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Immigrate to Korea

Immigrate to Korea

Foreign citizens who want to immigrate to South Korea can apply for specific visas for short-term stays or residence permits that enable them to live here longer. The decision should be made in accordance with one’s goals and qualifications.

No matter the way you decide to migrate to Korea, our lawyers are at your disposal. You can rely on our immigration lawyers in South Korea for a wide range of services tailored to your needs.

 Quick Facts  
Entry visa requirement (from EU)  (YES/NO)

Yes, citizens of EU countries must apply for entry visas for South Korea.

Entry visa requirement (outside EU) (YES/NO)

Yes, similar visa regulations as to EU nationals also apply to non-EU citizens (there are also approx. 20 nationalities that do not need visas to enter Korea)

Types of visas available


– business,

– tourism,

– employment,

– family reunion

Time frame for obtaining work visa (approx.) 

1 to 4 weeks 

Validity of temporary residence permit

Temporary residence permits are usually available for one year (those associated with work contracts)

Temporary residence permit renewal requirements

Temporary residence permits should be renewed at least 2 months before expiry.

Documents for obtaining a residence permit

– valid passport,

– information about the reason of entering the country,

– evidence of having sufficient funds for a temporary stay,

– proof of a local address

Timeframe for obtaining permanent residence

A foregin citizen must live for a minimum period of three years to qualify for permanent residence.

Investor Visa availability (YES/NO)

Yes, there are several options for investors interested in immigration to Korea.

Start-up Visa Scheme availability (YES/NO) Yes, South Korea has a startup visa that has a validity of 6 months. 
Sponsorship requirement (YES/NO)

No, there are no sponsorship requirements to relocation to South Korea.

Time frame for obtaining citizenship

Korean citizenship implies living in this country for more than 5 years.

Citizenship/Residency by investment scheme availability (YES/NO)

No, there is no direct citizenship by investment scheme in Korea.

Taxation for foreign citizens

Foreign citizens are taxed on the income they generate in Korea at progressive rates (between 6% and 45%)

  Tax benefits for expats

Starting with December 2023, foreign employees will be allowed to choose to pay a flat tax at the rate of 19% instead of the progressive rates.

Korean immigration rules

If you are interested in immigration to Korea, you have several options, among which are employment, study, or family reunion. Fortunately, South Korea has begun to open its borders and accept an increasing number of immigrants each year. This has led to a much simpler visa application process.

For short stays the documentation is minimal. However, for employment, the paperwork will be more complex, as it depends on the job.

There is also the option of investment for those who want to open companies in Korea.

The cost of obtaining a visa for South Korea is generally the same. The usual cost of a Korean visa is between 70 and 90 USD.

No matter the way you choose to migrate to South Korea, our skilled lawyers can help you. If you decide on Seoulimmigration here is possible through our local office.

If you are interested in immigration to South Korea, contact us. Our lawyers are at your disposal with numerous services, considering the differences between Eastern and Western cultures. If you want to get acquainted with what it means to move here, contact our immigration lawyers right away!

Although there is no formal scheme for citizenship by investment, investing can result in Korean permanent residency. The amount to be invested depends on the selected option, as there are several. You can consult with our lawyers who can propose a suitable solution in accordance with your development plans.

The main ways of acquiring residency in Korea

Here are the main ways through which you can immigrate to South Korea and obtain permanent residency:

  • temporary residency is one of the safest ways for immigration to Korea;
  • employment should also be on your list if you are a specialist in your field;
  • family reunion is another option to migrate to Korea, provided that you have family members living here;
  • investment offers the opportunity to have a business and live in Korea, however, this option targets businesspersons with sufficient financial resources.

Compared to a few years ago, Korean immigration regulations have been simplified in order to welcome people who want to come here and contribute to this country’s economy. Here is also an infographic on this subject:

We are at your service if you want to apply for South Korean residency. Our specialists can offer the necessary information on the best pathway to immigration followed by support in filing the documents for obtaining a residence permit. Get in touch with us and find out how we can be of assistance.

How to migrate to South Korea through employment

The good news is that immigration to Korea based on employment is possible through a wide variety of visas. Among these are:

  • professional visas;
  • intra-company transfer visas;
  • work and visit visas;
  • international trade visas.

Out of these, professional visas are available for experienced and qualified persons in various fields. Since Seoul is a great city to live in, immigration here can be on your list in terms of relocation places.

Our immigration lawyers in Korea can advise all types of residence visas available through employment. An interesting fact about South Korea is that it has a lottery visa (the H-2-5 work and visit visa), just like the United States.

How to relocate to Korea for business purposes

Company formation is one of the ways through which entrepreneurs can obtain residency in Korea. If you plan to extend a business or to invest in a Korean company, you can apply for the following types of visas:

  • the trade management visa (D-9);
  • the business investment visa (D-8);
  • the intra-company transfer visa (D-7).

Self-employment is also way to move to South Korea, and if you need assistance, our immigration lawyers can assist you.

Self-employment visas are granted by the Korean authorities to attract foreigners to establish businesses there. The industries entrepreneurs work in will determine the type of visa they need to apply for. Some of the most employed are:

  • the D-8-4 technology visa is intended to support promising ventures;
  • the D-10-2 business start-up visa;
  • the D-8-1 investment visa is reserved for individuals who can invest a considerable sum of money to launch their business.

One of the most appealing options is the D-10-2 which allows foreign nationals to attend training provided by the Overall Assistance of Start-up Immigration System (OASIS). The training enables them to get acquainted with how to start an entrepreneurial career in Korea. The conditions for obtaining this type of visa are simple: all you need is a bachelor’s degree or relevant skills to open a company in South Korea.

Please mind that for business purposes you also need to comply with local tax regulations, cases in which you can use the services provided by our accountants in Korea.

Family reunion in South Korea

To immigrate to South Korea, spouses and minor children who are not married to holders of temporary or permanent residence permits must apply for a F-3 visas. The following paperwork must be submitted by the applicants:

  • the standard application form;
  • a passport-sized recent photo;
  • the birth or marriage certificate, depending on the case;
  • evidence of good financial standing (employment contract, pay stub, tax payment receipts, etc.);
  • visa fee payment receipt.

The family members will be given visas that allow them to stay for the same period of time as the main applicant, depending on the application process. There are also cases in which they are limited to obtaining a single-entry visa, which has a 3-month expiration date and may be renewed one time every year.

As dependent relatives of F-5 visa holders, spouses and minor children may apply for F-5 visas. They must have spent a minimum of 2 years living in South Korea.

Our immigration lawyers in Korea can explain the conditions under which family reunion visas are issued.

Permanent residency through immigration to Korea

In order to qualify for permanent residency in Korea, you must live here for 5 uninterrupted years. There is also the possibility of marrying a Korean citizen and thus qualifying for permanent residency after 2 years.

Living in Korea for more than 5 years will make you eligible for citizenship.

How to obtain an Alien Registration Card after moving to Korea

People who relocate to South Korea and plan to stay longer than 6 months must get Alien Registration Cards (ARC). In Korea, the ARC is a personal identity card used by foreigners. Alongside it, the applicant will also be issued Resident Registration Numbers, which are required for enrolling in the healthcare system or opening a bank account.

Documents required to obtain a permanent residence card

Once you have spent enough time in Korea to be eligible for the F-5 visa, you can begin the process of applying for permanent residency. The necessary paperwork will vary depending on the type of visa you already hold, and the kind of F-5 visa you are applying for. You will need to submit:

  • a valid passport;
  • a completed application form;
  • proof of income or savings (pay stub, bank statement, work contract, etc.);
  • a rental agreement;
  • a clean criminal record.

You may also be required to file documentation related to your marital status and level of education.

No matter the way you decide on Korean immigration, address our specialists for support. You can also watch our video below:

Foreigners living in South Korea

If you decide to immigrate to South Korea, you will find plenty of other foreign nationals here. According to data here:

  • at the level of 2022, there were approximately 527,000 Chinese of Korean descent living here;
  • there were also around 209,000 Vietnamese citizens living in Korea;
  • among other foreign nationalities from Western countries, 58,200 US nationals live here.

You can also count on us for bookkeeping services. As one of the most important accounting tasks, this can be performed by our Korean accountants who use specialized software in order to keep track of all invoices in the most accurate way. Avoid losing money by requesting our dedicated services.

If you want to migrate to Korea and need assistance, contact our lawyers. We can also help you with immigration to Seoul.