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Sep 16, 2015

How to Get Permanent Residency in South Korea

Unknown     9/16/2015  7 comments

How to Get Permanent Residency in South Korea

South Korea
used to be a migrant country. Like the Philippines, they sent workers overseas to do jobs. But today, South Korea is one of the wealthiest countries in Asia and well-known for well-respected products like Samsung, Hyundai and Kia.

South Korea is one of those successful countries in the world and the good news is, there are now some options for you to have a permanent residency status.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Justice in August 2008, the legal status of people who have obtained permanent residency in Korea will be guaranteed the same rights as Korean citizens.

But first, you should know the different kinds of visas in South Korea.
Click HERE for the list and I need you to focus on F Visas.

After checking the list of South Korean Visas, here are the options for you to  have a permanent residency status:

1. Foreign Investors: 

Beginning in September 2008, permanent residency is to be immediately offered to non-Koreans once they invest over $500,000 in the country and hire more than five locals. (This replaces the current requirement of having to invest over $2 million and hire over five locals, or invest $500,000, reside here for over three years and hire more than three Korean nationals.)

2. Foreign Spouses:

By the end of this year, the government plans to offer permanent residency to foreign spouses and to those who seek to restore their Korean nationality after having lost it due to the country's ban on dual citizenship. The ministry will also set up measures to allow them to invite their overseas relatives to Korea.

3. Foreign Students:

As of 10 February 2015, foreign students who received bachelor’s degree in Science or Engineering in Korea are eligible to apply for permanent residency if they meet the requirement of living in Korea for more than three years plus, have an annual salary higher than Korea’s per captia gross national income (GNI*). In the past, international students who finished only one of the nine programs – IT, technology management, nanotechnology, digital electronics, biotechnology, transport, new material, environment, and energy- were eligible to get permanent residency.
Those who received master’s or a higher degree in Korea can apply for permanent residency regardless of their major as long as they meet the three year requirement and the annual salary higher than the GNI per capita.
*In 2014, Korea's GNI was W28,000.

4. Ethnic Chinese Born in Korea:

The government is also granting permanent residency to ethnic Chinese who were born in Korea.

5. Overseas Koreans with F4 status:

Under the new measure, overseas Koreans with F-4 visas who have lived in Korea for over two years will now be given permanent residency status if they meet certain requirements. To apply for permanent residency, the applicants must have an income that is twice the per-capita gross national income, or their property tax levied here must be 500,000 won ($495) or more. Those aged 60 or older, who live on pension payments equal to per-capita GNI, are eligible for permanent residency, according to the ministry.

6. F-2 Visa holders

Those who have stayed in Korea with an F-2 status for more than five years are eligible to apply for permanent residency. The following requirements must be met to be eligible: legally defined as an adult by Korean civil law, have the financial capacity to support oneself and one's family, have the ability to understand Korean traditions and intend to stay in Korea permanently.

If you will go back to the list of F Visas, you'll see that F-2 Visa is a Resident Visa and it has sub-types:

F-2-1: Awarded to the spouse of a Korean.
F-2-2: A single-entry visa valid for 90 days or less issued to an underage foreign child of Korean national.
F-2-3: Single-entry resident visa valid for one year or less issued to the spouse of a resident visa holder
F-2-7: Awarded on a point-based system. It seems difficult to find details of this system on Korean government agency websites. More up-to-date information on the points system is available on various sites around the web.
F-2-99: May be awarded upon fulfillment of additional requirements after 5 years on an E-2 visa.

Generally, the spouse of a Korea national or a spouse of one with permanent residence status (F-5 visa) is eligible for an F-2 visa, but Korea implemented a Point System on Feb. 1, 2010. 

Under the Point System

Professionals who have the status of professorship (E-1), Foreign Language Instructor (E-2), Researcher (E-3), Technology Instruction (E-4), Speciality Occupation (E-5), or Particular Occupation (E-7) — lawfully residing in Korea for more than one year become eligible for the residence status (F-2) if they acquire a certain number of points based on their qualifications. The criteria for assessing their qualifications include age, academic career, and income among others.

If professionals acquire residence status (F-2) through the Point System, their spouse and child can obtain residence status as well, and residence status allows holders to engage in a wider range of employment activities. The maximum period of stay may be up to three years.

If a person resides in Korea for three years after obtaining residence status (F-2) through the Point System, he or she will be eligible to apply to change his or her status into permanent residence status (F-5). (Currently F-2 status holders are required to reside in Korea for five years to get F-5 status.) This is the additional advantage of the Point System.

General criteria of the Point System are age, academic career, Korean proficiency, and income. Weighted criteria are as follows:

-whether the applicant has completed the social integration program
-whether the applicant has studied in Korea
-whether the applicant has worked in professional areas outside Korea
-whether the applicant and his or her dependents have violated immigration laws and regulations in Korea. The Point System is below.

Age - (maximum 25 points)
18-24 years old = 20 points
25-29 years old = 23 points
30-34 years old = 25 points
35-39 years old = 23 points
40-44 years old = 20 points
45-50 years old = 18 points
51 or older = 15 points

Academics (maximum 35 points)
Graduate from Junior College (more than 2 yrs course) = 25 points
Bachelor’s degree = 26 points
2 or more Bachelor's degrees = 28 points
Master’s degree = 30 points
2 or more Master's degrees = 32 points
Ph.D degree = 33 points
2 or more Ph.D. degrees = 35 points

Korean proficiency (maximum 20 points)*
General Comprehension/Basic Commu-nication =10 points (TOPIK 1 or 2)
Topic Comprehension/Communicates well in Familiar Subject = 15 points (TOPIK 3 or 4)
Proficient Communication for Everyday Life = 20 points (TOPIK 5 or 6)
(*based on results of S-TOPIK, the Standard Test Of Proficiency in Korean)

Yearly income (maximum 10 points)
Under 35,000,000 won / year = 5 points
35,000,000 - 50,000,000 won / year = 6 points
50,000,000 - 80,000,000 won / year = 7 points
80,000,000 - 100,000,000 won / year = 8 points
100,000,000 won or more / year = 10 points
(no change in income section)

Additional Categories:

Completion of Social Integration Program = 10 points.
Korean Academic Studies *
A Korean language certificate = 1 point
B.A. = 3 point
M.A. = 5 points
Ph.D. = 10 points
(*certificate/degree earned in Korean institution)

Public Service in Korea *
Under 1 year = 1 point
1-2 years = 3 points
Over 2 years = 5 points
(*refers to volunteer work that can be credibly documented - no change in points in this category)

Overseas Work as a Specialist*
1 year = 1 point
1-2 years = 3 points
Over 2 years = 5 points
(*no definition of specialist included - no change in points in this category)

Deduction of Points:
There are also some penalties built into the point system for a maximum loss of 5 points. It appears that infractions by both dependents and the invited person are included.
illegal stay = -1 point
noticed disposition (probably means some other legal infraction) = -2 points

Points Chart retrieved from

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not intended to be a legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered in Korea. Readers should consult a lawyer for detailed legal advice.

For more information, feel free to visit and contact: Ministry of Justice: Republic of South Korea


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