How to be a long-term resident of Korea

If you’re thinking about becoming a long-term resident of South Korea, this post might be helpful.  I’ve recently switched from the E-series visa (work sponsored visa), which has a validity of one to two years to the F-2-7 (long-term resident), which is about three to five years.

I won’t talk about the benefits of having an F visa in this post, but I will eventually talk about it later on. In order to qualify for this visa, you need to get the minimum score of 80. The immigration uses a point system to “score” each applicant. Here are the factors that will earn you points.

  • Age
  • Education
  • Korean Language Ability
  • Income
  • Tax
  • Others: Volunteer, Korean Language Study (must be from a university program),  and work experience)


You can get anywhere from 20 to 25 points. It all depends on your age. At the time of applying, I was 30 years old. Being 30 gets me the maximum points in this category.

My points – 25


If you hold a degree, you can get some points. Certificates are not worth anything. I was able to earn 32 points (Masters in Business Administration, Technology Management). Immigration will also give you additional points if you earned that degree in Korea. Since I graduated from a Korean university, I was able to get four additional points.

My points – 32 + 4 = 36 

Korean Language Ability

To get points here, you need to take TOPIK or enroll and complete the KIIP (Korean Integration Immigration Program). In my opinion, the KIIP classes were quite easy to pass.

TOPIK 1/KIIP 1 = 10 points
TOPIK 2/KIIP 2 = 12 points
TOPIK 3/KIIP 3 = 14 points
TOPIK 4/KIIP 4 = 16 points
TOPIK 5/KIIP 5 = 18 points (KIIP only has 5 levels. If you can successfully complete all 5 levels, you get an additional 10 points)
TOPIK 6 = 20 points

My points – 14


This is quite personal so I won’t be sharing my figures with you. ^^ Basically, if you made ₩10,000,000 you will get one point. ₩20,000,000 equals two points. ₩30,000,000 equals three points and so on.

My points – ?


This is quite similar to income. If you paid over ₩1,000,000 you will earn one point, over ₩2,000,000 is 2 points, etc.

My points – 2


Getting extra points is quite difficult. If you have volunteer experience in Korea (must be from a government-sponsored organization) you can get a few points here. If you have foreign work experience and it is related to your current job, you can get up to five points. There are a lot of required documents to prove your experience. You can also get points for completing a Korean language program at a university (no academies). This will get you an additional point.

My point = 0

So if I add up everything, I have 77 points. If I now include my income, I’m now over the 80 point minimum.

Once you think you have 80 points, you need to show documentation for everything. This is what my portfolio consists of (TIP: Try to make everything neat and organized)

  1. Age: Passport and Current ARC (photocopies of both)
  2. Education: I brought my original diplomas (both bachelors and masters) PLUS  my certificate of completion from my Korean university.
  3. Korean Language Ability: Since I didn’t complete the KIIP, I didn’t have the certificate of completion. For this, I printed out the transcript that showed I passed level three.
  4. Income and tax: They need to see the income statement from your employer. I requested this document from my employer. It also had the tax amount on there. Just in case, I also brought in all the electronic pay stubs that I received from the payroll department. You will also need to bring in your job contract.

If your documents are ready to go, I’m sure that the process at the immigration center will take less than 15 minutes. Then you have to wait for three to four weeks until the visa processing is complete.

Please let me know if you need any help! I am willing to help. 🙂


14 thoughts on “How to be a long-term resident of Korea

  1. Thanks for taking the time to write this blog. I found it extremely useful. I have a question I was hoping you could help me with. I also have an MBA from a Korean university, but I’ve been advised that this is only worth 30 + 4 points. Immigration aren’t always the most up to date people to deal with. How did you obtain 36?


    1. Hello. It all depends on your major. An MBA should be worth 32 points not 30 points. When I visited the immigration office, I had no problems submitting my documents. One tip is to create a folder with all the necessary files. Have everything labeled and categorized. I also printed out the immigration guide and created my own rubric to show that I have all the necessary documents. This will make the process a bit faster. Plus the immigration officer will feel less stressed out. Let me know if you have any additional questions. 🙂


  2. Hi, I got a similar question from immigration if MBA is science or arts agree. This is very peculiar. I have MBA from top ranking UK university and bachelor’s in engineering, bit not sure if it is 32 or 30 points. Can you please provide some more info how you qualified your MBA worth 32 points? Appreciate your help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Satish,

      The immigration should recognize the MBA degree as a science. Before applying I called the immigration center and every representative that I talked to said it was worth 32 points. However, I am not 100% sure. It may also be the university I graduated from or my concentration. I went to KAIST which is known for the sciences and my MBA concentration was technology management.

      What classes did you take? They might give you 30/32 points based on the curriculum.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Ono,

        Thanks for the response. I took accounting, Finance, strategy, entrepreneurship, operations management etc as the normal courses. However, I have a and working in oil and gas industry, hence all my assignments and focus were related to Oil and gas industry which is very technical. Do you think there is any way to justify this with immigration?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! Get an official copy of your transcript to show you took courses that were technical. Just inform the immigration clerk who is helping you that the MBA was focused on technology and show him your transcript. Once he accepts it, another immigration official will review all the documents.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Joshua. I believe TOPIK has a validity period of two years. So, my guess is no. When was the issue date? I would call the immigration office to confirm this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The result says valid till Nov 26, 2017. Also l will like to know if certificate obtained from Korean Language schools count towards language proficiency. I have a certificate of completion from my language school showing l studied till level 5 alongside my transcript.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You might have to retake the exam to get the 14 points. For the 1 language point, immigration only recognizes language programs from universities.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Uhmmm l am far away from 80 point if the Topik 4 is not valid. I will have 23 for age, 30-32 for Master’s degree in Science, 9 points for Master’s degree from Korea, 1 point for yearly income, 10 point for being a D27 holder

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think a master’s degree from Korea is 4 additional points. So with the information you have provided, you should have 71 points. It looks like you are 10 points shy. Why don’t you just take the TOPIK again? You just need to pass the 1st level to obtain ten points.

        Liked by 1 person

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