Are you planning on getting married to your Korean partner and live here? Are you in South Korea right now on a different visa? Will you apply from here or overseas? What exactly are the rules? Sadly I can’t help every individual on this topic since the rules are so different and keep on changing. However, what I CAN do is tell you about our application process and other tips on how to handle this tiring journey with Korean immigration.
Immigration Service website – Visa and immigration Information and Guides
HiKorea – Reserve visits at Immigration offices, e-applications, etc
KimichiTeaching Blog – This post helped me gather information on what documents needed – Great for American Citizens applying for the F6 visa
Background – My Visa changing Journey
I dated my husband for about 4 years, I’ve been to Korea on so many different visas that I feel almost like an expert in applying for visas and ARC cards by now (I’m not). See how I got my Working Holiday ARC card here. See how my dating journey shortly looked like:
Exchange Student 2014 (D2 Visa) -> Fell in love -> Long Distance relationship -> Visits as a tourist -> Applied for a Working Holiday Visa H1 2017 and start living together in Korea -> Go back to my home country 2018 -> Apply for a Korean language Program at a University -> Sign marriage papers (no ceremony yet) 2019 -> Applied and got the F6 Visa IN Korea before my Visa expired -> Now happily living in Korea with my Husband! 2019
So one thing I learned the hard way was that you CAN NOT switch your Working Holiday (H1) visa to another visa such as a Student visa or Marriage visa I believe. But who knows, please double and triple-check with the Immigration office. They give you different answers all the time and it really all depends on which officer you get when you apply.
Working Holiday H1 Visa restrictions
The H1 visa has more restrictions than you would think. No extending allowed and no switching visas in Korea, you have to leave Korea and come back in as a tourist or apply abroad and come in with a new visa. So I planned well and decided to go back to my home country for a while and just apply for a language school to be able to come back and continue living with my boyfriend (and learn Korean, Take the TOPIK Test, etc).
From Student Visa D4 to Marriage Visa F6
We planned to get married and apply for a Marriage visa before my Student Visa (D4) expired – yes you can switch from D4 to F6 in Korea. NOTE that you have to apply before your visa expires. The waiting time to get the visa is around 2 weeks. Don’t worry you don’t have to leave the country if it expires while you are waiting for your new visa. Just make sure they get all the papers in so the process goes fast and smooth. Please start this process as early as possible. It took us maybe 1~2 months to sign our marriage papers, prepare all the other paperwork, visit the immigration 3 times and finally apply for the F6 visa.
Prepare all the necessary papers to Register your Marriage at the Gu office near you
We did not have a ceremony only an engagement dinner party at home with our families. We had prepared the application form which our parents signed and later on I went with my mother in law to register it at the gu office. Funny thing is that if you get married which is usually on a weekend you can’t register until the next weekday! So you do not register the day you get married.
The Registration is pretty easy but as a dual citizen (I have 2 passports from the US and Sweden) I’m pretty sure I need to prove that I’m not married in both countries. I wanted to do everything the right way, so It became more complicated for me (and expensive) to see why…
Step 1 – Prove you are not married in your home country
For Swedish citizens:
Print out this form Äktenskapscertifikat – Ansökan och försäkran fill out and send it to Skatteverket (In Övrigt write a Request to get an äktenskapscertifikat in English). Send a copy of your spouse’s passport as well. Make sure to read exactly what to do for your case on the embassy’s website. Finally, wait for them to send the äktenskapscertifikat. Do this early, it may take time. (cost: free!)
Step 2 Prepare all the papers
- Translate the document(s) (Eligibility affidavit/äktenskapscertifikat)
(I actually google translated all of it while my mother in law and husband corrected/rewrote some of the bad translated parts by hand on plain A4 papers and that was good enough for the gu office)
- Fill out 혼인신고서 – The Marriage registration form. Ask your 2 friends to be a witness and sign it (with name, id, and address). Make sure to call the gu office and see if the witness needs to be at the gu office while you submit your marriage registration or if it’s okay that they sign it beforehand. My Husband works long hours so we asked if he needed to be there and they said to just bring his Id instead.
Step 3 – Go to the Gu Office
- Go to the Gu office with the papers and your Spouse’s ID and stamp (도장) and your passport(s) and ARC (if you have one). That’s all! After 3-4 days we got a text message that said we were approved and officially married in Korea. Yay!
How to get an F-6 Marriage Visa -Application process
Not going to lie. We did not enjoy this time. It was time-consuming, stressful and confusing. But with the help and support from my Korean inlaws, we survived and it didn’t take as much time as we initially thought.
Paperwork Prep – List of the easier documents
* Your Korean Spourse will have to do most of the work. But I will put (Foreigner) on the documents that you can at least prepare in advance. It’s a long list of papers so goodluck!
- Application 통합신청서 (신고서) and 사증발금신청서 (both can be found on Hikorea) (Foreigner)
- Passport (Your passport make sure it does not expire soon) (Foreigner)
- ARC (Your Alien Registration Card) (Foreigner)
- 1 Passport photo with a white background (I took one in a photo booth at the immigration office) (Foreigner)
- Your Spouses Personal Guarantee Form- 신월보증서(한글) or 신월보증서(영문) (Found on Hikorea)
- Invitation– 외국인 배우자 초청장 (Found on Hikorea.)
- Basic Certificate 기본증명서
- Family Relation Certificate 가족관계증명서
- Resident registration 주민등록등본 (We registered our address on his families’ address, but changed that after we moved)
- Statement of how we met and our life together- they want to see pictures over the years you’ve been together and your wedding ceremony if you had one. I prepared 7 photos showing our early dating life, travels, and our families meeting together for an engagement party, I titled them all with a date and what was happening (example <2016년 8월 제주도 여행>), I printed them together with my Korean husbands (1 A4) statement where he wrote in as much detail as possible about how we met, what dates we visited each other in Sweden and Korea, how I stayed in Korea with him, etc. the more detail with dates the better!
(Add these papers together with the Invitation Paper, just add them right after each other in the pile) (Foreigner and Korean)
List of the documents that took more time to get ready
- Statement of Income Statue- 외국인 배우자 초청인의 가족소득현황 진술서 (Found on Hikorea.)
This form is to be filled out by both husband and wife. If both are working fill out the form twice with each person’s income. I was not working so my husband and his father filled it in twice (because he just started working, he alone can’t fulfill all the requirements to sponsor my visa, but parents can help with this.)
- Personal Detail Form from the Foreign Spouse- 외국인 배우자의 결혼배경 진술서 (Found on Hikorea.) (Foreigner)
- Marriage Certificate
- Family Relation Certificate
- Housing Document- The contract for the house you are currently staying at. Has to be in either your name, spouse’s name or in-laws name.
In our case, we were soon going to move but to meet all the living and income requirements we put us on his parents’ address and I switched address almost right after I got my ARC.
- Annual Income Certificate for the previous year 재직증명서 and 원천징수 영수증 (both!)
I think we put his fathers’ last year’s income as well because my husband just started working that year.
- Financial Status/ Credit Info Issued by Federation Bank- 사실증명 (Who doesn’t have a job) and 소득금액증명 (For whom has a job) you can find them online at http://www.nts.go.kr http://www.credit4u.co.kr (I also think we put his fathers’ paperwork here as well)
Like I wrote earlier It took us around 1~2 months to sign our marriage papers, prepare all the other paperwork, visit the immigration 3 times and finally apply for the F6 visa. 2 Weeks later you will probably get your ARC card if they are not missing anything. If I missed anything in this post or if something seems off please let me know.
I hope this will be helpful for you and I wish you Goodluck!