Monthly Archives: October 2017

The wait… and still waiting

Getting all of your documents in on time in order to apply for a visa can be a headache but once everything is in Korea the next step is to just wait. I hate waiting, but hey its a lesson in patience… Anyway, this past week I was able to get all of my documents in and have the manager at my school set a meeting with the immigration office in Daejeon. Once that meeting is set, the manager will go and deliver my documents in person. Simply enough, and once immigration has everything I have to wait 2~3 weeks before I hear about the status of the application. From there it will be another 5~7 business days before I receive the necessary paperwork.

Now some of the things that I want to expand upon are timelines. 2 of the things that take the longest are the apostilled FBI background check and the apostilled degree/letter of expected graduation. That is because in order to get the background check through “normal” channels it takes about 2~3 months to receive a result, send it to be apostilled, and receive it back. ¬†Which if you’re in a time crunch like I was, this is not feasible and was one of the reasons I went through a recruiter like Korvia. For me it took about 2 weeks total because Korvia partners with a FBI-approved channeler and I got my results in about 4 days for $50. Another Korvia partner, Monument Visa Service, helps by expediting the apostille process and from the time I faxed my information to the time I had it back in hand was about 8 days later for $50 as well. I recommend services like this as you receive documents sooner and the sooner you get things the easier it is to get everything in within the 4 week deadline.

Now the Degree/Letter of Expected Graduation is a different story as this is something that is taken care of by the State Department in the state you live in/graduated in. Indiana does not charge for the Apostille (Go Indiana!) and you can walk in and have your stuff done in a matter of 2 days. Unfortunately, I mailed mine in and had to wait about a week and half  before I asked my dad to walk in with a copy and get it done for me (turns out the person in charge of apostilling documents had been on vacation so maybe thats why and my recruiter was not thrilled but hey whats a girl to do!). Go Dad!

Deadlines are very important when trying to get a work visa in any country so remember to start early that way you are not surprised if things take longer than normal to be completed. Also, make sure you read up on the type of visa you should be receiving so that you can have an idea of what will be required of you! Once you have checked off the box, kick back and enjoy the wait (or in my case try to get all my stuff for graduation on order)!

 

Explained: the E2 visa

I realized that while I said what type of visa I was trying to get, I never explained what type of visa it was. There are many different visa type in Korea and the particular one I will be applying for is an E category visa. There are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, M, and T visa types and each group has sub categories that fit with a specific description of what the applicant can do while on a particular visa. As I am going to Korea as a native English Teacher I will be applying for an E2 visa or a visa for a “Foreign language instructor who plan on teaching conversational language” (Wikipedia). Now under this visa I am not allowed to teach grammar or literature, only conversation.

This is an important distinction as doing more than you are authorized to do can cause you to be deported or issued a 30 days notice to leave the country. This is a current “problem” for some English Teachers in Korea right now as these teachers are finding out that they have been doing things not allowed in the visa description and their school cut corners (sometimes knowingly). While, it is in no way the fault of the teacher as they english contract doesn’t always have the exact translation and therefore all these teachers are seeing is “foreign language instructor”, it still is still illegal.

Now if you are going through a government program such as EPIK, GEPIK, or SMOE this is not something you will have a problem with (after all the government also issues visas). If you are going to work for a private institution you need to ask questions such as “What will my jobs be?” “What type of visa did you plan on giving me?” and then do your own research so you know what you can and cannot do. If you have time you can also search youtube to learn more about these types of things.

Hopefully, this will help all of you as you start along the visa process!

E2, I see what you did there..

There are so many things that go into preparing to live in another country and while some things are easy, others are mini nightmares, like in a holy crap I jumped off the deep end and forgot I couldn’t swim kind of a way.

When you accept a job to teach in Korea you will find that there are many steps in applying for an E2 visa and if you are like me and have yet to graduate this process can get a whole lot more complicated. Thankfully, going through Korvia means that I don’t have to duke it out with the immigration office in Daejeon over the wording of my documents but it is certainly disheartening to be hitting such a hefty roadblock so soon. I have submitting my background check (notarized and apostilled), 2 letters of recommendation, sealed transcript, 3 copied of the signed contract with my school, TESOL certificate, my resume, a copy of my passport, and passport quality photos. All good and then the catch… Korea needs an apostilled version of your diploma or in place of it an apostilled Letter of Expected Graduation. As I will not receive my diploma until the end of December I opted for the graduation letter, only to find out (and though my advisor had copied the language of the example letter) that my letter would not be accepted until my semester finished in December. It is frustrating and costly but I have hope that it will all work out in the end.

Not the end of the world as it only takes 3 weeks from submission to turn around in the visa process but the question remains on if the school I signed a contract with will waited the couple months until I have officially ended college. I want to be a transparent source of information as I had not heard of people having a problem like this. Therefore, as I find out more information about what will happen to my job, I will detail it here so that if other people have to go through this they can see how things were handled through me as an example.

Fingers crossed!

Fast Forward

I have neglected to post in awhile as life caught up to me and proceeded to whack me into shape. Alas, I have gotten it together (as one can try anyway) and am back to update/discuss my journey to Korea. A lot has happened in the 2 months since I decided that teaching in South Korea had to become a reality rather than a dream.

Roughly a month ago I received an email from a lovely lady named Jessie, a consultant at Korvia, about a position that she thought would be a good fit for me. I was impressed by the fact that although she was not “my” consultant she had looked through other consultants’ teacher profiles to fit what the school was looking for. Long story short, I got an interview with the school and on the day of my Skype interview Jessie was there to help me along. I was able to Skype with her beforehand to check the audio and video feedback and to ask any questions about the interview. Once that was done the real interview started and went fabulously! One week after the interview, I heard back from Jessie and was thrilled to be offered a job in Daejeon, South Korea for an affiliate of the International school in the area. Now I had known that if I was offered a job I would sign the contract in no time at all but I also knew that I would need a bit of time to process the fact that, assuming everything went as planned I would starting a new life in 5 months and that thought was, in all honesty, a bit scary.

I am a worry-wart by nature and as fun loving as I can be, I can get tripped up along the way. Once I accepted the job I, like many others, thought it would be smooth sailing from here on out but if you have lived in another country before you know that the visa process can bring you back to reality VERY quick. In an effort to keep this from trailing on I will talk more about the visa process in tomorrow’s post!

Anecdote: Being a student in the last semester of University can be daunting as you try to navigate the world and secure a job for the future. However, over the years (and other jobs in-between) I have learned that being true to who you are as person makes you shine in interviews and that humility in admitting to the things you don’t know shows that as a human you have flaws but you can overcome them as you grow! So pep-talk aside hah You Can Do It!