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The Complete Guide to the H-1 Visa: The Working Holiday Visa in South Korea

Updated: Dec 5, 2023


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The Working Holiday Program in Korea is intended for young people who want to learn about South Korean culture while also funding their travels through part-time work. The H-1 visa allows you to travel in and out of Korea, making it an excellent choice for those who want to work and travel.


I. H-1 Eligibility and Application


A. Basic Requirements

  • Eligible Ages: Applicants must be between 18 to 30 years old.

  • Eligible Countries: Applicants from only the following countries may apply.

Australia Austria Belgium Canada

Chile Czech Republic Denmark France Germany

Hong Kong Hungary Ireland Israel Italy Japan Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Spain Sweden Taiwan UK USA

The general duration of stay for these countries is 12 months, with extensions available for U.S. and U.K. citizens.

  • Passport Validity: Your passport must remain valid for at least 1 year from the application date.

  • Financial Proof: Before arriving, ensure you have a bank statement displaying a minimum of KRW 3,000,000 in savings.

  • Return Journey: Possession of a return flight ticket or funds sufficient to purchase one.

  • Insurance: Acquire special insurance that covers the entirety of your Working Holiday period in Korea.

B. Application Process

  • Gather all necessary documentation. This may vary depending on your country but typically includes items such as medical check-ups, e-visa forms, and criminal record checks.

  • Draft your "travel plan" document detailing your intentions and timeline while in Korea.

  • Acquire an insurance certificate with coverage including civil liability, repatriation, disease, maternity, disability, and hospitalization, with a minimum coverage of 40,000,000 won.

  • Submit your application in person at your local Korean embassy. Applications are processed within 5 to 14 working days, though this can differ based on the embassy.

  • Once your visa is granted, pay close attention to its starting validity date to ensure timely arrival in Korea.

H-1 Travel Plan Form
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Download DOCX • 8KB
H-1 Visa Application Form
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Download PDF • 176KB

II. Preparation for Arrival


A. Learning Korean


Consider taking a Korean language course. While basic tasks can be managed without Korean proficiency, most job opportunities demand at least an elementary understanding of the language. From Beginner to TOPIK Success: Free Study Materials for Learning Korean


B. H-1 Visa Jobs and Restrictions

  • Holders of the Working Holiday Visa face certain job restrictions. Prohibited fields include roles such as teachers, managers, artists, and researchers. However, jobs in the hospitality sector, such as positions in coffee shops, restaurants, and hotels, are permissible.

C. Korean Minimum Wage Details

  • You're typically restricted to working no more than 25 hours per week.

  • As of 2022, the minimum wage in Korea stands at 9,160 KRW per hour. Ensure your compensation respects this threshold.


III. Upon Arrival in Korea


A. Alien Registration Card (ARC)

  • Within 90 days of entering Korea, secure your Alien Card Registration (ARC) at the nearest Korea Immigration Office.

  • Come prepared with the necessary documents: a copy of your passport, a photo with a white background, and your rental agreement.

B. Change of Address Protocols

  • If you change addresses, you are obligated to notify authorities (call 1345) within 14 days.

C Health and Insurance

  • After a 3-month stay in Korea, you become eligible for the National Health Insurance (NHI). However, remember, this does not replace the necessity of your Working Holiday Insurance.


IV. Transitioning to Other Visas


If you've been offered a job and seek to switch to a working visa, only citizens from the U.K., France, Ireland, and Denmark can transition before the conclusion of their H1 visa. This applies specifically to those aiming for the E-7 visa.


V. Conclusion


The Working Holiday Program in Korea offers an exceptional opportunity to immerse oneself in Korean culture while financially supporting one's travels. While procedures and regulations must be followed, the enriching experiences and memories gained make the trip worthwhile.


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