Immigration

The attached files are the Handbook for Recognized Refugees, Humanitarian Status Holders, and Refugee Status Applicants (Refugee Status Determination procedures in Korea) published by the Ministry of Justice in English, French.

This Handbook provides useful information on refugee policies and procedures in Korea, including the Refugee Act which went into effect on 1 July 2013.

Contents of the Handbook

Chapter 1: Refugee Recognition System of Korea (pg.4)
Chapter 2: Rights and Treatment of Recognized Refugees (pg.6)
Chapter 3: Rights and Treatment of Humanitarian Status Holders (pg.8)
Chapter 4: Rights and Treatment of Refugee Status Applicants (pg.11)
Chapter 5: Refugee Status Determination Procedures (pg.16)

                  1. Applying for Refugee Status at Ports of Entry
                  2. Applying for Refugee Status during Stay in Korea
                  3. Refugee Status Determination Procedures
                  4. Permission to Stay for Refugee Status Applicants
                  5. Permission for Employment of Refugee Status Applicants
                  6. Completion of RSD Procedures
                  7. Issuance of the Certificate of Recognized Refugees
                  8. Permission to Stay for Recognized Refugees
                  9. Issuance of the Notice on Non-Recognition of Refugee
                 10. Limitation on Refugee Recognition
                 11. Cancellation and Withdrawal of Refugee Status Recognition

Chapter 6: Appeal (pg.31)
Chapter 7: Refugee Travel Documents (pg.34)
Annexes (pg.36)

  • List of Immigration Offices in Korea
  • UNHCR and refugee support organizations

  1. Visit this website www.hikorea.go.kr
  2. Click the “Appointment reservation (non-member)” button.
  3. For Identification, choose between Alien Registration (ARC) No. or Passport No., and put the number and the issue date. Then, click “Confirm”.
    Once the Korean immigration office successfully identifies you, your information such as the “Supervising Agency” and “Visitor Name” sections will be automatically be filled in.
  4. Click booth category and then choose “Foreigner Residence Controle,1F (non –Chinese)”.
  5. Fill out the phone number and password. The purpose of the visit is optional. Lastly, click “Next”.
    Note: You have to remember this password. You will need it if you want to modify or cancel this reservation.
  6. Choose a date (month and day) and click “Next”.
  7. Choose a time and then click “Next”.
  8. Click  “Confirm”. Then, this information will be sent to your mobile in a text message.  
  • According to the Immigration Law, a foreign resident registered to the immigration should inform the immigration of any updates on personal information such as address in Korea and passport information. To reinforce this rule, the Ministry of Justice introduces an immigration policy that the period of stay for foreigners will be granted only within the validity of their passport, starting from July 1, 2021.
  • However, this rule will not apply to permanent residents(F-5), refugees(F-2) and their families(F-1), humanitarian status holders(G-1-6) and their families, refugee applicants(G-1-5) and their families, and stateless persons. Many of these people hold already expired passports and are afraid of visiting an embassy of their country of origin. So those who hold visas mentioned above may be able to extend their stay without a valid passport.
  • For those who can make a new passport, notification of change in registration information to the immigration is a duty.  Passport information was submitted to the immigration at the time of registration as a foreign resident. When a new passport is issued, new information should be reported to the immigration within 45 days from the date of issuance. 
  • If it takes over 45 days to receive a new passport from the date of issuance, report can be made within 15 days from the date the passport is received. In that case, a sheet of paper with the date the new passport is received needs to be submitted as well. Those who fail to report new information in time may incur a fine. In this situation, visiting the immigration for consultation will be helpful. 
✔ Three Ways to Report to the Immigration 
1️⃣ Fax:  Send passport, foreign registration card, a sheet of paper with a date when a new passport is received, and application form
2️⃣ HiKorea website:  Click ‘E-Application’   →  Click ‘Notification of change in registration information’
3️⃣ Visit: Book a date and time to visit the immigration within 15 days from the date of passport arrival

  • Starting from 1 June 2020, all foreigners* who reside in Korea with long-term visas must apply for a Re-Entry Permit through a local immigration office before leaving Korea if they wish to maintain their status and period of stay. Leaving Korea without a Re-Entry Permit will result in the cancellation of their Alien Registration. In this case, the foreigner must obtain a new long-term visa to re-enter Korea.
  • All Foreigners who are granted a Re-Entry Permit and wish to re-enter Korea shall undergo a medical examination within 48 hours before their departure for Korea and present a written diagnosis when requested by a transport operator and an immigration officer. Failure to do so may result in re-entry denial. The diagnosis shall be written in English or Korean, signed by a medical examiner, and issued by an authorized medical institution.  It shall also include the date of examination and the presence or absence of fever, cough, chills, headache, breathing difficulty, muscle pain, and pulmonary symptoms.
    *except for A-1(Diplomatic), A-2(Official), A-3(treaties), and F-4(Overseas Koreans) Visa holders

  • It costs 60,000 won to extend the period and 120,000 won to apply for the “Permit to Engage in Activities Not Covered” By the Status of Sojourn, any of the following will be exempt from the fee. Evidence that can prove to be exempt should be submitted to the immigration office. Families can submit on behalf of each other and should bring documents to prove that they are each other’s family.
    1. Eligible Recipients under the National Basic Living Security Act,
    2. Persons with a disease or disability that makes it difficult to get a job and his/her spouse,
    3. Pregnant Women,
    4. Persons and their spouses who are raising children under the age of 9,
    5. Persons under the age of 18 and 65 and over,
    6. Eligible Recipients of Living Expenses Support program under Article 40 of the Refugee Act,
    7. Residents of the Immigration Reception Center
KIIP(Korean Immigration Integration Program) is a free education program developed to help immigrants acquire basic knowledge and information about life in Korea. By completing KIIP, you can get several benefits when applying for naturalization, permanent residence and other stay qualifications.
 
Here, we provide you the guide for 2021 KIIP.

Work

  • With 6 months passing from the date on which refugee status application is submitted, an applicant may be allowed to work in Korea with a valid work permit (Permit to Engage in Activities Not Covered by the Status of Sojourn). 
  • Note: not all applicants can obtain a work permit. 

Copied from: Ministry-of-Justice_Guidebook-for-Refugee-applicants-in-Korea

Permission to Work with a “comprehensive employment activity permit”

  • If you wish to work in a non-professional field, you may do so, for the maximum of one year within the authorized period of stay, without an obligation to designate a workplace after obtaining permission for “comprehensive activities beyond your given status”.
    ※ Required Document: Application (Annex No. 34), passport, Alien Registration Card, No fee.
  • You are allowed to work in any place except those listed on Prohibited Places for Employment. However, if you wish to work in a field that requires professional skills, you are required to meet the conditions specified in the Immigration Control Act.
  • You may change your workplace freely within the authorized duration of your stay. However, if such changes occur, you must report your employment circumstance(s) online (Hi-Korea website) within 15 days of the date you started work for a particular individual, agency, or organization, or, the date you changed the workplace. Please fill out and submit the Confirmation on Employment of Humanitarian Status Holder. 

Prohibited Places for Work

▶ Working in a place where speculative and gambling businesses are conducted as specified in subparagraph 1 of Article 2(1) of the Act on Special Cases concerning Regulation and Punishment of Speculative Acts, etc., and Article 2 of the Enforcement Decree thereof.

▶ Working as an employee who entertains guests in a place of business which is considered a singing bar or an entertainment bar under Article 36 of the Food Sanitation Act and subparagraph 8 of Article 21 of the Enforcement Decree thereof.

▶ Working in a business which may be prejudicial to good public morals and which falls under the category of the businesses negatively affecting public morals, as prescribed by Article 2 of the Act on the Regulation of Amusement Businesses Affecting Public Morals and Article 2 of the Enforcement Decree thereof.

▶ Other activities crossing the boundary of expected conducts of refugee status applicants, or areas where the Minister of Justice deems it necessary to prohibit employment activities of refugee status applicants.

Copied from: Ministry of Justice. Refugee Status Determination Procedures in Korea (2015) 

  • If a refugee’s spouse or child receives an F-1 visa, specifically it is an F-1-16 visa. Their employment activities are subject to the procedures and standards for work permits for humanitarian status holders. In other words, you can get a job by receiving The Permit to Engage in Activities Not Covered by the Status of Sojourn.
    • You should bring the documents to the immigration office to request the permit (see figure below). Permission usually takes two weeks. If approved, a permit (sticker) will be issued and attached to the passport. 
    • Basic principles – limited to elementary occupations. Professional jobs can be employed only if they meet the requirements of the law.  
    • Permission criteria – can be extended by up to one year within the length of the stay.
    • Prepared documents – a copy of a business registration certificate, employment contract, passport, foreign residence card
    • Fees – 120,000 won (referred to eligibility to fee waiver)
    • Caution – The start date of work on the employment contract should be two weeks after the date of visit to the immigration office because work can be started after obtaining permission.

      * Employment in Construction Industry: If listed as a construction business on the business registration certificate, foreign workers may be required to receive “Basic Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Training for the Construction Industry”. The immigration office will review whether this training is necessary and then inform applicants of the result.

Education

  • Until a few years ago, asylum seekers and those in humanitarian status were not able to pursue higher education even if they received offers from universities or foreign language centers at universities as their status of stay was not D-2, the student visa. Therefore, these young people who used to study in universities in their home countries before becoming asylum seekers had to give up their dreams.
    • From now on, asylum seekers and those in humanitarian status can be enrolled at language centers, universities, and graduate schools without altering their status of stay. This also applies the same to the children of asylum seekers and those in humanitarian status. Certainly, they need to receive offers from universities and graduate schools beforehand. Admission to a university or a graduate school of a foreigner who is a legal resident is a matter that should be autonomously decided by the institution. It would be unnecessary to obtain a permit for other activities above their status of stay as in obtaining a work permit.
    • In the case in which G-1 status becomes invalid while attending university or graduate school, it may not be guaranteed to alter the status of stay to D-2 based on one’s academic activities.
    • However, in the case of a person in humanitarian status, the visa can be updated at the discretion of the commissioner f the Korean Immigration Service. In other words, you may change your visa to D-2 in Korea without having to travel abroad to make a request to the Korean embassy there to go to university.
  • There is a graduate school course that refugees(including asylum seekers and humanitarian status holders) could apply for. Sungkonghoe University Master of Arts in Inter-Asia NGO Studies(MAINS). In the MAINS program, you can study social change, non-governmental organizations, and civil society in the Asian context through a multidisciplinary curriculum. Also, you can participate in practitioner training. Through these activities, you can ponder upon how to contribute to the development of civil society and gain practical experiences.
  • Those who have an undergraduate degree, preferably in social science fields can apply for  MAINS. In addition, it would be better if you have experience in the non-profit or non-governmental sectors in Asia and Korea. The application for MAINS is scheduled from 19 July to 17 September. If you are interested in this program, please take a look at the site

  • The Columbia Global Centers announced that Columbia University Scholarship for Displaced Students (CUSDS) is now accepting applications for its second cohort of scholarships. Importantly, this year’s application has expanded its eligibility criteria to include Internally Displaced Persons, in addition to refugees, asylees, and those with Temporary Protected Status.
  • The program supports up to thirty new displaced students each year to attend Columbia on full scholarships. All eighteen Columbia schools and affiliates – undergraduate and graduate – offer scholarships for students from and living anywhere in the world.
  • Please check the website for more info. 
 

COVID-19

<Applying for livelihood support fund>
  • Application Eligibility: those who are told to be hospitalized or quarantined for COVID-19
    • Those who have received notification for quarantine/hospital treatment and the health center’s notification for release from quarantine since they are the confirmed cases of COVID-19 or have contacted confirmed cases of COVID-19 (The unit of the support is a household.)
    • Those who have faithfully followed the quarantine measures according to THE INFECTIOUS DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION ACT after receiving the notification for quarantine/hospital treatment from the health center.

  • According to Article 42 Clause 2, Article 47 Subparagraph 3, and Article 49 Clause 1 Subparagraph 14 of THE INFECTIOUS DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION ACT, you are classified as “a person suspected of contracting an infectious disease.” So, you are notified that you are subject to “quarantine measures”.
  • Quarantining persons cannot leave or move away from the quarantine area without permission from the Director of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KCDA) or the head of local governments. Also, you must comply with the safety control guidelines prescribed by the Director of the KCDA or the head of local governments. If you have an objection to the quarantine measures, you can file an administrative appeal or administrative litigation within 90 days from the quarantine notification.
Wearing a mask is mandatory for those using public transportation and visiting 23 multi-use facilities* as well as medical and care facilities, demonstrations and any gatherings of more than 5-hundred people.