Korea Digital Nomad Visa: Requirements and Application Process

South Korea has recently launched its long-awaited Digital Nomad Visa, officially known as the Workation Visa (F-1-D), starting from January 1, 2024. This visa is a fantastic opportunity for remote employees, freelancers, or business owners who work for companies or clients located outside of South Korea.

It allows for an initial stay of up to one year, with the possibility of extending for an additional year, making the maximum duration two years​​​​. Eligibility for this visa requires applicants to be over 18 years old, have at least one year of experience in their field, and meet a minimum annual income threshold of more than 85 million won (approximately US $66,000).

South Korea presents a dynamic and inspiring backdrop for digital nomads, with its rich cultural heritage, advanced technological infrastructure, and ultra-fast internet.

In this article, we explore the details and intricacies of the recently unveiled South Korea Digital Nomad Visa known as the Workation Visa (F-1-D), what are its requirements, application process and if it is a suitable pathway for digital nomads into the Land of the Morning Calm.

temple structure surrounded by body of water with trees with pink flower

What is the Korea Digital Nomad Visa?

The Korea Digital Nomad Visa, officially known as the Workation Visa (F-1-D), is a groundbreaking initiative by South Korea, launched in early 2024, to welcome digital nomads from around the globe.

Designed for individuals who work remotely for companies or clients outside of South Korea, this visa offers a unique blend of professional flexibility and cultural immersion.

Key Features of the Korea Digital Nomad Visa:

  • Eligibility: Open to remote employees, freelancers, and business owners with an income sourced from outside South Korea. Applicants must be over 18 years of age and have at least one year of professional experience in their field.
  • Income Requirement: A pivotal eligibility criterion is the minimum income requirement, which was set at more than 85 million won (approximately $66,000) for the year 2023. This ensures that applicants can sustain their lifestyle while residing in South Korea.
  • Visa Duration: Initially granted for up to one year, the visa can be extended for an additional year, allowing for a total stay of up to two years.
  • Family Inclusion: Visa holders have the privilege of including their family members, such as a spouse and children, in their application. This feature underscores South Korea’s aim to provide a comprehensive living experience for digital nomads and their families.
  • Health Insurance Requirement: Applicants must possess personal medical insurance covering at least 100 million won for hospital treatment and repatriation during their stay in Korea.
  • Application Process: Prospective digital nomads can apply at a South Korean embassy or consulate in their home country. For those already in South Korea on a different visa, there is an option to convert to a Digital Nomad Visa.

The introduction of the Korea Digital Nomad Visa reflects South Korea’s commitment to fostering a global community of remote workers. By combining robust technological infrastructure with rich cultural offerings, South Korea positions itself as an attractive destination for digital nomads seeking a blend of work and wanderlust​​​​​​.

The Benefits of the South Korea Digital Nomad Visa

Image text showing benefits of The Korea Digital Nomad Visa

The Korea Digital Nomad Visa, or Workation Visa (F-1-D), presents a compelling package for digital nomads with its distinct blend of benefits and features tailored to the lifestyle and needs of remote workers.

Here’s why South Korea stands out as an enticing destination for digital nomads:

  • Extended Stay: Unlike standard tourist visas, the Digital Nomad Visa allows for an extended stay of up to two years (one year with the possibility of extension), providing ample time to explore South Korea’s diverse landscapes and cultural heritage.
  • Family Inclusion: This visa uniquely allows for the inclusion of family members, enabling a spouse and dependents to experience life in South Korea together, making it an ideal choice for nomads looking to relocate with their families.
  • Healthcare Access: Applicants must secure medical insurance covering significant healthcare costs, ensuring peace of mind with access to South Korea’s excellent healthcare system during their stay.
  • High-Speed Internet: South Korea boasts some of the fastest internet speeds globally, ensuring seamless connectivity for work, entertainment, and communication, a critical factor for productivity-focused digital nomads.
  • Cultural and Technological Hub: South Korea offers a unique mix of traditional culture and cutting-edge technology, providing a dynamic environment for personal and professional growth.
  • Global Community: South Korea’s initiative aligns it with other countries offering similar visas, positioning itself as a competitive destination in the global digital nomad community.
  • Income Requirement: Reflecting its aim to attract skilled professionals, the visa requires proof of a substantial minimum income, ensuring that applicants can comfortably support themselves during their stay.
  • Cultural Experiences: From bustling markets and historic palaces in Seoul to tranquil temples and scenic coastal towns, South Korea offers diverse experiences that cater to various interests, enriching the digital nomad lifestyle with unforgettable memories.
  • Networking Opportunities: The presence of an active expat and digital nomad community, along with numerous coworking spaces, facilitates networking and community building among like-minded professionals.

The Korea Digital Nomad Visa stands out for its thoughtful consideration of what digital nomads seek in a destination: stability, community, and a blend of work and cultural exploration.

With its streamlined application process and comprehensive benefits, South Korea is positioning itself as a top choice for digital nomads aiming to explore Asia while maintaining their remote work lifestyle​​​​​​.

The South Korea Digital Nomad Visa- Requirements, Application & Costs

Image text showing requirements for The Korea Digital Nomad Visa

For the South Korea Digital Nomad Visa, officially known as the Workation Visa (F-1-D), applicants need to meet specific criteria and provide a set of documents that demonstrate their eligibility.

Requirements

  • Applicants must be over 18 years old to qualify for the visa. This ensures that all applicants are legally adults and capable of independent living and working in South Korea.
  • The visa is initially valid for up to one year. There is an option to extend it for an additional year, allowing for a total stay of up to two years.
  • Applicants must earn more than 85 million won (approximately $66,000) in the year preceding their application. This requirement is designed to ensure that digital nomads can financially sustain themselves while living in South Korea.
  • Applicants must have personal medical insurance covering at least 100 million won for hospital treatment and repatriation during their stay in Korea.
  • Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid at the time of application, and many digital nomad visas require the passport to be valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay.
  • Proof of Remote Work: Documentation proving that you work remotely for a company or clients located outside of South Korea. This could include contracts, letters from employers, or business registration documents if self-employed.
  • Proof of Income: Evidence of meeting the minimum income requirement, such as payslips, bank statements, or tax returns, showing you earn at least the required annual threshold.
  • International Health Insurance: A policy that meets the minimum coverage required by the South Korean government for medical treatment and repatriation.
  • Criminal Background Check: A clean criminal record is necessary, so you’ll likely need to submit a document verifying this from your country of residence.
  • Passport-Sized Photos: Recent photos, typically no more than six months old, are required for identification purposes.
  • Proof of Relationship to Dependents (if applicable): If you’re including family members in your application, you’ll need to provide documents proving your relationship, such as marriage certificates or birth certificates for children.

Application Process

Applying for the Workation Visa F-1-D (South Korea Digital Nomad Visa) involves a series of steps designed to ensure applicants meet the necessary criteria for a successful entry into South Korea as digital nomads.

This process cannot be completed entirely online, as it requires in-person submissions and interviews.

Step 1: Check Eligibility and Prepare Documents

  • Before applying, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, such as the age requirement, income threshold, and having valid international health insurance. Prepare all required documents, including:
    • A valid passport
    • Proof of remote work
    • Proof of income meeting the minimum threshold
    • International health insurance documentation
    • Criminal background check
    • Passport-sized photos
    • Documents proving relationship to dependents, if applicable

Step 2: Application Submission

  • You must submit your visa application in person at the nearest South Korean embassy or consulate in your country of residence. At this stage, ensure all your documents are complete and accurately reflect your eligibility. If you’re already in Korea under a different type of visa, check if you’re eligible to switch to the Digital Nomad Visa directly within the country.

Step 3: Visa Appointment and Interview

  • Upon submitting your application, you’ll be scheduled for an interview at the embassy or consulate. This is a crucial step where consular officers assess your application’s veracity and may ask detailed questions about your remote work, financial stability, and plans in South Korea.

Step 4: Pay Visa Fees

  • The visa fee is typically paid at the embassy or consulate during the submission or interview process. Fees may vary based on nationality and are subject to change, so it’s advisable to confirm the exact amount with the embassy or consulate ahead of time.

Step 5: Visa Approval and Collection

  • After the interview, your application will undergo processing, which can take between 10 to 15 days. If approved, you’ll be notified to collect your visa. Processing times and collection procedures can vary, so stay in contact with the embassy or consulate for updates.

Step 6: Enter South Korea

  • Once you have your Digital Nomad Visa, you can enter South Korea. Ensure you have all necessary documents for immigration control, including your visa, passport, and proof of health insurance.

Step 7: Alien Registration

  • Within 90 days of arriving in South Korea, you must apply for an Alien Registration Card (ARC) at your local immigration office. This card is essential for various administrative purposes in South Korea, including setting up a bank account and registering for healthcare.

Step 8: Enjoy South Korea

  • With the administrative processes completed, you can fully embrace your new life as a digital nomad in South Korea. Explore the country’s rich culture, advanced infrastructure, and energetic communities while enjoying the benefits of one of the fastest internet services in the world.

Costs

Specific fees and costs associated with the Workation Visa F-1-D can vary depending on several factors, including the applicant’s nationality and the embassy or consulate’s policies.

  • Visa Application Fee: This fee can vary significantly based on the applicant’s nationality and the specific visa category. As a reference, visa fees can range from approximately 40,000 to 90,000 South Korean won (roughly $30 to $70 USD), but it’s essential to check with the South Korean embassy or consulate for the exact amount for the Digital Nomad Visa.
  • Health Insurance: Applicants must have international health insurance covering at least 100 million won. The cost of health insurance can vary widely based on coverage, duration, and the insurance provider. Expect to spend a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars annually, depending on the factors mentioned.
  • Document Preparation: This includes costs for obtaining a criminal background check, document notarization, and translations if necessary. Each of these services has its own fee, which can vary by country and service provider. Criminal background checks might cost anywhere from $20 to $50 USD, notarization fees can range from $10 to $100 USD per document, and translation costs depend on the length and complexity of the documents.
  • Medical Examination (if required): Some applicants might need to undergo a medical examination as part of the health insurance application or visa requirements. The cost can vary widely by country and medical facility but expect to pay between $100 to $300 USD.
  • Passport Photos: A set of passport-sized photos is typically required, with costs ranging from $5 to $15 USD, depending on where they are taken.
green blue roof temple

Cost of Living in South Korea

The cost of living in South Korea, particularly for digital nomads considering the Workation Visa F-1-D, varies widely depending on lifestyle, location, and personal spending habits. Based on current monetary values and the average cost of living, here’s an overview to help you budget for your stay:

  • Rent: Monthly accommodation costs can range from $500 to $1,000 (562,000 KRW to 1,687,000 KRW) for rent and accommodation, depending on the area and size of the apartment​​.
  • Utilities: Expect to spend between $80 to $200 (90,000 KRW to 224,000 KRW) monthly on utilities, including electricity, water, and gas​​.
  • Food and Groceries: Monthly expenses for food and groceries could range from $300 to $500 (337,000 KRW to 562,000 KRW), though this can vary based on dietary preferences and whether you cook at home or dine out​​.
  • Transportation: A monthly public transport pass might cost around $50 to $150 (56,000 KRW to 168,000 KRW), which is essential for exploring the city and commuting​​.
  • Internet and Mobile: Basic internet costs about $22 (28,380 KRW) per month, while a mobile phone plan with sufficient data might range from $20 to $50 (22,000 KRW to 55,000 KRW)​​.
  • Gym Membership: For those interested in fitness, a gym membership could cost between $30 to $100 (34,000 KRW to 112,000 KRW) per month​​.
  • Entertainment and Leisure: Budgeting $100 to $300 (112,000 KRW to 337,000 KRW) monthly for activities, leisure, and entertainment allows you to enjoy what South Korea has to offer​​.
  • Health Insurance: This is crucial for any expat, with monthly premiums ranging from $50 to $150 (56,000 KRW to 168,000 KRW) depending on the coverage​​.

The total monthly cost of living in South Korea for a digital nomad can range from approximately $1,110 to $2,350 (1,250,000 KRW to 3,000,000 KRW), based on a balance of necessary and lifestyle expenses​​.

It’s worth noting that living in Seoul might be on the higher end of this range, given it’s a major city with a vibrant lifestyle but also higher living costs​​.

Resources to Stay Up to Date with Visa Changes

The Official Website of the Republic of Korea

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea

Atlys.com

iVisa.com

World Visa Guide

green tall bamboo trees

Do I Need a Korea Digital Nomad Visa?

Whether you need a South Korea Digital Nomad Visa, officially known as the Workation Visa F-1-D, primarily depends on your work style, length of stay, and lifestyle preferences.

It is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of obtaining a visa for digital nomads considering South Korea as their next remote work destination, alongside the ideal factors that make it suitable for digital nomads.

Pros:

  • Legal Framework for Remote Work: The Digital Nomad Visa provides a legal basis for staying and working remotely in South Korea, offering peace of mind regarding immigration status.
  • Access to Services: With this visa, digital nomads can more easily open bank accounts, sign leases, and access other services that require a long-term visa.
  • Cultural Immersion: It allows for an extended stay, giving you ample time to explore the rich Korean culture, language, and traditions.
  • Networking Opportunities: Living in South Korea for a longer duration opens up networking opportunities with both the local and expat communities, potentially leading to collaborations and new projects.

Cons:

  • Cost of Living: South Korea, especially Seoul, can have a high cost of living compared to other popular digital nomad destinations, which might strain your budget if not planned properly.
  • Complex Application Process: The application process might seem daunting to some, requiring various documents and potentially a visit to a South Korean embassy or consulate.
  • Minimum Income Requirement: The visa comes with a minimum income requirement, which could be a barrier for some digital nomads, especially those just starting or with fluctuating incomes.

Here are several key factors worth considering when weighing your options;

  • Fast Internet: South Korea boasts some of the fastest internet speeds globally, essential for digital nomads reliant on online connectivity for work.
  • Active Expat Community: The country has an active expat community, offering a support network for newcomers.
  • Innovative Workspaces: There are numerous co-working spaces and cafes conducive to productivity and creativity.
  • Quality of Life: South Korea offers an excellent quality of life, with its mix of urban innovation and natural beauty, extensive public transportation system, and healthcare quality.

The need for a South Korea Digital Nomad Visa depends on your specific circumstances, including your professional requirements, income level, and personal preferences for stability and legal work status while abroad.

If you meet the visa’s criteria and value the opportunity to immerse yourself in South Korean culture over an extended period, this visa could be an ideal option for your digital nomad journey.

Best Places to Live or Explore In South Korea for Digital Nomads

Image text of the best places to live or explore in Korea

Seoul

aerial view of the city showing high rose buildings and highways- korea digital nomad visa

Seoul stands as a beacon of modernity and technological advancement, making it a top choice for those seeking an active urban life. With its fast internet, many coworking spaces, and endless entertainment options, Seoul provides a dynamic backdrop for digital nomads.

For accommodations, The Connoisseur offers a peaceful environment with amenities like a kitchenette and washing machine, located near Yeouido Park and the Han River for leisurely breaks. Hoppin House Coliving is another excellent choice, offering a cozy and friendly atmosphere, situated close to the lively Hongdae area.

Jeju Island

aerial view of a community near body of water - korea digital nomad visa

Often referred to as South Korea’s Hawaii, it presents a more serene alternative with its beautiful beaches and natural landscapes. Digital nomads here enjoy a more affordable cost of living and unique cultural experiences.

Coworking options like O-peace Jeju and J-Space cater to remote workers, while the island’s cafes offer scenic views and solid Wi-Fi for working.

Busan

high rise buildings near the beach - korea digital nomad visa

Known for its stunning beaches and delicious seafood, is another great city for digital nomads, combining work and leisure perfectly. Workation hubs like the Busan Main Workation Center and The Hyuil X Desker Workation Center provide workspaces with beautiful sea views.

Accommodations such as LaValse Hotel and Hotel Adela offer modern amenities and easy access to local attractions.

Gwangju

aerial view of the city surrounded by trees -korea digital nomad visa

Gwangju offers a laid-back atmosphere with its scenic vineyards and tea plantations, ideal for those seeking a quieter environment. While it lacks coworking spaces, its cafes and tea houses provide suitable alternatives for working remotely.

Daejeon

tall building next to a body of water and road- korea digital nomad visa

A smaller city known for its research institutes and universities offers a quieter version of urban life compared to Seoul. Though it doesn’t boast coworking spaces, its abundance of cafes serves as perfect spots for digital nomads to work.

Suwon and Daegu

high rose building near body of water surrounded by trees - korea digital nomad visa

Suwon and Daegu also emerge as favorable destinations for digital nomads, each offering unique cultural experiences and a supportive environment for remote work.

Suwon, with its historical sites like the Hwaseong Fortress, and Daegu, with its dynamic fashion industry, both provide compelling reasons for digital nomads to consider them as a base.

South Korea Digital Nomad Visa – Summary

The introduction of the Workation Visa F-1-D (South Korea Digital Nomad Visa) in early 2024 marked a significant shift towards embracing the global remote work trend, presenting both opportunities and challenges for digital nomads considering the country as their next destination.

Aside from the legal recognition and support for digital nomads that provide a structured framework for their stay, the high-speed internet, diverse coworking spaces, and a strong expat community further enhance the appeal of South Korea as a destination for digital nomads. The country’s rich culture, encompassing both traditional and modern elements, offers a unique living experience that combines work with exploration and leisure​​​​​​.

However, potential challenges should not be overlooked. The cost of living, particularly in cities like Seoul, can be high, posing a financial consideration for digital nomads. The visa’s minimum income requirement may also be a hurdle for some, alongside navigating the initial setup, such as securing health insurance as mandated by the Korean government for long-term stays​​​​.

Being a digital nomad in South Korea presents a compelling mix of opportunities and challenges. For those who can navigate the financial and bureaucratic aspects, the benefits of access to a technologically advanced environment, coupled with the chance to immerse in a culturally rich setting, are significant.

Ultimately, the decision to embark on this journey hinges on individual priorities, work nature, and lifestyle preferences. Given the right circumstances, the experience of being a digital nomad in South Korea can indeed be rewarding, offering a unique blend of productivity, adventure, and cultural enrichment.

If you want to know more about digital nomad visas and other key destinations around the world, check out our other posts on;


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South Korea Digital Nomad Visa – FAQs

Does South Korea have a digital nomad visa?

Yes, South Korea launched a Digital Nomad Visa, also known as the Workation Visa (F-1-D), in early 2024. This initiative caters to remote workers, freelancers, and business owners working for companies or clients located outside of South Korea, allowing them to live and work in the country for up to two years​​​​.

Is a digital nomad visa worth it?

Obtaining a digital nomad visa can be incredibly beneficial for those looking to explore a new country while maintaining their remote work lifestyle. It provides a legal framework for staying and working in South Korea, access to local services, and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich Korean culture. However, it’s important to consider the cost of living and minimum income requirements to ensure it aligns with your budget and lifestyle​​.

What is the new visa for South Korea in 2024?

The new visa introduced by South Korea in 2024 is the Digital Nomad Visa, specifically designed for individuals who earn their income remotely from companies or clients outside the country. It’s part of South Korea’s effort to attract global talents and foster a dynamic environment for digital nomads​​.

Is Seoul good for digital nomads?

Seoul is an excellent city for digital nomads, offering fast internet speeds, an abundance of coworking spaces, and an active expat community. The city blends modern conveniences with traditional Korean culture, providing an enriching experience for those working remotely. However, digital nomads should be prepared for the city’s high cost of living​​​​.

How does South Korea’s healthcare system support digital nomads?

All foreigners residing in South Korea for more than six months, including digital nomads, are required to sign up for local health insurance plans. This is a significant benefit, as South Korea’s healthcare system is known for its affordability compared to other countries with similar standards.

This ensures that digital nomads have access to quality healthcare services during their stay, adding an extra layer of security and peace of mind to their workation experience​​.

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