PVT South Korea: How to obtain your visa easily in 2024

French passport with Korean flag

Annyeong! is Loris and today, in this article, I'm going to tell you all about how I got my working vacation visa (WHV) for South Korea in less than three weeks!

So that you can identify with me, I'm 21, a student living alone in my small studio in the city of Le Mans. After a short trip to South Korea, I literally fell in love with the country and had only one goal: to go back for a year.

So the only solution was the PVT. On June 22, 2024, I got my PVT, and believe me, I'm an administrative whiz, so if I got it, you can too! Anyway, enough blah-blah, I'm going to list all the lubstantial benefits, papers not to forget, details not to be missedetc. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to use the comment section just below!

Specific features of the Korean Working Holiday Visa

The visa is for a maximum of one year, non-renewable, and can be activated for one year (the period begins on the day you arrive on Korean soil). You are entitled to work a maximum of 25 hours per weekHowever, certain professions are prohibited (receptionists, dancers, singers, musicians, acrobats, doctors, lawyers, teachers, pilots, language teachers, or other professional services that require certain qualifications under national laws).

Basic conditions of the Korean WHP

For the French

  • Under 32 years of age (18 and 32 at the time of application; extended until 31.12.2024)
  • Be of French nationality
  • Don't leave with a loved one
  • No PVT experience (Korea only)
  • Passport valid for at least one year after applying for a WHP
  • Be among the first 2,000 to apply for a PVT for France (the Korean embassy grants 2,000 French nationals the right to apply for a Korean PVT).

For Belgians

  • Between 18 and 30 years of age
  • Belgian nationality
  • Don't leave with a loved one
  • No PVT experience (Korea only)
  • Be among the first 200 to apply for the PVT (the Korean embassy allows 200 Belgian nationals to apply for the Korean PVT)
  • Work only 6 months out of the visa year

Documents to have when applying for a WHP

Important notes before you start

  • All documents must be printed in recto only.
  • Do not staple or clip your documents.
  • Submitted documents will not be returned.

Your passport

Your passport, still valid (at least 6 months remaining).

Photo ID Compliant

Simply go to a photo booth near you and select the "photo conform" mode. The photo on your VISA GRANT Notice will be the one in your passport, not the one you supplied. On the official document, it says that the photo must be on a white background; personally, mine was on a gray background and they weren't very particular about it.
Once you have your photo, paste the first page of the VISA application form.

Criminal record (WITH APOSTILLE)

You can obtain an extract from your criminal record (bulletin Nº 3 du casier judiciaire) online at casier-judiciaire.justice.gouv.frthen print it.
Then complete a CERFA for apostille request and send it all to the Cour de cassation in Rennes.
Delay 1 to 2 weeks (depending on distance from Rennes).

Travel plan

It sounds optional, but it's always a good idea to make one. Mention places of interest, cities and where you'll be staying for the majority of your WHP.

PVT Insurance

It's a compulsory step. I recommend ACS, as you'll be well covered and it's one of the cheapest on the market. Remember to take out 12 months (1 year) even if you're leaving for 6, 9 or 11 months. It's strange, but in the official KVAC paper, it says to take 12 months.

Medical certificate

The certificate must be in English, no translations. I advise you to print out a ready-made sheet (download the model here). All the doctor has to do is put your name, his stamp and the date.

School Certificate or Last Diploma

Personally, when I applied, I was still in the process of validating my bachelor's degree, so I gave my school certificate (in untranslated French) and it passed!

Bank certificate

Penultimate step - (+2500€ if you took a return flight) - (+3500€ if you didn't take your flight). For the bank, it was very simple for me. I sent an e-mail to my banker (Caisse d'Epargne) asking for a fund certificate in English with the funds in euros and won. She then e-mailed it to me the same day.

Please note that the certificate must be less than one week oldI recommend that you do it last.

Plane ticket

This step is optional. On your bank's statement of funds, they certify that you have more than €3,500.

To save as much money as possible on your plane ticket, I advise you to use Google Flights and choose the cheapest date.

Fill in the Privacy Form

Fill in the consent form

Fill in the VISA Document (4 Pages)

PVT VISA application form

The Korean authorities have produced a document to help you complete the VISA application correctly: Visa application guide

Filling out the return form

If you've requested a return by post, you'll need to fill in this form, including your postal address where you'd like to receive your letter (don't worry, in any case, once you've been accepted, they'll send you an address confirmation e-mail).

Return by mail form

Pay KVAC (Visa fee)

You must pay your visa fee to KVAC, i.e. €60 + optional €12 if you wish to return it by post.

  • Visa Fee (Mandatory): 00.00 EURO (French citizens only, no visa fee)
  • Service charge (Mandatory): 60.00 EURO
  • Return postage (Optional) : 12.00 EURO

Once you have paid the visa fee to the embassy, you need to send an e-mail like :

Email Subject: Your Name / Visa Type / Proof of Payment (e.g. NAME, First Name / H-1 / Proof of Payment)
Email content:

  • Proof of payment attached to email
  • Name and nationality
  • Type of Visa you are applying for (e.g. H-1)
  • Payment details (e.g. visa fee 36, service fee 60, courier fee 12 EURO)

Put a copy of the printed payment receipt in the envelope, or a copy of the e-mail.

I have all the documents, now what?

Before submitting your visa application form, please send an email to KVAC Paris. After 2-3 days following your transaction date, submit your documents to KVAC Paris. You don't need to wait for confirmation from the team. The team will confirm receipt during the document review process.

Now all you have to do is put all the documents related to the Korean WHP in an A4 letter and send a registered letter to :

9 Bd de Denain, 75010 Paris, France

Please write your name, address and visa category on the envelope. Example: VOTRENOM Prénom - 12 rue Dupont, 75016 Paris - H-1 Working Holiday

The KVAC Response

To keep track of the progress of your file, we'll keep you informed by email of any change in status.

The visa will either be returned to you by post (if you have paid the extra €12), or you can pick it up at the Korean embassy in Paris.

(Note: during the summer of 2024, the Korean embassy is closed to the public and visas can only be sent by registered mail).

For those who have opted for postal return, you will receive your GRANT VISA NOTICE and your passport by registered mail within 10 days (after confirmation from KVAC). The visa is not printed directly in the passport, but on a piece of paper next to it: VISA GRANT NOTICE.

And after obtaining the PVT?

Before you leave

  • Pack (don't forget anything)
  • Declare to your French bank that you will be leaving for one year and that you will not block payments in the country.
  • If you've returned your apartment, remember to forward your French mail to your parents, for example.

Once in Korea

The visa is activated at the airport (you have one year from your arrival).

For the first few days, I recommend taking a SIM card or a temporary pocket wifiThen subscribe to an annual package with SK Telecom or LGU. It is also essential to open a Korean bank account in order to access certain services (parcel delivery and other procedures).

Remember to apply for your Alien Card within the first few months (sanctions by the Korean authorities may apply). Alien registration is compulsory for all participants in the working vacation program arriving in South Korea. Registration must be carried out within 90 days of entering the country, at the immigration office responsible for your address. After submitting the required documents and fees, you will be fingerprinted. You can either return to the office to collect your Alien card within 3 to 4 working days, or have it mailed to your home address.

Documents required for the Alien Card

  • Valid passport (working vacation visa)
  • 2 passport photos (3×4 cm)
  • Request form
  • Application fee (10,000 won)
  • Travel plans

Be sure to declare any changes of address in Korea (the authorities may impose penalties).

My Personal PVT Advice

Although the embassy requires a minimum of €2,500 to leave, I strongly advise you to have at least double that amount. Finding a job in Korea remains difficult. You'll enjoy yourself more if you have more money to spare (restaurants, activities, going out at night) and you'll also be able to get better accommodation. Personally, I chose to take a long-term Airbnb (sometimes down to -40% and you have water, electricity and internet included, so no extra steps, bearing in mind that accommodation in Korea is hard to find for a foreigner, often with contracts of over a year and deposits of over €5,000).

Don't worry if you've forgotten a document or given the wrong information: the embassy will send you an e-mail requesting additional documents or information.

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