Back to chronicling getting ready to go to Korea and I only have a couple of updates this time around. At the beginning of November I booked my flight to Korea and it was roughly $800 for a one way ticket. I went through Korvia’s partner, Orange Travel, and had them book the flight for me as it would save me about $80 when all is said and done. I have to say that once I got the booking confirmation I went through a range of emotions, ranging from happy to sad to ecstatic to worry. Overwhelmingly though, I have only happy thoughts about going on this journey and getting out there into the world.
Additionally, when I got back from London this past weekend I submitted my passport, travel documents, and the fee for the visa in the final step. If all is approved I will have my visa/passport in hand in about a week and a half. I think that once that arrives everything will feel more finalized and permanent and I’ll go through a similar range of emotions about getting read to go.
It is normal to have this type of range of emotion because no matter how ready you are to travel, explore the world, or live abroad you are still leaving something behind, whether it be friends or family. As long as you have people who can be your emotional support through it all you can conquer anything!
Today was a big day in my journey to get to Korea! I received my form from the immigration office to take to the Korean Consulate here in the U.S. and that is the final step in the visa application process. But that is not the biggest news of the day at all.
The news of the day is that the manager of my school has set my entry date as February 13th and that my ticket has been booked! The cost of a one way ticket was a little under $800 and while that is a bit more expensive than normal it is still a good price. I will be arriving in the middle of the Winter Olympics so that is partially way it could have been more expensive but I know nothing of ticket prices and my school covers up to $900 of a plane ticket so mine was well under that.
Through the ups and downs I have been waiting for a moment like this that is like a chorus ringing through my head singing “Alleluia! Alleluia! Al-le-luia!” and I couldn’t help but chuckle happily to myself!
Next week’s post will be about my week long trip split between Paris, London, and Bristol! See you then!
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)!
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!