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/
TIPS & ADVICE
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.
- The application and visa process MUST be made at the Consulate of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in your country of citizenship.
- You MAY NOT apply for the working holiday visa in Korea.
- You must be between 18 and 30 years old at the time of application.
- You must not have a criminal record.
- You must have enough funds to support yourself during the initial start of the trip (Equivalent of KRW 3 Million minimum)
- You must not have previously participated in the Working Holiday Program.
- You must hold a return ticket or financial proof equivalent of a return air fare.
- Have adequate health insurance for the duration of his/her stay in Korea.
- Submit travel plans.
- Have a passport that is valid for at least a year (or longer).
- Must NOT be accompanied by any dependents.
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.
- Application Form
- Passport information page color photocopy, valid for 12 months+ and with at least one free visa page.
- Return ticket to your home country or proof of funds to purchase a return flight. The proof of funds amount as well as the time in which you must submit it may vary depending on your country.
- Bank statement showing more than the equivalent amount of KRW 3 Million. The account must be in the name of the applicant.
- Criminal record – the specific document may vary depending on your country.
- Proof of health insurance that covers health care and hospitalization during your stay in the Republic of Korea.
- Health Check Certificate proving that you do not suffer from any disease included in the 2005 International Health Regulations.
- Travel plans: explanation of your trip, interests, planned activities, work, and travel.
- Visa fees may vary depending on your country.
- Proof of highest academic qualifications – you must be at least a high school graduate or above.
- …any other documents as requested by the embassy/consulate
Still not sure what to prepare? Ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help you!