How to be a long-term resident of Korea

If you are thinking about becoming a long-term resident of South Korea, this post might be helpful.  I’ve recently switched from the E-series visa (work sponsored visa), which has a validity of one to two years to the F-2-7 (long-term resident), which is about three years.

I won’t talk about the benefits of having an F visa in this post, but I will eventually talk about it later on. In order to qualify for this visa, you need to get the minimum score of 80. The immigration uses a point system to “score” each applicant. Here are the factors that will earn you points.

  • Age
  • Education
  • Korean Language Ability
  • Income
  • Tax
  • Others: Volunteer, Korean Language Study (must be from a university program),  and work experience)


You can get anywhere from 20 to 25 points. It all depends on your age. At the time of applying, I was 30 years old. Being 30 gets me the maximum points in this category.

My points – 25


If you hold a degree, you can get some points. Certificates are not worth anything. I was able to earn 32 points (Masters in Business Administration). Immigration will also give you additional points if you earned that degree in Korea. Since I graduated from a Korean university, I was able to get four additional points.

My points – 32 + 4 = 36 

Korean Language Ability

To get points here, you need to take TOPIK or enroll and complete the KIIP (Korean Integration Immigration Program). In my opinion, the KIIP classes were quite easy to pass.

TOPIK 1/KIIP 1 = 10 points
TOPIK 2/KIIP 2 = 12 points
TOPIK 3/KIIP 3 = 14 points
TOPIK 4/KIIP 4 = 16 points
TOPIK 5/KIIP 5 = 18 points (KIIP only has 5 levels. If you can successfully complete all 5 levels, you get an additional 10 points)
TOPIK 6 = 20 points

My points – 14


This is quite personal so I won’t be sharing my figures with you. ^^ Basically, if you made ₩10,000,000 you will get one point. ₩20,000,000 equals two points. ₩30,000,000 equals three points and so on.

My points – ?


This is quite similar to income. If you paid over ₩1,000,000 you will earn one point, over ₩2,000,000 is 2 points, etc.

My points – 2


Getting extra points is quite difficult. If you have volunteer experience in Korea (must be from a government sponsored organization) you can get a few points here. If you have foreign work experience and it is related to your current job, you can get up to five points. There are a lot of required documents to prove your experience. You can also get points from completing a Korean language program at a university (no academies). This will get you one additional point

My point = 0

So if I add up everything, I have 77 points. If I now include my income, I’m now over the 80 point minimum.

Once you think you have 80 points, you need to show documentation for everything. This is what my portfolio consist of (TIP: Try to make everything neat and organized)

  1. Age: Passport and Current ARC (photocopies of both)
  2. Education: I brought my original diplomas (both bachelors and masters) PLUS  my certificate of completion from my Korean university.
  3. Korean Language Ability: Since I didn’t complete the KIIP, I didn’t have the certificate of completion. For this, I printed out the transcript that showed I passed level three.
  4. Income and tax: They need to see the income statement from your employer. I requested this document from my employer. It also had the tax amount on there. Just in case, I also brought in all the electronic pay stubs that I received from the payroll department. You will also need to bring in your job contract.


Make sure everything is correct and that every document is in English or Korean. For example, my Indonesian friend had difficulties because his diploma which was in Indonesian was translated wrong. The English translation said Sarjana Komputer and no mention of ‘Bachelors in Computers.’

If your documents are ready to go, I am sure that you will be at the immigration center for less than 15 minutes. Then you have to wait for three to four weeks until the visa processing is complete.




5-Years in Korea


I have been living in Seoul, South Korea for the last five years and I can say that I am still enjoying my time here!  Here is a list of the milestones that I have achieved in the last five years!

  • 2012 
    • Started my MBA at KAIST. I was chosen to be part of the CKJ (China, Korea, Japan) Program where I was able to collaborate and do research with Chinese and Japanese MBA students in Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan.
  • 2013 
    • Dean’s list! Top 7% in my program (4.3 GPA).
  • 2014
    • Graduated from KAIST!
    • Traveled to Japan (2nd time), Turkey, and France! I guess this was my traveling year before starting my career.
  • 2015 
    • Got a full-time job as a corporate trainer.
    • Bought my first condo in the Philippines! My first vacation home! It is still under construction, but it scheduled to be completed in late 2018!
  • 2016
    • I did not achieve or did anything special in 2016. However, I was able to save over ₩20,000,000 ($17,500 USD).
    • I said goodbye to my company in December 2016 due to many reasons. I will talk about it in a future post.
  • 2017
    • Immigration accepted my application to be a long-term resident (F-2-7 visa)! I do not need to be sponsored by a company any more to live in Korea.
    • Adopted Theodore Princeton (Teddy).