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You have probably heard of it, but never thought it was possible for you to actually do it. You desperately wanted to do something exciting like this in your life, but gave up because you didn’t know how. South Korea is one of the easiest places to get started as an English teacher. There is such a demand in this country for the English language that schools are always hiring! It doesn’t even matter if you majored in English Education or not. And it doesn’t matter even if you don’t have the money to buy a plane ticket. Schools in Korea will pay for your airfare and your housing! They will even provide a taxi to pick you up from the airport and take you to your new apartment!
So, have I convinced you to finally go? Okay! Are you a native speaker of English? Were you born in the following countries: USA, Canada, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, South Africa or Australia? Are you in good physical health? Can you pass a Federal Criminal Background Check? Did you graduate from an accredited university with a bachelor’s degree? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you are good to go! I was an accounting major and had very little experience teaching English. If I can do it, so can you! Give it a try!
There are several avenues to take, but the easiest way to teach English in South Korea is to go through a teaching agency. I will discuss other avenues later on in different posts. But for now, I will take you through the process of applying through an online teaching agency.
One of the best places to find agencies online is through a website called Dave’s ESL Cafe. If you click on this link, in the window that opens you will find a webpage where Korean agencies post ads for jobs that are available. If you click on a job post, you will find the details of the job listed. You will find an email address on this page listed either at the top of the page, or at the bottom of the page. When you have found a job that you like, simply contact the agency through the email provided and send your resume with a professional photograph of yourself. (for guys: wear a suit with a tie and shave your face.) When you send your resume, give a self-introduction and the reason why you want to teach English in South Korea. In a few days you will receive a reply from the agency. After this they will give you a list of things you will need to do.
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1. First go to Dave’s ESL Cafe Korean Job board and apply!
2. Get your passport, if you haven’t done so already! You can complete the application form for your passport online, or you can print out the Form DS-11 and submit the form with the additional required documentation at an acceptance facility near you.
3. You must pass a Federal Criminal Background Check. Go to your local municipality and have a copy of your fingerprints made from both hands. They should be able to provide you with the proper card for fingerprinting. Tell the municipality that the fingerprints are for immigration purposes. Once you have obtained a copy of your fingerprints, get a money order for $18 and make it payable to the US Treasury. Next, write a letter stating that you are requesting a Federal Background Check and that the reason for the background check is for immigration purposes. Also include in the letter the following: “Please authenticate my criminal background check results by placing the FBI seal and the signature of a division official on the results for the purpose of obtaining a Federal Apostille. Thank you.”
Next, on a separate sheet of paper, write your name, phone number and email address and attach it to the fingerprint card. Then, take the letter you have written, the fingerprint card, and the money order and put them inside the manila envelope and address the envelope to:
Attn: Special Correspondence – Mode – D2
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, West Virginia
This process will take around 6 to 8 weeks, so please be patient. If you have any further questions regarding this process you can visit the FBI website directly and have a look around.
Wait for the background check to return in the mail. If you passed the background check now you are ready apply for the Apostille request. You will mail the background check to:
Secretary of StateAuthentications Unit
1019 Brazos, B-13
Austin, TX 78701
(Walk-in Service is also provided Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
When mailing the background check, the following information must be provided: (1)The name of the country where the document will be recorded, (2)the statutory fee of Fifteen Dollars ($15.00) per certificate or apostille. A check or money order drawn on a U.S. Bank and made payable to the Secretary of State of Texas must be submitted with the documents. American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa cards are also accepted, (3)a self-addressed, stamped envelope or pre-paid overnight airbill/envelope.
4. You must order a copy of your diploma from the university that you graduated from. Contact the registrars office of your university and ask them how you can obtain a new copy of your diploma. They will more than likely direct you to their website and tell you to print out a form and then mail the form in to them. When you print this form, look for a place in the form where it says, “Requesting Apostille/Notary: Yes____ No_____.” Enter, “Yes.” (If this question is not present on the form, personally make a note requesting an apostille/notary.) In addition, request that the diploma be forwarded to (your state’s) Secretary of State’s office for the purpose of obtaining an “Apostille.” In the form there should be place where you can include the Secretary of State’s office address. (This office will be in the state in which you are residing in.) An “Apostille” is like a notary, but used for immigration purposes. Once you have filled out the form, you must get a money order in the amount requested in the form. After this, mail the envelope to the address of your university. This should be listed in the form as well. It will take approximately 4-8 weeks for you to receive your diploma, so please be patient and get started right away!
5. You must get 5 passport sized photos of yourself made. Go to a Walgreens, CVS pharmacy or a place that develops photos and you can have these photos taken and developed immediately.
6. Mailing required documents to Korea for Visa processing. Once you have received everything back in the mail, lets run down the list one more time to make sure you have everything:
a). Apostilled copy of your original diploma (you have to have your original copy notarized by a public notary first and then have your notarized diploma apostilled by the Secretary of State.)
b). Apostilled Federal Background Check. (Federal Background Checks expire after 6 months.)
c). 4 passport sized color photos.
d). Your formal resume with address and contact information.
e). Health Statement (fill out the health form you will receive from the agency, a medical check will be provided by the school once you have arrived in Korea.)
f). A copy of the ID page in your passport. (the page in your passport where your photo is.)
g). Two signed copies of your employment contract. (provided by the agency through email.)
If you have everything above, you are ready to mail it!
7. Mail the required documents to the address provided by your agency.
8. E2 Work Visa processing at the immigration office in South Korea. While you are waiting, the agency in Korea will be processing your E2 work visa at the immigration office in South Korea. This process takes 7 to 10 days to complete and after that you will receive your E2 Work Visa Issuance Number via email.
9. Go to the Korean embassy in the State you reside in. You will bring your passport and E2 Visa Issuance number as well as some additional documents. Before making a trip to the Korean embassy, call them to find out what additional documents you need to bring. (sometimes they are subject to change.)a). One completed Visa application (provided by the agency).
b). One passport sized photo (3.5 x 4.5 with white background).
c). Original Passport.
d). Photocopy of passport ID page.
e). $45 Visa Fee. (Cash of money order).
f). Visa Issuance confirmation number.
g). Sealed University Transcripts (possibly not necessary.)
10. Have an interview in the Korean Consulate.
11. Get on the plane. You will receive an e-ticket from your agency with boarding times and date of departure.
Get packed! You’re going to Korea!