Korean E2 Visa Renewal Online

Time to renew your E2 Visa for your ESL/EFL teaching job in South Korea. Let’s go! Many posts on the topic of Korean E2 visa renewal online leave out some critical details. We will add to the information to remove some of the fear and stress. Specifically, this post will look at how to apply online on the HiKorea website.

Blog Written From Lived Experience

Many volunteers came together to compare E2 visa renewal experiences. However, your experience may be different based on your own personal situation. So, you’ll need to read a variety of sources to find all of the information that applies to your E2 visa renewal situation.

Where to Apply Online for an E2 Renewal

The online portal for Korean Immigration is called HiKorea. The website provides information in Korean, English, and Chinese.

Emotional Reality of Applying Online

Honestly, it may feel even more stressful to do your Korean E2 visa renewal online than to go in person. We’d like to encourage you to go into the process, knowing that you may struggle. The online process may feel confusing and scary at first, the stress of managing life without complete clarity is high, and general mental health may feel impacted in ways you didn’t expect.

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The anxiety you feel is normal. In fact, most immigration experiences in Korean and around the world impact mental health in difficult ways. You are part of a huge community of people living outside what’s culturally comfortable and known. So, hang in there; you can do this. Talking with others about your feelings may help you manage them. Also, feel free to reach out to English-speaking mental health support services if needed.

IF YOU LEAVE THE COUNTRY FOR VACATION BEFORE IT FINISHES, IT AUTO-CANCELS YOUR APPLICATION! That’s right, even if immigration has received the application and it’s waiting to be processed, our renewal will auto-cancel the moment you pass through immigration. They also don’t send you a notification of this. Your current visa will not be affected, but you will have to re-apply when you get back from your holiday. So don’t go on holiday between when you apply online and it’s approved.

When to Apply for E2 Renewal

Korean immigration allows you to renew your visa up to 4 months before your visa expires. As of 2023 Korean immigration recommends that you apply at LEAST 2 months before your visa expires. However, you will need documents from your employer, such as your contract and the school business license, to submit your application for renewal. This means communicating with your co-teacher and Administrative Office Staff is essential.

You can ask your school for your renewal contract in November for a March renewal date. You do this by talking with your co-teacher, and then they will talk to the next person who supports the process. Just to let you know, the school does not have to provide you with paperwork this early, so building relationships can help you get your paperwork done quickly. If they feel too busy, they can put this off until the very last minute.

It’s important to know that the Administrative Office may ultimately control how quickly you get your necessary paperwork. Your principal, vice-principal, and co-teacher impact their speed very little. This means having a healthy and positive relationship with your school’s Administrative Office Staff may improve the rate at which you get your paperwork.

Additionally, your school’s Administrative Office may request that you complete your required yearly physical needed for NHIS (National Health Insurance) before providing you with your Contract and the School Business License. This means proactively getting your physical can grease the wheels. Depending on where you go, this will cost between 35,000 krw to 120,000 krw.

Considering all this, we would recommend that you build a comfortable and warm relationship with the school Administrative Office Staff. Do little things like giving a little present each time you renew your visa to help your paperwork seem more high priority each year. Say hello in the hallway and respond quickly to anything they request from you. It pays off over time.

Required Documents

The documents you need for your Korean E2 visa renewal online should be easy to gather. However, you will need to collect them from a few different places. This means you must plan ahead and ensure you get the paperwork you need on time.

The English document list on HiKorea can feel confusing and may lack context. In fact, South of Seoul volunteers need to look at the Korean list of documents each year to remember precisely what the English list means. However, double-checking our work against the Korean system may be impossible for someone who doesn’t speak Korean.

Therefore, South of Seoul Volunteers created a graphic showing the document list in Korean with English explanations so you can have references for understanding and systems for asking for help. For example, look at the following graphic to see what you may need to complete your online E2 Visa renewal (updated in January of 2023):

You may notice that the graphic includes color coding. Black shows documents you need to supply yourself, orange shows documents provided by your school and blue shows documents from government offices.

Passport

You need a copy or image of your valid passport. A photo from your phone, with no flash and good light, work as long as you compress the file below 1,000 kb. You can also use a scanning app to do this.

Work Contract

You need to upload your full contract with all of the pages. This will become a problem when uploading your contract to HiKorea because you can only upload files 1,024kb or smaller. Most pdfs of your full contract will originally be about 6MB. So, you may need to use a pdf compressor online and split your pdf into two files and upload 1 file into the Contract upload area and the second part into the ETC upload area.

School Business License

Your school’s Administrative Office will be able to quickly print this for you. It’s only one page.

Proof Of Residence

You need to prove your housing situation in order to renew your E2 visa. Different teachers experience different types of housing while living in Korea. Therefore, you need to provide different types of documentation depending on your living situation:

School-Provided Apartment: If you have an apartment provided by your school, you need to get your “Proof of Residence” paperwork from them. In Korean, this is called 체류지 입증서류. This document file may need to be compressed if over 1,024 kb. Free document online pdf compression services exist online.

Living with Others: You may choose to share a house with others and contribute rent, but you do not hold the lease. In this case, the house owner or leaseholder provides you with a Confirmation of Residence/Accommodation or 거주/숙소제공 확인서 document that can be downloaded from HiKorea. This document file may need to be compressed if over 1,024 kb. Free document online pdf compression services exist online.

Lease Holder: If you hold the lease to your apartment, you will provide immigration with a copy of the front and back of your lease. If your lease is more than 2 pages, just include the first and last page. This document file may need to be compressed if over 1,024 kb. Free document online pdf compression services exist online.

Don’t see what you need in the list above, you can also find other forms used by HiKorea and Korean immigration regarding residence by clicking here.

Foreigner Occupation and Annual Income Report

You need to print this out and fill in the relevant information. The Foreigner Occupation and Annual Income Report Form is basically a form that allows immigration the right to look into your information. In Korea, the form may be called 외국인 직업 신고서 (January 2023). Additionally, as of 2023, the form appears to be simply called the Foreigner Occupation Report Form.

Annual Income Report and Tax Form

At your local tax office, you need to ask for your 소득금액증명원. At the tax office 세무서, they may want to clarify the dates you need the form. You want to have Papago ready to answer that question.

Class Schedule (Hagwon Employees Only)

If you work for an English Academy (Hagwon), you will also need to upload a class schedule provided by your employer. It may also be referred to as a School class chart (어학원 현황표).

Common Issues Related to Paperwork

The following issues commonly occur regarding paperwork for immigration.

  • The names for paperwork may not be consistent across immigration paperwork or the HiKorea website.
  • Immigration policies and requirements often change at the beginning of each year. This means you may log in to HiKorea and see a different list.
  • Information related to paperwork online may be outdated, for example, we have never uploaded a class schedule.

Make sure you give yourself the time to sort through changes and frustrations.

Additional Immigration Forms

You can find a list of common immigration forms here: HiKorea Immigration forms

Converting Documents to Digital Files

You will need to turn your documents into digital files. We recommend converting to pdf files since you need to compress the information very small to upload it.

  • File Size Allowed: Less than 1,024 kb
  • File Types Allowed: pdf, bmp, gif, jpg, tif (no zip files allowed)

You create such digital files of your documents in a variety of ways:

  • visit a stationary store or copy center near you (take a USB for them to scan and save your documents to)
  • remember to scan it at work before you go on vacation
  • have a copier and scanner at your house
  • use your smartphone and a PDF app

To find possible print or copy centers you can search 복사 in Naver Maps. You can also find many copy centers near Universities and City Halls.

Benefits of Applying Online at HiKorea

Applying for your Korean E2 Visa Extension/Renewal online has a variety of benefits.

  • You don’t need to wait in a line
  • You don’t need to make an appointment
  • The documents you need are clearly listed

Drawbacks of Applying Online at HiKorea

Of course, processing your visa paperwork online isn’t without frustration. The following issues may make filing online take a long time or make it feel impossible:

  • IF YOU LEAVE THE COUNTRY FOR VACATION BEFORE IT FINISHES, IT AUTO-CANCELS YOUR APPLICATION! That’s right, even if immigration has received the application and it’s waiting to be processed, it auto-cancels the moment you pass through immigration. They also don’t send you a notification of this.
  • Digital Files: Getting your documents converted to digital files may be complicated
  • File Sizes: Compressing files to meet the 1,024kb or less can be frustrating
  • Payments: Although the system for uploading documents is in English, the payment system is all in Korean. Also, if you don’t know how to use Korean online banking, you might need help from a Korean speaker to complete the payment process. Of course, if you have something like KBPay, the checkout process is straightforward and uses a QR code.
  • Timeline: It usually takes at least a month to hear back, if you go in person you get approved immediately during your visit
  • Still Need to Visit Immigration Office: You still need to take your ID card to immigration to update the dates

Where to Apply for an E2 Visa Renewal on HiKorea

Below you will find a basic explanation of how to get started on your Korean E2 Visa renewal online. Keep in mind, technology changes often so you may experience the app or website differently over time. The following represents a sample of what you may experience only:

  1. When you go to HiKorea you can set the language to English.
  2. Then, make an account or log in to your existing account.
  3. Click on “civil complaint”. Yes, the English translation here feels misleading. However, they are using an old-fashioned use of the term “complaint”.

From the long list of possible actions, select Extension of stay for registered foreigners by clicking on the circle, then click on the box next to “I agree” and click next. You are now on your way to where you upload your documents. We have not included images of this area since we would need to screenshot our own private information.

You can watch a video tutorial of the HiKorea E2 visa renewal process in the following YouTube video. The video walks you through the Korean version of the HiKorea website. However, an English version of HiKorea exists and functions so you will likely use the English interface when doing your application.

Requests for Additional Information

Pay close attention to any text messages you get from immigration. Sometimes Korean immigration will text you a request for additional information or for you to re-upload past documents. Such messages arrive in Korean, and you will need to use Papago to translate them. Sometimes the translations are terrible, and you need additional help; that’s when you call 1345.

Questions and Clarification

If you have questions about any part of the process when applying to renew your Korean E2 visa online at HiKorea, call the immigration hotline at 1345.

Timeline for Online E2 Renewal Applications

In our lived experience, we have found it takes around 4 weeks to fully process our Korean E2 visa renewal online. At least once, it took about 6 weeks due to an extreme backlog in work at immigration. We called immigration regularly during that time, and eventually, they told us, “If you haven’t heard from us yet, consider it a good thing.” They ended up approving the renewal only 1 day before the visa expired.