You will need a Korean visa for green card holders. South Korea is a tourist-friendly country that attracts millions of tourists every year and offers visa-free entry to nationals from many countries, but the same is not extended to US permanent residents whose countries are not on the list. So before you start making travel plans, you need to consult the visa-free list to know if your country is included.
Visa Exempt Countries vs. Non-Visa Exempt Countries
The issue surrounding visa and non-visa-exempt countries is something many find confusing, but let’s explain the dynamics in this section. As a green card holder, your legal residency in the US doesn’t qualify you for visa-free entry into South Korea; visa-free entry is only meant for US citizens coming from the US. However, you can still qualify for visa-free entry if you are from a visa-exempt country. For instance, if you are from Canada, Austria, or Australia, you already qualify for visa-free entry, so you don’t have to apply for a visa.
For those from countries that are not on the visa-exempt list, you will have to get a visa first before boarding a flight for South Korea from the US.
Duration For Visa Exempted Visitors
US green card holders who are from visa-exempt countries can enjoy the following.
180-Day Exemption: Canadian passport holders can stay in South Korea without visas for 180 days. If they want to stay longer, they need visas.
90-Day Exemption: The 90 days exemption is for all EU countries, excluding Cyprus. A host of many other countries make this list, like the US and UK.
60-Day Visa Exemption: The 60-day visa exemption is for a small selection of nationals, such as Russian and Lesotho nationals.
30-Day Visa Exemption: The 30-day exemption is for a group of 30 countries, most of which are microstates, African and Latin American countries, with a few Middle East and Asian countries.
Special Cases: Green card holders who hold visas from selected countries and are traveling directly to them but plan to pass through Korea may also be exempted from visas if they can show their valid visas at the port of entry. The countries are New Zealand, Canada, or a small group of Chinese tourists heading to Japan. These travelers must have onward flight tickets scheduled for the next 30 days.
Types of Korean Visas
For those who do not qualify for visa-free entry, here are the visas that you can apply for.
Tourist Visa: Green card holders who wish to tour Korea to enjoy the scenic landscape and enjoy nature, and the nightlife the country has to offer can apply for this visa.
Work Visa: Persons who have been employed by a Korean organization or company for long-term work must secure this visa before they can enter to work legally.
Student Visa: For those looking to study in South Korea they must first secure admission first then apply for a student visa with their admission confirmation letter. The visa will remain valid for as long as the course lasts.
Working Holiday Visa: This visa is only open to nationals from selected countries who want to work in South Korea while enjoying their holidays. Apart from their green cards, they must submit valid passports to prove their nationality.
Family Visit Visa: The family visit visa is for Greek cardholders who have family in South Korea who may be citizens or permanent residents in the country. Part of the requirements will be to provide civil status certificates like a marriage or birth certificate to prove the relationship and an invitation letter sent to them by their relative.
Forms Of Visas
These visas are divided based on the number of entries and duration. We have a single-entry visa that can only be used once, and the holder can stay in the country for 90 days. As for the multiple entry visa can be used several times a year, but you can’t stay for more than the number of days allowed based on your nationality.
Requirements For Korean Visa For Green Card Holders
So what are the eligibility requirements for green card holders? Here they are.
A correctly filled visa application form with accurate data
Valid passport with a minimum of two empty pages and six months of validity
A photo with a size dimension of 3.5x4.5cm on a white background
Proof of funds using tax or a bank statement
Visa application fee receipt
Invitation letter, where applicable
Civil status certificate, where applicable
These are the basic documents, but the embassy may ask you for extra documents before approving your Korean visa for green card holders.