In the wake of the change in work style, Korea has emerged as the bearer of change. There are several plans to launch a proper category for the visa – South Korea digital nomad visa, for the while working Holiday visa mimics the visa type.
The requirements are very clear and manageable. In this guide, I will discuss how to get a visa and what life is like in the city. Moreover, I will discuss some of the important cities that are great for individuals with digital nomad visa Korea.
- Duration of the Visa – 1 Year
- Eligible Countries – USA, UK, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Hong Kong, Germany, Itay, Ireland, Netherlands, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Poland, Taiwan, and Israel.
- Minimum Income Threshold – 3,000,000 KRW, which is approximately 2,280 USD
- Extension – US citizens can get 6 month extension while UK citizens get a year with South Korea digital nomad visa
In the wake of several K-dramas, South Korea has attracted attention as a potential country to live. The culture is unique to many, and as a digital nomad, you get the liberty to stay in the country and enjoy your time.
The South Korea digital nomad visa is relatively new; as you can see, only a handful of countries are eligible to apply. Since things are in development, you can anticipate the change any time soon.
In 2024, Korea Digital nomad visa is most talked about. The country is open to people coming to the country with digital nomad visa Korea. The government and establishment plan to make things smoother and easier regarding the Korean digital nomad visa.
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South Korea Digital Nomad Visa ǀ Overview
The official visa name for South Korea digital nomad visa is the ‘Working Holiday Visa.’ The great thing about this visa is you can work in any Korean company for 1300 hours a year.
That can be a great help in getting more experience in a Korean setting and also opens the path for a work visa. However, there are restrictions to applying for some work roles when you are a digital nomad in Korea, such as entertainment jobs, medicine, and engineering.
Since it limits other countries to apply for the visa, you can opt for the following:
This visa lasts for approximately six months, with dissimilar requirements for each country. Hence, it’s best to check the requirements from the official website before applying.
Working Holiday Visa
In the Working Holiday Visa, you are eligible to work certain hours in the year, and the duration is also quite decent for individuals with South Korea digital nomads to stay and explore opportunities.
Requirements for the Working Holiday Visa
Here are the requirements for the Working Holiday Visa. Make sure to check with the embassy of your home country in case there is a need for additional documents:
- Visa application form
- Valid passport
- Passport size photograph
- Proof of return flight
- Proof of sufficient funds
- No criminal record
- Health insurance that covers the duration of your stay on a South Korea digital nomad visa. For a year, it is 40,000,000 KRW, which is roughly an estimated 30,350 USD.
- Proof of good health – chest X-ray, HIV test, blood work, urinalysis, and narcotic test. These should be no older than three months. Again, requirements may vary for each country, so it is best to check with the embassy in the home country.
- Highest academic qualification record.
OASIS Start-up & Trade Visa
Digital nomads and start-ups are synonyms. Most digital nomads come up with unique ideas for start-ups. If you are a digital nomad and owner of a tech company, and you feel South Korea is the market to expand your business, this category is meant for you!
The South Korea digital nomad visa grants you a stay for two years, and there are various possibilities for extension depending on the progress of your start-up.
Who Can Apply for a South Korea Digital Nomad Visa
I have already shared the list of countries in the quick facts. The requirement is change for each country. Besides the specific requirements, here are some general considerations:
- There is no policy regarding dependents yet in this visa category.
- Apply from the home country.
- Valid passport with ample expiry.
- Health insurance for the duration of stay.
- Sufficient funds
- Return ticket
- Never applied to South Korea with the same visa.
- No criminal record
- Visa fees
South Korea Digital Nomad Visa for United States Citizen
If you are a US citizen, you can stay with an extension for 6 months after the visa expires. So, in total, a US citizen can stay for eighteen months with a South Korea digital nomad visa.
There is a limited quota each year for South Korea digital nomad visa, and it fills up very fast for the year, so make sure to apply with planning and deliberation.
South Korea Digital Nomad Visa for EU Citizen
You are eligible for a one-year extension if you are an EU citizen. The EU countries have different quotas for the year. For instance, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Chile get only 100 visas yearly, while Germany, Sweden, and Denmark have unlimited quotas.
It is best to check with the embassy and website to ensure you don’t get ahead with your planning and surpass the quota limit.
Korea Electronic Travel Authorization K-ETA
This one grants you a permit to stay in the country for up to months. The 25 countries on the list can apply for this tag.
Paying Income Tax in South Korea
When you are on a Working Holiday Visa, you must pay taxes on your Korean income. The deduction is divided into pension (4.5%), national health insurance (3.54%), and income tax (6%) if you earn 12 million or less KRW.
Requirement for Paying Taxes in South Korea
- Proof of income
- Deduction receipts
- Certificate of Alien Registration
- Tax payment receipts
Note: Depending on your situation, there may be a need for some other documents. It is best to ask a tax attorney who could guide you better.
Register as a Foreigner in South Korea
It is essential to register so you can get your residence card. The residence card makes it very easy to open a bank account, file taxes, or sign a lease.
It would be best if you apply instantly within 90 days. Generally, you would be asked to produce these documents:
- Valid passport
- Application form
- Passport size photograph
- Fee – 30,000 KRW
- Job certificate
- Travel itinerary
- Housing contract
Opening a Bank Account in South Korea
As a digital nomad on a Working Holiday Visa, you are eligible to open a bank account. You only need to bring your passport and residence card to open an account.
When you get a debit card, it gives you the added ease to travel around the country without having to travel with cash. The process is extremely straightforward and requires no fee.
Why Digital Nomads Like South Korea?
Many digital nomads tag South Korea as the next destination on their bucket list. The reason is all the ease and convenience you get as a digital nomad in the country.
For a long time, South Korea has emerged as a technology and infrastructure-sound nation. Some mainstream cities are bustling with opportunities for digital nomads.
Besides the technological advancements, the unique culture, food, affordability, friendly people, and scenic destinations make this one high on the list.
Attractions in South Korea
While you are here for many months, why not visit these amazing tourist destinations:
- Gyeongbokgung Palace
- Jeju Island
- Haeundae Beach
- Bukchon Hanok Village
- Gwangalli Beach
Best Places to Live With South Korea Digital Nomad Visa
When heading to South Korea, you only think about Seoul. Well, there is more to South Korea than Seoul. Let’s talk about each city we find the best place for a digital nomad.
Cliché, yet Seoul makes the best place for a digital nomad to be. The city is the hub of technology and advancements. The city is also rich with the typical Korean culture despite being modern. You will be immersed in its fascinating history, food, and culture during your stay.
The food and nightlife of Seoul surpasses any other city. There is so much happening in the city that there is no dull day for a foreigner.
You can take note of visiting Bukchon Hanok Village, Myeondong, Namsan Hills, Seoul Museum of Art, Changdeokgung Palace, Secret Garden, Han River Cruise, and Gyeongbokgung Palace during your stay in Seoul.
There are several coworking spaces in each nook and corner, but the most famous ones are Spaces, Blue Pebbles, The Executive Centre, and Regus.
If you are new to South Korea and language is a barrier, Seoul has many English-speaking people around to help you get things done. Medical facilities and Hospitals mostly have a translator to help convey the message to healthcare providers.
Seoul experiences all four weather with balance. Hence, you wouldn’t be at a disadvantage due to the weather.
Cost of Living in Seoul
When in Seoul on a South Korea digital nomad visa, you can take Seoul as the focal point and compare other cities to analyze the cost of living.
- One-bed apartment near city center 900,000 – 1,800,000 KRW/month
- One-bed apartment outside the city center 600,000 – 1,200,000 KRW/month
- Single Journey on the metro – 1,250 KRW
- Monthly travel pass (unlimited rides) – 64,000 KRW
- Taxi fare – 3,800 KRW
- Inexpensive restaurant – 7,000 – 10,000 KRW
- Mid-range restaurant – 35,000 – 60,000 KRW
- Fast food – 6,000 – 8,000 KRW
- Cappuccino – 4,000 – 5,500 KRW
- Beer – 4,000 – 7,000 KRW
- Dozen Eggs – 3,500 KRW
- Milk – 2,500 KRW
- Bread – 3,000 KRW
- Rice – 4,000 KRW
- Movie Ticket – 10,000 – 14,000 KRW
- Fitness membership – 70,000 – 1,20,000 KRW
- Museum & Attractions – 3,000 – 15,000 KRW
After Seoul, the nature lover digital nomads flock to Jeju Island. It is a scenic and beautiful place for a person to work and live.
Living near the ocean and forest, the volcanic island is like heaven on earth. When you have finished your work, you can unplug from one of the most beautiful trails and oceans.
For adventure lovers, there are many opportunities to check many outdoor adventures and sports off your bucket list. Those who crave nature and cannot keep up with the expenses of Seoul find solace in Jeju Island, which reduces the overall expenditure of living by 50% compared to the cost of living in Seoul.
You can get many cozy cafes to work at with great internet speed. You also have coworking spaces like O-peace Jeju and J-Space for quiet meetings and work.
It is usual for seafood to be included in all cuisines on Jeju Island. Besides, the Jeju Black Pork and Seafood hotpot Stew are the delicacies of the island. These hearty soups and stews also complement the usual cold weather of the island year-round.
It is another mainstream city, and there is no zombie train in Busan. The city is full of fun activities to do, almost like Seoul. The cost of living is also high, but it doesn’t come very close to Seoul.
The city is a mix of buildings, and then there is the beach to get the change from the concrete jungle.
The city has several tourist attractions and great nightlife to unplug and refresh. Since it is one of the mainstream cities of South Korea, you can expect to find English-speaking individuals in offices and hospitals.
As you work, you get several coworking spaces in the city. The chances are you will find a good space near your apartment. Some famous coworking spaces are – Pathfinder and The Cave Busan.
Under-rated yet the place to live, Daegu is a beautiful city chosen by digital nomads over Seoul and Busan. The city may have less South Korean and more Western influence. That is why expats love the city for its hybrid vibe and nostalgia of home.
The cost of living is relatively lower than in Seoul, but it has more opportunities for digital nomads to work in cafes and teahouses. There are several coworking spaces, with Regus being the top name.
The transportation system is very apt, and it is very easy to move around in the city.
The only problem expats and digital nomads face here is hot weather. Summers get incredibly hot here; hence, the city is dubbed Dae-Frica, being one of the hottest summers in South Korea.
Daegu is culturally rich with happening music scenes and fashion shows. The city is also known as “Korea’s Fashion Capital.”
Home of Samsung Lions, South Korea’s baseball team, the city is a much-needed break from metropolitan cities and provides getaways like Biseulsan Recreational Forest.
The greener and beautiful city in South Korea, Gwangju, makes for a laid-back and beautiful city for a digital nomad. There are plantations, vineyards, and rice fields that give you a much-deserved break from city life.
The cost of living is also very low compared to Seoul and Busan.
Besides the laidback setting, you will find no problem in working and finding spots to continue working in tea houses and cafes.
The dwellers of Gwangju are very friendly and go out of their way to make you feel comfortable.
Hop on the metro for a fifty-minute ride to reach the beautiful city of Daejeon. When on the side, you can rely on the in-city transportation, which is great on over budget.
Think of it as a city aspiring to be like Seoul. The city is on the brink of development. So, it is like Seoul but cheap. While you are in the city, plan to visit the National Science Museum, Hanbat Arboretum, and Daejeon O-World.
Since you will not struggle because of good infrastructure and better internet, you can be carefree about places to work. With so many coworking spaces for meetings, café, and tea houses, it makes a nice place to work with little movement and good internet.
Famous for its UNESCO World Heritage site, Suwon is an exceptionally beautiful city. The eighteenth-century fortress was built by King Jeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty. The city is not famous as it has a laid-back and historic vibe to it.
Besides the fortress, there are many great places to visit, such as Hwahongmun Gate, Paldalmun Gate, and Haenggung Palace.
The weather here doesn’t straddle to any extreme, giving the feel of all four weather at appropriate thresholds. From only a twenty-five-minute drive to Seoul, many people visit the walled city for its beauty and history.
The cost of living is as much as that of Seoul, but you wouldn’t find many coworking spaces. However, expats and digital nomads find no problem in working in quaint cafes and teahouses available in the city. It is not difficult to get around with transportation means available in the city.
Cost of Living in South Korea
Like every country, there is one city which is expensive to live. In South Korea’s case, it’s Seoul. The city is the hub of culture, technology, advancement, and opportunities.
Apart from that, living is expensive compared to the rest of the country. For the sake of perspective, I am giving here a close estimate of what to expect.
- Seoul – 1,126,862 Korean Won, 980 USD
- Apart from Seoul – 679,439 Korean Won, 590 USD
- Milk 2,392 KRW, 2.10 USD
- Bread 2,800 KRW, 2.45 USD
- Eggs 3,446 KRW, 3 USD
- Rice 2,171 KRW, 1.90 USD
- Chicken 7,800 KRW, 7 USD
- Inexpensive – 7,500 KRW, 6.25 USD
- Mid-range – 40,000 KRW, 33 USD
- High-end – 100,000 KRW, 83 USD
Internet & Mobile:
- Average plan of 100 Mbps connection – 32,500 KRW, 27 USD
- Basic plan of 1 GB data with calls & texts – 22,000 KRW, 18 USD
Frequently Asked Questions
Does South Korea offer a Digital Nomad Visa?
Not with the same name, but a Working Holiday Visa comes close to the idea. The visa was rolled out in January 2023, with 25 countries eligible to apply.
What country offers digital nomad visas?
Many countries offer digital nomad visas. The list includes Portugal, Bali, Estonia, Italy, Colombia, Spain, Cambodia, and Laos, among many others. Canada is also working on a policy that we expect to roll out by the end of 2023.
What is the duration of a Working Holiday Visa or South Korea digital nomad visa?
The duration for a Working Holiday Visa is a year. Some countries are eligible for extension while some aren’t. Check the official website for more clarity.
What countries are eligible to extend a Working Holiday Visa?
Us citizens can apply for the extension and get six months; meanwhile, UK citizens get a year.
Can I get my visa fees back in case of rejection of my South Korea digital nomad visa?
No, the fee is for processing expenses. It is non-refundable in case of rejection.
What is the budget for a person/month while staying in South Korea?
In a rough estimate, you need 1000 USD max for a good setup in South Korea. Again, it all depends if you plan to stay in Seoul or other cities, as Seoul is more expensive than other cities.