By the time we figured out Matt was going to Korea we only had 6 weeks to get all the visa work done.
We were really nervous because the list of documents we needed seemed really long, and we had never done something like this before. I wanted to share the process we went through in order to help those that may be trying to get their visas, or maybe are just curious about the E2 visa.
One thing is for sure: Visas = a lot of hoops to jump through.
An E2 Visa is specifically for people going over to teach English.
Here is what you need for an E2 Visa:
1. Copy of College Diploma (notarized and apostilled)*
2. FBI Background Check** (notarized and apostilled)
3. Official University Transcript (we got 3, but only needed 1)
4. Health Assessment Form (found here)
5. Two Passport Photos
6. Copy of Information Page of Passport
8. Signed Teaching Contract
*An apostille is another form of authentication. In order to get a document apostilled you need to first get it notarized (most banks and schools have a notary). The notary will give you a cover sheet with all their information. This will cost $5 per signature (document you need notarized). You will then take the cover sheet and the form to your state Circuit Court and the clerks will then verify that the notary is valid, and they will give you another cover sheet. This will cost $3 per document. The last step is to take all those papers to the Lieutenant Governor's office to get it apostilled. They will give you another coversheet and it will cost $1 per document. In some states you will need to make an appointment with the Lieutenant Governor's office. In Hawaii, you can just walk in.
So at the end of this process you will have: Three Cover Sheets (Apostille, Circuit Court, and Notary Form) and the copy of your document. Make sure to staple these together so its easy for immigration to follow.
**To go directly through the FBI can take a while. Since Matt and I didn't have a lot of time we went through one of the companies that is allowed to run FBI background checks. These companies can get your background check to you within 2 weeks. (When Matt and I did this we got it back that day.) You will need to go to office and get your fingerprints done. This whole process will cost $50.
You will then send all of these documents to the Korea Immigration office, or your school depending on what your director wants. Matt and I sent our documents through Fed Ex and it cost $50 to send the envelope. *Note- we sent one envelope through UPS and they took a lot longer than Fed Ex, so I recommend Fed Ex. Since it costs so much to ship documents I would really try to get everything done right the first time.
After your documents are approved through the Korean Immigration Office, you will get a Visa confirmation number. You will then take your confirmation number, a passport photo, and your passport to the Korean Consulate. (Or mail it in if you don't have a consulate in your state.)
You will also need to fill out the visa application and pay $45.
Then you pick up your visa! For us, this took a week. I am not sure how long it will take if you have to mail your info in.
And that is that- you have your E2 visa and you're good to go.
At least until you get into the country, but that's for another blog post.
Total Cost for Matt and I: $340
I hope you found this helpful. If any readers have any helpful tips, please leave your comments.
*Note: This information was valid from August 2013. I would always check with the immigration office as things change a lot.