What is the change? South Korea has eased visa requirements for scholars and lecturers who are invited by a nonprofit entity to conduct seminars, lectures or advisory work, exempting them from having to apply for a short-term employment (C-4) visa.

What does the change mean? Visa-required nationals may apply for a visitor (C-3) visa at a consulate and visa-waived nationals may travel without a visa to Korea and automatically obtain a visa on arrival at the airport (under the B1 or B2 classification, depending on nationality).

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate. The new policy took effect Aug. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: C-3 visitor visa, visa-on-arrival (B1/B2), each in lieu of C-4 visa.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals who are invited by a governmental or nonprofit entity to give lectures or seminars or perform advisory work in Korea for the public interest or scholarly purposes.
  • Impact on processing times: The visa-on-arrival and the C-3 visitor visa are both easier to obtain than the short-term employment C-4 visa.

Background: The new policy applies to foreign nationals who are invited by the government, a government agency, a university or other nonprofit entity to conduct lectures, seminars or consulting work for the public interest or academic purposes. Visa waivers and visitor visas are valid for up to 90 days, and the foreign national may conduct paid lecturing activities for up to seven days at a maximum of five organizations during the seven-day period.

According to Jung Un, a partner with Kim, Chang & Lee in Seoul, the purpose of the new policy is to attract highly qualified scholars and academicians to Korea by making entry visa requirements less burdensome than the short-term employment C-4 visa that is currently required.

BAL Analysis: The exemption from the C-4 visa, which can entail a lengthy process, is a good option for qualifying academics and lecturers invited by a nonprofit organization to conduct lectures, seminars or other related permissible activities, especially if they are visa-waived nationals.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider Kim, Chang & Lee located in South Korea. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Copyright © 2018 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact