South Korea  Digital Nomad Visa: Application & Requirements

Most popular for its rich culture and history, South Korea is a dream destination for many people. Are you someone who’s considering spending some time in this beautiful and cultural country? If you don’t want to make any permanent commitment then a South Korea Digital Nomad Visa is the best fit for you. 

Keep reading the article to find out how you can reside there as a Digital Nomad. 

Does South Korea have a Digital Nomad Visa? 

Yes, in this age of digital nomads, South Korea is one of the countries that have a digital nomad visa. However, it is officially known as “workation visa (F-1-D)” in the country. Starting from January 1, 2024, this visa is expected to expedite the local economy. 

Since the country has a devastatingly low birth rate, this new initiative is aimed at improving the economy. The South Korean government has an objective of attracting over 20 million digital nomads in 2024. By doing so, the country is strategically planning to improve their tourism industry as well. 

south korea green landscape

Who can Apply for the South Korea  Digital Nomad Visa? 

To be considered an eligible foreign national for a South Korean Digital Nomad Visa, you must fulfil the following eligibility criteria. 

Here’s who can apply:

  • Remote workers: you must have a remote job where you are employed by a foreign company. 
  • Minimum income: your monthly income should be higher than South Korea’s gross national income per capita. 
  • Experience: you must have at least one year of experience in your respective current field. 
  • Proof of accommodation: you must submit the address of your intended residence. I.e. The place where you intend to stay while you’re in South Korea. 
  • Health insurance: you must submit proof of private health insurance that will remain valid for the entirety of your visit. 
  • Criminal record: you must have a clean criminal record, meaning you have to prove that you weren’t convicted of any crimes in your country of residence. 
  • Age limitation: you can not apply for this visa unless you’re 18 or older

How to Apply for a Digital Nomad Visa in South Korea? 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to applying for a South Korean Digital Nomad Visa. 

1. Make an appointment 

Firstly, you will need to make an appointment with your nearest embassy or consulate. This step is optional but useful because the agent can guide you with the following procedure and clear any doubts. Other than that, appointments avoid a lack of delay. 

2. Prepare documents 

Once your appointment is made and the agent has guided you regarding the documents, you’ll need to gather them properly. Please make sure that they are complete as this also affects the processing time of your application. 

3. Submission

The submission can only be done in person which means you’ll need to go to the South Korean embassy you made an appointment with and submit your documents.

It is vital to declare whether you’re going with your family members or not. In case you are, their additional documents would need to be submitted as well. 

4. Wait for feedback 

Since the visa is relatively new, you are advised to keep a close eye on the process and check for updates. However, the feedback is is expected to take 10-15 days. 

temple in baegyangsa

How Much Does South Korea Digital Nomad Visa Cost?

Considering that the launch of the new visa took place earlier this year and it’s still in its initial period, the intricate details such as costs haven’t been announced officially. You are advised to contact a South Korean Consulate or embassy in your country of residence and ask for the costs. Remember that they will vary based on your respective country, nationality, and choice of your embassy. 

In addition to the registration and administration fee, you’ll also have to pay for acquiring the documents such as a criminal record check and health insurance. 

South Korea  Digital Nomad Visa Requirements 

Applications and Documentations 

Take a look at the checklist below. You are going to need the following documents while applying for a South Korea Digital Nomad Visa. 

  1. Visa application form: you can get one at an embassy or consulate. 
  2. A valid passport: a passport that will remain valid longer than the duration of your intended stay in South Korea. 
  3. One Passport size photo. 
  4. Certificate of employment: you’ll need this if you’re a foreign remote worker. This is to prove your employment status and show that you are not involved in any South Korean business activity. 
  5. Proof of employment: if you’re self-employed or you’re working as a freelancer then you’ll have to submit appropriate evidence to prove such.
  6. Proof of income: you need to submit evidence that shows you are fulfilling the minimum income criteria for eligibility. You can prove it by submitting bank statements, pay slips, or tax documents. 
  7. Criminal record certificate: this certificate can be easily acquired from your local police station. 
  8. Proof of good health: you need to submit results of various tests such as Hiv, urinalysis, blood tests, and chest x-ray to prove that you’re in good health. Make sure that the results are not older than 3 months. 
  9. Proof of Health insurance: a certificate that should prove that your health insurance will remain valid during your stay and cover a minimum of KRW 100 million. 

Additional: this document isn’t always necessary but if you’re bringing your family i.e. Your spouse or children with you then you’ll have to provide evidence of familial relation. 

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Financial requirements

If you think that the financial requirements to get this visa sounds complex, here is a simple explanation. 

A person must have financial stability and they should earn twice the amount of South Korea’s gross national income/ per capita as recorded from the previous year. As of now, they must make around 85 million won ($66,000) annually. 

How Long Does it Take to Get a South Korea  Digital Nomad Visa? 

There is no standard time for this application process but it can be estimated to take less than a month. Ideally, your application will be processed within 10-15 days of submission and you’ll receive feedback. However, you should keep in mind that the time will vary based on factors such as the accuracy of your application, the competency of the departments, the amount of burden they are dealing with, and perhaps even some government policies. 

4 Benefits of the South Korea  Digital Nomad Visa 

These are some of the benefits that certainly work as an incentive 

  1. Flexibility 

A South Korea Digital Nomad Visa is extremely flexible in regard to its accommodation with family. While most DNVs don’t allow it, a workcation visa lets you bring your family (spouse and children) under your personal application. This means that if you are fulfilling the eligibility criteria properly, you can simply take your family with you without having to submit separate applications. 

  1. Length of its validity 

One of the best things about this visa is the length of its validity. A South Korea Digital Nomad Visa remains valid for one year at a time which is a longer period of time than many countries. It can also be extended to reach a maximum of 2 years. Remote workers can take this unique opportunity to explore for a bit longer while remaining uncommitted. 

  1. Destination 

The destination in itself is the biggest benefit of all. Korea being one of the most dynamically cultured countries is also home to K-pop and stunning landscapes. You can take your work with you as you enjoy everything from N Seoul Tower to Changdeokgung Palace. 

  1. Global accessibility 

Furthermore, this visa has no restrictions when it comes to accessibility. Any citizen can apply for it and reap the benefits. 

Do Digital Nomads Pay Tax in South Korea? 

There are laws in South Korea, namely the Income Tax Act, that clearly states that income taxes are levied on all residents. However, it must be noted that temporary residents such as Digital Nomads will only pay income tax that is paid or remitted in the country. 

Furthermore, you also need to check your home country’s taxation policy with South Korea. Some countries have a “double taxation avoidance agreement” which changes the entire equation and affects your tax contributions. 

If you have any further queries, you can also contact the National Tax Service Consultation Centre at 126 (add area code). 

Renew Digital Nomad Visa South Korea  

A Korean digital nomad visa, also known as a “workation visa”, lasts for 12 months at a time. It is an upgrade because earlier, the visa only remained valid for a period of 90 days. However, now you can apply for an additional year and stay for a maximum of 2 years.

Once the one-year period has gone by and your visa has expired, you can apply for a renewal and get 12 more months. The same visa requirements and eligibility criteria will be followed. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do US citizens need a visa for South Korea? 

US citizens are generally not required to carry a tourist visa with them for a short stay in South Korea. However, it was compulsory to apply for K-ETA (Korean Electronic Travel Authorization). As per the new update, that is not a requirement from 1st April 2023 to 31st December 2024. 

Can I get a South Korea Digital Nomad Visa if I’m already in South Korea? 

Yes, you can change your visa type even if you’re already in Korea. For instance, you can change your visa exemption (B-1), tourist visa (B-2), or short-stay visa (C-3) by seeking help from relevant authorities. 

How long can I stay in Korea without a visa? 

Foreign residents who enter South Korea can stay there for a total of 90 days. However, if you plan to stay longer than that then you must inform local authorities. This gives you a period of 3 months to register. 

Can a US green card holder travel to South Korea?

No, a green card doesn’t get you a visa-free entry in South Korea. Unless you’re a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you will need to apply for a South Korean visa. 

Can I work in South Korea if I have the new Digital Nomad Visa

No, one of the most important contents of a Digital Nomad Visa is that you must be employed by overseas firms. You can’t be employed by any South Korean employer and you can’t be involved in any South Korean business activity if you’re on a digital nomad visa. 

Final Thoughts 

Introduced by Jeon Hyun Cho, this workation visa certainly became a hot topic on press releases quickly. If you are also convinced to go on an adventure, this comprehensive guide is essential. We start by discussing the new visa system, i.e. The digital nomad visa in South Korea. We move on to answer who can get it and how they can get it.

We also delve into eligibility criteria, required documents, costs, and processing time. Following that, we talk about the benefits of this visa, the taxation policy, and the new system of renewal. We hope it cleared your doubts but further on, some Frequently Asked Questions are also answered. 

With that, we conclude this article. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us. 

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