If you are a US citizen and want to work in Korea as a Native English Teacher, there are several documents that you will need to collect before you can get an E-2 visa. I will outline the basic documents necessary, include tips, and give you an idea of the turnaround time and costs associated for each set of documents.
Disclaimer #1 – I often chose speed over cost-effectiveness, so you may be able to cut down on costs if you’re not pressed for time. There were other times where I wasn’t as proactive as I probably should have been and stalled on a process for a week or two. Please note that your own turnaround time and costs will vary.
Disclaimer #2 – This information is an accurate account of my process for the Spring 2013 GEPIK application. Requirements and procedures may change when you apply, so be sure to double check with your recruiter, school, coordinator, or agency for the most up-to-date procedures.
Enough disclaimers. Let’s get started.
You will need:
1. Apostilled FBI Criminal Background Check
- This will likely require the most legwork and patience, but it can be achieved with ease if you follow my detailed advice posted here.
- I suggest you start this process first and work on other documents while you wait for this to be over.
- Time: 8 weeks (includes fingerprinting & FBI and US DOS processing time)
- Cost: $142.80 (can be done for as little as $26 + fingerprinting + shipping)
2. Copies of degree(s) with Apostille from your state’s Secretary of State
- This can be done in 3 easy steps.
- Time: 3 hours
- Cost: $29 (NYC walk-ins with 1 degree can do this for as little as $13)
- I recommend 3 or more sealed copies for each degree. You will send one 2 copies with your job application and may need another copy during your visa appointment at the Korean Consulate.
- I have 3 degrees (BA, MS, PhD) from 2 different institutions. My graduate school transcripts were free, but my undergraduate transcripts were not.
- Time: 1 week
- Cost: $30
4. 100+ hr TESL Certificate
- If you have a teaching license or English Education degree, then you may skip this.
- At the time of my application (Spring 2013) to GEPIK, there were no specifications as to whether this course could or could not be online. Find a course that is inexpensive and quick so this won’t be what hinders you from landing a job. See my review on my TESOL course here.
- Time: 3 months
- Cost: $107 (includes online course + emailed & hard copies of certificate)
5. Letters of recommendation
- I suggest getting 2 or more hard copies, each, from two current/former supervisors or professors.
- Letters should vouch for your ability to teach English, should be written on letterhead, must include the recommender’s contact information, and must be signed in ink.
- Time: 6 weeks (includes natural disaster and holidays)
- Cost: $10 (I gave small gifts to my recommenders as a thank you)
As always, I’ll update and edit this post as I receive new information
Update (2/22/13): For those of you who are wondering, I received my E-2 visa 3 months after beginning the process of my FBI CBC. Your mileage may vary.