For a few years now the Korean Ministry of Justice has offered visa upgrades to foreigners working professionally and lawfully residing in Korea. These professionals, who have resided in Korea for at least one year, can participate in a point system to change from an E or D visa to an F-2 visa. F2 visas are “resident status” visas and can open up a wider range of employment options for holders.
The point system is calculated by age, academic career, Korean language proficiency, yearly income, and some other factors including volunteer work, professional work experience outside Korea, and any study done within Korea. In addition to accumulating points towards your upgrade, certain illegal activities (such as illegal stays) can create minus points. Of the 120 points available, only 80 are needed to apply for the visa upgrade.
Most applicants might be curious about gaining the necessary Korean language proficiency points. This is where KIIP comes in. KIIP is the Korean Immigration and Integration Program, a step-by-step program to help foreigners gain their residency status.
The first step with KIIP, is registering on the website (Korean only): http://www.socinet.go.kr
Those interested in the 2013 program, should be aware of the following open windows for applications this year:
The program begins with a pre-test (level-placement test) and is offered three times a year:
Upon the results of this test, participants may then take their required Korean language courses at local educational venues (each level is 100 semester hours, or about 3 months of participation). In Daegu, these educational venues are Keimyung University, Kyungbook University, and the YMCA downtown.
All participants are also required to successfully complete the Korean society comprehension course (한국사회 이해), which is only 50 hours of coursework.
Finally, after this entire process, you can visit the Daegu immigration office (대구출입국관리사무소) located at:
Address: 1012-1, Geomsadong, Dong-gu, Daegu. Phone: 053-980-3512
(Take Exit #1 out of Red Line subway stop Dong Cheon (동촌) and walk straight to the intersection. Cross the street and turn left. Walk about 1 block. The building is on your right and has recently been painted white).
At the immigration office you can contact their friendly, helpful staff for further information on upgrading your visa from E or D to F-level status.