Staying in Korea after your teaching contract is up, can you do it?

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ESL Tate
I have been an ESL Teacher for more than 15 years and a Teacher trainer for the last three. Now I help new teachers start their journey traveling and teaching English abroad.
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So your contract is up and done, is staying in Korea a good idea?

staying in korea: Busan city night



This is a question I get all the time. And recently a reader emailed me asking it. So I thought it was time to write a post about it. Let’s get straight to it.

The short answer is yes you can.

Staying in Korea is a great idea but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Change your Visa status

Remember that you generally have about fourteen days to go to immigration and report your change in visa status. They will give you a month from when your job ended to leave the country.

Even if your Alien Registration Card (ARC) is good for a month after your contract ends, you’re still required to report your change in employment status when your job ends.

But here is what you can do to stay in the country long after your contract ends: every three months you can make a visa run to Japan. You can take the ferry over, go through customs in Japan and then get right back on the boat to Korea. As long as you tell the immigration folks why you’re coming back to Korea. Good reasons are studying Korean, visiting tourist sites, learning to make kimchi and so on. Plenty of people do it and it’s not a problem at all.

You may also consider getting a D10 visa.

You can find information on getting a D10 visa on this post.

The complication some people face however is when they want to travel to another country that’s not their home country then go to their home country before returning to Korea. In that case the order of things change a little bit. If this is the case, refer to your contract because some of them stipulate that in this kind of situation, the school(public, not sure about hagwons) is under no obligation to pay for your return flight to a country that’s not your home country.

However, most schools would give you a lump sum of your return flight if you so request. It is a good idea to let them know ahead of time about your plans. Because contracts in Korea are more like guidelines and not set on stone, the stipulation above is merely a caution. And this stipulation is contract specific.

And if you have any question about any of this, you can call Immigration on 1345, free from any phone and ask them.

I hope that clarifies things a bit.


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