My Korean Visa Run to Japan: Part 1

So, if you are already in Korea and you are lucky enough to get a job but don’t have a proper visa, then a visa run is in order. In my case, I came over an a tourist visa to get married and and was offered a job. Thus, the need for a visa run.

What is a visa run?
To obtain the proper visa,  you need to leave the country because visas can only be obtained outside of a country. To the best of my knowledge, this is the case in most countries, at least in the United States and Korea. So, English teachers in Korea sometimes have to go to a Korean consulate or embassy in Japan to obtain the visa since it is the easiest route. The most common place for the visa run in Japan is Fukuoka (because it is accessible to Korea from both Seoul and Busan and only takes a day to process).

What do you need for a visa run?*
So before you jump a plan to Japan you will need a few things. Here is what I was told to bring as of January 25, 2013:

  1. The visa application forms
  2. Passport
  3. 2 passport sized photos
  4. The fee, which is JPY 5,000 (or about USD 60 ot KRW 66,000). *It is important to note that the consulate/embassy only accepts Japanese Yen, so make sure to exchange as your bank or the airport before you come.

I brought everything I was told, but there were some differences. I was only asked for one of the application forms, 1 picture, and only JPY 3,600. It doesn’t hurt to call ahead and ask.

So now that you have everything, you’re good to go to Japan. Be mindful that schools will often only pay your flight to Japan and back. Everything else is up to you to pay for (accommodations, food, visa fee, etc.). The consulates do not work on neither Japanese nor Korean national holidays, so be mindful to check the dates before you go.
To get your visa in a timely manner, you need to plan your trip well. Keep in mind that you can submit your application between 9:00-11:00 a.m. and you can pick it up between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

How to get to the Consulate
There are a couple of ways to get to Japan from Korea. From Busan, you can fly or take the ferry. Seeing as how I live near Seoul, I cannot give any advice on the Busan ferry route, however, there are plenty of other blogs that can give you detailed information on it. Just type “Fukuoka Visa Run” into Google and you’ll have tons of options to chose from.

From Seoul:
Your only option from Seoul is to fly. Currently, the earliest flight out is about 8 a.m. which will have you land in Japan a bit after 9. From the airport, take the shuttle bus (white #1 bus) to the domestic terminal. From here you have several options: taxi (takes around 20-30 minutes, cost about JPY 3,700), bus (not sure on the price of this, nor the time it takes), or train (takes roughly an hour, costs about JPY ____). I opted for the train station since I am most comfortable with trains (thank you, Korea), so you will need to walk to the nearby train station and board. You can go to the ticket machine, chose your location, enter the cash, and it’ll print you a small ticket to board the train. I actually decided to go the evening before to not risk not making it in time and having to stay in Japan another day, so my ticket is to the station where my hotel was, not the consulate.

If you are a risk taker and opt to fly in the morning of, then you will need to get off at Tojinmachi (or Dojinmachi) station (if you do this, don’t bring more than a carry on to avoid wasting time at a the luggage carousels). From here, you will exit out number 1 exit. 

Keep walking until you get to the intersection and see a big triangle (you’ll know when you see it), cross the street, and take a right.

You will then see the embassy after a short walk. It is a one-story building with a Korean-style roof and the Korean flag. I hear the Chinese embassy is close so make sure not to go there! 

In case you opt for the taxi, here is the address: 1-1-3 Jigyojama Chuo-ku Fukuoka, Japan 810-0065

Once you get to the consulate, enter. They have the option of a photo booth there for you to take pictures if you had forgotten, but if not, just go to the desk and submit your documents/application. You will also need a copy of the picture page of your passport since they will keep yours and you will need it to check in somewhere. Now you are free to enjoy the rest of your trip!

———————————————————————————————–
*This is for the Korean Consulate in Fukuoka. If you go to any others like Osaka, you will need to call to affirm if you need any other documents beforehand.

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16 thoughts on “My Korean Visa Run to Japan: Part 1

  1. What kind of visa did you apply for?
    I’m also coming to Korea next week as a tourist but I need a work visa later since I start working later. I have read that I can apply for it in Korea but I can get it in other countries. Did you do so, or just rocked up at the embassy in Fukuoka?

    1. Hi riin,

      I applied for an E2 visa which is the basic visa type when you come over here already with a job. You have to have someone to sponsor you (before two years, after then you can apply for the F2 permanent visa resident, and you will sponsor yourself). You can get a job while you are here on a work visa, but you have to leave to obtain the proper working visa. This is why I went to Fukuoka.

      Do you already have a job set up or are you planning to look while you are here? If you are planning to look, do NOT tell immigration that is what you are doing when you are coming into Korea nor going into Japan. It is technically illegal to do these job-related things while on a “tourist” visa. Schools will do shady things, so any school I interviewed at, I was upfront and I said I needed visa sponsorship.

      Happy hunting!

      1. I actually have a job already (it’s an internship), but I am not suitable for the E2 visa, since I’m not a native speaker. I have tried to find out whether it is possible to apply for a work visa while I’m there as a tourist but I’ve had no luck with it so far. I just came from China where I was working on a tourist visa and a business visa, so that was easy.

      2. I see. I honestly do not know. Most people come to teach English, so you will be going through a completely different route than anyone I know. You have an internship but they aren’t offering you sponsorship into the country? I would ask who you got the internship with. I looked on Wiki at possible visa types in South Korea. You can find it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_South_Korean_visas. If you go there on a tourist visa, you cannot legally make money as I understand it. Maybe you can look into a work visa? Or any of the E-series visas.
        Here is the Korean immigration website: http://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/main_en.pt. Maybe you can contact them for more information or contact your country’s embassy in Korea to see your options.
        Regardless, if you go in on a tourist visa, you will have to leave again to obtain another one. It is good to get the information before you go.

  2. Trevor

    Is there a direct email I can reach you at? I like your blogs. Was wondering.. if I could post some of your blogs on my website?

    Trevor

    1. I would look at the visa laws between your country of origin (where you hold a passport from) and Japan. For Americans, there is a visa waiver program that allows citizens of both countries to visa for a set amount of time without applying for a visa, just like in Korea. The catch is, when you come in to Japan, do NOT say you are there for a visa run. It is always advised to say you are coming in for a quick vacation and to enjoy your time. I was asked these questions coming through immigration.

    1. I don’t know. You need to check with your country’s embassy in Japan for that information. For an American, you don’t need a visa if your stay is less than 30 days, Korea is the same. Maybe Liberia has a similar agreement with Japan.

    1. Hello PAL,

      What I did was get a KOREAN visa at a KOREAN embassy, in JAPAN, because you cannot obtain a visa from inside the country. I know nothing about Japanese visas, unfortunately.

  3. maria

    I’m philippine passport holder living in South Korea as student and holding D-2 Visa. I wold like to visit Japan as tourist for a couple of days. How can i apply for Japan Visa in Seoul? and what document i need to apply?

    1. I don’t know. What I did was go to Japan to get my Korean visa, not a Japanese visa. Maybe you should check with the Japanese embassy in Seoul (do a Google search to find the answers). I am American so my country has a visa waiver program with both Korea and Japan so I am not sure how tourist visas work in those countries.

  4. CK

    Hi,
    I am having Indian passport. Currently, staying in Vietnam for last 3 years. I would like to visit Korea and then visit Japan. Should I apply for visa for Korea and Japan from Vietnam or should I apply for Japan visa from Korea?

    1. I think it depends if your country has a reciprocity waiver agreement program with those countries. The United States, where I am from, has an agreement with both Japan and Korea that allows residents to travel for 90 days or less without the need for any documents. You are awarded a tourist visa (valid 90 days) upon entry into the country.

      I recommend that you Google or search your country’s embassy website to see if and which countries have this kind of agreement with your country.

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