To South Korea as a volunteer

Hello, guys, :) I am Ivko, from Russia.

Not sure I have chosen the right forum to ask a question, but still.. I am interested in moving to South Korea for a month (or so) as a volunteer. It is not about some organisation, it is about single volunteering at a hostel where I am supposed to work for food and accommodation.

So, the question is, if I go to the country as a single volunteer (not a member of a volunteering organisation), would it be legal? Do I need a specific visa for this? Or, the usual touristic visa would be enough?

What should I say to an officer (the person who checks arriving people) at the airport in this case?

Any help or advice would be very appreciated!


I know this is quite an old post but just in case (and for the next people looking for answers) I will answer to the best of my knowledge.


I went to Korea for a few months last year and volunteered at a language cafe on a tourist visa. But there were other volunteers with all kinds of visas (student visa, EVEN working holiday visa, business visa). We did not receive money but we were living together in a dorm so we didn't have to pay for accommodation. IT WAS ILLEGAL.
One day, the immigration came to the cafe, we had to follow them and in the end we were detained at Seoul immigration center for 5-7 days (10 of us) and we all had to pay a huge fine (otherwise we wouldn't have been able to ever return to Korea) Most of us also had to leave within a month.

If you're unsure about something, get a written email from your embassy stating that it is legal. I called but it wasn't enough apparently.

Good luck and enjoy your time in Korea,



We appreciate your contribution and thanks for the wise advice.

Priscilla Team

Priscilla wrote:


We appreciate your contribution and thanks for the wise advice.

Priscilla Team

Hello , i wish you are doing well i'm Haroune from Algeria 🇩🇿, i have Bachelor degree in English language .  Could someone guide me how Can i get work permit in south Korea . Just Contact me : *** what's app number and kakao talk

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Why was your non-paid volunteering illegal?  Also, how much was the fine?

@KidSiberia Just be careful with volunteering if you're on a tourist visa. Like Melanie mentioned, the language cafes can get you in trouble if you're living and working there without the proper visa. Your best bet is to look into volunteering with an established organization. That way you know everything is above board legally. Maybe check out some international volunteer groups in South Korea and see what options they have. Have fun exploring if you do go!

@KidSiberia hi me too i want to move tbere

@harounelaslouni hi love to work in south korean and live too


Hello and welcome !

Feel free to read the Living in South Korea guide for expatsto gather as much info as possible.

All the best