching. Now my partner and I are both currently in the recruitment process with Aclipse to teach in Korea. Having recently obtained our visa documents for Korea, I wanted to provide some insight into how to make the process less stressful and help answer some of the questions many candidates from New Zealand may have.  I am confident if you just follow the steps below that you will successfully obtain your documents without any issues.

Step 1: Apply for a Criminal Background Check

The first thing my partner and I did was apply for a criminal background check which was free. Make sure you apply early as it can take up to a month till you receive it. We each filled out a personal request form from the justice department which you can find through this link: https://www.justice.govt.nz/criminal-records/get-your-own/

The website page has instructions on filling out your form and how to send it. While filling it out I requested both an electronic version via email and a paper copy which arrives by post. I took a photo of my driver’s license as identification which I attached to an email along with my form. I then sent it to the following email with my first and last name as the subject: criminalrecord@justice.govt.nz

* One thing of note when filling out the form, make sure the name you provide in the form matches the name in your passport.  This means if your passport has your middle name please provide your middle name in the form, and if your passport just has your middle initial, only include the initial in the form.

Example of a New Zealand Criminal Background Check 

Step 2: Once You Receive the Criminal Background Check

The paper copy was just a back up but all you really need is the electronic copy to be sent by email so you can then forward it on to the Authentication Unit. I attached an apostille form along with my background check to the email with a brief message stating what I was sending to this email address: auth.unit@dia.govt.nz . You can find the form to request an Apostille through the government website or by following this link: https://www.govt.nz/browse/nz-passports-and-citizenship/proving-and-protecting-your-identity/use-your-nz-documents-overseas/#how-you-apply   

The first apostille costs NZ$32.00 and any additional apostilles cost NZ$15.00 each. If you want both a paper apostille and an e-apostille, it costs NZ$47.00. We got both but you only need to send away a paper version. It will take up to 7 working days to process and the paper version will be sent by post.

New Zealand Apostille Example 

Step 3: Get your Degree Notarized and Apsotilled

The background check is a government document which means it does not need to be notarized like your degree will. Before you can send your diploma away to be apostilled it will need to be notarized by a public notary. I used http://notarypublic.org.nz/ to search for a notary in my area. I selected my region and it gave me a name, number and address to contact each public notary. A public notary is a lawyer who is authorized to authenticate your document and we made sure to contact them first and ask about the process and what the cost would be. Ours cost about NZ$100 each for the notarized apostille but check with your notary. In my case they were also able to send the document away for the apostille after they notarized it. My partner and I had to take some form of identification when we gave them our degrees so they could verify the documents belonged to us. The apostille takes up to 7 working days and will be mailed back to you in the post.

Step 4: Send your Documents.

Once we received all our documents my partner took them to the post shop to have them be mailed to the Aclipse office. One thing of note is although using a courier is expensive, you will have the ability to track your documents and they will arrive a bit quicker. However, my partner and I prefer to live life on the edge and sent them by air mail which is cheaper but the choice is up to you.

Once Aclipse receives your documents your recruiter will notify you and tell you if all the documents were done correctly, or if there are any issues that need to be fixed.