A traditional building on the water surrounded by cherry blossoms in South Korea

Work and travel in
South Korea

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A town in South Korea near the water

How to

Who can apply?

To work in South Korea through the Youth Mobility Arrangement, you must

  • be a Canadian citizen
  • be 18–35 years old (inclusive)
  • have a valid Canadian passport

Other requirements may apply. Check South Korea’s website or the Embassy of the Republic of Korea website for more details.

What type of work visa do I need?

To work in South Korea under the Youth Mobility Agreement, you must apply for one of the following visas:

Working holiday visa

For young Canadians who want to travel to South Korea and work temporarily to help finance their trip.

Young Professionals: E visa categories

For young Canadians who want to complete a pre-arranged work placement in South Korea in their field of study.

South Korea offers 7 E visa categories:

  • E-1 (Professor): for young Canadians who have a contract of employment as a professor in post‑secondary institutions or university-affiliated research institutions in South Korea
  • E-2 (Foreign Language Instructor): for young Canadians who have a contract of employment as a language instructor in private language institutions, public schools or corporate institutions
  • E-3 (Research): for researchers in the fields of natural science, advanced technology, social science, humanities, arts and sports
  • E-4 (Technical Instructor): for technical instructors or technicians who provide advanced technology that isn’t locally available for public and private institutions in South Korea
  • E-5 (Professional): for pilots, medical doctors, ship captains and other specific professionals who have a recommendation or an authorization from the relevant South Korean authorities
  • E-6 (Arts and Performances): for artists, writers, athletes, models and other professionals in the arts and entertainment and sports industry
  • E-7 (Special Occupation): for managers, experts and skilled professionals of specific fields designated by the Minister of Justice

International Co-op: High-tech internship D-10-3 visa

For registered Canadian students or recent graduates who have an internship contract with a business or institution in Korea in the field of advanced technology can apply for a D-10-3 visa.

To be eligible for this internship visa, you must

  • be a registered student or have graduated less than three years ago with a degree in high-tech studies from certain Canadian universities
  • be an undergraduate student who is less than 30 years old or a graduate student who is less than 35 years old at the time of application

Check the Embassy of the Republic of Korea website for more specific eligibility requirements to make sure you’re eligible before you apply.

Do I need a formal job or internship offer?

Yes, you need a job offer (pre-arranged contract of employment) or a formal internship offer if you apply for the following:

  • Young Professionals: E category visa
  • International Co-op: High-tech internship D-10-3 visa

No, you don’t need one if you apply for a Working Holiday visa.

How long can I stay and work?

Working Holiday

You can participate in the Working Holiday program twice for up to 24 months per participation.

Canadians with a Working Holiday visa can work up to 40 hours a week.

Young Professionals: E category visa

You can participate for 2 to 5 years depending on which E visa you get, as shown in the table below. You may be able to apply to extend all E category visas depending on your contract of employment.

Visa Maximum length of stay
E-1 (Professor) 5 years
E-2 (Foreign Language Instructor) 2 years
E-3 (Research) 5 years
E-4 (Technical Instructor) 5 years
E-5 (Professional) 5 years
E-6 (Arts and Performances) 2 years
E-7 (Special Occupation) 3 years

International Co-op: High-tech internship D-10-3 visa

You can participate in the International Co-op program once for up to 24 months if you are a student enrolled in a competitive technology program or have graduated with an undergraduate or graduate degree less than 3 years ago.

A young person walks through a forest in South Korea

Start your

About South Korea

South Korea is situated on a peninsula surrounded by seas on three sides with almost 70% of its land covered by rugged mountains. Enjoy South Korea’s natural attractions by hiking the landscape, one of the favourite activities among locals and visitors alike, or visit the country’s vast and beautiful coastlines or islands.

Familiarize yourself with history and tradition throughout the cities of South Korea where you’ll find sites that preserve almost 5000 years of history including 44 heritage items that are recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Visit and admire the traditional architecture of the past and learn about the philosophy of ancient Koreans.

Become lost in South Korea’s city life in Seoul and other major cities which boast lively, exciting urban scenery surrounded by skyscrapers and busy streets that are filled with opportunities for shopping, night life and other cultural attractions.

If you haven’t already tried Korean food, prepare yourself for an amazing experience as Korean cuisine is heavily influenced by its geography with many regional varieties and recipes.

Economy and jobs

Canadians who are bilingual in English and Korean may find opportunities in language education or translation services. South Korea has a high demand for English teachers, and many positions are available through government programs like the English Program in Korea (EPIK) or with private language institutes known as hagwons.

South Korea has a strong technology sector, and there may be opportunities for Canadian youth with skills in IT, software development, or related fields. It also boasts one of the largest gaming markets in the world, offering job opportunities for those interested in the field.

There are Canadian and multinational companies with a presence in South Korea that may have opportunities for foreign workers, including Canadians. These positions are in various fields such as finance, marketing or business development.

Plan your trip

The best way to make sure your trip is the experience of a lifetime is to plan. Review our travel checklist to find out what you should know or do before travelling to and working in a foreign country.

Before you leave, remember to register as a Canadian abroad to receive notifications in case of an emergency while you are abroad or of a personal emergency at home. The service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest.

Recognized Organizations

Need help planning? One of IEC’s recognized organizations might be able to help you find a job, transportation, and provide travel advice.

Most recognized organizations charge a fee for their services.

Download the guides

Korea’s Working Holiday guide (PDF)

This guide provides tips and resources on working in South Korea.

Visa navigator (PDF, 1.67 MB)

This guide helps you find which visa you will need and how to apply for it.

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