If you wish to extend your current visa, it is usually possible, with some exceptions. In order to apply for a visa extension, the applicant must go to the Seoul immigration office. If you plan to extend your visa, you should apply for said extension at least two months before your visas expiration. An appointment is not required for the immigration office, but it is recommended if you don’t want to wait in line for three hours (or more…). Once there, fill out the necessary forms and submit the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Completed application form
- Alien registration card (if you have one)
- Any other applicable documents (signed contract, proof of need to extend, etc.)
- A visa fee of 30,000 won (20,000 won for those applying for an F2 visa)
Once all of the necessary documents are submitted to the immigration official, they will be examined and your application will either be permitted or declined.
Seoul’s immigration office is located in Mokdong (at Mokdong Stadium). To get there, take subway line number five to Omokgyo Station and leave through exit seven. Walk straight and follow the road that curves slightly to the right. You could also take a taxi from the station which costs approximately 3000 won.
Address: 319-2 Sinjeong 6 Yuk-dong, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul. Telephone: 2650-6212/5
Extension Criteria by Visa Type
A1 visa: If you are a diplomat, it is not necessary to apply for visa extension as you are free to stay as long as you are working for the embassy.
A2 visa: Same as A1.
A3 visa: Same as A1.
B1 visa: For those who are exempt from needing a formal visa. You do no need to extend your visa as you are exempt.
B2 visa: For a tourist/transit visa, it is not possible to extend unless something unforeseeable keeps you from leaving the country on time.
C1 visa: For temporary press coverage. It is possible to extend your visa for an additional 90 days if you can prove that the need for extension was unavoidable and unforeseeable. Also, immigration will take into account the nature of the project and decide whether or not it may be harmful to “national interests”.
C2 visa: Temporary business visas can be extended for an additional 90 days if you can prove that a) you are not intending to work illegally and b) the reason for extension was unavoidable and unforeseeable.
C3 visa: Temporary visiting visas can be extended for an additional 90 days under the same circumstances as C2 visa holders – you must prove that you are staying in the country for a specific reason and you will not work illegally.
C4 visa: For temporary employment. It can be extended under exactly the same circumstances as a C2 visa holder.
E1 visa: If you work as a professor at an accredited institute under an E1 visa, you can extend your stay if you (and your employer) can prove the benefit of you staying for a longer period of time. You cannot receive an extension if you are employed in a “national alternative area” or, if you work as a medical professor, you are providing more health care than time spent teaching. Otherwise, this visa can be extended.
E2 visa: This visa, for foreign ESL teachers, can be extended if you can prove that it is beneficial for you to stay with your school or kindergarten. Those who do not have the appropriate accreditation from college or university will be denied this extension, as will those who have jumped from school to school and seem unstable. Also, you must be teaching at one certified school during your intended stay.
E3 visa: For purposes of research. You are eligible to extend this visa if you can prove that the research must continue and your major is connected to your specific area of research. Those who are under-qualified will be denied extension.
E4 visa: If you are training others in the area of new technology, you can extend your visa. You must prove that it is beneficial for you to continue teaching for an additional amount of time. If your job falls under the category of “national alternative area”* your extension will be denied, as well as if your major does not directly apply to the technology you are teaching.
E5 visa: If you are working with a professional visa, you can apply for an extension if you can prove it is reasonable for you to do so. If you have no documentation proving you are certified to work in the areas covered by the visa, your extension will be denied. Also, if the profession falls under a “national alternative area”* your extension will be denied.
E6 visa: If you are a visa holder in the arts/entertainment industry, you can extend your visa if you can prove that it is reasonable to do so. If you do not meet the recommended standards of the Korea Media Rating Board, or if your content is deemed questionable in terms of morality/manners of the Korean people, your extension will be denied.
E7 visa: If you came to Korea as a special skills individual, you can extend your visa if you can prove that it is beneficial to continue with your work for a longer period of time. If you are deemed unqualified or if your work falls under the “national alternative area”*, your extension will be denied.
E8 visa: For training employment. If you can prove that it is necessary to continue with training, then it is possible to extend your visa.
E9 visa: For non-professional employment. Those who wish to extend their visa must prove that it is reasonable to do so. Those who have been working on specific projects with special skills will be denied extension.
E10 visa: Those who wish to extend their shipping/fishing work visa must prove the benefits of their staying. Those who intend to merely do odd jobs on boats will be denied extension.
D1 visa: If you are staying in Korea on an arts and culture visa, you can extend your stay if you can prove that it is reasonable to do so. If you are being trained in any way or if you are intending to become employed, your extension will be denied.
D2 visa: If you are a student enrolled in a university or other school program, you can apply to extend your student visa on the grounds that you are not intending to pay for school by working in Korea, you are not extending your visa for work purposes but study purposes, and you are not taking any temporary absence from school. You can also extend your visa in order to complete your thesis.
D3 visa: If you are partaking in industrial training with this visa, you may extend it if you can prove that training is going by normal company standards as well as whether you’re getting paid.
D4 visa: If you are being trained in any way at an accredited institute, you can apply for an extension of your D4 visa. You must prove that you are extending your visa for reasonable purposes. If you are taking private lessons, working, want to start working or taking language lessons at an institute not covered by the visa, your extension will be declined.
D5 visa: If you are working in Seoul as a journalist and wish to extend your visa, it is possible if you can prove that it is reasonable to do so. If you are covering news stories considered harmful to the national image, your application will be denied.
D6 visa: If you are staying in Korea to complete religious work (missionary, etc.) you can extend your visa if you can prove that it is reasonable to continue with your particular area of work. If your religious work conflicts with Korean ideology or is considered offensive your extension will be denied.
D7 visa: If you are in Korea because of an intra-company transfer, you can extend your visa if you can prove that it is reasonable to do so. If you are not being employed by a head office, if your job is not considered vital to the business, or you are employed by a company with low business capital your extension will be denied.
D8 visa: If you are working in foreign investment, you can extend your visa by proving that it is reasonable to do so. If you are domestically employed, were not paying regular taxes during your visa period or are not vital to business operations your extension will be denied.
D9 visa: If you have been working in international trade, you can extend your visa if you can give good reason for doing so. You cannot be working for a domestic employer, you must not be receiving a high salary from a domestic importer, and you have to be considered vital to business operations.
F1 visa: If you are in Korea with family members, you can extend your visa if you can prove that you will remain living with your family members/spouse and have good reasons for staying (not work related).
F2 visa: If you are looking to renew your residency visa, you can continue to extend your residency if you can give good reasons for staying. If you are married to a Korean citizen, you must prove that your marriage is not a sham and that you enjoy normal relations with your spouse.
F3 visa: If you are staying in Korea as a dependent (your parents live here with work visas or your spouse) you can extend your stay as long as there is proof that you live with your parents/spouse.
F4 visa: If you are a Korean living in another country or are of Korean descent, you can extend your F4 visa by giving good reasons to do so. If you are merely working odd jobs or you violate tradition/culture or, of course, break the law in any way, your application will be denied.
F5 visa: No extension required – this is a permanent resident visa. If you have been in Korea for more than five years, have been living in Korea with an F2 visa for three years or more and are married to a Korean or contributing to Korea culturally or economically, you are eligible to obtain this visa.
G1 visa: This visa falls under the subject of “other”. If you require medical treatment in Korea or must appear in a Korean court of law over an extended period of time, you will require this visa. It is possible to extend due to the nature of the visa – this visa covers things that do not necessarily have an “end date”. When your required length of stay is complete (ie, you finish and recover from surgery, etc.) you cannot extend your visa any further and must leave the country or ask for sojourn (change of status).
H1 visa: If you are in Korea on a working holiday, you can extend your visit if you have good reason for doing so. Whether your extension will be accepted depends on the nature of your job – meaning, if it does not fall under the job categories for a working holiday, it will be denied.
For more information and to download application forms, visit this site:
* A National Alternative Area, in terms of Korean visa extension, seems to mean any job that is not permitted to be done by foreigners with a Korean work visa. While the definition is extremely unclear on Korean government websites, this may mean anyone working in the health profession or other employment areas from which foreigners are banned. To make sure your job does not fall under this area, please call the Seoul Immigration Office at 2650-6212/5.