So, you have decided that you want to teach in South Korea. Great! But before you get a job you need to have an understanding of the requirements and process to legally work as a teacher in Korea on an E-2 Visa.  Below we go through what you will need to do to get the visa depending on which country you are from.


What are the requirements for the E-2 Visa?

1) You will need to have a passport with at least 6 months of validity left and at least 1 blank page from one of the following countries – USA, Canada, UK, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand.

2) You have to obtain a criminal background check which proves that you have no criminal record including misdemeanors or felonies.

3) You must have a Bachelor’s degree or diploma from an accredited college or university. Note a UK 3 yrs degree is acceptable otherwise other degrees should be 4 yrs. Also, online schooling is approved if from an accredited University.

4) You must submit a medical check survey before arriving in Korea and then pass a physical medical check at a Korean health center. The test checks for general health conditions, drug usage, and diseases.


Documents to Prepare

Next, if you meet all the requirements above you will need to prepare all the documents for the visa process.

Hard – Notarize and Apostille Documents  

  • Apostilled National Criminal Background Check 
  • Apostilled copy of your Bachelors/Masters degree diploma (notarized by an official notary) 

Medium Contact your university 

  •  2 sets of sealed college or university transcripts  

Easy – Get your photos and contract

  • Passport that is valid for at least 6 months 
  • 6 passport photos (1.38 inches x 1.77inches/ 3.5 cm x 4.5cm)
  • Print out of your employment contract provided by the school 

Criminal Record Checks by Country

USA 🇺🇸

Criminal background Check/ Identity History Summary – US citizens need a national background check from the FBI (State Level will not be approved). There are two ways:

First way – Apply through the FBI website (slower but cheaper option)

Second way– Use an approved Channeler (much faster but more expensive)  

First Way

Note: Average waiting time is 1-3 months and the FBI website will give you estimated waiting in step 1 link provided. 

Step 1 – Go to FBI website and complete the steps. 
Step 2 – Get 2 fingerprint cards completed.
  • Search your area for the closest location to get fingerprints – Police Office or other private fingerprinting locations.
  • Get 2 live scanned (better than ink version) fingerprint cards completed. 
  • Optional: download fingerprint card before hand and fill out

Step 3 – Get the Background Check apostilled.
  • Search for apostille services online 

Second Way

Note: Average waiting time is 2-3 weeks to be completed. 

Step 1 – Select channelers from FBI approved list.

Step 2 – provide fingerprints, documents and payment to get the background completed and must be apostilled

Note: Make sure this service will apostille the background check so you don’t have to wait longer or do it yourself. 

Canada 🇨🇦

Criminal Record Check RCMP (National Level Only) – Very Important: Canadians must have their original CRMP background check verified by the Korean Consulate with a Consulate Verification Stamp. Also Note: The name and DOB based checks are no longer accepted by the Korean authorities

There are two ways:

First way Electronic fingerprint submission. Takes 3-10 days (recommended)

Second way– Paper card fingerprint by registered mail. Upwards of 2 months

First Way

Note: Average waiting time is 1-3 months and the FBI website will give you estimated waiting in step 1 link provided. 

Step 1 – Find a private fingerprinting service.

Note: Each vary in price and/or speed so be sure to check them all out first. 

Step 2 – Get verified by Korean Consulate.

Second Way

Step 1 – Go to local police station to complete digital fingerprints.
Step 2 – Get verified by Korean Consulate

UK 🇬🇧

Basic Disclosure Criminal record Check – This one is simple and easy to apply for: 

Step 1 – Apply for basic disclosure 

Step 2 – Apostille Criminal Record Check 

Note: there are 4 different types of criminal checks for British citizens. We recommend you use Basic Disclosure as it is cheaper and faster (around 3 weeks). 

Australia 🇦🇺

National Police Checks or Police Certificates – This one is simple and easy to apply for: 

Step 1 – Go to the Australian Federal website (online application available)

Click the link ( look for National Police Checks on the right hand side column). Apply online through the website. 

Step 2 – Apostille Criminal Record Check

Ireland 🇮🇪

Police Check Certificates – Simple and easy to apply for:

Step 1 – Contact the Garda Police Station in your jurisdiction

Step 2 – Get fingerprints apostilled

South Africa 🇿🇦

Police clearance Certificates or PCC – Simple and easy to apply for:

Step 1 – Apply for Police Clearance certificate at police station. Complete a set of fingerprints at the police station and necessary application forms

Note: It can take 6-8 weeks to complete it

Optional: Use a logistic service like below (5 days delivery) if you need a faster turnaround time.

New Zealand 🇳🇿

Police clearance reports :

Step 1 – Download and complete form from website. Submit a written copy signed and dated with ink signature.

Note:  It requires a hand signature but can be signed then scanned and sent.

Step 2 – Apostille / legalisation of the Police Clearance reports by a  Government agency.

Note: this can take up to 7 working days to complete.

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