Korean Immigration Lawyer Explains How to Get F-4 Visa (Overseas Korean Visa)

What is Overseas Korean Visa (F-4)?

The overseas Korean Visa (F-4) is a multiple entry visa. This visa is for a Korean who had obtained foreign citizenship and his/her foreign lineal descent.


The F-4 visa is the most versatile resident visa next to the Korean permanent resident visa. This visa was originally introduced to provide the overseas Korean descendants with almost the same level of residential benefits as Korean nationals enjoy in Korea. Thus, the initial term of permitted stay is 3 years, and you can easily extend it.

Also, unlike other types of Korean visa, there is almost no limit to the area where you can legally work in Korea. The F4 holder is only prohibited to work in the area of unskilled labor and certain business that is against the social order.


① Any foreign national who once had Korean citizenship by birth

② Any foreign descent of the above person

One exception to this applies to a male applicant.

A male individual who had renounced Korean citizenship or voluntarily acquired foreign citizenship after May 1, 2018 is unable to apply for F-4 until either (i) his duty of Korean military service is fully performed or waived, or (ii) he reaches at the age of 41.

The purpose of this exception is to prevent the F4 from being a way to circumvent the duty of Korean military service. There had been some young Koreans who voluntarily acquired foreign citizenship and applied for the F4.

Required Documents

For Those Who Were once Korean Citizens

  • A document that certifies his/her past Korean citizenship such as a copy of the Korean Family Relation Certificate
  • A document that certifies the acquisition of foreign citizenship and its date

for whose parent or grandparent was once a Korean citizen

  • A document that certifies his/her parent or grandparent had been a Korean citizen such as a copy of the Korean Family Relation Certificate
  • A document that certifies his and his parent/grandparent’s acquisition of foreign citizenship and its dates

common documents

  • A valid passport
  • Certificate of proficiency in Korean
    • Exemption
      ① Person over 60 years of age
      ② Children under 13 years of age
      ③ Person who once had been a Korean citizen
      ④ Person who previously submitted a certificate of proficiency in Korea for the with regard to other types of Korean visa application
      ⑤ Person who had graduated from the Korean school
  • Criminal history record check issued by the local government including the government of the country where the applicant has resided more than 6 months
    • Exemption
      ① Person over 60 years of age
      ② Children under 13 years of age
      ③ Person with national interest or honor and his family member
      ④ Person who had previously submitted or been exempted from the submission of a criminal history record check to the Korean immigration office and continued to stay in Korea, except those who had stayed abroad more than 6 consecutive months

Actual documents could differ depending on each applicant’s situation. Thus, it is highly advisable to consult with a Korean immigration lawyer before filing the application.

Filing the F-4 Application

You can file the F4 visa application at your local Korean Consulate in person by mail. With some conditions met, you may be able to apply for the F4 in Korea.

Visa for F-4 Holder’s Family

If you are a spouse or a minor child of the F-4 visa holder, you are eligible to get the visiting/resident visa (F-1).

If the child is an unmarried minor and his parent is continuously residing in Korea for more than 3 years, the child can extent his F-1 visa until the age of 24.

Duty to Report the Domestic Residence

If an F-4 visa holder intends to stay in Korea for more than 90 days, he must report his residence in Korea within 90 days from the entry.

If the F-4 visa holder completes the report of the domestic residence, he will receive a Korean national ID number. With this ID number, the person can do various types of transactions such as bank opening and real property purchases like any Korean nationals do.

Our Korean immigration attorney can review your situation and help you file the F-4 and other types of Korean visa applications. If you want to speak directly with our Korean qualified English speaking lawyer, please click the contact button below.  A real Korean lawyer, not a U.S. attorney hired by a Korean lawyer nor just an English speaking staff, will help you competently.

Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may or may not reflect the most current legal development at the time of view, nor is it applicable in all situations nor should be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations. 

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  1. I corresponded with Attorney Wonil Jung regarding F4 visa. He was very knowledgeable and his English was perfect. I highly recommend him.

  2. I asked Lawyer at Chung & Partners regarding F4 visa requirements. He promptly responded back to me in a timely manner and answered all my questions. He Was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. If You need a lawyer regarding immigration or Korean visa issues, I highly recommend him.

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