Korea is the land of opportunity, it presents lots of ways to make money. Just take a stroll down Itaewon’s main streets and side roads any day, and you’ll see people from all over the world making a living in Seoul. Teaching is not the only to earn a paycheck here. The previous two parts have outlined a step by step plan on how to acquire the initial 75 points for an F2 visa. Now it’s time for the final 5 points that will send you to the immigration office to apply for the visa.
THE FINAL POINTS
Getting started on obtaining the final 5 points is quite simple. Just go to your employer for the last fiscal year, and ask for a copy of “Earned Income Tax Withholdings”. It is an official government document that is used to show the amount of money earned in the last year. It’s pretty easy to obtain. A simple photocopy will supply everything you need to get a few points. The points are given by annual income. If you earned 20 million or less, 1 point is awarded. Every 10 million more a year awards 1 more point. The scale maxes out at 100 million a year, which would give 10 points to the F2-7 visa applicant. Teaching English will award you around 2-3 points, depending on your monthly salary. This should bring your total points to around 77 to 78 points.
The last few points, just like the last few miles of a marathon, are the most difficult to acquire. Most of these points will come from the “Extra Points Criteria” section. This section starts off with the Annual income Tax Payment Record. The lowest level for this section is a single point. To earn this you have to have paid less than 100-200 million won worth of taxes that year. The points increase by 1 for every 100 million paid in taxes. The scale maxes out at 500 million+ with 5 points. To acquire these points you simple need to bring in your tax records from the previous year, which you already used to prove for your Annual Income points. There are no guaranteed points from this section. It all depends on past tax records. A majority of points can be earned in the “Study Abroad Experience in Korea”. You’ll receive 1 point for any formal Korean language study done at a academy in Korea. Upon completing a level, an official document should be received from the school. This is only good for 1 point, no matter how many semesters you have attended. However, if you have earned a degree in Korea, you can get the following points: associate’s degree (2 points), bachelor’s degree (3 points), a master’s degree (4 points) and a PH.D (5 points). To acquire these points, the Immigration Office has to receive a copy of the official diploma from the school. Enough points can be acquired simply by obtaining any higher form of education in Korea. However, earning points in these areas requires a large investment of time and money. Another way to earn some points through nothing but time is volunteering. Now, not just any volunteering will count for points. It has to be an organization that the Korean Government recognizes. This can be tricky, but in order to officially count volunteer hours, you must register with this site (http://www.vms.or.kr/index.jsp). Ask any Korean friends or expats with the visa where they did their hours. Volunteering for 1-2 years will earn 1 point, 2-3 years will earn 3 points, and 3+ years of donating your free time will earn 5 points. For me, this was a critical area to acquire the points in, so if you’re really interested in obtaining this visa it’s time to get to work. For those that didn’t come to Korea fresh out of university, there is a “Professional Experiences Abroad” area to earn some points. 1 to 2 years experience earns 1 point, while 2-3 years get 3, and 5+ receives the maximum points of 5. The difficulty in getting these points is proving work experience. The Seoul immigration office requires a signed letter from the CEO of the company verifying the employment period. I would also suggest bringing in any tax records that prove/verify your employment.
Follow these not-so-simple steps to acquire the F2-7 Visa. It will take time, but it’s worth it if you want to consider a long term stay in Korea. Be sure to check back in the next issue for tips at the immigration office- what to do, what not to do, and how to save a lot of time and frustration.