Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

I've been a teacher in Korea for 9 months and was looking to renew my contract and was told that in order to renew, I have to get a new NATIONAL criminal background check and an Apostille stamp on my original diploma.  I'm a US citizen

Apparently Korea passed a new law that requires all ESL teachers to have a NATIONAL background check and apostille on my diploma (i had gotten apostille on some stuff previously but not my diploma).

Has anyone else heard about this?  Does anyone know how to go about doing that?  Someone said I have to go to Guam for the apostille or just have someone back home do it (like my family back home doesn't have anything better to do...)

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

Check your state. Every state I know will do the apostille via post. I had this option, but you better do it asap. Also, when it comes to the national criminal record check, be careful. I as told that they only last one month. Depends on your recruiter, I think. Some say even if they are expired, if it is within 6 months, it is ok, even though it is technically expired.

Why they need this, I have no idea, as most crimes that require an FBI cert are crimes which cross state boarders. This makes it easier for criminals to get into Korea. I think their plan backfired. They probably believe that a national record means all records from each state, but that isn't true at all. Anyways, good luck with that. Check the FBI website, but where to get the fingerprints done, I have no idea.


Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

I was required to get an apostilleized background check before I came over. this year. I had to get fingerprinted (within 3 months) and send them to the state police who did the background check. then it was taken to the secretary of state to be apoltillized then sent over here. A great pain. Good Luck!

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

Yes this is true.. I was handed the paper from Busan Immigration today. All E-2 visa holders on their renewal date must have a National criminal background check also apostille. Also your degree has to have an apostille too...This is the new rules!!! Good luck...I been here 3 years every year I gave transcripts and degree and criminal back ground checks everytime on renewal...With this being said. I'm saying good luck to you... I'm out of here.... Time to go home......Only 7 more months....  :) :)...

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

 I was being recruited through gmail chat in early 2008. They found a job for me and were demanding my documents before I even graduated. Long story short...I ended up sending a letter from my University that I had graduated instead of the actual wasn't ready yet. The immigration office was fine with this. Since then... the only thing I've given them to renew my Visa 3 times, was the renewal fee and a signed contract.

I'm wondering if it's a case by case kind of thing. Maybe some officers are hard-asses and others don't really care.

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

Yeah, I did the same thing. I submitted a :"letter of graduation" with an apostille on it because it is a lot cheaper and faster to get than a diploma. Very strange that they want the diploma instead of the letter of graduation. I think a diploma is a lot easier to fake than a letter of graduation.

My recruiter said that I didnt need the diploma for the visa but that I did need it for the Busan Immigration office, but they never asked for it. Since I just submitted my paperwork, I should get my card next Friday. When I was in Paju (north of Seoul) they didn't want or say anything about that. Maybe because I teach at public schools---

Anyways, good luck with the paperwork. The background check is the hardest part to get and I hope you have begun work on that as it takes time to receive.

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

I have my diploma here.  I was originally told that all I needed was my diploma but now they want an apostille stamp on it.  And if I was at home in the US, it wouldn't be a problem to get it apostillized.  I am just not sure how to go about doing it from here in Korea?  HAs anyone had to do it from here?

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

Of course you can do it. Find your state's "Secretary of State" website and you can figure it out from there. Search for apostille or search on google for "(State Name) apostille."  I am from Washignton state, and I just searched for "Washington State Apostille" and all the info I needed popped up. You better do it asap because it can take between 3 to 6 weeks depending on the state. You will have to mail them your degree and a check for the cost of the apostille. If you need to, you should be able to use a money order. If you have trouble, contact your secretary of state's office asap.

Did that help clarify things- Doing it is exactly the same as any other apostille, such as the criminal record check. There shouldn't be any difference. Good Luck!

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

it says that the document has to be notarized by a notary republic or any other state official.  Do you know anything about the options there?

Sorry, I'm really not dumb about this stuff. I just don't know how to do things overseas lol

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

Are you sure your diploma needs a notary? I think only criminal records do, but I am not sure, as I used a letter of graduation instead of a diploma to save money and because it has an official signature at the bottom. Could you tell me what state you are from so I can check up on it for you?

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

For the Diploma, there is now a office that's primary focus is verifying the Diploma. Your boss has to go on line and fill out paper work. Then you pay about 60,000 won and send in your diploma, they then verfiy it with the school and return it after about 5-6 weeks. You HAVE to do this now.

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

See I've never heard of that.  What I heard is that an apostille stamp is required now.  Everyone has to get an apostille stamp on their diploma.  I've already been here for almost a year. They have my official diploma and transcripts, etc.  But a apostille is being required.  I'll ask my boss about that other service mentioned though. Sounds a lot more convenient than getting an apostille. 

And before, yes we had to get our 'state' level criminal background check apostillized. however now they're saying I need an FBI national level criminal background check, but I don't need to get it apostillized. Oh and I am from California. 

So being said, I've been trying to fill out the paperwork for the FBI criminal background check which involves fingerprints.  MY boss said he didn't know any professional places who finger print.  So yesterday I fingerprinted myself with regular stamping ink about 59 times and still didn't get perfect prints.  Uggggg

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

Hello. My name is Julian. I hope that I can help you guys because I am in the same boat. Eventhough, I have been teaching in South Korea for almost 8 years, it doesn't make a difference because I too am an E-2 visa holder and I am an American. You, Canadians are lucky. I envy you! Anyway, here is what I know and this is based on yesterday's visit to the Masan Immigration Office. If you have received your Alien Registration Card before September 1, 2010 then you can recontract at your same school or hagwon with not problem. You only need to get the FBI Criminal background check for 2012. They will provide the Apostille if you request it. Please pay by credit card or certified check. Korea Exchange Bank will issue certified checks to bank account holders in American dollars. The FBI website says that it will take a minimum of 13 weeks to process a criminal background check once they have received the request. They will not expedite a request. I suggest doing this asap to avoid the stampede. I applied for my criminal background check on August 9th and I am still waiting. If your Alien Registration Card begins on September 1, 2010 and after, you have to get your documents within the next ten months. Now, as for the university diploma apostille. It has to be done by mail. Do check with your state. I am a state resident of Georgia and this is handled by the Georgia Superior Court Clerk's Cooperative Authority. An affidavit needs to notarized by a Georgia State notary public in order to receive the apostille for my university diploma. They will not let a relative or friend do this for me. I have to walk in myself. I can only assume that other states have similar policies. I have come up with a possible solution to this. On Tuesday, I will mail my university diploma and certified check for $8.00 to The State Department's Office of Authentication in Washington D.C. Click Department of State Office of Authentication for more information. Unfortunately, they do not provide an e-mail address or telephone number. Good luck!

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

When I came here 3.5 years ago to teach I only needed a notarized COPY of my diploma. But this is the process for an apostille diploma.

Have someone at the Univ notarize your diploma.

Take it to the county courthouse and have them notarize the notary. They will send it back to you.

Send it to the Ohio Secretary of State's office and have them add their stamp. They will send it back to you.

Send it to the office of authentication (as listed above). They add their stamp and the all important silver rivet which holds all of the little pieces of paper together. Then it is ready to come to Korea. This takes several weeks. That is how the lady at Ohio U, who does this daily, explained it to me. But that was 3.5 years ago and the process could have changed. Call your alma mater and ask about an apostilled diploma.

As for apostilled background checks, that goes through the Secretary of State's office  of which ever state you reside in. The the above listed office of authentication will send it back to you without authentication. They did that to me a couple of years ago. 

I hope I helped clear some things up from my experience.

BTW, the US Dept of State Office of Authentication phone number is 202-647-5002. They answer the phone from 7:30 AM - 11:00 AM Eastern time. 

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

You have a couple of ways:

1. Request the FBI background check and send/forward it to an agency in the U.S. (i.e. to expedited the apostille process. You don't have to mail back and forth. They also rush the apostille part.

2. Request the FBI background check, have it mailed to South Korea and you mail it back to be apostille. This will take roughly 12+ weeks for the entire process.

Re: Criminal background/Apostille stamp for 2011 in Korea???

To get the apostille stamp for your degree and FBI check, you can just send both to an apostille service company, and they will get both done for you.  I used and they were great.  I didn't have to notorize anything, they took care of everything, and they sent it back to me in one day.  They're located in DC so they get the Secretary of State for the degree and US Dept of State for the FBI check.