Relocation & Assignment to a “Foreign Invested Company” in Korea: D-8 Visa
After look-see trip, a candidate decided to accept the international assignment to Seoul in Korea. Of course, housing and school for kids will be a top priority. There is one more thing the company should consider before sending the assignee to Korea and it is to decide a visa type for the assignee.
Appropriate Visa Type
A local affiliate company the assignee will be dispatched is registered as “Foreign Invested Company” in Korea and the company has a document called “Certificate of Foreign Invested Company”. Then the assignee coming from a headquarter or a another affiliated company needs to apply for D-8 visa. Some people may confuse D-8 visa with D-7 visa, but it is a different visa. Simply if the local affiliate company is registered as “Branch”, not “Foreign Invested Company”, the assignee needs to apply for D-7 visa.
Visa Application Process
There are two ways to applying for D-8 visa. One is to go through visa issuance confirmation (consular process) and the other is to go through change of visa status. Not many visa types are allowed to go with change of visa status, thus being able to go with change of visa status would be an advantage for D-8 visa.
Visa Issuance Confirmation
If the visa issuance confirmation is chosen, the local affiliate company needs to apply for the visa issuance confirmation at the immigration office in Korea first. After the visa issuance confirmation number (considered to be a pre-approval number) is issued from the immigration office, the assignee applies for the actual visa at any Korean consulate(embassy) outside of Korea by submitting the visa issuance confirmation number. Then the assignee enters Korea with the visa and applies for Alien Registration Card at a relevant immigration office in Korea.
Change of Visa Status
If the change of visa status is chosen, the assignee just enters Korea without a long-term visa. Nationals from a country which has a visa waiver agreement with Korea can enter Korea without any visa as a visitor status. Nationals from a country which does not have a visa waiver agreement with Korea should have a short-term visa as an entry visa. After the assignee enters Korea without a visa or a short-term visa, he/she needs to visit the relevant immigration office to apply for the change of visa status from a visitor to D-8 visa status. Alien Registration Card will be applied at the same time.
Good thing about the visa issuance confirmation is that it can reduce the risk of the assignee going back to his/her home country due to refusal of visa. It is not common for someone to get the refusal of the visa, but it may happen if requirements are not well prepared. Good thing about the change of visa status is that it can shorten the whole visa process because it does not require to go through consular process.