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Getting a Teaching Visa for Korea, Public Schools

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HANDY TIP: The best way to secure your first choice location placement with a public school program is to have your application prepared early!

We recommend gathering your visa documents in late August / early September so that you have everything ready to send as soon as possible after your interview. The sooner you can get your visa documents sent to us after interview, the faster we can secure your placement and the higher the chance that your placement will be in one of your top location preferences.

Step 1: Apply to ESLstarter

Apply now for your position on the public school program in South Korea to start February 2015

Please just fill out the following application form and we will get right back to you.


Step 2: Initial Application Documents

You need to send the following initial application documents to us by email so that we can schedule your interview:

  • Completed application form (which we will send to you).
  • 2 scanned letters of recommendation.

About the application form

  • The application form must be typed.
  • All dates of your schooling (including elementary school) must be included.
  • The personal essay must be between 500 and 800 words and discuss your educational philosophy, your thoughts on encountering cultural differences and why you would like to teach with a public school program in South Korea.
  • In order to get your interview scheduled, the application form must be fully filled out.
  • The application form cannot be submitted for interview until it is completely filled out.

About the letters of recommendation

  • Initially, you need to scan two letters of recommendation.
  • These letters of recommendation must be from a professional or academic source.
  • Letters from co-workers, family members, relatives or friends are not acceptable.
  • The referee must state their relationship to you in the letter (e.g. direct manager, lecturer).
  • The letters of recommendation must be on company / organization headed paper.
  • Applicants who are currently working in Korea or worked in Korea in the past should submit at least one recommendation letter from previous employer in Korea.
  • The letters must include name, title, address, email address, contact number and ink signature of your recommenders.
  • The letters must be clearly dated.
  • Your letters of recommendation should give a strong character reference which states why you are a good candidate for a teaching position with the public school program.
  • Letters from an employment source must be obtained from a current job or the most recent job.
  • The letters must not be older than 2 years.

Step 3: Interview

After you've submitted your initial application documents to us, you then have your interview with the public school coordinator (interviews will commence in October for the February 2015 intake)

About the interview

  • Interviews last for around 30 minutes
  • Interviews will be conducted on Skype with a webcam video.
  • The coordinator will ask you about why you want to teach in Korea and also be part of the public school program.
  • They may ask you what you know about the public school program.
  • They may ask you about what you feel the main differences would be between living in Korea and your home country.
  • They may ask you about your teaching philosophy.

We would usually have your result within 3 to 5 days of you having your interview

Step 4: Mail Visa Documents

Once you've had your interview and if it is successful, the next stage is for you to mail your visa documents.

Here is a checklist of the documents that you will need to prepare:

  • An Apostilled photocopy of your original Bachelor's degree certificate PLUS photocopy of this document. If you are a Master's degree holder, you must also send an Apostilled photocopy of your MA degree certificate. Please also note that if your *degree certificate does not state your major you will also need to provide a letter from your university which confirms your major (*only applicable if your major is in Education, English, English Education, English Literature, Creative/Critical Writing or Linguistics).
  • 2 Passport Photos (4cm X 3cm)
  • 2 Photocopies of the Picture Page of your passport and also, where applicable, photocopies of past E2 Visas
  • 2 Original Letters of Recommendation (must be from a professional / academic source). These must be the original versions of the letters that you sent to us for the initial application
  • Apostilled Original Criminal Record Check PLUS a photocopy of this document
  • An apostilled certified copy of your Birth Certificate (for British and Australian Citizens only)
  • Original Signed Application Form PLUS a photocopy of this document (please ensure your form is signed in ALL the required places, including the consent form, medical assessment and survey. Also, please make sure to include your personal essay and personal medical assessment when sending your application form)
  • One Sealed Set of University Transcripts (a breakdown of your Uni modular scores) - these must remain sealed in an official university envelope with the university stamp across the seal of the envelope. Where applicant has both a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, one set of sealed transcripts for both must be sent.
  • Proof of full-time teaching experience from institution with exact dates. This must be an original document with signature or stamp. (where applicable)
  • Two Photocopies of TEFL/TESL/TESOL or CELTA certification (where applicable)
  • Two Copies of Teachers License or certificate (where applicable)
  • Applicants currently working or residing in Korea with an E2 or F4 visa must also submit the following documents: a. An original Korean Criminal Record Check b. A photocopy of Apostilled CRC issued from the applicant's home country which was submitted to his/her current employer with an invoice from the immigration office c. A photocopy (front and back) of Alien Registration Card d. A photocopy of E2 or F4 visa page. *Teachers in Korea who are not public school teachers must also supply a new Apostilled CRC

Please note, Bachelors and Masters degree holders can have the Bachelors and Masters diplomas apostilled together (i.e. one apostille affixed jointly to both the BA and MA diplomas).

What to do if...

I'm from Canada where we don't use Apostille

  • In this case, you need to submit a Criminal Record Check notarized by your local Korean Consulate / Embassy.
  • If the Korean Consulate will not notarize your original Criminal Record Check, you need to get a photocopy of your Criminal Record Check notarized and then send this notarized copy of CRC together with your original CRC check document.
  • You need to attach a notary from the Korean Consulate / Embassy to the copy of your diploma

I have not yet graduated

  • You can submit a 'Letter of Expected Graduation' from your university home school office and then submit the Apostilled copy of your degree certificate as soon as you receive it. Your Letter of Expected Graduation does not need to be apostilled.
  • You must also initially send a set of sealed incomplete transcripts which cover all of the course modules you have studied so far and then submit the full final set of sealed transcripts as soon as you receive them.

I am taking a 100hr + TEFL course in order to be eligible

In this case, you will need to submit a Sworn Declaration Contract (we will send this to you once we receive confirmation that you have passed the interview) and a Proof of TEFL Enrollment Letter. The Proof of TEFL Enrollment letter needs to be done by your TEFL course provider, signed and according to the Proof of Enrolment Template (download here). Please note that candidates who are completing our TEFL course, will receive this letter upon enrollment:

More information about:

Proof of full-time teaching experience (where applicable)

  • Please include the name of the school or institute, address, and contact number in the header (official letterhead is prefered).
  • Exact dates must be provided and must state that you were a full-time teacher.
  • The proof of service letter must be dated after the end-date of your previous teaching contract.
  • Letters must be issued by the principal of the institution. Letters from co-workers or head teachers will not be accepted.
  • Letters from co-workers are not acceptable
  • Proof of teaching must be an original document with signature or stamp (faxes, email and photocopies will not be accepted).
  • Previous contracts or visas are not accepted as proof.
  • Kindergarten or pre-school teaching will not be accepted.

Teaching English as a Second Language Certificate (e.g. TEFL / TESL / TESOL / CELTA (where applicable)

  • To qualify for a pay increase, your certificate must be at least 100 hours and this must be clearly stated on your certificate.
  • For the best value, internationally recognised distance learning 120 hr online TEFL course, please visit this page
  • If the number of hours is not clearly stated on your certificate, please include some supporting documentation (an official, signed letter on headed paper from course provider stating number of hours).
  • CELTA certificates do not require proof of hours.

If you have any questions about the documents that are required to get your E2 visa, drop us a line at and we will get right onto it!

Step 5: Recommendation to POE

Once we receive documents, you will then be recommended to the Provincial Office of Education of your choice (depending on availability)

The POE will then issue final approval and your Notice of Appointment.

Step 6: Appointment Package

You need to take your appointment package to your local Korean Embassy (or you can do it by mail) along with:

  • Visa application form (download here)
  • Passport
  • 1 passport photo

You might be required to take more documents with you so please just call the Embassy first to double check.

The Korean Embassy might also require you to have an interview (unlikely) so you can ask them about this too. Please be sure to tell them that you will be working for a public school and that you have your appointment package.

The Consulate / Embassy will then put the visa into your passport which can take up to 5 working days from handing it in and then you are ready to go!