Important update on E-2 visa regulations
As you may have seen on Gusts of Popular Feeling, we're finally getting some clarification regarding the new visa regulations for the E-2 teaching visa. This should come as no surprise to those who know Korean ways, but that clarification had to be specifically asked for, as seemingly none had come on its own. Credit for receiving the clarification goes to professor Ben Wagner for asking the big question.
The verbiage coming from Korean Immigration is a bit dense:
"Ministry of Justice decided to strengthen the verification for the qualification of E-2 visa applicants, and required them as of January 1, 2011. to submit the criminal record that manifests nationwide criminal background check of the applicant at the time The Certificate of Eligibility for Visa Issuance would be applied.
Regarding this, the transitional provisions was prepared as follows;
'In case E-2 visa holders who got the visa by submitting such criminal record ineligible under the current regulation, entered Korea before July 15, 2010. and have stayed since that time have the visa expiration date after January 1, 2011. and wish to renew the stay, they should apply for the extension of stay with the submission of the criminal record that manifests nationwide criminal background check'.
However, considering the extenuating circumstance that preparation of the nationwide criminal record takes long time, new transitional provisions was prepared as follows;
'In case E-2 visa holders who got the visa by submitting such criminal record ineligible under the current regulation before December 31, 2010. and have stayed in Korea have the visa expiration date after January 1, 2011. and wish to renew the stay, they should apply for the extension of stay with the submission of the criminal record that manifests nationwide criminal background check when they apply for the second time since January 1, 2011.'. [emphasis mine]
For example, if a E-2 visa holder who got the visa on February 15, 2010. with the ineligible criminal record under the current regulation and has stayed for a year, the person does not have to submit the nationwide criminal record at the first renewal application probably in February 2011., but should submit it by the second renewal application (maybe in February 2012.).
cf) The application for the Certificate of Eligibility for Visa Issuance for E-2 which is applied after January 1, 2011. should accompany the criminal record that manifests nationwide criminal background check.
Still with me? Let's simplify this.
- If you're coming to Korea for the first time, you'll need a background check at the national level. For most nationalities that's nothing new, but for the Americans, it's a whole different ballgame. FBI background checks supposedly take up to 12 weeks to process, so apply now and get that process started way ahead of time.
- If you're currently in Korea, you're in luck - for now. The next time you renew your E-2 visa, you do not need the fancy national background check. After that, you'll need to bite the bullet and get it done. Foreigner Joy has an excellent post about how to take care of the fingerprint cards the FBI needs while here in Korea.
- A personal example: my current E-2 visa was issued in October 2010. When my visa needs renewing in October 2011, I will not need the fancy national background check. Presuming I'm still in Korea in October 2012, I will need the fancy national background check to get an E-2 visa.
To be clear, this is all based on the one official notice that has been disseminated in English as of this posting. Things may change, and there's no guarantee an individual Immigration officer will know the ins and outs of the new rule. For now, English teachers in Korea can breathe a sigh of relief.
This post was originally published on my blog,Chris in South Korea. If you are reading this on another website and there is no linkback or credit given, you are reading an UNAUTHORIZED FEED.