This is information on how to apply for an F-4 visa for Korea as an adopted American citizen. This is information from my own experience.
To be eligible for an F-4 visa, you must meet the following requirements:
1. Born in Korea –or– a parent born in Korea
2. Be at least 22 years old
3. Not a Korean citizen*
*If you currently have Korean citizenship or dual citizenship, you will need to renounce your Korean citizenship before you are able to apply for an F-4 visa.
Contact your Korean adoption agency. Keep in mind that Holt International and Holt Children’s Services are two different agencies. If you do not know which agency you were adopted through, it would be better to send an email to both. Explain that you would like 2 copies of your adoption certificate (입양사실확인서). This is a different document than your adoption records. One will be used to apply for your visa, the other will be needed later when you apply for your Alien Registration Card (ARC). Give as much identifying information as possible.
Contact your local Korean Consulate. Explain you would like to apply for an F-4 visa and ask what documents are needed. Here are all the documents I had to turn in:
- Visa application form
- Korean registry application form
- Adoption certificate
- Original Certificate of Naturalization
- Payment ($45.00 for visa plus $1.50 for family registration fee)
- Self-addressed stamped envelope (since I couldn’t pick up in person)
It’s highly recommended to send with tracking to and from the Embassy. About 2-3 weeks later, you should get your Passport back with a shiny F-4 visa pasted in it. Oh and you’ll get your Certificate of Naturalization back, too.
Benefits of an F-4 Visa
- Unlimited entry
This doesn’t really mean much if you have an ARC. If you don’t have a job in Korea but want to come and go as you please, an unlimited entry comes in handy.
- Valid for 2 Years
Standard teaching work visas are E-2s and are only valid for a year. You will have to go to the immigration office if you want to renew your contract. Tourist visas are good for 30 days.
- More Employability
Having an F-4 means your employer does not have to sponsor your visa, which makes them more willing to hire you. This is especially useful for some hagwons. Don’t want to work as a teacher? No problem! An F-4 also gives you the freedom to work anywhere as a Korean citizen would.
Don’t like the new girl in school? Just hang a red card in her locker and let Goo Joon-Pyo do the rest. Don’t get the reference? Please watch more classic Korean dramas.