A friend of mine had a terrible experience with his visa. His name is Angelo M. I have a feeling this isn’t the last of what we hear from him. He’s very resilient.
After a few months in a small town I decided to seek work in Seoul, the bustling, exciting capital city of Korea. My employer was a kind, fair man, but life in a small town was extremely boring and unfulfilling for a recent college graduate. I started researching the steps needed to get a new job and so I will share them with you.
First you need to get a “Letter of Release,” this is a document which states that your employer is willing to release you from your current contract. In Korea, you are sponsored by public school, or private institute for a period of one year. In order to get a new job you have to cancel your visa (this can be done via fax to the immigration office) then you have to leave the country (preferably Japan if your a US citizen because you don’t need a visa to visit for 90 days). Okay so once your current employer cancels your visa you have 15 days to get out of Korea. Mine was canceled on July 6.
During this same time, my new employer in Seoul began processing my paperwork for a new E-2 visa (teaching visa for people of non-Korean descent) visa. However, in order to be eligible for this visa as an English teacher you must be a citizen of one of the following countries: USA, CANADA, BRITAIN, SOUTH AFRICA, NEW ZEALAND, OR AUSTRALIA. NO EXCEPTIONS.
On July 18, I received an email from my future employer stating that immigration did not except my official transcripts despite the fact they were in a sealed envelope sent from my university. However, they didn’t have a university stamp or seal on the flap of the envelope. If this wasn’t bad enough I not only had to FedEx new official transcripts from America to Korea ($40), but I also had less than 2 days to leave the country. Since Japan is the nearest country and I had a university friend there I decided to go to Osaka.
I tried to make reservations online, but because I was in Korea a lot of the airfare sites I used back home wouldn’t allow sites to be booked that originated in a foreign country. Then I looked at Korean Air (because I’m a skypass member) and the website wasn’t working properly. So I made a call to Korean Air and booked a flight. I couldn’t pay over the phone so I had to go in person to a Korean Air Ticket Office in Seoul . Luckily by this time I had moved to Seoul and was living with a friend.
I walk into the office take a number and patiently wait for my number to be called. A little while later I hand the pretty woman my reservation number and she does some typing and asks tells me the price 580,000 won (about $620). She told me that my flight would have been cheaper if I had booked online (but I couldn’t due to website problems). Then she said if I had a Korean issued credit card it would have been the price of 340,000 won I saw advertised on the website. I didn’t so I had to take the price because I would have been residing in Korea illegally otherwise. I later found out from a coworker I could have took a ferry to a city called Fukoka for a mere 60,000 won. Also, both of my roommates have Korean issued credit cards……ahhh…..oh well, I’ll take note for future reference. I can’t change the past.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR AN E-2 VISA:
1) Transcripts: They have to be Official Transcripts (not student copies), original -not photocopies, and in a sealed envelope with the university stamp or seal on it . This is important. If you have photocopies -Immigration will not accept them. If you have original ones, but they are not sealed in an envelope with the university stamp on it, Immigration will not accept them. AT LEAST IN THE SEOUL IMMIGRATION OFFICE.
2) Letter of Release: They need the original if you a breaching a teaching contract.
3) Original university degree (or confirmed copy from the Korean consulate in your home country).
4) Signed copy of the employment contract
5) Copy of your resume
6) Official passport photos
7) Photocopy of the photo/information page of your passport
Do you have any horror stories to share? Please let us know.