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Visa requirements

Thanks to the Foreign Investment Promotion Act of 1998 (FIPA), there are many advantages to making a foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Korea. Indeed, various forms of tax support, cash grants, and industrial site support render South Korea a breeding ground for up-and-coming business. Let’s say that upon recognizing the opportunity South Korea’s domestic enterprise offers to foreign investors like you, you finally resolve to make an FDI, whether that be in the form of the establishment of a local corporation, the founding of a business venture, or an investment of 300 million KRW in a Korean company. Now you are looking to make the necessary transitional preparations, one of which may be filling out the appropriate visa application.

If you are a foreign investor, you are eligible for the D-8 visa. This is not all, however, as there are four main types of D-8 visas; these four types vary depending on the kind of FDI you plan to make in Korea.

The first type is the D-8-1 visa. If you are a foreigner either looking to establish a foreign invested company or will work as an employee of a foreign invested company, verified as such in accordance with the Foreign Direct Investment Act, you would qualify for this specific visa. The maximum length of continuous residence is five years, though you can also request an extension.

The second type is the D-8-2 visa. If you are a foreigner planning on establishing a business venture of any kind, qualifying as such under the Special Act on the Growth of Business Ventures, you are eligible for this D-8 visa. As business ventures are typically short-lived, the maximum length of continuous stay is two years.

The third type is the D-8-3 visa. If you are a foreigner who wants to invest 300 million or more KRW in a company owned or headed by a Korean national, you are expected to apply for this visa. Like the D-8-1 incorporated enterprise visa, the maximum length of continuous residence is five years, unless you meet approximately 5.5 KRW investment benchmark, in which case you would be granted permanent residence.

The fourth and final type is the D-8-4 visa. If you expect to found a corporation that operates in the fields of technology and business, and either hold a bachelor’s degree (or hold skills equivalent to an individual with such) or possess intellectual property rights, you are eligible for this particular D-8 visa. Similar to the D-8-2 business venture visa, maximum length of stay at once is two years.

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