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It's constant hustling and never knowing what will happen tomorrow. Will I be able to enter the country? Will there be an outgoing travel ban? Is my 72-Hour PCR test scheduled on time? Do I even have all of the necessary documents? It's a headache having to go through all of that, especially during a pandemic, BUT it is possible, so don't be discouraged.
If you're interested in teaching English in Korea, my first advice is to get your TEFL certificate. Even though some places say you don't need it, you should get it regardless. It'd be a good experience and it kind of exposes you to a bit of what you can expect out of this industry, especially lesson planning. It can be tedious, but please just do that before you start applying. I wish I knew that before I started applying because I was getting turned away left and right because I hadn't yet completed this AND for the next reason.
Link to get the $40 TEFL (and save almost $300 USD).
The next step is to get an official version of your diploma and get it notarized by a lawyer. I didn't know what this meant and no one ever explained it to me, so I called a few lawyers in my city to ask for clarification. To get your diploma notarized is when a lawyer that is confirmed by the Notary Public stamps your diploma and adds some stuff like their contact information. This verifies that your diploma is real. Nextly, get your criminal background check. This is valid for about 6 months, but I recommend getting it before you start applying because a lot of recruiters and direct schools do NOT have the time to wait for you to get these things done. Getting my criminal background check took about 2 weeks and then to get my diploma notarized, I got that done within a day.
HOWEVER, what takes time is sending your notarized diploma, your official version of your diploma, a copy of your passport, AND your criminal background check to the Korean embassy to get it apostilled. That, in itself, took another 2 weeks. I was so anxious waiting for my documents to arrive because at the time (I had mailed my documents to the Korean Consulate rather than going in person), I had already started applying to places and because I didn't have my apostilled documents back yet to show them, I was getting denied LEFT AND RIGHT.
Undoubtedly, many places will be okay with hiring you before you even have all of your documents ready, but that wasn't the case for me.
After getting an offer of employment from your employer, you'll receive an official employment contract, a health check, and an E2 Form that was almost entirely in Korean. I emailed those documents along with a scan of my passport back immediately for my employer to fill out and submit to the Korean embassy in Korea.
Once that was completed, my employer asked me to get my passport photos taken in person and then to send them 4 of my passport photos, my original criminal record check that was apostilled by the Korean embassy in my country, and my notarized and apostilled diploma. I had to FEDEX those documents to them as soon as humanly possible. Once my employer received those documents, they were able to take them to the Korean embassy in Korea to get a visa issuance number for me. It took about 7 days to receive my visa issuance number from my employer via email. After that, it is now my job to bring my passport, scan of my passport, and ALL of my documents including my contract to the Korean embassy in my country to apply for an E-2 Visa.
Here are the EXACT things you'll need to bring for your VISA APPLICATION (according to the Korean Consulate of Toronto).
You can only apply for the visa after you receive your Visa Eligibility Certificate. For inquiries on how to obtain that, please contact your recruiter or employer.
- Visa Application form for those with Visa Eligibility Certificate (print & fill out the attached form)
- Additional Contact Information for Applicants with Visa Eligibility Certificate (print & fill out the attached form)
- Valid passport (must have a validity of 6 months or more left)
- Photocopy of passport (colour or black/white)
- The passport photo was taken within the last 6 months
- Signed employment contract (signed by both the applicant and the academic institution)
- Document(s) (or printouts from the organization's website) providing an overview of the academic institution with the name, phone number, and email of the contact person at the academic institution
- Covid-19 Negative PCR test results
- Health Condition Report Form (please print and fill out the form)
- Consent to Quarantine (please print and fill out the form)
Anyways, I continuously checked the Visa website to check the status of my visa application. They won’t email you or call to let you know that your visa has been approved, so you need to be vigilant and check on your term.
That’s all you need to do! I know it’s a lengthy process, but it’s worth it. I am rooting for all of you who are considering moving to another country (especially in the middle of a pandemic) to pursue this job opportunity.