South Korea has visa waiver arrangements with a number of countries, including the USA, the EU, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, then you do not require a visa to visit South Korea for tourist purposes or for simple business meetings. If, however, you wish to remain in the country for longer than 90 days (or 180 days if you are Canadian), then you will require a visa, and these are not easy to get.
South Korea has a highly educated workforce, and there are relatively few job opportunities for foreigners, other than English teaching. In almost all cases, you must fit one of the following criteria:
• Possess significant qualifications at a high level from one of the global top 200 universities according to The Times
• Be an experienced employee of one of the world’s best 300 corporations as announced by FORTUNE
• Be able to demonstrate that you are an expert in your field
• Have a contract with a Korean organisation to work in a specific area which has been approved by the Korean Ministry of Justice
• Are being transferred by your current employer to work in South Korea
These opportunities are rare, and you cannot remain in South Korea for longer than the time specified by your short stay visa or visa waiver without providing a specific reason. Also, you cannot get a visa to retire to South Korea.
If you are of Korean heritage, with at least one parent or grandparent who was a citizen of South Korea, and can demonstrate competency in the Korean language, you may apply for a people of Korean heritage visa, which lasts for two years.
A full list of visa types can be found on the website of the South Korean embassy or consulate in your home country.
Click here to visit the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA’s website.