This is a bit of a complicated question and the best advice should come directly from the Korean Immigration Office since they set the rules and can change them at any time. That being said, they do have an English speaking support hotline that you can call to get advice for free. When you call, they can tell you which immigration office you need to go to since there are a few and they can also give advice on the kind of documentation and criteria you need to apply for the various visas available.
The hotline system has improved quite a bit from the past, so if you’ve called before and felt like you didn’t get the help you needed, we recommend giving them a try again. They seem to have found people to staff the hotline that are more knowledgeable, however you should keep in mind this is just an advice line. The decision of issuing visa’s is complicated and ultimately falls upon the immigration officer you face when you go in.
Since there are a lot of different types of visas and scenarios of how people get to stay in Korea, it does take some patience and diligence if you want a visa. From our experience, onsite Korean immigration officers yield a lot of decision making power and in general won’t spend a lot of time giving advice. Unless you happen to meet one on a good day and they are feeling particularly generous, they will check your application and you will either get a pass or fail answer.
In the case you are rejected, it could be for a lot of different reasons and the immigration officer may or may not tell you why. People are sometimes rejected simply because they didn’t submit proper paperwork. This can be easily fixed by getting your documents in better order and applying again. It’s also possible that you are applying for the wrong visa. There’s a long list of different types of visas you can apply for and you should study the requirements carefully to decide which one is most applicable to you. Of course this doesn’t cover all the reasons for rejection, for those in doubt, hiring an immigration attorney that specializes in helping foreigners can be helpful.
If you need help finding an attorney, Wonderful can assist with connecting you with one that speaks English. We can also help with making an appointment at the immigration office since they made a change recently that they no longer take walk-ins. The appointment website can be complicated to navigate for those who don’t have a PC or Windows. To get help from Wonderful, simply send us a message. For more information, please visit us at www.gowonderfully.com.
Korean Immigration Hotline: Dial 1345, press 3 and then * for English. No need to input area code, even from cell phones. You can call to get answers for simple questions and advice. From outside Korea, dial +82-2-6908-1345
Korean Immigration Website: https://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/main_en.pt