F-1 visa is not well-known type of visas in Korea. Unlike other visa types, F-1 visa has multiple activities allowed and eligible applicants. Some people may be confused of F-3 dependent visa for expatriates in Korea, but F-1 visa is not the dependent visa.

F-1 can be eligible for overseas Koreans who have special privileges for working visit visas (Chinese-Korean born), a cohabitee of an A-1 Diplomat visa holder or A-3 International Agreement visa holder, family of oversea Koreans visa holders (spouse and underage children), parents of underage international students who are planning to attend or already attending an educational institute, and a domestic helper of investor visa holder (D-8) and foreign talents (D-7, D-9 and E-1~E-7).

In those activities allowed for F-1 visa, many expats are interested in inviting the foreign domestic helper to Korea because some of them prefer to use English speaking helpers. It is not easy to hire an Korean helper in Korea who can speak English. There are some Korean helpers who can speak English out there, but most of them are already employed. Therefore many expats in Korea try to sponsor the F-1 visa for their helpers who are foreigners. Let’s see the basic qualification for an employer (expat) and a helper.

Basic qualification for the employer (expat)

  • D-8 visa holder

    • More than USD 500,000 investment (CEO, director, senior manager of foreign invested company)

    • If the investment is more than USD 100,000 and less than USD 500,000, the foreign invested company in Korea needs to be in high-tech industry such as IT, digital electric and bio

    • Yearly income should be more than 3 times of Korea’s last year Gross National Income

Basic qualification for the helper

  • Age between 20 years old and 58 years old

  • More than middle school education level or similar education level

Regarding the application process, if the employer is about to relocate to Korea with the current helper and the help was employed for more than 1 year, the F-1 visa can be applied at Korean consulate outside of Korea. If the employer is already in Korea with proper visa and he/she is going to sponsor the visa for the helper, the employer needs to go through visa issuance confirmation process first in Korea, then the helper needs to go through the consular process to get the actual visa stamp with the visa issuance confirmation number. The initial visa period the helper can get from Korean consulate is 90 days, but it can be extended up to 1 year when an alien registration card is applied.

The F-1 visa process can be more complicated than other visa types. Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information on F-1 visa for the domestic helper or if you have any questions.