So you’ve decided to make the hop over from your host country to Korea? Some of us may be interested in continuing to teach abroad after a stint in our current host countries. Korea is an amazing country and it’s a great opportunity to expand your global horizons. While I can drone all day about how amazing Korea is and why you should go, check out my post 8 Reasons to Love Korea if you need some convincing.
This blog post is dedicated to on how to apply to teach in Korea from overseas and how to do the paperwork in a timely and headache free manner. Doing this process from overseas can be frustrating and may end up making you give up. I want you to know you’re not alone. I went through this process with the amazing recruiters at Korvia. The recruiters are amazing resources and will help answer any and all of your questions.
Some of the documents GEPIK or EPIK require of you are: your personal essay, six passport photos, two recommendation letters, one set of sealed transcripts, and a photocopy of your passport page. For more information, check out the Korvia final documents page. Two of the most important documents Korea requires are your apostilled diploma and FBI Criminal Record Check (CRC).
What’s an apostille?
This is a legalized and authenticated official document. It states whatever document you have is real and not forged. You have to send your diploma and FBI CRC for apostille. I highly recommend you use Apostilla. They have great customer and expedited services.
How to apostille your diploma
- Order an extra copy of your diploma from your university and send it to your home address or that of a trusted relative or friend in the USA.
- Have the trusted person mail it over to you in your host country.
- Make an appointment with the nearest American embassy to notarize your diploma. The people at the embassy will make a copy of the diploma.
- On the notary write, “I certify the original document is real and authentic.” After, you will swear an oath and you are finished.
- Send your notarized documents to one of the Apostilla locations.
- They will email you to confirm the arrival of your documents and keep you updated during the process. They will also send out an email with tracking to let you know when your documents are being shipped out.
Note: A federal or state apostille is okay for this process.
How to Get the FBI Criminal Background Check
Get your documents ready as soon as possible! The FBI CRC process takes approximately 14-18 weeks to complete unless you go through an FBI channeler. If you’re living overseas, start researching in December and send your documents at the beginning of January for the Autumn intake. Allow yourself approximately 6-8 months to prepare your documents.
- Go on the FBI website and fill out an application form.
- Print out the FBI fingerprint card. (It doesn’t matter if it’s not on card paper. The only thing that matters is that they are neat, clean and precise.)
- Make an appointment with your local police station to have your fingerprints taken. The police officer cannot sign it and that’s okay.
- Make an appointment with the US embassy on the same day to notarize your fingerprints.
- On the notary write, “I certify these are my fingerprints. They are real, mine, and authentic.” Swear an oath and you are finished.
- Attach a cover letter to the FBI application form and fingerprint card stating you are going to teach in Korea and you need the FBI to authenticate your documents.
The FBI will NOT send your documents overseas. Make sure your trusted relative or friend will receive them so they can send them over to you in your host country. I sent my documents in the middle of January and I got them back in April.
How to apostille the FBI Criminal Record Check
- Once you receive your documents from your family in your home country fill out a form with Apostilla.
- Send the documents to an Apostilla location.
- Apostilla will keep you informed about when they receive your documents, when they are verifying them and when they are being shipped out to you. They will also have a tracking number.
Recommendation Letters and Transcripts
Make sure you inform all parties ahead of time for your recommendation letters. You must have academic or professional references. In my case, I asked my supervisors and a trusted professor from my university for letters. While I can easily get the letters from my supervisors, I had to notify my academic reference ahead of time. Also, order your transcripts ahead of time to allow for time to go to your American address and then overseas.
Passport Photos and Copy of your Passport Page
You will need at least six passport photos dresses in professional attire while a completely white backdrop. These photos are a staple in Korea so six is the recommended number. Make sure your passport is also valid for the amount of time you will be in Korea.
You NEED a TEFL Certificate
If you’re going into the public school system in Korea, then this is unavoidable. Beginning at the 2015 school year it was mandatory for all Native English Teachers (NETs) to have one. Unless you have an actual teaching degree, then you have to go through this process. I went through Korvia’s website and did the certificate through their partner, Global Training Academy. Instead of paying $399 for the certificate, you only have to pay $299.
Be sure you check the Korvia page for more information on how to fill out the essay, make an introduction video, and any other questions. I hope I could help walk you through the more troublesome stages!