An ‘Asian Powerhouse’, South Korea is the 4th largest economy in the continent with a tremendous economic growth rate. It has also established itself as a world class study abroad destination for international students having top-class institutions that are continuously involved in pioneering research and technology. Churning out some of the best minds in the consumer durables industry and technology, South Korea has, over time, been steadily attracting international students into their higher education system.
With an aggregate of 400 public universities and private institutions combined, universities are now conducting almost 30% of their programs and courses in English. So, if you are looking for a world-class education closer to home, then look no further than South Korea.
Step 1 – Get your Acceptance Letter from the University:
The initial step towards achieving your study abroad goal as an Indian student is to get enrolled into a recognised South Korean institution. It could be an undergraduate, post-graduate, doctoral or even a language program. Post acceptance by the institution, you will be sent a Letter of Enrollment or Acceptance by the university in South Korea. This is the first document that you need to apply for a South Korean student visa from India. However, check the contents of the letter with care and ensure that it mentions the following details clearly:
- The President or the Dean of the College or University in South Korea will provide you with an Admissions letter or a Certificate of Registration
- The letter should mention your academic abilities as a prospective student and why you have been accepted in the chosen program
- A short summary of the tuition fee component of the program
Step 2 – Visa Checklist:
There are two types of South Korean student visas available to international students depending on the program of study that they are going to pursue. The D-4 Visa is applicable for those students who are pursuing a program at a university run language school, a recognised education institute by the government of South Korea or any other institute that is involved in academic research. The other category of student visa, that is, D-2 is applicable for regular undergraduate, post-graduate or doctoral degrees being conducted at a junior college, a university or a graduate school.
Most Indian students who are interested to apply for the South Korean student visa from India will find the D-2 category more applicable as per their chosen program. Here is a list of documents that you may need in order to apply:
- Fill in the Visa D-2, student visa application form that is available at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in India, New Delhi or the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in India, Mumbai. It is also available at the offices of Mayfair Global Education. You can additionally download the form from the Korean embassy’s website.
- Submit your original passport which has validity of a minimum period of six months from the date of your student visa expiry. Also submit an additional photocopy of the passport data page.
- You must provide 2 passport sized photographs no more than 35 mm in width by 45 mm in length. Ensure that 80% of your facial features are visible in the photograph with a neutral facial expression, wearing no glasses. Headgears are not permissible, unless it is for religious or medical reasons. The photograph should be taken against a white background.
- Attach a covering letter with your student visa application that mentions your passport details, your reason for choosing South Korea as a study abroad destination and how your course of study will benefit you in the future.
- Also provide the Certificate of Admission that has been issued to you by the Dean or the President of your prospective education provider in South Korea.
- An additional letter of recommendation from your current institution in your home country should ideally be included in the application.
- Provide original or notarized photocopies of all your academic qualifications, starting from Year 10 onwards, till the last completed certification. If you have done any additional Diploma/s, then attach certificates for those as well. Ensure that you provide both the transcripts and the certificates.
- Submit a covering letter that clearly outlines how you plan to finance your study abroad program in South Korea.
- If you are solely sponsoring your study abroad program in South Korea, you need to provide evidence towards the same by producing your bank statements for the past 6 months showing the liquid cash available in your savings and / or current accounts. You may have applied for an education load from a bank in India. Provide the sanction letter for the same. In addition to this, you may also produce any fixed deposits that are in your name as part of your funding for the study abroad program.
- If you have sponsors like your parents or your legal guardian willing to sponsor your international education, then you need to first get a consent letter from them. You will then have to provide documentary evidence to prove the nature of your relationship with the proposed sponsors.
- Additionally, they will also have to furnish you with their bank statements for 6 months along with income tax returns for the last 3 years.
- If you have received a scholarship or a grant, then you may provide documentary evidence for the same as funding towards your international education in South Korea.
- If you are pursuing a research degree in South Korea, then you may have to provide some additional documentation like, a certificate from your most recent institution in your home country, a statement outlining the topic of the research that you intend to pursue along with a letter of personal security assurance.
- You will have to show that you have adequate funds to cover for your living expenses for the duration of your stay in South Korea along with confirmed returned tickets back to your country of residence post course completion.
- If you have already paid your course fee, then produce a receipt or your bank statements proving the same.
- The above list of documents given if for reference purpose only. If you wish to apply for a South Korean visa from India, then you will be given an updated documents checklist closer to the time.
Step 3 – Where to Apply:
Now that you completed the documentation process, you are ready to move towards filing your visa application. On the Visa application form, affix your passport photographs in the given boxes. Check that you have the originals as well as a set of photocopies for all documents that you intend to submit as an Indian applying for a South Korean student visa.
Double check that you have all the necessary paperwork in place and that you have filled in the visa application form to the best of your knowledge. Incomplete forms will be returned back to you. Make an appointment with the VFS Global Service centres in either New Delhi or Kolkata. Carry the applicable visa fee along with you.
Post submission of all your documents, you will be provided with an acknowledgement and a receipt for the visa fee paid. You will be able to track your visa application online. Once a decision has been made, you will be able to collect your passport from the VFS office in person. Alternatively, you may also opt for a postal service for your passport to be delivered to your desired address.
If you need further information, then you may get in touch with the:
- Embassy of the Republic of Korea in New Delhi: 9 Chandragupta Marg, chanakyapuri Extension, New Delhi-110021, India
Phone: (+91-11) 4200-7000
Visa Section: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Mumbai: Kanchanjunga Bldg, 9th floor, 72. Peddar Road, Mumbai-400026, India
Phone: (+91-22) 2388-6743/4/5
- The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chennai: 5th Floor, Bannari Amman Towers, No.29, Dr Radha Krishnan Road, Mylapore, Chennai 600 004, India
Phone: (+91-44) 4061-5500
Step 4 – Visa Fee:
South Korea offers three types of long term student visas and the costs vary as per the entry permission applicable on the visa.
- A single entry student visa costs Rs. 4200
- A double entry student visa costs Rs. 4900
- A multiple entry student visa costs Rs. 6300
Step 5 – Personal Interview:
In most cases, you will not be asked to appear for a student interview. However, if the South Korean immigration department feels there is a further need to conduct verification in your visa application, then there is a probability that they will request you to attend a personal interview at your nearest South Korean embassy or consulate. Make an appointment and take any additional documents that may have been requested for, during this interview. The consular official may ask you a number of personal and professional related questions. Answer them calmly and truthfully.
Step 6 – Visa Processing Time:
After submission of your visa documents, the head of the immigration office has the authority to issue you with a Certificate of Recognition of Visa Issuance, if that has been requested by your sponsor in South Korea, in this case, your education provider. This greatly simplifies the processing of the visa. Based on this recommendation and certificate, the South Korean mission in your home country will then proceed towards issuing your with a visa.
The average processing time for the student visa to South Korea from India, takes about 5 – 7 working days. Post a decision has been made on your visa application, you may collect the passport in person from the VFS office or wait for the courier service to deliver the same.
Step 7 – Arriving in the Republic of South Korea:
As soon as you arrive in South Korea, apply for your Alien Residence Card. With this card in your possession, you will be able to make any necessary trips abroad during your ongoing semester in South Korea. Your university can assist you with the application.
You may have to join compulsory MTs or Membership Trainings at your university. The objective of such a membership is to help you to integrate better with your new environment.
Step 8 – Working in the the Republic of South Korea as a Student:
During term-time, if you are on a D-2 visa category, you may work for up to 20 hours a week if you are enrolled into an Undergraduate course and/or language training course and up to 30 hours per week if you are pursuing a post-graduate degree. This limitation is not applicable on holidays including weekends during semesters, semester breaks and any other calendar holidays or vacations.
Most universities in South Korea have guidance cells to help international students to find part-time work. Speak to your university, for more information.