South Korea has officially launched a “workation” visa on January 1, 2024. This initiative allows foreign residents to stay in South Korea for up to two years while working remotely. The Justice Ministry emphasized making the experience of remote work and vacation in South Korea more accessible for foreigners.
The Justice Ministry highlighted the rise of the workcation trend in its official press release.“To make remote work and vacation for foreigners in Korea smoother, we have decided to launch a new digital nomad visa,” it said.
The current process for foreign nationals looking to work and travel in South Korea involves obtaining a tourist visa, which is limited to stays of fewer than 90 days. However, with the upcoming workation visa, individuals will now have the opportunity to stay for up to one year from their entry date, possibly extending for an additional year.
Various regions, including Europe, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia, have recently introduced similar workation visas for digital nomads, reflecting the changing work landscape.
Under the new system, foreigners seeking to apply for a workation visa must submit the required documents to the Korean embassy in their respective countries. Essential documentation includes proof of an annual income exceeding 84.96 million won (approximately $65,860), double the gross national income per capita in South Korea as of 2022. This income requirement ensures that applicants have a stable financial standing and contributes to fostering a conducive environment for remote work and travel. Additional prerequisites encompass obtaining personal medical insurance and home evacuation coverage, each exceeding 100 million won ($7,750).
Applicants are required to submit supplementary documents, including employment verification and details of their criminal record.
Moreover, individuals presently on short-term stays in Korea have the option to change their visas, provided they fulfill the specified requirements. The ministry has also unveiled its foreign nationals-related policy plan for 2027, introducing the creation of an immigration office dedicated to establishing a comprehensive government-wide system focused on promoting immigration policy.
To address the potential social exclusion of vulnerable immigrants, a system allowing all foreign children to apply for birth registration, irrespective of their residence status, will be implemented.
Simultaneously, the government aims to reduce the number of illegal aliens from 420,000 to 200,000 by promoting a five-year plan to halve illegal stays as part of the comprehensive policy plan for 2027. Foreigners already residing on short-term tourist visas, such as B-1, B-2, and C-3, are eligible to reapply for the new workation visa, subject to meeting the specified requirements. However, the new visa system will undergo a test-run status initially, with the government planning to evaluate its permanence later.