Extending your stay after your E-2 visa expires


I was super enthusiastic about coming to Korea in early 2008, and I figured the sooner I got here the better. So I arranged to arrive in Korea about a week before I had to start to work, so that I had enough time to settle in and get myself sorted out before I had to start work.

The jury is still out on whether this was a good idea, but one of the unintended consequences is that my E-2 visa expires before my contract ends. This is because the work visa is valid for 1 year after arriving in Korea, not from your first day of your employment. As such, my E-2 visa expires on 26 February, but my contract states that I have to stay until 28 February. Uh-oh…

Extending your E-2 can be a task of Herculanean….nay Schwarzenegger…proportions, and not worth the effort if you aren’t staying for another year. Definitely not if it’s only for a few days. So what to do? You’re in luck. There is an answer, my friend.

It’s called the “Temporary extension of stay for departure of registered foreigners”. Basically you can get yourself a tourist visa once your E-2 visa expires, without having to leave the country first. This is pretty cool. You can stay in Korea for up to 30 days after your E-2 expires, as long as you have a flight ticket showing that you will leave the country within that time. You aren’t allowed to work during this time, though, no matter what your boss says. It’s purely for tourism purposes.

But wait! It gets better! It’s free! And you don’t even need to go into an Immigration office to get this extension. You can apply online. All you need is a jpeg image of your flight ticket.

Here’s how to do it (just make sure you’re using a Windows PC, with IE6 or higher):

1. Go to this website: http://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/index.html (If the website isn’t in English, you can change the language by clicking on “English” on the menu to the right of the page.

2. If you aren’t already registered on the website, do so. You can join under the “Log-in” page to the left of the screen. You’ll need your ARC number and some personal details.

3. Once you’ve registered (or logged in), look at  the top menu bar. Click on “E-APPLICATION”, and then “File an application”.

4. A list of available applications should appear. The 8th option under “Sojourn”, titled “Temporary extension of stay for departure of registered foreigners” is the one you want. DO NOT use the 2nd option, titled “Extension of stay for departure of registered foreigners”. It’s something else.

5. Click on the little mouse next to “Temporary extension of stay for departure of registered foreigners”.

6. Read through all the requirements and administrative procedures. All you need to know is that you must have a jpeg file of your flight ticket, and that this visa extension is FREE.

7. Click on “I agree” at the bottom of the page, and then click “APPLY (PRINCIPAL)”. This will take you to another page where you fill in some personal details and upload the jpeg file of your flight ticket. You will also need to state how long you need to extend for (until the date of your flight) and why you need to extend (for me it was “To visit some tourist sites in Korea before I leave the country”).

8. Once you’ve filled in all the compulsory fields and have uploaded your flight ticket, click “Submit”. That’s it. You’re done. You should get an email confirmation of your application.

9. It takes about three days for Immigration to process your application, and you will receive an email saying whether you were successful or not. You can check the progress of your application by logging-in on the HiKorea website.

10. When you get the email stating that your application was successful, you can log-in at the HiKorea site and print out a copy of this confirmation.

11. Take a copy of this confirmation with you to the airport, and hand it to the immigration official. After that, you’re homefree!

I found this to be pretty easy process, and far less pain than having to go all the way to an Immigration office. Now if only they could make the E-2 visa application this easy…


42 responses to “Extending your stay after your E-2 visa expires

  1. Fabulous! Exactly what i was panicing about too….step by step and thankyou by thankyou xx

  2. Do you perhaps know how to extend your visa for another six months, while still in Korea?

  3. Thank you thank you thank you!!!
    I was about to make the epic trek to immigration tomorrow morning as i want to stay 1.5 weeks beyond my E2 visa… and i thought i’d do a quick google of the process… and thanks to YOU – i’m saving myself 2 hours on the subway – and alot of stress.

  4. HELP!!
    I’ve registered, but it won’t accept my password, and when i try to find it through “find password” it says my info does not exist.
    But if i try to rejoin it says I have already joined.
    I’m in a vicious circle and i need to extend my visa pronto!!
    I got no notification to my e-mail when i first registered to let me know…….any ideas???

  5. I have the problem where my E2 visa expires before my contract. I applied for ‘Temporary extension of stay for departure of registered foreigners’ because I wanted to leave a week later to finish up some business. What happens if my school makes me come on my final contract date on the 12th April but my work visa expires on 10th. Do I need to extend my work visa for just 1 day????? What can I do??

    • If it’s just for one day, I really, really wouldn’t worry about extending your E-2.Way too much hassle anyway. Just get that temporary extension. No one is going to check up on you. Your school will probably only make you have lunch with them the last day anyway, so no real work!

  6. Thanks for your response. I’m hoping my school is nice enough to let me finish on the 9th December. And I really really really do not want to go back to the immigration office!!!

  7. Good info.

    Note that this only works easily if you’re leaving Korea by air. I took the boat to China and had all sorts of trouble because the shipping company didn’t issue me with a formal ticket – just an email with some numbers on it. The immigration people refused to accept it, and it took weeks to sort out.

  8. my question is, im ending my contract early, but i wanted to stay in korea extra time after my E-2 visa gets cancelled. is it the same thing? or will i get kicked out of korea with no permission to stay 30 days more????

    please help

  9. One question,
    My girlfriend came to visit for 3 months (90 days) having a tourist visa (she just presented her passport and got it stamped for 90 days). I want her to stay for another 3 months having a tourist visa, is it possible to get it extended if she goes to China for a couple of days an reentering korea?

  10. I just got 30 day extension of E2 visa, no hassle.

    I couldn’t get website to work,so went to Incheon office on day of expiry. I prev booked appointment on website, but not sure if this really mattered. Officer didn;t even ask me why I wanted extension. My form was half filled in,further exemplifying the inept foreigner image, although it was partly due to the time slot I booked online and desk ticket number I got. I took alien card[ARC], passport and printout of flight tickets.

    Hope can get new job sorted now.

  11. Hi

    I have asked my director about this and he said we can stay here for another 30days without doing anything. We are worried because we have to leave July 30th and our E2 visas expires on July 24th. Is that true?

    • Hi Angelien. To be safe, I’d suggest getting that temporary visa extension as discussed above. Basically, your right to legally stay in the country ends when your E-2 visa expires, so you’ll be an illegal immigrant and liable to get deported and barred from re-entering the country. There may be some leeway, but I really wouldn’t want to take the chance. You are also risking getting detained at the airport when you are on your way out of the country, and missing your flight.

      Get that temporary extension. It’s free, and really no hassle. You’ll save yourself a lot of potential trouble. The process may have changed a little since I did it, by you can still do it online. No mess, no fuss. just make sure you apply for a “Temporary extension of stay for departure of registered foreigners”.

  12. If I got the 30 day extension would it be possible to cancel it or does it get canceled as soon as you leave the country. And then can I turn around and get another one in my home country, right after that?

    • Hi Steph

      As far as I know the 30 day extension works like any other tourist visa – it expires once you exit the country. It’s really just to allow you to stick around and holiday a little bit once your E2 visa expires. If you want to enter the country as a tourist again, depending on your nationality you probably won’t need to get another visa in your home country. I know South Africans can get a tourist visa on arrival and stay for at least 30 days in Korea. But if you want to work again, you will need to apply for another E2 in your home country.

  13. Please be careful. I’m sure this works brilliantly but in case you have a month with 31 days you will do something that will make you want to punch your computer 11-teen times.

    My visa expires 8.14 and I bought my plane ticket for 9.14, which seems very reasonable. You cannot really realize until you’re applying that the 30 days only go until 9.13. They are absolutely worthless and can make no exceptions or offer any other means to resolve the situation.

    I think the lady was getting pissed because I was asking difficult questions such as–If I ask my employer to extend my E-2 visa by 1 day can I then apply for this and be considered ok? If I overstay my visa how much is the fine?

    I don’t think she liked those questions.

    • Hi Andrew

      That sounds really annoying. The problem probably lies in the fact that it’s only a 30-day extension, and doesn’t work on calendar months. I hope you come right! Let us know what happens.

  14. Wow, thanks! I’ve been trying to make sure I have all my paperwork in order and this saved a trip to immigration. And it was free!

  15. This might be a stupid questions but seeing that I am technologically inept here it goes. I don’t have a physical copy of my ticket home. The only thing I have is a printed copy of my itinerary along with the date, confirmation number, carrier etc. Can I just scan that in and send the jpg of that?

    • Hi P

      That’s what I used. I booked my ticket online through the airline, so I made a jpeg of their confirmation and sent that along. Should be fine!

  16. Thanks for posting this clearly detailed process. My E-2 is up on Nov 7 & my flight is Nov 9. I wasn’t worried because I was leaving prior to 10 days after contract ends per my contract. I didn’t think anything of it until I got a letter AND a text from immigration reminding me that the end date was coming up.

    My co-teacher called & she was told that I would have to apply for an extension but it had to be when my job was over because I wouldn’t be allowed to work. I won’t even have 3 days to wait for approval if I waited until my job was over. grrrrrr.

    I was planning to go into Seoul on Thursday of the last week so hopefully I can do this on Wednesday instead & save myself the travel time.

    Thanks again for your clear instructions – VERY much appreciated.

  17. hey thanks so much for this information! it really helped me a lot!

  18. Thanks SO MUCH for this! I’m a bit confused as there’s a lot of references to booking an appointment even when I chose e application, but from your instructions I gather the whole thing is done once I upload ticket and submit??

  19. Hi,

    I need to extend my stay for 5 days. I’ve tried doing this through the HiKorea website; however every time I click ‘Apply’, the screen stays the same and does not change? Do you have any idea why this is happening? The Immigration Office is too far from my countryside town so I would really like to do it through here 😦 Thanks.

  20. I tried today to do this, and the legislation in Korea has now changed. If your card and visa are ALREADY expired (my E-2 expired on the 17th) you can no longer use this website form – if it will expire soon, this information is super perfect, and you’re right: it’s free and super easy, so do it sooner than later!!

    After spending HOURS waiting in line at immigration I was told that they could not do anything about my visa, and would not offer a temporary extension of stay, but that it was no big deal for me to stay in the country until my flight in 10 days. She said that I needed to visit immigration at the Incheon Airport on my way out to let them know I overstayed but that I was leaving the country and not returning.

    I asked her if it would cause a big problem, and she said it should not. Crossing my fingers 🙂

  21. Hi, my partner and I want to extend our visa for another week but we are looking at taking the boat from Busan to Japan. Can you get this extension if you are not flying?

    • Hi Shaun

      As far as I can recall they just require proof of when you will be departing the country, so the boat from Busan to Japan should be fine. However, these things change all the time. It will probably be worthwhile to contact them directly to confirm that.


  22. Hey

    I need information. I finish my contract in the second week of June and only start a new job in July. Is it possible to have my E-2 extended to the end of June and then transfer it to the new school? I want to get my facts straight before speaking to my principal. Any information will be of great help.

    J ^^

  23. hi!

    i’m also working one extending my e2 visa (btw you’re a complete saint for posting this up) but i did everything to the point of uploading a picture but it won’t let me? I tried typing in the file name and then “search” but it just won’t do anything!!!


  24. A very detailed and useful explanation. Thanks very much! 🙂

  25. How exactly do you print out your confirmation? Yes, I am an idiot.

  26. Thanks for all your help here.

    I hope my question hasn’t been asked and answered, but:

    My visa expires on 17 Aug. My contract, however, goes until 24 Aug. I have an appointment to go in for the extension tomorrow, but a) will this temporary extension suffice? Will I legally be allowed to finish out those few days of work? and b) if not, and I need a full-fledged E-2 extension, do I need a copy of the contract? Or can I get by with just my ARC, passport, and a smile?

    Thanks again!

  27. wisperin9shad0s

    so question: does the flight ticket have to be before the initial departure date (before renewal of visa)? also, can it be a flight ticket to anywhere outside Korea? since the budget cuts, i can’t renew with my school, so i’m not getting flight money anyway. for the flight ticket, can it be a print out from http://www.orbitz.com? thanks!

  28. My current visa to stay in South Korea expires today and I totally forgot about it. I’m here taking care of my mother and lost track of time. Can Anyone please help me??????

  29. Hi Guys! My name is TONY, from South Africa. i am few days here in Seoul,am just lonely and looking for a friend of sort to hang out with. Am Single and good looking.Pls if there is anyone interested,pls EMAIL ME: enyioko@yahoo.co.uk

  30. I am still an undergraduate at one of Universities in South Africa,doing my 3rd year and would like to teach in South Korea as from 2014.please hook me up!

  31. Hi, I have a question. You mentioned that when an E2 visa expires, the holder of that visa could get a tourist visa without having to leave Korea. Is this correct? To my understanding, one needs to leave the country first.

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  33. Pingback: Extending your stay after your E-2 visa expires | NamaGong

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