By John Redmond
With Assistance From Sean Hayes
Korea has a very rigid immigration system when it comes to visa status. Whereas most English teachers on an E2 visa complain that they should be allowed to retain their visa should they change their employer, many business investors hold few grievances concerning the D8 visa.
The D8 visa is issued primarily to foreigners who wish to start up small businesses in Korea and in some cases is given to foreign appointed managers of local companies, executives, senior managers or employees with specialist skills.
According to the Korean law, you are not restricted to what type of business you may wish to start up. Be it an import/export business, a restaurant, a small publishing company or even a travel agency, provided the paper work is in order, no problems should ensue.
When researching this article, I spoke with Sean Hayes about some of the criteria concerning the D8 visa application process.
``Essentially as long as you fit the criteria, you have no problems,'' Sean said. ``It's when your field of work goes slightly beyond an actual workplace, that problems could arise. If say, you want to be self-employed. You can't register a business name like ``I am teacher" and freelance as a teacher. ``Sometimes there are a few problems. Like the guy who worked as a voice actor and wanted to register himself.''
Under the Korean law, foreign nationals must inform immigration of their place of employment. For the voice actor, this proved to be rather difficult as voice acting work is usually one on a contractual basis with multiple companies.
This voice actor tried, and eventually succeeded, in registering himself as a business though not without a few hassles.
To apply for a visa for business investor (D8), the following are required.
For an applicant investing not less than 50 million won:
Application for a visa (or Confirmation letter of visa issuance); Passport (or a photocopy of a passport in the case of applications for a Confirmation letter of visa issuance); Photocopy of a certificate of FDI company registration; Photocopy of a business registration certificate or incorporation register, if applicable; Certificate of declaration of a foreign currency (issued by the Customs Office); Certificate of remittance issued by the relevant bank, in the event that the investment amount was remitted to Korea; Photocopy of a foreign currency purchase certificate; Photocopy of an office lease contract; Photocopy of a bank book.
For an applicant dispatched to Korea as an essential specialist by a parent business in a foreign country:
Application for a visa (or a Confirmation letter of visa issuance); Passport (or a photocopy of passport in the case of applications for a Confirmation letter of visa issuance); Letter explaining the reason for the applicant's invitation to Korea; Written order to work in Korea (issued by the relevant business); Resume; Diplomas, career certificates, qualification certificates and other certificates attesting to the applicant's status as a specialist; Photocopy of a certificate of FDI company registration; Photocopy of a business registration certificate or incorporation register, if applicable; Application for a tax payment certificate; Incoming remittance details; Office lease contract; Certificate of tax payment; Certificate of export report; Power of attorney.
For further information and legal advice, we suggest you visit the Korean law blog at http://ahnse.blogspot.com/2007/10/visa-for-investors-in-korea-d-8-visa.html or the Seoul Help Center at http://shc.seoul.go.kr/page/?section=hotline/view&brd_cd=h001&page=87&seq_no=2332&kw=