There is SO much involved in this process that I debated whether or not to post about it at all. If for nothing more than posterity, I decided to write this up to describe (in unfortunate detail) how I got my E2 visa for South Korea.
In addition to the wealth of arbitrary knowledge you will gain should you read this post, you will (most likely) need this one simple addition to your vocabulary:
apostille: this is basically the same thing as a notarization but is used to authenticate documents for use outside of the U.S. Pronounced: (AH-puh-steel) and is used as both a noun and verb apparently.
Jokes aside (for now), I’ll attempt to relay the process/epic logistical battle of getting an E-2 visa in Korea. This visa type is only for foreign English teachers and so the requirements correlate with the standard requirements for obtaining this type of job in Korea like in my post about How to Travel for Free.
- FBI Criminal Background Check. No matter what, start this first as it takes the fibbies an unfortunately indefinable and inestimable length of time to process your request. Here’s the link to their website: FBI CBC request
- First get fingerprinted from an approved fingerprinting technician such as a place named something awesome and simple like Fast Fingerprints
- Print and complete the applicant information form (from the FBIs website) along with a money order for $18 and the sets of fingerprints and mail to the following address: FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306
- You can call to check the status of your FBI CBC after 4-5 weeks. Here’s the number: 304-625-5590.
- Once you (FINALLY) receive your FBI CBC- to get it apostilled, it must be sent to Washington D.C. and the fastest way is with a service such as legalization.com.
- College diploma notarized / apostille.
- Besides the obvious “get your diploma” plug… make several photocopies of the original for this and for your own good.
- Write (type) a note stating that this is a true copy of the original document.
- Sign 2 copies of this note in front of a notary/ have the notary notarize the copies.
- Go to the county clerk of courts (located in the courthouse) of your city and get these notarizations “county certified” (Basically noting that the notary is legit)
- Take your documents to the Department of State building (think your state’s capital city) and ask for apostilles- pay the fee, get the paper, etc.
- Obtain (at least 3) copies of your college transcripts– this varies with the particular school but I was able to do this online.
- Make (several) photocopies of your passport’s photo/information page.
- Obtain (at least 10) passport photos. I know, you already have your passport but these are specifically for immigration, your new visa and for the potential scenario of a lost passport that no one wants to plan for, but should.
- Complete the E-2 self-medical assessment (you can get this from your recruiter).
- Make several copies of your TEFL/TESL certification (and getting these copies notarized wouldn’t hurt)
Once you have all this drama together you need to send some stuff to Korea- that’s right all the way across the Pacific. I recommend FedEx because they’re fast and reliable! And their tracking numbers are quite handy and their workers don’t have a reputation for being disgruntled.
Finally, you are issued a visa number and you now only need to insert this number on your visa application which you must send with one of the unopened official University transcripts, an additional passport photo along with a copy of your passport information page, your actual passport, and a processing fee ($45) in the form of a money order to the Korean consulate that has jurisdiction over your state. They will send you back your passport with the visa and you are then ready to go!
**For those who have been following my actual visa application process live, you know that the Consulate in Chicago did NOT send me back my passport and I basically had to show up at their office in person and beg, plea and wait around for an entire day before finally getting it (10 minutes before their office closed). Drama.
p.s. Serious, sincere thanks for all of your prayers as I went through all of this and for all of your support- it means so so much to me.
WOW! If you seriously made it this far, I can only conclude the following possibilities:
a) You love me a lot
b) You are really bored
c) You really want a job in Korea and need help
d) You need help
If the answer is a) – I love you too.
If the answer is b)-d) – let’s talk. There are ways we can fix these problems.