In principle, a foreigner shall obtain a visa at a diplomatic mission abroad in advance in order to enter Korea. A visa is a certificate of permission for entry into the country. Usually, a visa is issued in the form of a sticker or a rubber stamp on the passport, along with a statement of the purpose (status of sojourn) and the period of sojourn.
1.How to Enter Korea
A foreigner can enter Korea via one of the following three procedures.
-A foreigner may enter Korea without a visa, and undergo an entry inspection at the port of entry to obtain the status of sojourn and the maximum period of sojourn.
Arrival at a Korea airport without a visa. -> immigration inspection at the airport.-> permission to enter granted.
-A foreigner may enter Korea, holding a visa issued at a diplomatic mission abroad.
Acquisition of a visa at a Korean Embassy in a foreign country.-> immigration inspection at the airport.(Check)-> permission to enter granted.
-In the event that the authority to issue visas is not delegated to the head of the diplomatic mission abroad, a foreigner may enter Korea after he/she obtains a visa issuance certificate (or a visa issuance certificate number) issued by the immigration control office having jurisdiction over the inviter's sojourn place, presents said certificate to the diplomatic mission abroad, and obtains a visa.
Letter of confirmation of visa issuance or the relevant number issued by the Korea Immigration Service.-> Visa issuance by a Korean Embassy in a foreign country.-> immigration inspection at the airport.(Check)-> permission to enter granted.
All foreigners entering Korea shall obtain the status of sojourn under Presidential Decree (the Immigration Control Act, Article 10). Status of sojourn is classified into 36 items, depending on activity scope. Essential professionals and foreign investors fall into the category of business investment (D-8) status of sojourn.
Foreigners' sojourns in Korea are divided into long-term stays and short-term stays based on a ninety-day criterion. Changes to the status of sojourn may be permitted or restricted depending on his/her status of sojourn. Most short-term visas are issued immediately by a diplomatic mission abroad, since the authority to issue short-term visas is delegated to a consul. However, the issuance of a long-term visa may take longer, as it is issued at a diplomatic mission abroad after the approval of the Minister of Justice is obtained.
2. Business Investment (D-8) Visa
Persons eligible for D-8 visa
A business investment (D-8) visa is issued to essential professionals engaged in management, business administration, production, or technology of a foreign-invested company, as prescribed by the Foreign Investment Promotion Act. Employees hired in Korea, general administrators, or engineers and service providers that can be replaced by domestic human resources are not considered essential professionals.
* Essential professionals
An "executive" refers to a person who has direct control over an organization and exercises extensive rights in the decision-making process. As one of the highest members of a company, an "executive" is generally directed and supervised exclusively by the Board of Directors and shareholders. (An executive shall not be directly involved in the provision of services or the organization's service-related business.)
A "senior manager" refers to a person, who is responsible for the establishment and execution of a company's or a department's objectives and policies; has the right to set up plans, lead employees and supervise business operations; execute the right to employ, dismiss and recommend employees; decide, supervise or control the work carried out by employees in supervisory, professional or administrative positions; or has discretionary authority over everyday business. Frontline supervisors (except for professional service providers) or employees, directly engaged in the provision of services do not fall into this category.
A "specialist" refers to a person who has highly professional and monopolistic experience and knowledge essential for research, design, technology and management concerning the service provided by the company.
Application and procedures for visa issuance
A business investment (D-8) visa can be obtained as follows:
A foreigner shall submit the required documents to a diplomatic mission abroad to apply for visa issuance. The head of a diplomatic mission abroad has the authority to issue business investment (D-8) visas for a period of sojourn of up to one year.
In the event that the authority to issue visas is not delegated to the head of an overseas diplomatic mission, a foreigner may apply for visa issuance after he/she receives a visa issuance certificate or a certificate number, which an inviting party has obtained from the immigration control office which having jurisdiction over the inviter's sojourn place.
In the event that a foreigner has entered Korea without a visa or with a short-term visa, he/she may apply for permission to change the status of sojourn at the immigration control office which having jurisdiction over his/her sojourn place or Invest KOREA.
3. F-3 Visa for Accompanying Persons
Those eligible for an F-3 visa are the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 20 accompanying the person eligible for a business investment (D-8) visa. The accompanying spouse and children (F-3) visa is issued as follows:
A foreigner should submit an application to a Korean diplomatic mission in his/her country after preparing the necessary documents. The head of a Korean diplomatic mission abroad has the right to issue F-3 visas for a sojourn period of up to one year.
In the event that the authority to issue visas is not delegated to the head of the diplomatic mission abroad, the certificate of visa issuance confirmation or the relevant number issued by the immigration control office having jurisdiction over the inviter's sojourn place should be presented to a Korean overseas diplomatic mission for visa issuance.
In the event that a foreigner has entered Korea without a visa or with a short-term visa due to an unavoidable reason, he/she may apply for change of status at Invest KOREA or the immigration control office having jurisdiction over the sojourn place.
It is quoted from http://www.investkorea.org/