D-2 and D-4 Visas, How are They Different?

In Korea, the chances of studying for a university degree with or without any scholarship is quite easy yet foreboding. But still Korea has always opened its arms to welcome prospective foreign students who would like to pursue any degree in a Korean University. With a variety of scholarship programs and the great number of colleges, technical and vocational schools, open schools and universities that offers quality education and professional improvement; studying in Korea is considered to be a good option. But what are the necessary facts that you should remember when studying in this country?


Korea offers two visas for the purpose of studying. There is the D-2 and the D-4 visas. Now how are these two visas different. Both are same in terms of purpose, but both differ in the scope of duration of stay and capacity to do in South Korea. Now let’s try to show the difference in more detail for each visas.




The D-2 visa, a familiar visa among those who study for a 4-year Bachelor’s degree or a 2-year Associate or Graduate degree, is considered the sole visa for studying in Korea. With this visa, a prospective foreigner can apply for a four-year course or field of study and that he must fulfill his duties as a student in Korea. And as quoted, they are:

People who intend to receive education in a standard course (Bachelors, Masters, Ph. D) or research specialist fields in junior colleges, universities, graduate schools established according to the Korean Education Law, or academic research institutions established under the provisions of a special law of a status as least as high as a junior college.

As I have researched and read available facts for this type of visa. It is by itself, applicable for two years after application and can be extended depending on the performance of the applicant or his acceptance into a Korean institution. Also, to obtain this visa, a foreign individual should complete the following requirements:

This documents may vary that is why some can be added or exempted if necessary.

  1. Photocopy of passport
  2. Application for visa issuance or application for recognition of visa issuance
  3. 2 color photos (3.5cm x 4.5cm)
  4. Certificate of admission from the university applied
  5. Certificate of most recent scholastic achievement
  6. Certificate of bank balance
  7. Census registry (Applicable to Chinese–All family members must be listed)
  8. A Copy of MOU for Exchange Program (Applicable to Chinese)
  9. A Letter of Recommendation from their home university (Applicable to Chinese)

Regarding the capability of a D-2 visa holder student, the individual is required to finish the exact amount of university hours and credits while studying to maintain the visa and for eligibility to extend for the next few years to continue studying. Also in terms of working, mostly all D-2 visa holders are allowed to work part-time. However immigration law imposes, that all D-2 visa holders are only allowed to work part-time with a known salary similar to part-time workers and without extension of working hours that may complicate studying hours. Also working must not comprehend the student’s purpose.




The D-4 visa on the other hand, is a different type of visa but with the same purpose. Better known as the training visa, this visa is granted for foreign individuals accepted for a training course in Korea. Normally this training course is the Korean Language program that prospective students would like to attend first or individuals who only aim to study the Korean language. The duration of this visa is approximately 6 months but can be extended according to the capability of the student to go further in training. Much is familiar with this visa as, studying foreigners can easily get this one since Korean Language Courses are a cheaper fare than going for a full degree. An individual must be enrolled or is into an institution that officially holds the training as registered in the immigration. To apply for this visa, these are the following needed documents.

  1. Valid Passport
  2. Visa application form or Certificate for Recognition of Visa Issuance
  3. Fee: Amount corresponding to USD 50 (single-entry permit) or USD 80 (multiple-entry permit)) (may subject to change)
  4. Verification of School Entrance or Enrollment (Verification of Training)
  5. The School License can also be asked.
  6. Financial Verification (more than USD 5,000 in domestic bank account or certificate of currency exchange) or documentation under a university academic exchange agreement.
  7. Identification Verification (for those who cannot verify their financial ability for tuition and living expenses or upon the request of Justice Ministry)
    ※ Provided that, where you have a recognition of visa issuance or visa issuance recognition number, you only need to submit a valid passport, visa application form, and the visa issuance recognition (or number).

This visa has a lot of limitations compared to its former, the D-2 visa. But as Immigration Laws has started to be flexible and adaptive, students on this visa are now also allowed to work part-time after 6 months of stay in Korea. Also only an amicable 2 types of jobs can only be attained. A student must also maintain good performance to stay in this visa and extend for another duration, if he asks so. However, there is no guarantee that part-time jobs can be easily attained since employers are very much keen to accept D-4 visa grantees. They usually use the visa to illegally stay and work that is why Immigration Law implies a strict coherence with the law. But based on my experience having a D-4 visa, working in shabby yet good paying restaurants is legal and the same rule and treatment for common part-timers was observed. Applying for a phone service can also be done, once an ARC is granted.

country origin chart

The requirements needed for each visa still depends on the institution the foreign individual has applied at and the Korean embassy of his country. I actually had a D-4 visa two years ago after earning a scholarship for a Korean Language Course. It was actually a saver, since I only have to shoulder my round-trip ticket and my living fee. Unlike paying the whole course, without the scholarship will end you up paying 1000 dollars for it. Since Korean Language Programs are only short yet comprehensive, it costs more on tuition than studying for a degree. Computing for a 4 year degree in Korea, an amicable amount of around 7000 dollars or more can make you study in a low-cost or national university or college. However despite this cost, living fees, like transportation, food and other necessities are higher. This is according to Korean themselves. Well, some foreigners would think it’s cheaper than theirs or some would think of it otherwise. But the most important fact incognito with this two visas is that Immigration Laws are strict and viable to change. And as a student granted with this type of visa, we must do our best to study and live in Korea.


So, if you are thinking of studying in Korea. Remember these two-types of visas well.

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