F-5: Permanent Residence Visa in South Korea

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Last week, I received my permanent residence visa (F-5) in the mail. Finally!!! After more than 3 months of waiting and thinking that I would not be granted the visa. Why? You may ask. It’s just a permanent visa.

My husband and I have submitted all the requirements and we were told that all we had to do was to wait for 2 or 3 months for the visa to be approved and mailed to us. Three months passed, but we didn’t receive any. Since I didn’t have my alien registration card and I was still waiting for my new visa, I could not travel out of the country. My husband decided to call the immigration office and we were scheduled for an interview. Yup, an interview. It’s just a permanent visa and we needed to be interviewed. I suppose it depends on the immigration office you are going to. Some Filipinas who applied for F-5 visa told me that they weren’t interviewed and they got their permanent visa after 2 or 3 months.

We were instructed to bring our wedding album, so hubby and I brought our two wedding albums: the very thick one from our wedding in the Philippines and the other from our wedding in Korea. We also prepared all our bank books: his, mine and our joint bank account. Not all immigration officials require you to bring your wedding album, but the bank book/s or certificate of bank account is mandatory.

Below are the requirements for permanent visa:

  • Application form (which you can download here)
  • Passport
  • Passport photo (size: 3.5Cm * 4.5Cm)
  • Korean spouse’s family registration and resident registration
  • Documents that specify financial ability equivalent to ₩30 million
  • Certificate of bank account under the name of applicant or applicant’s family members
  • Copy of real estate registration
  • Copy of house lease contract
  • Certificate of employment of applicant or applicant’s spouse (In our case, we brought statement of accounts that indicate how much salary we get each month, because we failed to get certificates of employment.)
  • Fees: 50,000 KRW (44 – 45 USD) (1,856 – 1,857 PHP)

Some immigration officials may ask you to bring other documents.

After two years of staying in Korea as the spouse of a Korean citizen, you can already apply for permanent residence if you don’t want to get Korean citizenship.

Your period of stay is calculated from the day of your alien registration. If you leave the country before the expiration of your sojourn period, the sojourn period ends and calculation of period of stay begins all over again once you return to Korea. However, if you return to Korea not longer than 3 months, the periods you have lived in Korea before and after departure will be added up.

Who else is eligible for permanent residence visa?

  • Someone who is divorced or separated from a Korean spouse and can prove that the Korean spouse is liable for the divorce or separation
  • Someone whose Korean spouse died or was declared missing by the court
  • Someone who is rearing an underage child/children and wants to stay in Korea after being divorced/separated from a Korean spouse

Who is NOT eligible for permanent residence visa?

  • Someone who has violated Korean immigration law in the past 3 years. (An individual who has already paid the fine may apply.)
  • Someone who has been sentenced to jail or more severe punishment (Of course!)

What are the benefits of having a permanent residence visa?

  • Since the permanent residence visa does not expire, there is no need to go to the immigration office every two years to renew your visa or extend your period of  sojourn.
  • If you would like to go abroad and stay there for less than a year, re-entry permit is not necessary, but if you are staying in another country for more than 1 year, re-entry permit is required.
  • You can vote in local elections after 3 years of holding a permanent residence visa.
  • You can keep your F-5 visa even after a divorce.
  • You can work legally in Korea, just like with F-2 visa.
  • You don’t have to pay 50,000 each year for a re-entry permit.
  • With an F-5 visa, you are no longer sponsored by your Korean spouse.
  • You can’t be deported except if you have committed treason, was sentenced to prison for more than 5 years, or have organized or contributed to illegal immigration.

Another benefit I was told is that I can go through the Korean queues at the airport. Well, I have yet to find out this Chuseok holiday when my husband and I visit the Philippines.



Filed under: Expats in Korea, FYI Tagged: alien registration card, passport photo size, permanent residence visa, travel, vacation

From Korea with Love




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