At a time when companies get their employees to travel to one of their associated offices in South Korea, there are two types of visas that they can select from, for their visiting employees; the D-7 visa and the D-8 visa.
There are a lot of questions to the tune of why some immigrants to Korea have the D-7 visa whereas others have the D-8 visa. In this article, we take a look at the main characteristics of both these types of visas so that it is easy to know which visa is suitable in what kind of situation.
Once a company has been established in Korea, it is issued a document that states the nature of the setup; a branch office or a foreign-invested company. In the case of a branch office, it would be required to get a ‘permission for the establishment of the branch office’ or an ‘acceptance of the declaration of the branch’.
Apart from that, if the established entity is a ‘foreign-invested company’ would require a ‘certificate of foreign-invested company’. Apart from the investor, the employee of the investor company is also eligible for the D-8 visa. Thus to understand it better, the D-7 visa is a transferee to the branch and the D-8 visa is a transferee to the foreign-invested company.
These are the certificates that tell the companies whether they should be processing the D-7 visa or the D-8 visa for their employees, who are on the way to Korea. This means it important to keep these documents kept safely since they are necessary to get the D-7 or D-8.
The D-7 visa is known as ‘Intra-Company-Transferee’ and the D-8 visa is known as ‘Corporate/Foreign Investor by Korea’s immigration office.
Once a company establishes its branch or liaison office in Korea, the next step would be to allocate an employee to the new premises. For this, the establishment of a branch office or a copy of acceptance of declaration decides that D-7 is the visa applicable in this case.
The employee to be transferred to the branch office in Korea must have at least one year of working experience in the head office or other associate offices. Nevertheless, this criterion can be excluded, subject to proving that more than USD 500,000 of operating funds have been transferred from the head office to the established branch. Proof such as a copy of the foreign currency transfer from the bank can solve the purpose.
Usually, the initial fund transfer to the branch office is not as much as USD 500,000. Therefore, the 1-year employment condition becomes mandatory.
The immigration manual does not state the routine conditions for the branch office. To put it differently, the branch office or the liaison office has no special condition attached. However, there are a few documents that are often ignored in this case. These are an employment certificate from the head office, an assignment letter and a proof of foreign currency transfer.
The head office is supposed to make the employment certificate and the assignment letter. The copy of permission for establishment of the branch office displays the name of the head office. Only that company is seen as the head office by the immigration office and it will reject the assignment letter and employment certificate, if issued by another company.
The proof of foreign currency transfer is also required to be submitted to the immigration office. This is because according to them some fund is essential for the initial operations of a branch office. However, if the branch office can prove that it is making enough profit, the proof of foreign currency is not required.
The routine process for a D-7 visa is to get a confirmation done on the issue of visa in Korea, before the employee steps into the country. An application for the confirmation of visa issuance must be first submitted to the immigration office in Korea.
In the usual circumstances, the confirmation of visa issuance number is issued in 2 weeks. This is a type of pre-authorization number. Following this, the employee must apply for a visa sticker at the Korean consulate outside Korea. This sticker can be obtained in 4 to 7 days from the consulate.
Finally, when the employee steps into Korea with the visa sticker, he must apply for the Alien Registration Card at the appropriate immigration office. The Alien Registration Card can be obtained 2 weeks after the application is submitted.
If a company seeks to send its employee to a foreign-invested company in Korea, the employee will need to apply for the D-8 visa. The ‘Certificate of Foreign Invested Company’ is the formal paper from the local bank.
The application of the D-8 visa can happen in one of the two ways: by a change of visa status or through a consular process (visa issuance confirmation). The change of visa status is permitted for very few visa types, therefore this works in favor of the D-8 visa.
For visa issuance confirmation, the local associated company must apply for the visa issuance confirmation at Korea’s immigration office. Once the immigration office allocates the visa issuance number, an application must be filed for the actual visa at a Korean consulate that is outside Korea. The employee can then enter Korea with the visa and apply for the Alien Registration Card at the appropriate immigration office.
When the change of visa status is opted for, the employee does not need a long-term visa to enter Korea. Foreigners from a country that has signed a visa waiver agreement with Korea do not even need an entry visa to land in the country.
However, for foreigners from other countries, a short-term visa is required to serve as an entry visa. After the employee is in Korea without a visa, the next thing for him/her is to go to the appropriate immigration office for a change of visa status from a visitor to a D-8 visa holder. Simultaneously, an application for the Alien Registration Card can be filed.
To know how the D-7 visa and the D-8 visa differ from each other, one must be aware of the visa system of South Korea. A visa issuance confirmation lowers the risk of the recipient having to leave Korea due to the visa being denied, though the visa is rarely denied unless the conditions are not met.
The change of visa status, on the other hand, can make the visa process shorter by skipping the need to go through the consular process.
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Who can apply for D-7 visa?D-7 visa is issued to “dispatched foreign professional/supervisor/employee of a firm that is engaged in the business activities in Korea.”Eligibility and requirements Foreign professionals at a Korean branch office sent from the foreign company Foreign professionals at the domestic headquarters of a Korean company that has advanced into the overseas market. - Worked at a foreign company/organization and sent to the foreign company’s affiliate/subsidiary company, branch, or other offices in Korea as an “indispensable professional specialist.“ - The applicant is waived for the one-year work experience, 1) If planning to work in key industries or in national projects or, 2) the employer company has inducted $500,000 or more of business operational fund into its Korean office. - Worked at an overseas branch office of a listed Korean corporation or public organization for at least one year and was dispatched to the main office in Korea. - However, if the Korean headquarter has invested less than $500,000 into its overseas branch/local office, one is not eligible to apply for the D-7 visa. How long is it valid?When granted a D-7 visa, the maximum length of stay is 2 years, but it can be extended upon application. Dispatch orders should be issued by the company headquarters, even if the employee is dispatched from a branch. The dispatch order should state the dispatch period.Are you applying for your visa in Korea? Contact our Korea visa expert Team in Pearson & Partners.read more