Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Visa Shipped

Within 24 hours of receiving my contract, I got all my documents together and sent them off to the Korean Consulate General in Chicago.

You can find the application for a Korean Visa here and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chicago has a list of the documents/items you are required to send along.

Instructions for filling out the visa application can be found on the second page of the PDF, but I'll write out what I did here:

Filling out the Application:

Make sure to include the visa issuance number at the top of this form (right underneath the title).  The visa issuance number should be on the upper left corner of your NOA in the format of current year-random 4 digit number (YYYY-####).

1. Last Name
2. First Name
3. Characters of Chinese Name (if applicable)
4. Mark your gender
5. Date of birth in DD/MM/YYYY format
6. Nationality (e.g. US Citizen)
7. Your country of birth (e.g. USA)
8. Your home address
9. Home phone
10. Cell phone
11. You e-mail
12. Your social security number
13. Your passport number which can be found on the photo page of your passport in the upper right corner
14. Type of passport (e.g. "Ordinary Passport"; this can be found on your passport).  Make sure to also circle the type (e.g. "OR").
15. Where your passport was issued (e.g. United States, Dept. of State)
16. Date your passport was issued (on passport photo page)
17. Date your passport will expire (on passport photo page)
18-20. If you currently work (as I do), fill out your occupation title, employer phone number, and name/address of your employer
21. Mark your marital status
22-25. Fill in marital information as appropriate or mark N/A
26. Purpose of entry (e.g. "English Program in Korea (EPIK)")
27. Potential length of stay (e.g. "1 year" for now)
28. Date of entry (if you've already bought your plane ticket, this should be easy.  If not, check the information packet that came with your NOA and contract for the approximate date you should be arriving for orientation.
29. Indicate previous visits to Korea or put N/A
30. Address in Korea: at this point, you probably have no idea so you can put "Undecided (EPIK)".
31. Phone Number in Korea: probably unknown (unless you're unlocking your current phone) so you can put "Undecided"
32. I put "Employer and Myself" down for who will pay for my stay because EPIK will be providing housing and/or money for housing while I will be covering other expenses.
33. Fill in other countries you have traveled to in the past five years
34. If family is accompanying you, fill in appropriately or just write N/A in the first box
35. As an EPIK applicant, you are not required to provide a guarantor or reference in Korea.

**Note: Many EPIK applicants had issues with their Consulates requiring addresses and phone numbers, however you should not provide the address or number of the EPIK Office in Seoul or the address or number of your EPIK Coordinator unless specifically advised to by someone from EPIK.

Finally, date and sign the visa application.

You can include a 3.5cm x 4.5cm photo clipped to your application (which is the size you will need for an Alien Registration Card (ARC) in Korea anyway), but I only included a 2in x 2in which is requested on the website and had no issues.

Required Documents/Items:

The Korean Consulate General website provides the following information for all American (meaning if you are not an American citizen, there are other things that apply to you) visa applicants as well as information for EPIK-specific applicants.

1. Regardless of visa status, the following two documents are needed:
  • Valid Passport
  • Completed Visa Application form with one photo attached
2. The following items are required for all visa categories:
  • Valid passport and 1 copy of its personal data page
  • A completed visa application
  • A passport picture (2x2, color) attached to application
  • Visa Fee : US citizen $45; Money Order only, paid to the Korean Consulate General (or exact cash accepted in person)
  • Self-addressed, pre-paid envelope for return of the passport by mail
      3. If you are applying for English Instructor status (E-2):
      • US citizen who want to teach English at foreign language institutions or organizations need to apply for E-2 visa
      • The applicant is required to have a bachelor degree or equivalent degree
      For an EPIK-specific applicant:

      • Valid passport and 1 copy of its personal data page
      • A completed visa application
      • A passport picture (2x2, color) attached to application
      • Visa Fee : US citizen $45; Money Order only, paid to the Korean Consulate General (or exact cash accepted in person)
      • Oringinal Notice of Appointment and copy
      • Employment Contract
      • Self-addressed, pre-paid envelope for return of the passport by mail
      The website also provides the following advisories (paraphrased):

      • All submitted documents with the visa application will not be returned to the applicant except the passport
      • Processing Time: The visa processing time is five to seven working days for most visas, not including mailing time.  The process can be delayed due to various reasons and may change depending on the volume of applications received and are not guaranteed.
      • Applicants are advised not to purchase their tickets until their visas are approved.

      Documents/Items I Included:

      I included all of the following, even though some of the items weren't necessary:
      • Valid passport and 1 copy of its personal data page
      • Completed visa application
      • Passport picture (2x2, color) attached to application and 1 extra
      • Visa Fee : US citizen $45; Money Order, paid to the Korean Consulate General
      • Oringinal Notice of Appointment and copy
      • Employment Contract
      • Sealed transcript
      • Copies of FBI CRC and Apostille
      • Copies of Diploma and Apostille
      • Self-addressed, pre-paid envelope from UPS for return of the passport by mail

      I sent all of my documents via UPS with tracking (I also got tracking for the return envelope) and signed up for e-mail notifications.  There was no extra insurance for sending via UPS except what is normally assigned to such mail (i.e., enough money to replace what you lost).  The total cost was a little higher than I expected (a few tens), but it is what it is.  Hopefully the whole process will go smoothly!



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