As of October 2018, Korea has a reciprocal agreement with 25 countries for their citizens to obtain a “Working Holiday” visa (H-1). With this visa, it is possible to spend a year (or more depending on your nationality) in South Korea working, traveling, and studying. It is a good starting point if you want to experience Korea, study the language, and earn some money during your stay. Having a working holiday visa DOES NOT guarantee you will find employment in Korea. It will be up to the individual to find employment that adheres to the requirements of the working holiday visa.
Each country has a quota for the number of working holiday visas that can be issued. This is a one-time only visa and you may leave and re-enter Korea as many times as you wish during your stay.
The main objective of your trip should be tourism (holiday/vacation), however, the visa also allows you to work for a certain amount of time depending on your nationality. You are also limited to working no more than 1300 hours per year, regardless of nationality, during the working holiday visa period. There are restrictions on what type of work you can do.
You are prohibited from teaching your native language with the working holiday visa. If you wish to each your native language, you must have the appropriate visa. It is not possible to apply for positions that involve specific skills such as medicine, engineering, etc. It also does not allow working as dancers, singers, athletes, musicians, acrobats, or other entertainment positions.
Possible jobs include waiter, waitress, retail associate, hotels staff, translator/interpreter, editor, babysitter/au pair, and more.
Note that some jobs may require you to have a sufficient level of Korean language skills to conduct business.
If you are found to be working illegally or in a job which is not permitted with the working holiday visa you risk fines, prison time, and/or deportation.
In addition to work, you are permitted to study Korean language. Again, your academic study period may be limited by your nationality. Some nationalities do not have restrictions. You may study at private academies (어학원) or university language schools (어학당/언어 교육원).
Check out the Korean language schools we are partnered with here: https://gogohanguk.com/en/schools-languages/
If you want to make the most of this opportunity, the advice is to study the Korean language for a few months and find a part-time job in order to improve your language skills. For those who already have a certain level of Korean language and want to experience working in a Korean company, the best solution is to seek internships and create a network of useful contacts for the future.
When your working holiday visa period has expired, you MUST depart Korea. You MAY NOT transfer to another visa type within Korea. Overstaying your valid visa period is ILLEGAL which can result in fines, prison time, and/or deportation. If you are deported from Korea, you are typically banned from entering Korea for a certain amount of years.
It is very important that you contact your local Korean embassy/consulate to confirm the documents that you need since you must provide them when you apply for the visa. If you do not provide the required documents, your application will be rejected and you must reapply.
Still not sure what to prepare? Ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help you!