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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

New E-2 Visa Rules to Take Effect (Jan 1, 2011)

The Korean Government has modified (go to “Notice” and “Conversation E-2”) its rules on obtaining an E-2 visa.

The biggest change is that a criminal background check is only required once, even if you leave Korea, provided that you are gone less than three months. However, a local background check will no longer be sufficient and visa applicants will need a national level background check.  Prior to the rule change, applicants could supply a background check from a city police agency, but that would not necessarily cover crimes committed in another state or province.  This rule takes effect on January 1, 2011.  Those foreigners who have arrived prior July 15, 2010 but will need to renew prior to January will likely be placed in paperwork and red-tape hell.  Don’t expect the old rules to apply and expect you’ll be doing things as if it were already 2011.

Regarding university diplomas and transcripts, applicants will no longer be required to re-supply the documents after they have been verified. Previously, applicants had to request sealed records from the university be sent to the Korean authorities for each and every visa application.  Beginning September 1, 2010, applicants must submit documents to the Korean Consulate in their home country or to the Korean Council for University Education which will submit to Immigration.  Those who applied before Sept. 1 but are still going through the paperwork hell will be summarily executed in order to reduce frustration for both parties.  In other words, the new rules apply now – no work-arounds.

E-2 visas will expire 2 months after the initial contract ends. This is so you can weather the transition period after one contract ends and find a suitable new contract to keep you here in the Land of the Morning Calm. The supplied housing is not covered. You can stay after your contracts ends, but you must become homeless and live on the street. That may not be so bad.

E-2 applications who test positive for HIV/AIDS will not be deported. However, your medical status will likely be reported to your hiring school so they can keep you away from the the kids and make sure your chopsticks won’t don’t touch the same food dish theirs will. In order words, they’ll find a reason to fire you.

This should streamline things in the future, although for those caught in the middle (i.e. already here and needing new education docs and criminal back ground checks) will be put through the country’s own brand of administrative nightmare.  Welcome to Korea.