Studying in South Korea

Study in South Korea
Updated 2017-10-05 13:49

South Korea is a popular destination for students wanting to pursue higher education in an Asian country. Many public and private universities offer high-quality degrees with affordable tuition and numerous programs taught in English. There are many different educational programs, a variety of housing options for students, and many scholarships available.

Enrolment in a South Korean university

To enrol onto an academic program in South Korea, you have to pre-register with the university or higher education institution you have chosen. You have to prepare your pre-registration file with the following documents:

  • A duly completed and signed registration form
  • A cover letter and a CV
  • Photocopies of all your diplomas and educational certificates
  • One or more recommendation letters
  • A photocopy of your passport
  • A certificate of proficiency in English or Korean (if necessary)
  • A financial certificate stating sufficient funds of at least US$ 10,000

Important: You have to prepare your registration form at least one year before your application. Registration for the first academic semester takes place from September to November and from May to June for the second semester.

If your application is accepted, you will receive an acceptance letter which will allow you to apply for your student visa at the South Korean Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

Student visas

You have to apply for a visa once the host institution has approved your registration. There are two types of visas:

D-2 Visa

D-2 visa is a classic student visa which is issued to applicants wishing to pursue higher education in South Korea. The following documents are required for the application:

  • A valid passport
  • 1 passport-size photo
  • Your acceptance letter
  • 1 bank statement showing the balance on your account or that of your parents (the amount must be greater than the amount indicated on the acceptance letter)
  • High school or university degree
  • Fees that apply

You will obtain your D-2 visa within a week's time upon presentation of all documents. The duration of the visa is proportional to the length of your studies. Visa extensions may be granted by the immigration office once you are in South Korea.

D-4 Visa

The D-4 visa is issued to students wishing to study the Korean language in a Korean language institute or university. The documents required are:

  • Photocopies of your passport
  • 2 copies of the application form
  • 2 passport-sized photos
  • Acceptance or registration letter
  • Your CV
  • Proof of funds
  • Fees that apply

Your visa will be issued within three weeks.

Important: In all cases, please contact the South Korean embassy or consulate for more information on visas and the exact documents needed for your visa application.

South Korean scholarships

There are several scholarship systems for international students in South Korea. These can be allocated directly from universities, the Korean government or through institutes and private foundations based on your academic achievements.

Here are the most common scholarships for international students in South Korea:

Korean Foundation - Korean Foundation for Advanced Studies
NIIED - National Institute for International Education

For more information on scholarships, visit the Study in Korea website.

Good to know:

Scholarship recipients must attend all courses prescribed. Unjustified absence will result in penalties and sanctions, including cancellation of the visa.

Alien Registration Card

Once you have validated your registration and obtained your visa, you have to register with the Korean immigration department upon arrival in the country. After that, you must register with your school or your host university.

You will need to apply for an Alien Registration Card within 90 days after your arrival in the country. This card is the equivalent of a South Korean identity card and should be taken with you at all times. To apply for your ARC, you must provide the following documents:

  • The application form
  • Two passport-sized color photos (3cm x 4cm)
  • A photocopy of your passport (bring the original)
  • Your acceptance letter
  • Fees (some 10,000 Won)
  • Your university's registration number (Business Registration Number)

Some universities may fill in the formalities on your behalf upon submission of all the related documents. Otherwise, you have to call the local immigration office to find out the necessary information.

For more information on ARC, check the Immigration Bureau's official website.

Health insurance

As an international student, you must purchase health insurance for the entire length of your stay in South Korea.

If you intend to study during one year, you must purchase private insurance before departure. Those who are going to study in South Korea longer than one year can join the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC), which allows refunds of healthcare services. You will have to pay a monthly premium of about 30,000 Won. For more information on membership terms, please visit the NHIC official website.

Working with a student visa

International students holding a D-2 visa are authorised to perform a part-time job in South Korea provided that:

  • You have your teachers' or lecturers' approval.
  • You have already completed six months of study in a South Korean institution, and you are still enrolled.
  • You are working for no more than 20 hours per week during the semester and full-time during vacations.

Useful links:

University of Seoul - international programs
University of Pusan - international students
University of Ulsan
University of Incheon
Directory of schools and universities Korean

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.