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Can foreigners retire in South Korea?

Can Foreigners Retire in South Korea?

South Korea is a popular destination for international tourists and expats. However, when it comes to retirement, many people wonder if it’s possible for foreigners to retire in South Korea. In this comprehensive article, we will explore the different aspects of retiring in South Korea as a foreigner.

The Visa Requirements for Retiring in South Korea

Before you retire in South Korea, you need to obtain a visa. There are several types of visas available, including the F-2-99 visa, which is specifically designed for foreign retirees. To be eligible for this visa, you need to be at least 55 years old and have proof of a minimum monthly income of KRW 1.5 million (approximately USD 1,350) from sources such as pensions, annuities or investments.

The Cost of Living in South Korea

The cost of living in South Korea can be relatively high compared to other Asian countries. However, it is still possible to live comfortably on a retirement income. The cost of housing varies depending on the location, but there are affordable options available. You can also take advantage of the public transportation system, which is efficient and inexpensive.

Healthcare in South Korea

South Korea has a high-quality healthcare system that is ranked among the best in the world. As a retiree in South Korea, you can enroll in the National Health Insurance program and receive affordable healthcare services. The program covers most medical treatments, including hospitalization and prescription drugs.

The Language Barrier

The official language of South Korea is Korean, and while many people speak English, it can still be challenging for foreigners to communicate effectively. To overcome the language barrier, it’s a good idea to learn basic Korean phrases and take language classes to improve your communication skills.

The Culture Shock

South Korea has a unique culture that can be very different from what you’re used to in your home country. From the food to the customs, there may be some culture shock when you first arrive. However, with an open mind and a willingness to learn about the culture, you can adjust and enjoy your retirement in South Korea.

The Weather in South Korea

The weather in South Korea varies depending on the season and location. Generally, summers are hot and humid, while winters are cold and dry. If you’re not used to extreme temperatures, it may take some time to adjust. It’s important to dress appropriately for the weather and take precautions during extreme weather conditions.

The Transportation System

South Korea has a well-developed transportation system that includes buses, trains, and subways. As a retiree, you can take advantage of discounted fares and travel throughout the country easily. The transportation system is also accessible for people with disabilities.

Retirement Communities in South Korea

There are retirement communities available in South Korea that cater specifically to foreign retirees. These communities offer a variety of services, including healthcare, language classes, and cultural activities. They provide a supportive environment for retirees who want to live among other expats.

The Food in South Korea

The food in South Korea is diverse and flavorful. From spicy kimchi to savory bulgogi, there is something for everyone. However, if you have dietary restrictions or preferences, it may be challenging to find suitable options. It’s important to research the local cuisine and find restaurants that cater to your needs.

The Entertainment Options

There are plenty of entertainment options available in South Korea, including museums, theaters, and theme parks. You can also enjoy traditional Korean activities such as hiking, fishing, and attending cultural festivals. As a retiree, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to keep yourself busy and entertained.

The Social Life in South Korea

South Koreans are known for their hospitality and friendliness. As a retiree in South Korea, you can enjoy socializing with locals and other expats. There are many social clubs and organizations that you can join to meet new people and make friends.


Retiring in South Korea as a foreigner is possible with the right visa, preparation, and mindset. The country offers a high quality of life with excellent healthcare services, affordable living options, and plenty of entertainment and social opportunities. If you’re considering retiring in South Korea, it’s important to do your research, learn about the culture, and prepare yourself for the challenges and rewards of living in a new country.

Can you retire in Korea as a foreigner?

Upon retiring in Korea, there are several tasks to complete, including obtaining a Korean (Alien) Registration Card (KRC), which was previously called the ARC. This card is necessary for all foreigners staying in Korea for more than 90 days, and must be obtained at a local immigration office within 90 days of entry.

How much money do I need to retire in South Korea?

If you earn between 3,000 USD and 4,000 USD per month (which is equivalent to 3,396,000 KRW and 4,527,600 KRW), you should be able to live comfortably and save some money. If you earn more than this, you can afford to live generously and support your family comfortably. This was stated on October 11, 2017.

How long can you live in South Korea as a foreigner?

Individuals from certain countries may travel to South Korea without needing a visa for varying lengths of time. Depending on their nationality, visa-exempt individuals can stay in South Korea for anywhere from 30 to 180 days. This policy is in effect until at least February 17th, 2023.

Can a foreigner live in South Korea permanently?

To obtain permanent residency in South Korea, individuals must meet the eligibility requirements for the F-5 visa. This involves investing 600 million KRW (500,000 USD) or more in a Korean business and employing at least five local individuals.

Is it hard for an American to live in South Korea?

Provided that you prepare ahead of time, moving to South Korea can be a straightforward process. Although there was once a reluctance towards foreign migration, the country has become more welcoming to international businesses in recent times.

How long can a US citizen live in Korea?

Tourists from visa-exempt nations have the opportunity to stay in South Korea for up to 180 days without a visa, with the duration dependent on their country of origin. The US, South Africa, Australia, Canada, the UK, and numerous EU countries are all included on the list.

The Safety in South Korea

South Korea is generally considered to be a safe country with low crime rates. However, as with any country, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Avoiding certain areas at night and being aware of your surroundings can help prevent any potential incidents. The country also has strict gun control laws, which further contributes to its safety.

The Education System in South Korea

South Korea has a highly regarded education system that places a strong emphasis on academic achievement. If you have grandchildren living in South Korea, they will have access to quality education. Additionally, as a retiree, you can take advantage of continuing education classes and programs offered by universities and community centers.

The Technology in South Korea

South Korea is known for its advanced technology and innovation. As a retiree, you can enjoy the benefits of high-speed internet and modern infrastructure. Many businesses and services are available online or through smartphone apps, making everyday tasks more convenient.

The Natural Beauty in South Korea

South Korea has stunning natural landscapes that are worth exploring. From the mountainous terrain to the coastal beaches, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and water sports. The country also has several national parks that showcase the beauty of its flora and fauna.

The Retirement Benefits in South Korea

As a retiree in South Korea, you may be eligible for retirement benefits from your home country or from the Korean government. It’s important to understand the regulations and requirements for receiving these benefits. Additionally, some companies offer retirement benefits to their employees, which may include healthcare coverage and pension plans.

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