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Would you love to explore the hip streets of Seoul, indulge in spas in Jeju, or eat all the bibimbap you can get your hands on? If so, the South Korea working visa might be the answer to your prayers.
If you’re between 18 and 30 years old, the South Korean government offers a working holiday visa called the H-1 Visa. As a U.S. citizen, you can explore this exciting country for up to 18 months while making money to support yourself.
How to get a working holiday visa for South Korea
Before you pack your bags and hit the skies, you need to learn how to get a working visa in Korea. Read on for the full process, along with tips on jobs that qualify for a South Korea working visa.
What is the South Korea working holiday visa?
If you’re a U.S. citizen, the South Korea working visa allows you to stay in the country for up to 18 months. You can temporarily work in the country or study at a South Korean school while you’re there.
This South Korea visa also lets you freely enter and re-enter the country during your stay, so you can feel free to explore neighboring countries or even visit your family for the holidays without jeopardizing the status of your visa.
South Korea working holiday visa requirements
To obtain a working holiday visa in South Korea, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- Be between the ages of 18 and 30 and unaccompanied by a dependent
- Hold an eligible passport, such as a U.S. passport
- Intend to stay in South Korea for no longer than the length of the visa.
- Have never previously taken part in the Korean Working Holiday Program
- Hold a return ticket or financial proof that you can afford outbound airfare
- Have financial proof that you can support yourself for the first six months of your stay
- Hold adequate health insurance for the length of your stay
- Submit your travel plans
- Not have a substantial criminal record
- Meet the health criteria to travel and work in South Korea
You must also provide the following documents:
- Application form
- Passport and one passport photo
- Return ticket or money to buy one
- Supporting financial documentation
- A sealed official transcript or a notarized copy of your diploma
- Travel insurance
- Travel plans
- Application fees
- Criminal record check
- Medical certificate
Preparing financially for your year abroad
Although you may have plans to work once you obtain your South Korean working visa, you’re required to show financial documents that prove that you can support yourself at the beginning of your stay. The typical requirement is 3,000,000 KRW, or about $2,467 USD.
While this amount might seem daunting, it’s important to create a savings plan if you anticipate applying for a working visa. You have to account for the fact that it may take you a couple of weeks or even a month to find temporary work in South Korea.
Along with showing proof of financial stability, you also must have enough to cover the cost of the application fee. At the time of writing, the fee is $45 for U.S. citizens.
How to apply for the South Korea working visa
After you’ve prepared for the Korean working holiday visa requirements, it’s time to submit your application. Keep in mind that you can’t apply for the visa in Korea. You must complete the application and apply in your home country.
To submit your application and the corresponding documents, you must visit a South Korea embassy. Applications are accepted year-round, and they are approved on a first-come-first-served basis.
That said, South Korea only offers a certain amount of visas each year. For U.S. citizens, it has 5,000 available slots.
You can download the five-page application online. The processing time for working holiday visas is 2-3 weeks. There are no express options available, and the embassy cannot guarantee processing time or visa approval over the phone. Therefore, you should hold off on booking your flights or making plans until you receive your visa.
Working holiday visa South Korea jobs
Now that you know how to get a working holiday visa for South Korea, you need to consider how you’ll fund your stay.
With this working visa, you can obtain a temporary job for up to the length of your visa. This is a great, flexible option for travelers who need to supplement their income and savings while they explore the country.
Finding a job in a foreign country can be daunting. But with these resources, you can find flexible working holiday visa South Korea jobs:
Examples of acceptable jobs include,
- Teaching English
- Working in restaurants or food service
- Doing manual labor
Alternatively, you can find a remote job that allows you to work from anywhere. With virtual employment, you can travel wherever you want without being tied to one area. As long as you have WiFi, you’ll be able to explore South Korea at your leisure while earning money online.
Exploring the South Korea on your working holiday visa
Whether you’re drawn to South Korea’s lively cities or sprawling coastlines, you’ll have an unforgettable experience during your visa year. With a working holiday visa, you can travel the country, experience the culture, and take in historical sites while earning an income.
But since this visa offer only extends to young travelers, be sure to apply before your 30th birthday, so you don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Curious about living in New Zealand or Australia? Learn how to get a working holiday visa for New Zealand and Australia in these guides.