Obtaining a D-10 Visa in Korea

I was able to obtain a D-10 (job seeking) visa last month in Korea.  Seeing as there wasn’t a lot of information from people who had gotten the visa at the time, I figured I’d write about my experience.  Hopefully it can help out someone who is in my position.

If you’re planning to take a break between jobs in Korea, or if you need to quit your job without getting sent back to your country, the D-10 visa is a good solution for us E-2 holders.

Note:  This process is easier if you already have a valid E-2 visa in hand.  Obtaining it without having some work history in Korea seems to be MUCH harder, and there are some pretty steep requirements listed here.  You do not have to meet all these requirements to get the visa if you already have an E-2!  This only applies if you already have your apostilled degree and apostilled federal background check on file with immigration!

I had a bit of frustration at immigration trying to figure out the process, as there were no signs that explicitly explained the procedure to get a D-10 visa.  Here is what I did:

  • Head to immigration first thing in the morning!  You will need:  ARC / passport / a photo / 60,000 won in cash [50,000 for the status change, and 10,000 to make your new card]
  • You will have to fill out a new visa application form, buy 50,000 won worth of stamps (3F), glue your photo on and wait forever.
  • There is a photo booth on the third floor (6,000 won I believe), right across from the stamp window.
  • When you approach the window, you’ll receive a form with spaces where you must fill in your intended plans for the 6 months you hold the visa, including how you intend to find a new job.  [I was very vague with mine and all went well, don’t worry too much about this.]

The immigration worker told me it would take 3 weeks to get my new card, and I had to forfeit my ARC on the spot.  I panicked a bit, as I was leaving the country the following week… If you’re in my spot, never fear!

  • On the second floor, there is a postal service desk; for 4,000 won you can have your new D-10 visa sent anywhere within Korea.  Enlist the help of a friend remaining in the country to send it to you.
  • While the new visa card takes a couple weeks to reach you, the visa status change takes one week.  If you’re leaving the country, or NEED to have something that states your visa status, wait a week and go back to immigration.  You can get a certificate for 1,000 won; it’s just as good as an interim ID card.

** (02) 1345  is the number to call for English assistance with Immigration in Seoul.

** You’re free to leave the country, come and go as you please, but remember that the visa is valid for 6 months, so you must get a job and change the visa back to E-2 before the D-10 expires.  Otherwise… I guess you’re back to square one.

** To change it back to an E-2, you don’t need any paperwork aside from a signed contract and the business registration for your new job!

That’s that!  Hopefully this post will help someone out there who finds themselves in the predicament I was in.


  1. Megan

    Thanks so much for posting! Your info seems to be the most recent that I have come across. I have one question though, had your E-2 visa already been cancelled by your previous employer before they began processing your D-10? I’m wondering if I have to wait until my former school contacts immigration or if I can begin this process now (for security reasons).

    • Lari

      Hi, thanks for the comment! No, my E-2 visa was still valid when I applied for the D-10. I believe you MUST have a valid E-2 visa in order for the switch to be possible. But to be sure, give your local immigration office a quick call.

  2. tyeeeeela

    Hello! Thanks for this really helpful entry. Do you know what happens if you fail to find employment (or just want to leave the country) while on a d10? Can you still take your pension out?

    • Lari

      If you fail to find employment, your D-10 expires, and you still want to work in Korea, then I assume you’d have to start back from square 1 to get an E-2 visa again. In my case, I was able to get my pension while I was still in the country, as I hung around long enough after my contract ended for the money to come through. I’m not sure how it works if you want to collect your pension after one job, switch to D-10, then get another job right away.

  3. Onur


    First of all, thank you for your helpful post! 😀 Well, I have a valid E-7 visa right now. But I’ve decided to quit my job and take a rest a little bit. So I’ve just called the immigration office today and the lady told me that I would need a letter of release in order to obtain a D-10 visa. But also I had given another call to immigration office about a month ago and I was told I wouldn’t need a letter of release. I don’t know. I’m a little bit confused. Do I have to get it or not? Or did anybody from immigration office asked you about LOR?

    Thank you.

    • Lari

      I got my visa without a letter of release because I was at the end of my contract. I believe that if you’re leaving your job before the end date stipulated on your contract, you’ll need a letter of release. You’ll have to check with immigration officials to be sure on that, though. Good luck!

  4. RPJG

    Great information.

    Do you know can you get back into the country with a D10 certificate? Also, did they ask for proof of funds from you…to see could you support yourself over the 6 month period?

    Many thanks.

    • Lari

      I imagine that if you leave with a valid D10 visa, and return to the country while it is still valid, it should be all right. You’ll have to double-check with immigration to be sure of that, though.

      I wasn’t asked to provide proof of funds, though things may have changed since I received mine.

      Good luck!

  5. gladys

    Hi ~ Im now in Korea holding C3-2 Visa (Tourst Visa). Am I qualified to change my status from C3-2 to D-10? Thank you soo much~!

    • Lari

      I believe that changing from tourist status to D10 status is a much more intensive process that requires more documents. In this case, definitely check with immigration, because the process would be different for you than it was for me.

  6. munhk

    how to fill “plan for seeking employment”? please advise me because I can’t fill part of plans for employment-seeking activities” actually i don’t have any idea how to find job. Please help me

  7. Nessa

    Thanks for the info! Where exactly did you get the certificate? I called the immigration office today and the girl I spoke with said I can’t get a certificate but perhaps she didn’t know about it..?

    • Lari

      I went to the office in Omokgyo, and I applied for/received the certificate in the room opposite the main waiting room on the first floor. (After entering through the main doors, it was on the left.) It’s a smaller office with teller windows, and there were ATMs nearby.

      Perhaps the process has changed, but the certificate was just a small piece of paper that states that you have, in fact, been granted a visa change. Make sure to wait the proper amount of time between submitting the documents for the visa change, and returning for the certificate. Getting the certificate isn’t a mandatory step in this process; I was just leaving the country before the physical card would be ready. I got the certificate before I left the country just to have physical proof of my visa status.

  8. Pingback: Visa Escapades – Part 1 | wanderlustlotus

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