Korea Changes E2 Visa Process: FBI Background Check How To

Even though this guy looks like a wimpy college student, he was trained how to kill in Tae Kwon Do, slept in the snow at the DMZ, and ate worms for breakfast. He will kick your ass if you don't get comply with the new visa regulations.

Calling all criminals teaching English in Korea. The game is over. The Korean government is on to your scam. I say that jokingly but actually it is kind of true.

In the past, all you needed to prove you didn’t have a criminal record was a background check from your local police department or state. The problem with state background checks is someone can be charged with a crime in Maine for instance, but it will not show up on a record check for say Iowa.

Staring January 1st, 2011, all foreigners teaching English in Korea will need to submit a federal background check when applying for a job or renewing a contract. If you are American, that means you have to get a background check from the FBI. Again, anyone who is applying for an E2 visa OR extending his or her E2 visa must submit a federal background check.

Here is the unofficial guide to the FBI check in 5 easy steps:

1. Complete the application form.

  • It takes just a minute.

2. Submit your fingerprints.

  • This is a little more complicated – especially if you are living in Korea. First, print out the official fingerprint card (you might want to print out a few extra copies if you mess up).
  • Next, if you are in the US you can take the form to your local police station. Most offer a fingerprinting service for about $10. Call ahead for pricing and hours.
  • If you are in Korea, go to the biggest police station in your city. These are the “gu” stations or main city police stations. Be sure to bring your form with you.
  • Can’t find a police station that will do it for you? Call the Korean Police English Hotline at 313-0842.
  • NOTE: Be sure to check that you were fingerprinted properly. Compare the prints on your form to page 2 of the fingerprint form that talks about “obtaining classifiable fingerprints.” Your request will be rejected if the prints are not done properly.

3. Submit the $18 payment.

4. Review the checklist.

5. Mail the required items here:

  • FBI CJIS Division – Record Request, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, WV 26306

It can take up to 12 weeks to process your request.

Visit the FBI site to download the forms and get the official instructions.

DISCLAIMER: Immigration rules are always changing. For the latest information, please contact your local Korean Office of Immigration. Furthermore, feel free to post here if you have info on getting a background check in other countries.

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  1. Aaron Brown says:

    Holy crap! That’s a lot of work. Thanks for the info, though!

  2. Brian says:

    Yo, What if you have a lil something on your background check, nothing too outlandish, just some college punk in drublic (drunk in pubic)? Will you be denied?

    • sebucan says:

      Hey Brian, not sure about that. I think it’s best if you check with your employer or recruiter.

  3. Ryan says:

    I’m a American living in Korea teaching English. You are wrong on one account.

    After contacting Immigration, National AND provincial offices of education I’ve learned if you are RENEWING a contract you don’t need the FBI check until the FOLLOWING time you resign. This is because of the long wait for Americans.

    If you want more information, please email me at rscottsf@gmail.com

  4. Jessica says:

    Hi there,
    I am in Korea, and have an FBI background check on file. I am looking to renew my visa with the same school. I have not been out of the country since getting my visa, and need it renewed in about a month. What do I need to renew it? My school wants to send me to Japan, but I told them I think I might just need a Korean background check. Anyway, how do I renew my visa? My school is new at this too and is very unsure. Thanks!