How to get an F-4 Visa

The F-4 visa, otherwise known as the gyopo (교포) visa, is a special visa for people of Korean descent. To qualify for an F-4 Visa,  you must be 22 years old, and

  1. Have been born in Korea  or
  2. Be an immediate family member of someone born in Korea

If you qualify for an F-4 visa, hooray! The F-4 visa has way more privileges and a far simpler application process than the other visas.  Here are some other reasons to love the F-4 visa:

  • You do not need a job contract to move to Korea.
  • If you don’t like your job, you can quitwithout having to leave the country.
  • You can legally tutor students, which can be very lucrative in Korea.
  • The visa is valid for two years, rather than one for E-2, and can be extended at your local immigration office.
  • You can apply for the F-4 visa while in your home country or while you’re in Korea on a tourist visa.

So basically, you have a ton of choices when it comes to the F-4 visa. So enjoy your freedom as an (almost) Korean citizen, and be sure to do a bit of traveling as well.

Born in Korea

If you were born in Korea, you need…

  1. Documents that prove you were once a Korean citizen (for example, a Korean family tree registry with certified removal, or a Korean birth certificate)
  2. Documents showing the reason and date you obtained foreign nationality
  3. Other documents which are deemed to be necessary by the Ministry of Justice
  4. Passport good for at least two years
  5. Visa application form
  6. At least two passport-sized photos

Family member of someone born in Korea

If your parent(s) or grandparent(s) were born in Korea, you need…

  1. Documents showing that your parent(s) or grandparent(s) held Korean citizenship (for example, a Korean family tree registry with certified removal)
  2. Documents showing the date and reason for acquiring foreign citizenship (A birth certificate or other official document that shows you are related to your parent(s) or grandparent(s))
  3. Other documents which are deemed to be necessary by the Ministry of Justice
  4. Passport good for at least two years
  5. Visa application form
  6. At least two passport-sized photos

Korean adoptee

If you were adopted from Korea, you need…

  1. Passport good for at least two years
  2. At least two passport-sized photos
  3. Original adoption certificate
  4. Copy of Korean family registry
  5. Naturalization papers (if US citizen)
  6. Visa application form
  7. A birth certificate, citizen’s certificate or other documents (depending on countryof origin)


If teach korea tipsyou were adopted, contact G.O.A.L, a non-profit organization that aids Korean adoptees. They will be able to tell you the agency through which you were adopted,and help you obtain copies of your family registry. This is especially helpful if youdon’t have your original adoption certificate. G.O.A.L. also has offices in Korea and can help you obtain your visa once in Korea.

Steps for applying for an F-4 Visa

  1. Call Korean consulate. Check if there are any recent changes or updates to the F-4 visa process.
  2. Renounce Korean Citizenship (if applicable) You should make sure that you/your parent(s) have renounced citizenship from Korea. If not, you must first fill out the Korean nationality renunciation report with the Korean Ministry of Justice or the Korean Consulate before the visa application.You/your parent(s) should visit the nearest Korean consulate in order to renounce your/their Korean citizenship. From there,the immigration system would be updated accordingly but unfortunately, it might take up to three months to process. It may be possible for the consulate to provide you with a paper that indicates that you/your parent(s) have taken the necessary steps to renounce Korean citizenship. That way, you should be able to continue obtaining your F-4 visa.
  3. Find your family registry. Make sure that it indicates you are no longer a citizen of South Korea. If you can’t find your Korean registry, see the next pagefor what to do.
  4. Find Birth certificate. If you are a Canadian citizen, the long-form birth certificate is required (which contains both of your parents’ names, where they were born in Korea, etc.)
  5. Passport. Make sure your passport will not expire for at least two years.
  6. Passport photos. Be sure to get at least two.
  7. Fill out the visa application form
  8. Visit the Korean consulate. Make an appointment with your local Korean Consulate. Usually, it takes about 2-3 days to process the visa. It costs $45 in cash or check, but may differ depending on where you are from.


If tteach korea tipshe name on your family registry is different from your legal name, you must also bring forms documenting you/your parent’(s) legal name change(s).

Finding a job before moving to Korea

If you are applying for jobs before going to Korea, check with prospective employers to see whether they require any additional documents with your visa.  Some schools require that F-4 visa holders gather all of the documents for an E-2 visa as well. These documents can take months to process, so be sure to ask!

Applying while in Korea

To obtain an F-4 visa while in Korea using a different type of visa, you need:

  1. Two copies of your Naturalization citizenship certificate
  2. Two copies of your passport
  3. Two copies of your family registry
  4. Two passport photos

Go to the Korean Immigration office. The F-4 visa costs 60,000 KRW, and takes about 5 days to process.

If you don’t have your Korean registry

If the Korean registry is with family members in South Korea, it may make sense to go to Korea first, and then apply for the visa while on your tourist visa. That way, there is no possibility of important family documents being lost in the mail. If you are an adoptee or your family members don’t have the registry, you can find it at a district office in Korea.


Re: How to get an F-4 Visa

thanks for this! really needed! one quick question. If my work is a contract and it says i have to leave the country when i quit in the middle of it... is that relevant with the f-4 visa as well? or do i kicked out still like it says?

Re: How to get an F-4 Visa

Hi there.  Really hoping someone can guide me in the right direction.  I'm a Korean-American, and it's possible that I am eligible for the F-4 visa but I can't obtain that without having copies of at least one of my parent's Korean family registry.  

I'm currently in Korea, and my parents are living back in the States.  They are also reluctant to give me/or try and locate their family registry so I can get the F-4 visa.  That said, is there anyway I can get a hold of my family registry on my own, without my parents help?

Re: How to get an F-4 Visa

Rosa. I went through the same process. After a long process I was able to get my family registry. if you want, I can help you. send me a message.

Re: How to get an F-4 Visa

Hey. Does anybody know what the process is like for an f-4 visa holder trying to extend the expiry date or renew the visa?

i am a Canadian citizen but currently residing in USA hoping to go back to Korea to work there again.

Re: How to get an F-4 Visa

Hey are there any ways to get your family registry without help from a family member?  I know some people posted here ways but this thread is like 1-3 years old.  Any help would be appreciated.  

Re: How to get an F-4 Visa

what if we got a foreign citizenship before 18 years old but cancelled our Korean citizenship after 18 years of age. would this cause an issue with the korean military service?