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Obtaining Residence Permit in Korea

Obtaining Residence Permit in Korea

One of the wealthiest countries in the world, South Korea has attracted more than one million of expats who mostly live in Seoul. If you intend to become one of them, our company formation advisors in Korea present, in this article, a few key aspects related to obtaining a residence permit in Korea. We also have a team of immigration lawyers in South Korea who will help you apply for such a permit.

 Quick Facts  
 Temporary residence permit types

– temporary and long-term residence visas,

– work permits,

– business visas,

– investor visas,

– family reunion visas 

 Time needed to obtain the temporary residence permit (approx.)

 The minimum period is 20 days, however, it can take up to a few months to be issued a residence card.

 Temporary residence permit validity

 The minimum validity of a Korean residence permit is one year.

 Documents for obtaining temporary residence

 – valid passport,

– application form,

– passport photo,

– other documents in accordance with the reason for immigration

 Mandatory registrations with state authorities (i.e. with the population/municipality register)

Local immigration office 

 Dependents can join the temporary permit holder (Yes/No)

 No, a temporary residence permit is issued to the applicant only.

 Temporary or permanent residency for investment purposes

F2 visa 

 Type of investment available for residency purposes

Business creation 

 Minimum investment amount

 KRW 500 million (approx. USD 370,000)

 Minimum temporary residence before applying for permanent residence  5 years
Residency for individuals married to a citizen of the country 

2 years of living in South Korea and having a good knowledge of the language 

 Documents for obtaining permanent residence

– alien residence card,

– valid passport,

– proof of income earned in South Korea,

– clean criminal record,

– other documents based on the reason for immigration 

 Naturalization requirements

Living in South Korea as a permanent resident 

 Citizenship after permanent residence

 5 years of living in the country based on a permanent residence permit.

 Dual citizenship permitted (Yes/No)  No, South Korea does not allow dual citizenship.
 Entry visa requirement (YES/NO) Entry visas are required for people staying in Korea for more than 3 months. 

 Residency based on work visa (YES/NO)


 Types of work visas

– E-1 professor visa,

– E-2 for foreign language instructors,

– E-3 for research activities,

– E-4 for technological guidance,

– E-5 for special professions,

– E-6 for cultural and artistic activities,

– E-7 for specially designed activities

 Requirements for obtaining residency through family reunion Being married to a Korean citizen, being a child of a Korean resident 
 Residence through real estate purchase (YES/NO)


 Temporary residence permit renewal requirements

 The renewal application can be filed 4 months before expiry.

 Requirements for residency by employment

 Having an employment contract

  Access to a digital nomad visa (YES/NO)

 Yes, starting with January 2024

 Other means to obtain residency in Korea (if any)

 – studentship,

– as a job seeker

 Rights associated with becoming a Korean resident

 – indefinite stay in the country,

– no job restrictions,

– possibility to create a business,

– exit and enter South Korea without a visa

 When to apply for a resident card after entering Korea

 The application for a resident permit must be filed no later than 3 months after entering the country.

 Timeframe to have a Korean residence card issued (approx.)

 It can take between 20 days and 3 months, depending on the reason for immigration.

 Quickest way to secure a residence permit

 Marriage to a South Korean national, however, the residence permit has a 2-year validity in this case.

  Support in applying for residence permit (YES/NO)


 Other services available    We also offer residence permit renewal and citizenship application services.

You can rely on our attorneys if you want to immigrate to South Korea. We are a group of lawyers committed to providing immigration support. No matter what kind of residency permit you want to apply for, you can rely on us. Please feel free to get in touch with us and ask any questions you may have about your moving alternatives.

Ways to obtain residency in Korea

People who want to immigrate to Korea have several types of residence permits they can apply for. Here is how you can relocate here:

  • through the work visa;
  • through the student visa;
  • through the investment visa;
  • through the family reunification visa.

Additionally, if you are interested in company formation in Korea, you can set up a business without choosing the investment pathway which implies a much important amount of money.

How to obtain residency in Korea based on employment

You will need both a work and residence permit in order to relocate to South Korea for employment. Your job position and intended length of stay in Korea will determine the kind of work visa and permission you will be issued. With the following visas, you can work for more than 90 days:

  • the E-1 professor visa;
  • the E-2 visa for teacher of foreign languages;
  • the E-3 student visa;
  • the E-4 visa issued for technological guidance;
  • the E-5 visa for special professional staff;
  • the E-6 visa for artistic and cultural activities;
  • the E-7 visa for specific tasks;
  • the D-5 for long-term stay;
  • the D-8-4 visa also known as the Startup Visa for Technology and Business;
  • the D-10-2 business start-up visa;
  • the D-8-1 investment visa.

Please mind that for obtaining permanent residency in Korea you will need to apply for other types of visas. Our immigration lawyers in Korea can advise on the appropriate visas you can choose based on your knowledge and qualifications.

Here is our infographic on this subject:

How to move to Korea based on family reunification

One of the best ways to immigrate to South Korea is through a long-term family visit visa, under you may reunite with your family. You can be eligible for it if:

  • you are a South Korean citizen’s spouse;
  • you are a temporary or permanent resident of South Korea’s spouse or child who must be aged below 20.

After arriving in Korea, you need to register your stay and apply for an Alien Registration Card (ARC) at the closest immigration office as soon as you arrive in South Korea.

We are also at your disposal with business registration services in Korea if you plan to launch your own enterprise.

Who can obtain the permanent residency in Korea?

According to the Immigration Bureau, there are several categories of people who can obtain a permanent resident permit in Korea in 2024, as presented below.

Adults who have lived in the country with an F-2 status for more than five years, and meet the following criteria:

  •      they are financially able to sustain themselves and their families;
  •      they can prove they have good behavior and respect the local traditions of Korea.

Individuals who have invested in excess of USD 500,000 in the country and have lived in this jurisdiction with a D-8 status for at least three years, while generating employment opportunities for local citizens. Our Korean company formation consultants can offer more information related to this matter. We can also help investors who want to open a company in Korea.

A D-8 visa is given to essential professional specialists working in the management, business administration, production, or technology of a foreign-invested company or to someone who finds a start-up company with intellectual property rights from its proprietary technology and has been certified as a venture business.

Those who have made an investment of at least USD 500,000 and have resided in Korea for 3 years or more on a business investment (D-8) visa, as well as executives who have been sent from a foreign company that has made an investment of at least USD 500,000 in Korea, will be granted a long-term residence (F-2) visa following the submission of all required paperwork.

Entrepreneurs who invested in excess of USD 5,000,000 in the country and who are considered appropriate for permanent residency by the Justice Minister or persons who contributed with special achievements to the country and whose achievements are recognized by the Justice Minister.

Our immigration lawyers in Korea can offer information on the different types of residence permits. If you keep a physical address, you can become a citizen based on your South Korean residency in 2024. The country is quite welcoming to foreign citizens coming here for work or business purposes which is why there are several programs designated for them. If you are interested in permanent residence or citizenship, contact us.

We also have a video on this topic:

Steps to apply for permanent residency in Korea

After obtaining one of the F-type long-term residency visas, you are eligible to apply for permanent residence in South Korea. The F-2-7 and F-2-99 are the most widely used ones. Once you possess one of the visas, you need to apply for the F-5 visa, which allows you to live in South Korea permanently.

For this purpose, you need to meet one of the following conditions:

  • you invest at least KRW 600 million (about $500,000) in a Korean company and create 5 full-time jobs or more;
  • you marry an F-5 visa holder or a citizen of Korea;
  • you complete your studies in South Korea and after getting your PhD, you get a job in the high-tech industry;
  • you employ at least 2 Korean citizens for a minimum period of 6 months, make KRW 300 million (approx.. $256,100), and keep your business for at least 3 years under a D-8-4 start-up visa;
  • you have exceptional aptitudes in Science, Education, Culture, Arts, Sports, or Management that have been acknowledged by the Ministry of Justice;
  • you are financially self-sufficient and have had an F-2 visa for at least 5 years.

If you have had permanent residency status in South Korea for more than 5 years, you will become eligible for citizenship by naturalization. For this purpose:

  • according to the Ministry of Justice, you have good conduct;
  • you are able to sustain yourself financially.
  • you are familiar with Korean language, culture, and customs.

You can also rely on our accountants in Korea if you need assistance in taxation matters.

Documents required for the permanent residence permit in Korea in 2024

When it comes to immigration to Korea and obtaining a permanent residence permit in 2024, the following documents are required:

  • an application form;
  • an alien registration card;
  • a valid passport;
  • a passport photo;
  • other documents: our Korean company registration consultants can provide more details on what these other documents consist of.

Applying for a permanent residence permit with the purpose of immigration to South  Korea can be effectuated when the applicant is in or outside Korea. However, the process of obtaining this permit could be easier if the application is done before leaving Korea. We can also put you in contact with our South Korean accountants if you want to open a company after moving to this country and want to know the taxes it must pay.

Immigration data for South Korea

According to government figures, the number of immigrants in South Korea, including naturalized citizens, increased by around 10% in 2023 compared to the previous year. 1.43 million people were foreign nationals, rising by 9.8% year over year, whereas 51,000 people were naturalized citizens, a decrease of 1,000 during the same time. According to the report, 64.5% of foreign nationals living in South Korea were employed as of May, a decrease of 0.3% points from the previous year. A similar percentage, held by naturalized citizens, was 67.4%, an increase of 2.1 percentage points throughout the time frame. A third of the foreigners earned between 2 million WON (US$1,535) and 3 million WON per month, and 24.4% earned more than that.

If you require further details about obtaining a residence permit in Korea, or for assistance in starting a business in Korea, please get in touch with us. We can also help you get in touch with lawyers in other countries if you need legal services for immigration.