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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

F2 visas

The F2 visa is meant for internationals married to Korean nationals, providing them with a comfortable alternative to the binding E2 visa. I realize that the need for the information contained in this article may be slim in Ulsan but I hope that readers from other parts of Korea can benefit from the insights provided.

My wife and I have been married for 2 years now. We tied the knot here in Korea in 2008 and a week later went on a 2 year long, rather non-traditional honeymoon. We’ve spent a year in Turkey and another in England. The honeymoon was a non-traditional one in the sense that we did much more of things required for the everyday survival of anyone making a living in any part of the world, work, hunting for food and clothing, and only to a minimal degree did we engage in the leisures usually associated with honey mooning. I am referring to traveling and sight seeing. We did manage to conceive so the meaning of a honeymoon has not been  lost on us completely.

We returned to Korea a week ago, it was the 7th of April to be exact. Two days later we were lining up at the immigration office with the requested documentation for the F2 visa application. The first thing you need to find out, before heading over to an immigrations office, is the location of the office at which you need to apply. This may not be an issue for those living in a larger city, but for me, living in Gyoungju, the issue consisted of a 1 hour drive turned into five. Assuming that Busan would be the right place for submitting the documents which was also confirmed on the phone by the Busan Immigrations Office, we spent a one and a half hour drive to the Busan pier only to be told that we needed to turn right back around and visit the Daegu branch. Lesson learned.

What to bring?

Obtaining information on what paperwork is exactly needed for the application can be daunting as a lot of the information I myself tried to find on the internet is incorrect or contradicting to a large extend. I found Dave’s eslcafe to be a great source of info for job seekers as the job boards are quite extensively filled and it doesn’t lack in information available on its forums, yet the information on how to obtain an F2 and what the application process entails is a hair width short of useless. Other internet sources left me no wiser.

The official place to visit is, the Korea Immigration Services website where you can find plenty of relevant information and if you’re still confused simply dial 1345 where information on what to bring is provided in both Korean and English. If you’re still unsure, I suggest that your spouse contacts the Immigration office directly and inquires about the necessary paperwork, in the meantime this is what we were told to bring and this is what was required.

My wife had to go to the village, or city office, and get 3 pieces of identification.

1 – a copy of the registration of your marriage.

2 – your spouse’s family history.

3 – your spouses personal information list.

You, will have to provide your passport and a copy of the marriage certificate. The basic idea here is to convince the immigration that you are indeed married “for love” not for the convenience of a life with an F2 visa. Additionally to the documents listed, an official bank statement will be required. A proof of your sound financial standing, which in our case was to be above 30million won. It’s also an extremely good idea to bring photos. Your wedding photos, if you have such or what may work even better family photos including your in-laws and the two of you. Anything else that you can possibly think of that makes the bond between your spouse and yourself seem stronger, will be a good addition to the application.

As I wasn’t simply changing my visa from an already existing E2 to an F2, Immigration informed us that the application process could take as long as 3 months. I can only assume that the fact that we had been married for 2 years prior to the application had a significant impact on the prompt response. That and the fact that my wife is 21 weeks pregnant, which we supported with photos of ultrasound scans as well as a pregnancy diary issued by the clinic in England.

The reasons for the inaccuracy of information online seems rather plain in retrospect. Different people with different backgrounds and different stories to tell. Yet the reasons behind immigration policies, regardless of how much they may lack in transparency, remain the same: the weeding out of potentially arranged marriages based on financial or otherwise economic gains.

In a number of such cases, ones I myself have heard of from friends who applied for the F2 visa, in person interviews are required. Not in our case. I’ve also come across the claim that an F2 visa is simply a permission to stay in Korea and that one would still require an E2 visa to work. This is simply not true.

Today is the 18th of April and the day on which my passport with a new F2 visa glued inside and an Alien Registration Card arrived at the door. No interviews, no phone calls, completely painless.