Visa Trip

KMK: New E-2 Visa Regulations

So, since July the new E-2 visa regulations have been sent down from the mountain top for all the little people to behold in all their wonder and jaw dropping awe.

The latest regulations make jumping through hoops a darn near part time job for E-2 visa holders, but at least the one silver lining in this stormy cloud happens to be the fact that once you’ve jumped through these new hoops you won’t have to do so again unless you leave the country for over three months.

So, basically, there are two big changes to the process that Americans, in particular, must pay attention to. They are:

  1. 1. A national criminal background check
  2. 2. A notarized copy of diploma with apostille

National CBC

Gone are the days where you could simply get a background check from your home state. Sure, this made no sense if you’d been in Korea for years but a requirement is a requirement. People who had side stepped this process by getting a check down in another state now have to face the firing squad because a national check in America means one done by the FBI.

I’m sure the good folks there will not leave anything unscrutinized and if you have anything to hide you probably won’t be doing it for much longer. The only downside to a FBI check is that the process is lengthy and involved.

SO START EARLY!

The first thing you should do is download the necessary documents on the FBI website. Those include:

  1. A Check list for you own peace of mind
  2. A fingerprint card (FD-258)
  3. The Fingerprint card instructions
  4. Credit Card payment form
  5. Application Form

Fill out the forms. Then, if you’re in Korea, head over to the largest police station you can find. Bring along several copies of the FBI fingerprint card just in case the single copy isn’t accepted by the FBI due to smudges or whatever. The staff at the Korean Station should have the facilities to fingerprint you and get you out of the door lickety split and at no cost to you.

Make sure you have all the copies of the fingerprint card, along with the credit card form and the application all filled out correctly.

Before you send anything off make sure you jot down a note to the FBI asking them to use their official Seal for the document. By doing so you will not have to have the document notarized before you send it in to the US State Department for an apostille.

Send fingerprint forms here:

FBI CJIS Division – Record Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

When the goverment returns the documents to you or your family they should send them on to here for the apostille:

U.S. Department of State
Authentications Office
518 23rd Street NW.
SA-1
Washington, DC 20520

The State Department offers these additional words of wisdom.

Please include a cover-letter (see example) with your name, telephone number, address and email address. Please indicate the name of the country where the document will be used. We suggest using a self-addressed stamped envelope for faster return of your documents. Documents received without a return envelope and postage will be returned through the State Department regular mail, which can result in a 2-3 week delay. You can use Fed/Ex, UPS, and express mail services for faster receipt/return of your documents. However, you must enclose a prepaid airbill and envelope.

It takes 12 weeks for the FBI fingerprint check and then 8 business days for the apostille. Then you have to factor in time to get everything back in your hands.

I would say plan on 14 weeks to be safe. Of course if your paperwork is somehow incomplete you might not know about it for weeks and thus have wasted an obscene amount of time while finding yourself back at square one. So be meticulous.

Diploma

A notarized copy of your diploma with an apostille is now required. This new step is decidedly less time consuming than the FBI  CBC. Now you just have to get a copy of your diploma notarized by a notary public. There’s probably one at your University!

Sometimes a statement must be included from the notary to ensure you will receive an apostille on your notarized diploma copy. Find out if your secretary of State requires that. Mine does in Wisconsin.

After those two big steps the rest of the E-2 visa process is relatively smooth sailing. You don’t need transcripts anymore and you basically just have your medical check left.

If you want to see what immigration has to say on the matter then keep on reading below.

Conversation teacher (E-2) related system improvement notice.

1. Aim of improvement.
When first applying for the visa status for the first time, although it takes some time we will verify the qualification thoroughly. After the verification is done the related procedure will be greatly simplified.

2. The details
○ Criminal background check reinforcement
– A criminal background check from your own country’s government which covers the whole country’s information is required.
– According to the Korean immigration law a criminal background check from the Korean Ambassador of your country will not be accepted.(But, if the document is issued by the verification of your own government and it is proved, the document will be exceptionally accepted.)
– Until 2010.12.31 the criminal background check from either central government, local government or the Ambassador in other country except Korea will be accepted. But, when the time applying for alien registration or the next sojourn related application is made, you will have to hand in the criminal back ground check which is nationwide version.
– Those who came in before 2010.7.15 and still in Korea and also those who did not hand in sufficient document should hand in the nationwide version criminal background check when you make a sojourn related application after 2011.1.1.

○ The change of ‘self verification of the original diploma’ system
– From 2010.9.1 when you get visa status invitation, apply for extension, apply for the permission to move into a new workplace and all kinds of sojourn related applications you will have to submit a copy of your diploma or graduation certificate or certificate of obtain degree which has a Apostille stamp or verification from the Korean Embassy in your own country or a verification from the Korean Council For University Education.
* The original rule for submitting the original diploma and sealed transcript system will be abolished.(from 2010.9.1)
* Submitting the sealed transcript will be omitted.(from 2010.9.1)

○ The simplification of required documents of re-applying for a certificate of visa issuance approval
– Criminal background check
• Those who had stayed overseas under 3months to issue a visa status can omit the document.(If staying over 3month overseas, the document should be submitted when the foreigner applies alien registration.)
– Certificate of obtain degree
• Those who submitted a verified document can omit it.

○ An additional sojourn period when applying for a certificate of visa issuance approval.
– When the visa status is issued, additional 1month (term of contract+ 1month) will be added to the term of a contract.(within maximum 2 years)
* Example) When applying for a certificate of visa issuance approval. after making 1year contract between a teacher and the employer, teacher will get additional 1month from the ending date of the contract.

○ Marijuana test is added to the drug test list.
– Since the crime related to Marijuana is happening again and again, Cannabinoid test has been added to the drug test list.
* List of medical check : To check the fact of taking drugs such as Philopon, Heroin, Meta Amphetamine, Amphetamine, Marijuana etc. TBPE test and Cannabinoid test should be taken.

○ Medical check can only be done in specific hospitals.
– For the reliance of the result of the drug test the headquarters of immigration is going to select a specific hospital which has a perfect system for the drug test.

– To select a specific hospital the headquarters of immigration will get help from the Ministry of Public Welfare of Korea. Hospitals which have perfect check system will get the priority of the selection. And to give less difficulty for those who live far the selection will be made near every local immigration offices. Also official announcement will be made.
* In the closest future medical check document will be accepted when they are from the selected hospitals.

○ A revision of HIV infected people regulations.-
By the regulation, just because of the reason infected to HIV, no rejection will happen when applying for a certificate of visa issuance approval or get their visa status canceled or will not be forced to leave Korea.(from 2010.7.15)

Contact the immigration call center (1345 without district number) for further information.

PLEASE READ  THE COMMENTS FOR FURTHER UPDATES for RENEWING or TRANSFERRING VISAS.


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About

I’m a blogger, writer, and teacher. I’ve been working in South Korea’s ESL field for the last three years. My one year contract has unexpectedly turned into a journey that I’m still on and loving.


'KMK: New E-2 Visa Regulations' have 43 comments

  1. August 19, 2013 @ 12:47 pm ray

    ] i have F1 visa and i want to apply for e2 visa i mean i want to be a investor i want to know can i attend to a school part time with e2 visa

    Reply

    • August 19, 2013 @ 1:12 pm Brian Dye

      I’m not sure I understand. Do you want to teach part time? Then yes I suggest an E-2. If you want to attend school part time then there is the student visa you could apply for which is D4 I believe.

      Reply

  2. February 17, 2013 @ 11:30 pm Catherine

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.

    I think that you ought to write more on this
    subject, it may not be a taboo subject but generally people do not discuss
    these topics. To the next! Cheers!!

    Reply

  3. December 3, 2012 @ 5:00 am KMK: Updated E-2 Visa CBC | Kiss My Kimchi

    [...] KMK: Updated E-2 Visa CBCPosted on December 3, 2012 by Brian Dye • 0 CommentsIf you’re like me and have already completed the E-2 visa criminal background check you probably think  you’e all set and sitting pretty. Unfortunately, if you’re in a similar situation as me then you’d be wrong. You see I am currently seeking another position and my potential new employer doesn’t want a copy of the CBC that Korean immigration has on file for me. No, they want an original of their very own. So that means I have do the process all over again. However, I soon learned that some things have changed a bit since I last wrote about getting my Criminal Background Check. [...]

    Reply

  4. January 10, 2012 @ 4:14 am Background check and other documents « A Fat Girl Abroad

    [...] much research online, including this and this and this, I need a bunch of documents. I am in the process of getting most of [...]

    Reply

  5. September 24, 2011 @ 12:49 am bob jones

    Recently, I was inclined to apply for EPIK. I submitted my national check to immigration in August, as I decided to extend my current contract, at a hagwon, until February 2012. My reason was to ensure a good chance at a public school position at the start of the new year. Bureaucracy rears its ugly head; EPIK wants me to get another FBI check, despite not having left Korea. The reason: “EPIK standards are higher than Immigration standards”( actual quote from Anthony Snow at EPIK). My FBI check is at Immigration, MOE wants one less than 6 months old, which they would turn in to Immigration. My question is why? MOE can’t contact Immigration regarding the FBI check on file with Immigration, yet MOE will turn in a new FBI check to Immigration eventually. Can anyone explain?

    Reply

    • September 28, 2011 @ 12:00 pm Brian Dye

      I have no idea. The immigration law provides for you leaving the country without having a new FBI check. As long as you don’t leave for more than a specific amount of time ( i forget how many weeks) then you are fine. I would contact someone else in EPIK/SMOE and show them the immigration rules.

      Reply

  6. August 31, 2011 @ 11:45 pm kira

    I just started working here, and I’ve gone in for the medical check but haven’t picked up the results or given my passport up to immigration for my arc yet. Am I allowed to travel before I get my arc? I do have a multi-entry visa.

    Reply

    • September 2, 2011 @ 1:33 pm Brian Dye

      As far as I know you don’t need an arc to travel. You have your visa stamped in your passport. Though I would double check with immigration to be sure.

      Reply

  7. August 31, 2011 @ 11:45 pm kira

    I just started working here, and I’ve gone in for the medical check but haven’t picked up the results or given my passport up to immigration for my arc yet. Am I allowed to travel before I get my arc? I do have a multi-entry visa.

    Reply

  8. March 8, 2011 @ 11:36 am th3bt

    Thank-you for the information on your site. The links have been very helpful. I received my E-2 in August, under the post 2007 rules, and started the process for the new rules in September. I now have all the documents ready for my next E-2 under the new rules. It was a pain, but I am confident that from now on it will be easier. One note that I think is important is that immigration will not require transcripts, but a prospective employer will so it may be a good idea to have a few copies handy, just in case. Thanks again for all you do on your site. It is an invaluable resource.

    Reply

    • March 8, 2011 @ 3:48 pm kissmykimchi

      Th3bt

      Glad you got everything sorted out and on track for your visa. It\’s been a maze or questions to get things done, but through comments like those on below everyone has been able to get things right! Good Luck!

      Reply

  9. February 14, 2011 @ 9:22 am kissmykimchi

    For me, I'm staying because of now I am really enjoying my time here. Eventually i know I will return to the states, but until I'm ready why leave?

    Reply

  10. February 13, 2011 @ 2:08 am Bib

    If it is so hard to stay there with Korean Government requirement why should you guys stay there. Come back to USA there are a lots of Jobs better pay than Korea.

    Reply

    • February 16, 2011 @ 11:00 am Jason Water

      BIB, how would you know? Based on your English writing skills, it seems that you are not an American and that you probably don't live in the U.S. …. If Korea does not want "dirty" foreigners" living in its country, it should ammend its laws and block all foreigners from entering….The only problem is that everyone wants to learn English in Korea aside from manual labor jobs that enough Koreans will not do. Let me understand this, some Koreans want still learn English from Foreigners and have those low paying jobs done, BUT those individuals don't like the fact that more foreigners are coming to Korea to teach English. and work… yes, very interesting…

      Reply

  11. January 27, 2011 @ 7:50 pm kissmykimchi

    Also to just Clarify one more time: You must Send the FBI check to the Secretary of State office in DC

    U.S. Department of State
    Authentications Office
    518 23rd Street NW.
    SA-1
    Washington, DC 20520

    Reply

  12. December 14, 2010 @ 12:02 pm Veron Faciane

    Just to clarify: Per immigration: If you came here before 7-15-2010 and you are renewing your Visa at the same school, you DO NOT need another criminal background check in 2011. However, you WILL need the apostilled diploma and the criminal background check for 2012.

    Conversation teacher (E-2) related system improvement notice.

    Here is the link: http://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/NtcCotnDetailR_en.pt?…

    EXECPTIONS: If you edit your Visa in anyway…ex. change school, transfer or any other changes other than what you are currently are doing and will be doing for 2011, then YES, YOU WILL HAVE TO TURN IN THOSE TWO DOCUMENTS: FBI Criminal Background Check and Apostilled Diploma.

    Conversation teacher (E-2) related system improvement notice.

    Reply

  13. December 14, 2010 @ 12:02 pm Veron Faciane

    Just to clarify: Per immigration: If you came here before 7-15-2010 and you are renewing your Visa at the same school, you DO NOT need another criminal background check in 2011. However, you WILL need the apostilled diploma and the criminal background check for 2012.

    Conversation teacher (E-2) related system improvement notice.

    Here is the link: http://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/NtcCotnDetailR_en.pt?…

    EXECPTIONS: If you edit your Visa in anyway…ex. change school, transfer or any other changes other than what you are currently are doing and will be doing for 2011, then YES, YOU WILL HAVE TO TURN IN THOSE TWO DOCUMENTS: FBI Criminal Background Check and Apostilled Diploma.

    Conversation teacher (E-2) related system improvement notice.

    Reply

  14. December 13, 2010 @ 10:12 am gifridge

    Here's a link to the actual announcement made by Korean Immigration. If you have any questions, there is a phone number at the bottom of the page.
    http://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/NtcCotnDetailR_en.pt?…

    Reply

  15. December 13, 2010 @ 12:32 am James

    I just confirmed with immigration — the new background check requirements become active January 1st 2011, meaning if you can manage to get all your documents together and apply for your visa by December 31st, you will be approved with the old, state-wide background check. Now to scramble around and express-ship things back and forth to try and meet that deadline ;)
    My recent post Coming Soon- Charlottesville and Harrisonburg Restaurants

    Reply

    • December 14, 2010 @ 12:26 pm Veron Faciane

      I called Immigration and they ask me many questions about my arrival date (April 2, 2009) and exactly which documents I sent initially. He stated to me that for current E2 Visa Teachers who are renewing their Visa by resigning with the same school in 2001, the new rules will not apply to us. It makes sense if you read the rules on the website, that's why I called. It specifically states that if you came here before 7/15/2010 then you are exempt. However, he stated that in 2012 you would need the two new documents or if you are tranferring, changing scools, or editing your Visa in any manner, you will need the two new documents. If you read other postings from those who called with the same situations, you will the outcome was the same. Hope this clarifies things a bit.

      Reply

  16. November 30, 2010 @ 12:32 pm sinem

    I have E2 visa. can I go to school part time?

    Reply

    • November 30, 2010 @ 4:20 pm kissmykimchi

      If you have an E2 Visa right now then you are beholden to the employer who secured your visa. You could ask for a letter of release and then transfer your visa if you have been with that employer for six months. If not then you would have to get a new E2 visa.

      Reply

      • December 20, 2010 @ 2:50 pm todd

        Hi,

        So my visa expires at the end of Feb, I could get a letter of release from my employeer around mid feb, then take it to Imagration with my new contract from my new employeer and tranfser and extend my visa one time with no background check?

        Reply

        • December 20, 2010 @ 9:24 pm kissmykimchi

          According to Veron Faciane's experience that would only work if you were staying with your current school and resigning, not changing jobs.

  17. November 4, 2010 @ 2:34 pm Brian Dye

    Just a heads up to let you know that all the talk about extending the new rules until 2012 is just that…talk. Get those CBC's in otherwise you'll be out of luck and a job.

    Reply

  18. November 3, 2010 @ 8:13 am West Virginia Notary Hand

    [...] KMK: New E-2 Visa Regulations By doing so you will not have to have the document notarized before you send it in to the US State Department for an apostille. Send fingerprint forms here: FBI CJIS Division – Record Request 1000 Custer Hollow Road Clarksburg, WV When the goverment returns the documents to you . But, when the time applying for alien registration or the next sojourn related application is made, you will have to hand in the criminal back ground check which is nationwide version. [...]

    Reply

  19. October 21, 2010 @ 9:31 pm Brian Dye

    I should also add that I went to the USO to get my fingerprints done. It's on the army base, everyone speaks English and it's free! Go to Sookmyoung Women's University station on the light blue line take exit 7 and walk straight, cross the light, and keep going straight until you see the base on your left.

    Reply

  20. October 18, 2010 @ 11:41 pm Lola O.

    I'm a little confused about the apostillization process. Can we NOT get the FBI check apostillized by our state's sec of state? Mine would be AZ. I'm planning to have all of my stuff sent to my friend to send it all to get apostillized but I want to make sure I'm doing it right.

    We have to send our diploma to the secretary of State, but we have to send the FBI one to the US Department of State in DC? Not both to sec of state?

    I feel like this new process is more difficult and time consuming than the previous one.

    Reply

    • October 19, 2010 @ 12:23 am Brian Dye

      Nope send diplomat to your secretary of state in your home state and the fbi to the Secretary of State in DC. I believe if graduated in a different state you can get it notarized in that state and then you can have the apostille from that state's secretary of state.

      Remember you do have to send the FBI check to the DC office.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply

  21. October 7, 2010 @ 2:44 am Jaim

    So I teach at a college in Korea on an E-2 and I'll be renewing my contract and visa for the beginning of next semester in March.

    The finger-print stuff is insane and idiotic given that the ROK already gave me a clearance two years ago for my first job and I've never been out of the country longer than three weeks since then. Hmm. I'm guessing no one will be fired for having allowed a potential pedophile/drug dealer/ajumma kicker into the country ca. 2010, since in 2008 I was a foreigner-in-good-standing, supposedly.

    But for me the apostille-on-diploma is worse. First off, I have two of them (BA and MA). And they're here with me due to Korea's inability to understand that a university transcipt under seal is more secure and "official" than a diploma itself, which are easy to fake (but a registrar's seal and signature are not).

    So ridiculous. It sounds like I'll have to mail two valuable, original diplomas back to America to get apostilles from two different state officials.

    I should have gone to law school.

    Reply

    • October 7, 2010 @ 3:23 am Brian Dye

      Actually its not so bad. Just email copies of your diplomas to your school's registrar office. They can then notarize the copies and send it to a family member who can then go to the secretary of state office in whatever state you are from and get the apostille. Then he just mails those to you!

      Reply

      • October 7, 2010 @ 4:42 am Jaim

        Good information. Thank you for it!

        Reply

    • December 14, 2010 @ 12:11 pm Veron Faciane

      Hopefully, this will be helpful information for you…I have been here since April 2, 2009. I read the new rules on the Immigration Website and could not help but notice one line:

      Foreign conversation teacher(E-2) who came into Korea before 2010.7.15 and does not fit in the required condition of the changed regulation of handing in the Criminal Background Check document, which covers the whole country's information. Foreigner must hand in the sufficient document the immigration office requires.

      So, I called them. No, you and I do NOT need to do the criminal background check or the apostilled diploma until 2012. Per: Immigration. (we came before 7/15/2010) There are also two other instances of the same situations on Dave's ESL Cafe and they called too and go the same response as me. Good Luck!

      Reply

  22. September 30, 2010 @ 7:13 pm Kyle

    great post and good advice about the time frame to get things done.

    The last regulation change is interesting, am I reading that right that HIV positive is not a reason for rejection or cancellation of visa? I find that hard to believe.

    Reply

    • September 30, 2010 @ 7:43 pm Brian Dye

      I'm sure that's the "official" policy, but the unofficial one is another matter entirely, I bet.

      Reply

  23. September 24, 2010 @ 10:42 am Brian Dye

    We do! It’s going to suck. I’m getting started now. Still once we go through the hoops then its done. Unless we leave the country for three months or more.

    Reply

  24. September 24, 2010 @ 10:12 am Matt Narciso | ESL Teacher Online

    The E2 Investor Visa allows an individual to enter and work inside of the United States based on an investment he or she will be controlling, while inside the United States. This visa must be renewed every other year, but there is no limit to how many times one can renew.

    In relation to this, you may want to visit our online English academy is bases in Cebu City, Philippines. It is an institution with competent, effective, and efficient ESL teachers well-equipped to provide easy and fun way of learning English at a minimum amount of time per session.

    Reply

    • September 24, 2010 @ 7:44 pm Brian Dye

      Thanks for the info Matt. I'm sure plenty will be curious about working in the Philippines.

      Reply

  25. September 21, 2010 @ 2:09 pm Amanda

    I hear that we have to jump through these hoops for renewals as well?

    Reply

    • October 5, 2010 @ 4:43 am jwl

      If I’m leaving the country for 5 weeks and switching jobs will I be subjected to a new drug test upon reentry?

      Reply

      • October 5, 2010 @ 8:38 am Brian Dye

        If you’re switching jobs after January then you will need to go through the entire process which includes the medical test.

        Reply

        • October 5, 2010 @ 10:41 pm Anonymous

          Thanks, Brian. I'll be going back next week!


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