There are many appealing reasons that inspire expats to move to South Korea. Officially known as the Republic of Korea, South Korea is a country in East Asia. It’s the only country that shares a land border with North Korea.
With some of its cities included in the list of best places to live in Asia for expats, there many reasons to consider moving or even visiting these amazing places in South Korea.
Known as the land of kimchi, South Korea is famous for cosmetics surgery, skincare, home of K-pop and K-dramas. Korea is also the home of LG, Samsung & Hyundai, making it a tech haven and base for many startups!
While South Korea might offer a lot of opportunities and low unemployment rates, it is not the cheapest country to live in the world, and it’s highly recommended that you do as much research as possible and make sure you have enough saved if you plan to immigrate to South Korea.
If you want to live in South Korea permanently there are some bureaucratic issues you’ll have to take care of first. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re considering moving to South Korea.
Things to know before moving to South Korea
- The third-largest country in Asia after China and Japan.
- Work visas are valid for a year. You need to renew every year.
- South Korea has two volcanic islands—Cheju (Jeju) and Ullŭng.
- In 2018, South Korea changed the maximum limit that employees may work from 68 hours to 52 per week.
- Korean is the official language and English is not widely spoken.
- International driving licenses are not issued in Korea and you will therefore be required to bring one from your home country with you or you will need to apply for a Korean driving license once you arrive.
- Affordable and universal healthcare system for all.
- South Korea has low rates of terrorism and violence.
- Tampons are ridiculously expensive in South Korea.
Visa Options for Foreigners in South Koreas
Visas for South Korea do not take the form of a general work permit but instead, depends on your employment category. You may be eligible for:
- E-1 Professor Visa (academics)
- E-2 Foreign Language Instructor
- E-3 Research (usually in STEM areas)
- E-4 Technological Guidance
- E-5 Special Profession
- E-6 Culture and Art
- E-7 Specially Designed Activities
- D-5 Long-Term New Coverage (for journalists)
- D-10 Job Seeker Visa
How to move to Korea without a job
If you want to move to Korea without a job, you can apply for a D-10 Job Seeker Visa. The application process involves two main documents: the D10 application itself, and your job-seeking plan – websites where you will be searching job postings, indicate any internships you will participate in that are expected to end in employment and write down any businesses which you intend to interview with.
Persons with the following are also eligible for a D-10 Visa
- Minimum 1-year working experience at one of the companies listed on the Fortunes Global 500.
- Graduate of a university listed on the Top 200 World University Rankings.
- Completed a research program at a Korean University.
- You are recommended by the minister of an official residence.
- You are working on a business startup that will benefit Koreans.
Is it hard to find a job in South Korea
Finding work in South Korea depends on your education, background, and visa. Like most countries, the government requires locals to be considered before foreigners. Sponsoring a foreigner with a work visa can be costly hence most companies would be hesitant to do this. The best way to get a job in South Korea as a foreigner is to find a company in your own country with branches in Korea, teach English in South Korea or get an F-series visa.
A South Korean F-series visa can be obtained through marriage to a Korean person or living and working in the same or several jobs in the same field for a certain period. With this visa, you no longer need to be sponsored by the company in order to work. This massively broadens your options of companies and job positions to apply to.
Where to find jobs in South Korea for foreigners
Moving to South Korea from South Africa
Where to apply for South Korea Visa in South Africa
You can apply for a visa at the Republic of Korea Embassy at 265 Melk Street, Nieuw Muckleneuk, Pretoria, South Africa.
Cost for South Korea Visa in South Africa
- Single Entry Visa (Tourist) for a stay of fewer than 90 days: R680.00 ($40.00)
- Single Entry Visa for a stay of more than 90 days: R1,020.00 ($60.00)
- Long term stay Visa costs range from R800 – R1500, depending on your visa type
Please check the official Republic of Korea website for updated pricing
How far is Korea from South Africa?
The distance from South Korea to South Africa is 13,168 kilometers. This air travel distance is equal to 8,182 miles and the total flight duration from Johannesburg to Seoul, South Korea is 16 hours.
How much is a ticket from South Africa to South Korea?
This depends on when you’re traveling and which airline you choose. The cost for your flight can range from R6,000 – R15,000.
How much do you need to move to South Korea as a South African?
With accommodation booked and paid for in advance, you will need at least R10,000.
Can I just move to South Korea?
No, you can’t move to South Korea without the correct visa. If you move without the right documentation you can face deportation or jail time.
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Travel Insurance for South Korea
Use travel insurance while visiting South Korea so you are covered for theft and medical expenses. There are a lot of fun things to do in South Korea, and it’s best to have peace of mind while driving, hiking, and trying some of the best food in the world!
Find out why I recommend World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance Review.
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