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Can I permanently move to South Korea?


South Korea is an attractive destination for many people seeking a new home. However, before making such a life-changing decision, it’s important to understand the requirements and processes involved in permanent relocation to South Korea.

Eligibility for Permanent Residency

To apply for permanent residency in South Korea, you must meet the eligibility criteria, which include having lived in the country for at least five years, holding a valid visa or alien registration card, and passing a Korean language proficiency test.

Employment Opportunities

One of the most common ways to secure permanent residency in South Korea is through employment opportunities. The country has a thriving economy and is home to many multinational companies that hire foreign workers.

Investment Visa

If you’re interested in starting a business in South Korea, you can apply for an investment visa, which requires a minimum investment of KRW 100 million (approximately $90,000 USD).

Family Ties

If you have a Korean spouse or child, you may be eligible for permanent residency through family ties. This process involves submitting documents to prove your relationship and fulfilling other requirements.

Educational Opportunities

South Korea is known for its excellent education system, and many international students come to study in the country. If you complete a degree program at a Korean university, you may be eligible for permanent residency.

Application Process

The application process for permanent residency in South Korea can be complex and time-consuming. You’ll need to gather all required documents and submit them to the immigration office along with your application form.

Costs Involved

There are several costs associated with the permanent residency application process, including visa fees, language test fees, and document translation fees. It’s important to budget for these expenses before beginning the process.

Benefits of Permanent Residency

If you’re granted permanent residency in South Korea, you’ll have many benefits, including the ability to work and live in the country without a visa, access to national healthcare and education systems, and the right to vote in local elections.

Challenges of Living in South Korea

While South Korea is a modern and developed country, it can also present challenges for foreigners. These can include language barriers, cultural differences, and a competitive work culture.


Permanent residency in South Korea is possible through various avenues, such as employment opportunities, investment visas, family ties, and educational opportunities. However, it’s important to understand the eligibility criteria and application process before embarking on this journey.

Additional Resources

If you’re interested in learning more about permanent residency in South Korea, there are several resources available online, such as the official website of the Korean Immigration Service and expat forums.

Can a foreigner permanently live in South Korea?

Foreigners who possess exceptional skills in fields like education, science or business administration are eligible for Permanent Residence (F-5) visas. Additionally, individuals who have lived in South Korea for more than five years can also apply for permanent residency.

Can a US citizen move to South Korea?

Preparing adequately prior to arrival can make moving to South Korea relatively easy. Despite historical reluctance towards foreign migration, South Korea is now welcoming international companies and the process of moving is becoming increasingly straightforward.

How can I legally live in Korea?

To be eligible, the individual must have lived in South Korea with a permanent address for at least five years, be of legal age according to South Korean law, have a good reputation, and either possess the means to support themselves or be a dependent of a capable family member.

How long can a US citizen live in Korea?

Tourists or visitors from the United States holding a valid passport can travel to the Republic of Korea using K-ETA and stay for up to 90 days for tourism or visitation purposes.

Can I move to Korea with no job?

To relocate to Korea without a job, you can apply for a D-10 Job Seeker Visa.

How can I stay in Korea permanently?

The F-5 visa is the visa for permanent residency in South Korea. To be eligible for this visa, you must either invest at least 600 million KRW (equal to 500,000 USD) in a Korean business and employ five or more locals, or marry a Korean citizen or someone who already has the F-5 visa.

Adapting to Korean Culture

When relocating to South Korea, it’s important to understand and respect the country’s culture. Koreans place a strong emphasis on hierarchy and respect for authority, which can be seen in the workplace and daily interactions. Additionally, Korean society values group harmony over individualism, so it’s important to be mindful of your actions and how they may impact those around you.

Language Barrier

While many Koreans speak English, there may still be a language barrier for foreigners living in South Korea. It’s important to learn Korean to fully integrate into society and make daily tasks easier. There are many language schools and programs available for foreigners to learn Korean.

Housing Options

There are many housing options available in South Korea, including apartments, studios, and houses. However, the rental market can be competitive and expensive, especially in major cities like Seoul. It’s important to research different neighborhoods and housing options before making a decision.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in South Korea can vary depending on location and lifestyle. While certain expenses like healthcare and education may be more affordable compared to other countries, other expenses like housing and transportation can be expensive. It’s important to budget accordingly and research the cost of living in different areas.

Social Life

South Korea has a vibrant social scene with many activities and events for locals and foreigners alike. However, it can be challenging for foreigners to make friends due to cultural differences and language barriers. Joining social clubs or attending language exchange events can be a great way to meet new people.


Relocating to South Korea can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to understand the challenges and requirements involved in permanent residency. Adapting to a new culture and way of life can take time, but with effort and an open mind, foreigners can thrive in South Korea.

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