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How can I live in Korea permanently?


Living in a foreign country is an exciting and challenging experience. Korea, with its rich culture, history, and modern lifestyle, is a popular destination for expats. However, living in Korea permanently requires careful planning and preparation. In this article, we will explore the steps you need to take to make Korea your permanent home.

Researching the Requirements

Before moving to Korea, it’s essential to research the requirements for long-term stay. You will need to obtain a visa, and the type of visa depends on your situation. Some common types of visas are E-2 for English teachers, D-10 for job seekers, and F-5 for permanent residency. It’s crucial to check the eligibility criteria and application process for each type of visa.

Learning the Language

Learning Korean will help you integrate into Korean society and communicate with locals. There are many language schools in Korea, and some offer scholarships or government-funded programs. You can also learn Korean online or through language exchange programs.

Finding Employment

Having a job in Korea will not only provide you with financial stability but can also help you obtain a visa. Job opportunities for foreigners are available in teaching English, IT, engineering, and other fields. Networking and joining professional organizations can also help you find employment.

Finding Accommodation

Finding suitable accommodation is crucial when living in Korea permanently. You can rent an apartment or buy property depending on your budget and preference. It’s advisable to research the area before deciding on where to live and consider factors such as transportation, amenities, and safety.

Understanding the Culture

Korean culture is unique and may differ from what you are used to. Understanding Korean customs, etiquette, and social norms will help you adapt better to Korean society. You can attend cultural events, join clubs or groups, and learn from locals.

Obtaining Health Insurance

Healthcare in Korea is excellent, but medical expenses can be high. Obtaining health insurance is essential to avoid financial burden in case of illness or injury. You can obtain health insurance through your employer, private insurance companies, or the National Health Insurance Corporation.

Enrolling Children in School

If you have children, enrolling them in school is crucial. Korean schools follow a rigorous curriculum, and some schools may require fluency in Korean. International schools are available for expat children and offer education in English or other languages.

Getting a Driver’s License

Having a driver’s license in Korea will make transportation more convenient. To get a Korean driver’s license, you need to pass a written and practical test. You can also use an international driver’s license for up to a year.

Building a Social Network

Building a social network in Korea will help you feel more at home and provide support. You can meet people through work, language exchange programs, social events, or online communities.

Managing Finances

Managing finances is crucial when living in Korea permanently. You will need to open a bank account, file taxes, and manage expenses. Understanding Korean banking and financial systems can help you manage your finances more efficiently.

Maintaining Mental Health

Living in a foreign country can be challenging and stressful at times. Maintaining mental health is essential to enjoy life in Korea fully. You can seek professional counseling or therapy if needed and practice self-care through exercise, hobbies or meditation.


Living in Korea permanently requires planning, preparation, and adaptation. By researching the requirements, learning the language and culture, obtaining employment and accommodation, enrolling children in school, managing finances, and maintaining mental health, you can make Korea your permanent home. Korea offers a unique and rewarding experience for expats who are willing to embrace the culture and lifestyle.

Can a foreigner permanently live in South Korea?

Foreigners who possess exceptional skills in areas like science, business management, and education are eligible for Permanent Residence (F-5) visas. Additionally, expatriates who have resided in South Korea for a minimum of five years can also apply for permanent residency.

Can I move to Korea without a job?

If you wish to move to Korea without securing a job beforehand, you can apply for a D-10 Job Seeker Visa.

Can you live in Korea as an American?

Despite the competitive nature of the housing market in South Korea, expats will likely have an easy time finding a place to live. In fact, foreigners can typically find housing in Korea within the first month of arrival, and sometimes even within the first week.

How long can a US citizen live in Korea?

American citizens who hold a valid passport can use a K-ETA to enter the Republic of Korea for up to 90 days for tourism or visiting purposes.

Does marrying a Korean give citizenship?

Noncitizens can obtain a direct path to U.S. immigration by marrying a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, but they do not automatically obtain the right to immigrate or become a U.S. citizen. Popular rumors suggesting otherwise are false.

What happens if a foreigner gives birth in South Korea?

When a baby is born, it is required to be reported to the relevant immigration office within 90 days. In addition, parents should report the birth to their embassy and obtain a passport for the baby before applying for residency qualification with the immigration office.

Exploring the Country

Living in Korea offers the opportunity to explore the country’s rich cultural and natural heritage. From vibrant cities to serene countryside, Korea has something for everyone. You can visit historical sites, try traditional foods, hike in national parks, and attend festivals and events. Exploring Korea will help you appreciate the beauty and diversity of the country.

Dealing with Homesickness

Living far away from family and friends can sometimes lead to homesickness. It’s essential to acknowledge and address these feelings by staying connected with loved ones, planning visits, and building new relationships in Korea. You can also seek support from expat groups or counseling services.

Adapting to the Climate

Korea has four distinct seasons, with hot summers and cold winters. Adapting to the climate requires adjusting your wardrobe, preparing for extreme weather conditions, and taking care of your health. You can also enjoy the seasonal activities such as skiing in winter or enjoying water sports in summer.

Getting Involved in Community Service

Getting involved in community service is an excellent way to give back to the Korean community while also meeting new people and learning new skills. Many organizations offer volunteer opportunities such as helping local charities, teaching English to underprivileged children, or participating in environmental projects.

Finding Cultural Exchange Opportunities

Cultural exchange opportunities allow you to share your culture with Koreans while learning more about Korean culture. You can participate in language exchange programs, teach your native language, or join cultural clubs or events. These opportunities help bridge cultural gaps and promote understanding between different cultures.

Enjoying the Food Scene

Korean cuisine is famous worldwide for its bold flavors and unique ingredients. Living in Korea offers you a chance to explore the diverse food scene, from street food stalls to high-end restaurants. You can try traditional dishes such as kimchi, bulgogi, or bibimbap, or explore fusion cuisine and international foods.

Staying Informed

Staying informed about the latest news and events in Korea is crucial when living in the country permanently. You can read local newspapers, watch Korean TV shows, or follow social media accounts to stay updated. Understanding the current trends and issues can help you adapt better to Korean society.

Embracing the Lifestyle

Living in Korea offers a unique lifestyle, from the fast-paced city life to the slower pace of rural areas. Embracing the lifestyle means enjoying the cultural experiences, appreciating the natural beauty, and making the most of your time in Korea. By embracing the lifestyle, you can create a fulfilling and rewarding life in Korea.

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