Travel Guide

Is the E-7 Visa Right for You? A Simple Guide for Foreign Professionals in Korea

March 28, 2024

If you are thinking about working in a different country, understanding how to get a work visa can be hard. If you want to work in Korea and you are a professional, you might need an E-7 visa. This article explains the main things you need to know about the E-7 visa in Korea in a way that is easy to understand.

I. What is the E-7 Visa?

The E-7 visa is for foreign professionals (E-7 Foreign National of Special Ability Visa) who have a contract to do specialized work in Korea. This visa allows you to live and work in Korea, typically in fields where you need specific knowledge or skills.

II. Who Can Apply for the E-7 Visa?

Professional (E-7-1)

This classification caters to a wide array of professions, totaling 67 occupations. They are further subdivided into Managers and Experts/Specialists.A. Manager → E-7-1

  • Executives of Economic Interest Group
  • Business Manager
  • Education Administrator
  • Insurance and Finance Manager
  • Information and Communication Manager, and more.

B. Expert and Specialist → E-7-1

  • Expert in Life Science
  • Researcher in Social Science
  • Computer Hardware Engineer
  • Telecommunication Engineer
  • Architect
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Nurse
  • University Lecturer, and more.

Semi-Professional (E-7-2)

This category includes 9 occupations related to office work and services.

A. Office Worker → E-7-2

  • Sales Staff at Duty-Free Shop or Jeju English City
  • Air Transportation Staff
  • Hotel Receptionist
  • Medical Coordinator
  • Customer Consultation

B. Service Worker → E-7-2

  • Shipping Service Worker
  • Tourism Interpretation Guide
  • Casino Dealer
  • Chef and Cook

General Skilled Worker (E-7-3):

This category includes 6 occupations and focuses on more generalized skills.

A. General Skilled Worker → E-7-3

  • Zookeeper
  • Aquaculture Technician
  • Halal Butcher
  • Instrument Maker or Tuner
  • Shipbuilding Welder
  • Aircraft Mechanic

Skilled Worker under the Point System (E-7-4)

This classification includes 3 occupations that require specialized skills.

A. Skilled Worker (Scoring System) → E-7-4

  • Skilled Worker in Root Industry
  • Skilled Worker in Agriculture, Livestock, and Fishing Industry
  • Skilled Worker in General Manufacturing and Construction Companies
  • You need to have a contract with a Korean employer or organization.
  • You should have professional skills or qualifications in your field.
  • The Korean organization that wants to hire you must meet certain requirements set by the Korean government.

Applicants must hold one of the following:

  • A bachelor's degree and at least one year of work experience in the relevant field
  • At least 5 years of work experience in the relevant field
  • A master's degree or higher in their field of work

III. How to Apply for the E-7 Visa

  1. Employer Initiates Application: The Korean employer starts the process by submitting documents to the Korean immigration office.
  2. Preliminary Approval: Once there is initial approval, you can apply for the visa at a Korean consulate or embassy in your country.
  3. Submit Required Documents: You will need documents like your employment contract, qualifications, and a valid passport.

IV. E-7 Visa Duration and Extension

  • The E-7 visa is granted for up to 3 years initially.
  • You can extend it based on your employment contract and if you meet other conditions.

V. E-7 Visa Limitations

  • There are rules about changing jobs and doing activities not specified in the visa.
  • Breaking the visa terms can lead to penalties or even deportation.

VI. Necessary Documents

The documents you need might vary, but generally include:

  • Resume
  • A letter of approval stating the necessity of hiring a foreign worker (from a domestic company)
  • Employment certificate (foreign employment certificates must be translated (English/Korea), apostilled, and notarized by a Korean overseas consulate
  • Apostilled copies of educational and professional certificates
  • A separate letter of recommendation for the following jobs: travel manager, event planer, medical coordinator, hotel receptionist, halal butcher, aircraft mechanic, tourism interpretation guide, travel package developer, accomational and leisure management, transportation manager, announcer, aquaculture technician, finance and insurance expert (without a degree), manufacturing manager, and shipbuilding welder.

Important Points to Remember

  • Start Early: The visa process take 1-3 months, so start as early as possible.
  • Check Specific Requirements: The exact documents you need may vary, so check the specific requirements for your situation.
  • Follow the Rules: Once in Korea, make sure to adhere to the terms of your visa to avoid any complications.

VII. Frequently Asked Questions for E-7 Applicants (FAQ)

What is an E-7 Visa?

The E-7 Visa is a Korean work visa for foreign nationals who have a contract to perform professional or special activities in Korea.

Who is eligible for an E-7 Visa?

Professionals in fields like technology, law, healthcare, arts and entertainment, engineering, education, business management, and more may be eligible, depending on the specific job requirements and qualifications of the applicant.

How long is the E-7 Visa valid for?

The initial validity of the E-7 Visa is up to 3 years, but it can be extended by switching to an F-2 or F-7 permanent/long-term residency visa.

Can E-7 Visa holders bring their family to Korea?

Yes, E-7 Visa holders can apply for an F-3 Visa for their dependent family members.

Are there any language requirements for the E-7 Visa?

Some jobs may require proficiency in the Korean language (generally TOPIK II or III and higher), but it depends on the specific job and employer requirements.

Where can I apply for an E-7 Visa?

Applications can be submitted at the Korean consulate in your home country or, in some cases, within Korea. Please check with your nearest Korean consulate or Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Can I change my current visa to an E-7 Visa while in Korea?

Yes, it is possible to change to an E-7 Visa from another visa type, subject to eligibility and approval from the immigration office.

What documents do I need to apply for an E-7 Visa?

Required documents may include an application form, contract, educational documents, professional certificates, and more, depending on the job category. Please refer to the official visa application guide for a complete list.

Can E-7 Visa holders apply for permanent residency?

Yes, E-7 Visa holders may be eligible to apply for permanent residency (F-5 Visa) after fulfilling certain conditions, including a minimum stay period and language proficiency.

Can I work for any employer with an E-7 Visa?

The E-7 Visa is job-specific, and any changes in employment require notification and approval from the Korean Immigration Service.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, check the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or book a consultation online.

The E-7 visa in Korea is a great option for professionals with specific skills wanting to work in Korea. The process may seem daunting, but by understanding the basics and following the steps diligently, it can be manageable. Always refer to official resources or consult with immigration professionals for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

Cover photo source: Lycs (Unsplash)

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