Categorized | ESL

Changes in Visa Requirements for Teaching in Korea

In the past few months Korean immigration has changed a few requirements for getting a visa to teach in Korea. How has this effect job hunters? It has made the process much longer.

In late 2009 I was getting all of my documents in order to get a job teaching in Korea. The entire process took me a little over a month. The longest wait was for my passport. Everything else was fairly quick. I had my degree, transcripts took me only a week and a half or so to get, and the criminal background check from the state of Florida took only around 3 weeks to get AND get apostilled.

Now my criminal background check (CBC) alone has taken over 7 weeks. The two major changes have been the CBC and the degree. Prior to September 1, 2010, you could use either a notarized copy or your original degree. Now you must have a notarized and apostilled copy. Immigration no longer accepts the original degree which is what I used when I went to Korea.

But perhaps the biggest change is the CBC. No longer will they accept a state level check. You must now get a national CBC which for Americans means FBI. First of all, you must go get your fingerprints done at your local sheriff’s office or police station. Then mail that in with the application to West Virginia and wait. Then wait some more. So far I have been waiting 7+ weeks. You also must be sure to include a note. The CBC needs to be signed by an official so it can later be apostilled. The apostille will take another 2-3 weeks. So all in all, you are looking at between 10-15 weeks for the CBC.

This seems to have taken a toll on a lot of applicants as they are not getting their CBC back in time to get their visa. I hope I don’t run into this if/when I get mine back. I have everything else in place to get my visa started except the CBC.

So if you are thinking of going to Korea to teach, get started on your CBC NOW! Don’t wait till tomorrow. There are still a lot of jobs out there, but you have to have your documents in order to go and with the recent changes it can’t be done overnight.

For more information on obtaining your FBI CBC see the links below:

FBI Background Check
FBI CBC Apostille

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About Eric Bynum
I taught ESL for three years in South Korea and now I am looking to set out on a new journey after just finishing my teaching certification in the US. I hope to continue teaching and traveling and you can follow his journeys here.

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