Thursday, January 31, 2013

My EPIK Adventure Part 6


Well, today my passport was returned with my E2 working visa attached. There is one thing I am confused about though. My application included $150 which is the fee for a multiple entry visa but to my surprise the envelope my passport arrived in also contained $30 (the difference between a single entry and multiple entry visa) and my visa is marked as a single entry visa. I have emailed the Korean embassy to try and find out why, but I won’t have time to get it resolved before I go. It looks like I won’t be able to do any travel outside Korea in the first year.

The Korean Embassy also returned the following documents which I included with my application.
  1. Original Employment contract
  2. Photocopy of Authenticated copy of University Diploma/Degree
  3. Academic transcript (no longer officially sealed)
  4. Original Notice of Appointment (NOA)
EDIT: The Korean Embassy replied to my query about a multiple entry visa. It turns out it is immigration policy to only grant single entry visas to E2 visa applicants.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My EPIK Adventure Part 5

Contract,  NOA (Notice of Appointment) and Visa

Stage 3 So it has been close to a month since I was offered a position in Daejeon teaching English and my contract and NOA only just arrived on Monday (almost a month after receiving an offer). I have had to wait for the documents to arrive before applying for my visa which has been driving me nuts. I still don’t understand why it took so long. Surely it is a pretty standard contract they send out to all teachers? Anyway, now that I have my contract I can apply for my visa. 

If you are in Australia and are applying for a Korean visa you should note that there are two Korean embassies in Australia (Sydney and Canberra). Since I live in Queensland I have to apply to the Sydney embassy. The total cost of my visa application is $185.75. That brings me to a grand total of $549.35 when you add the cost of my stage 2 documents. 

ATTN: Korean Embassy. Your forms do not have enough space to enter the required information comfortably. It is OK to use more than one page. Giving me a 2cm line to write personal information like my Korean address or the list of countries I have visited in the last 5 years not sufficient!

Some E2 Visa Q&A
Q: What type of visa do I need?
A: E2 (Teaching Foreign Languages)

Q: How long does the visa last?
A: 1 year

Q: Do I have to supply an itinerary which shows when I will exit the country?
A: No. You do not have to provide an itinerary or an E2 visa. I had an argument with the Embassy about this before the realised that it isn't required for an E2 visa. 

Q: When can I enter the country? Orientation starts on the 20th of February but I would like to go early and do some travelling.
A: It is OK to enter early. Once you have your visa you have to enter Korea within 3 months.

Q: How long does it take to issue an E2 visa?
A: It takes one week to process and issue the visa provided there are no problems with any documents you submit. 

Q: How much does it cost to apply for a visa?
A: For Australians a multiple entry visa is $150. A single entry visa is $120 for 1 year. More info here. EDIT: It turns out it is immigration policy to only grant single entry visas to E2 visa applicants. The Korean embassy refunded me $30 when they returned my Passport.

Q: What documents do I need to submit?
A:  Documents vary depending on what country you are from. In 2013 Australians need to submit the following:
  1. Original (real) passport. The E2 work visa goes directly into one of the passport pages)
  2. Completed visa application form  (download)
  3. Consulate checklist questionnaire (download)
  4. Two passport photographs. This should be the same one you attached to your stage 1 EPIK application and needs to be the official passport photo size and in full colour. I got mixed information about how many I needed to send so I sent two for good measure. 
  5. Original employment contract. I was told EPIK would post me two copies of this but they only sent one. Make sure you keep a photocopy for your personal records. 
  6. Original Notice of Appointment (NOA). Make sure you keep a photocopy for your personal records.
  7. Photocopy of Authenticated copy of University Diploma/Degree. I got mixed information about this. Some people said to include it, others said it was not required. I included it to be safe.
  8. One officially sealed academic transcript. Again when I spoke with the Korean embassy I got mixed information about this requirement so I included it to be safe.
  9. Visa Fee. A money order ($7.95 at Australia Post) or a bank cheque are the two best options here and need to be made out to the “Korean Embassy”.
  10. Self-addressed return prepaid courier bag. Both Australia Post and the Korean embassy recommend using Express Post Platinum prepaid 500g satchels. They cost $13.90 each and you need two of bloody things! Australia post guarantees it will not get lost. The last thing you want is your passport to get lost in the mail a few weeks before leaving the country.
Q: What is my National Identity Number?
A: In Australia we do not have a National Identity Number. The closest thing we have to this are our Medicare card number, Tax File number or State Drivers Licence number. On my visa application I used my Tax File number and explicitly stated that it was my Tax File number on the form.