A-1 Diplomat Visa
I have lived in Korea for a while and have seen immigration laws change over the years. Moreover I have seen many foreigners get into trouble due to language barrier. The situation is worsened furthermore due to lack of clear information available in English. So I will try my best to clearly explain the eligibility, requirements and documents you will need for each visa type separately.Recently, while looking for some visa related information I realized how difficult it was. I noticed that most of the information regardless of how detailed it is, is either very convoluted or the jargon used is too difficult for a layman to grasp. In the end, I was more frustrated and confused than when I started. So I decided to do a series of post about different visa types available to foreigners who want to come, live or work in Korea.
A-1 is the diplomat visa issued to diplomats and other government officials for official travel to the South Korea.
1. A member of Foreign diplomatic mission: such as the ambassador, minister, counselor, secretary and others accredited by the government of the Republic of Korea.
2. Staff of foreign Consulates: such as the consul-general, consul, consul-agents and others accredited by the government of the Republic of Korea.
3. Have diplomatic immunity and privileges equivalent to the diplomatic corps, in accordance with international agreements or customs for example: the head of state, cabinet member, the head of legislature, a member of foreign delegation to a meeting hosted by the government of the Republic of Korea.
4. Are an immediate family member of the listed people above. For example, you are a spouse or child, of a diplomat stationed in the Republic of Korea.
Maximum Length Of Stay
Until the expiry of the term of office.
Types Of Diplomat Visa
Diplomat visas are issued at the discretion of The Chief Of Mission. Usually a single-entry or multiple-entry visa will be issued to an eligible applicant for an A-1 Diplomat visa.
A multiple-entry visa will be issued to the citizen of countries which have signed the ‘Multiple-Entry Visa Agreement’ with the Republic of Korea. The countries that fall under this category are: the United States, Japan, China, Russia and Uzbekistan.
A single-entry visa valid for 3 months will be issued to a government official that is traveling on temporary official duty.
To apply for A-1 visa you need:
- Visa Application Form
- A recent Passport size color Photograph
- Application Fee
You will also need to submit a document verifying your current employment status and overseas assignment, or an official letter written by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of your country asking for cooperation (*If you are able to verify your identity by presenting a valid ID, this requirement can be substituted by an oral statement).
Unlike D, E and F category visa applicants, A-1 visa applicants do not require a visa issuance approval.
Please note that, You must possess a diplomatic passport, and the purpose of your stay shall be concerned with diplomatic activities.
The immigration website mentioned that family members of the foreign government’s diplomatic officials and consulate are allowed to be employed in Korea if they are recommended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs for example: they can teach foreign language at universities, private institutions, etc. But I recommend that you call your local immigration office and confirm before you decide to engage in any such activities.