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Getting F2-99 visa


Figured since I’ve finally completed the whole process, I might go ahead and write something up on my experience getting the F2-99 visa in case others are considering it.

Basically the F2-99 visa is a sub-type of visa under the F2, however, it doesn’t use the points system. They started it in 2015, so it’s a new thing. You are only eligible to apply for it if you have lived in Korea for at least 5 years consecutively (under most E-type visas) or 7 years for other visa types or a combination of visa types (i.e. you were a student and then got a work visa). For some people (like myself), this could be an exponentially easier way to get the F2 visa than the points system if you are on the lower end of the language spectrum and have lived in Korea for awhile. I was looking at another year or two before I could qualify under points just because I’m maybe level 3 or 4 in Korean. So I’d have to go through the language courses and then the social integration course and honestly, with my current work situation, that was just not an option. 

The main requirements are:
1.    Never broken the law.
2.    Make more than the GNI (currently 31 million won) annually.
3.    Have at least 30 million won in cash/assets (key money counts).
4.    Scored at least level 2 on the TOPIK.

In terms of actual documents needed to apply, you have to bring in two documents to show that you can financially support yourself (income requirement). One can be a bank statement, lease contract or a real estate business registration. The other can be a receipt for earned income tax withholding, document proving pension collection or a tax payment certificate.

Then you need a Korean background check to prove that you haven’t committed any crimes (and an FBI background check if you haven’t already submitted one to immigration).

Lastly, you need to bring in the certificate from TOPIK. The one you print from the website is good enough.

I brought in a few more documents than what was listed for the financial stuff, just because I didn’t want to be turned away and told to come back with more. In total, I brought in:
1.    Receipt for earned income tax withholding (color copy)
2.    Bank statement (original)
3.    Key money receipt (original and copy)
4.    Lease contract (original and copy)
5.    Current work contract (original and copy)
6.    TOPIK certificate (original color printout)
7.    Korean background check (original – they gave me two)
8.    FBI background check (original and copy) 

Plus the application, my ARC, my passport and one photo. Basically, I brought in more documents than necessary just to insure that I wasn’t sent away and told to come back with a different document. My friends who have applied for marriage visas all recommended I bring in any document that I think I may need, just to be safe. Just because immigration can be finicky. I think it took both of them 2-4 visits to immigration to get their F visas sorted, though I haven’t heard if it was this difficult for my friends who applied for F2 visas.

The immigration officer (I went to the Sejongro Branch) was really confused at first, since I guess not many people apply for this visa. Or she had just never processed one before. She printed off a few things first - I’m assuming this was showing how long I had been in the country and so on. Then she took all the copies I had made of the lease contract, key money receipt and work contract and gave me back the originals. The only original she kept was that of my FBI check. It was a fairly long process for her to go over everything, but after about 15 or 20 minutes or so of sitting at the booth, she sent me to pay for the ARC at the ATM and then I had to get stamps to pay for the change of status, since there was a bit of confusion at the window when I first went to get the revenue stamps before my appointment. I thought it was supposed to be 200,000 won, but turns out it was only 100,000 won.

Once I came back with the receipt, she just glued my photo to the application, pinned everything together and gave me the form telling me to come back in 3 weeks to pick up my new ARC.

My appointment was at 1:30 p.m., but I got there a little after 1 p.m. Once I got to the window, it took a bit less than an hour to take care of everything (would have been shorter, but there was a long line at the ATM). I got to the window at 1:50 p.m. (20 minutes after my appointment time) and walked out of the office at 2:30 p.m.

Another side effect is that my bank account is currently frozen. I’m not sure if that’s due to the visa process or something that happened when I got my bank statement from the bank this morning, but I’m hoping that’s taken care of by tomorrow. I have some cash and my credit cards, but I need to transfer my savings back to my IBK account and wire money to the U.S., plus pay rent and bills. Planning to try again later and see what the deal is. If it’s not unfrozen by tomorrow morning, I’ll pop in before work and see if they can unfreeze it. The teller may have mentioned something about it, but I was in a rush to get to immigration and therefore didn’t listen closely…

But yea, that’s about it. Over all, it was a long, slightly tedious process to get all the necessary documents, but worth it in the end to get the visa. If I had done the FBI check previously and already taken the TOPIK, I could have gone in to apply much sooner.

One last word of advice – don’t go to Jongro Police Station for the background check. The gatekeepers there do not understand anything about visa stuff and actually sent me away, saying I didn’t need it – even though it is clearly listed among the necessary documents in the foreigner sojourn manual. They didn’t even ask me what kind of visa I was applying for. Even the immigration hotline said it wasn’t mandatory, but they could ask for one – depending on the immigration official. Just to be safe, get it and bring it with you. I went to Gwangjin Police Station and it took a matter of minutes.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions! Hope this is helpful. ^_^

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