New visa rules for foreigners marrying Korean nationals

My husband and I are celebrating our tenth year wedding anniversary this month. That means, I’ve been living here for almost ten years. Unfortunately, my Korean language proficiency isn’t what one would expect from someone who has been living in the country for a decade. That hasn’t hindered us at all from communicating. My husband speaks English well and that’s the language we use at home. Definitely, communication has played a very vital role in our decade-long marriage.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Immigration recently (on May 30th) announced policy changes that will affect international marriages. Foremost is the requirement that the marriage immigrant should have the basic proficiency in Korean language. It will be mandatory that the immigrant spouse take the TOPIK and pass Level 1. If they fail, they will have to wait for six months before they could apply for the visa again. Couples who could communicate in the same language will be exempted. This means that if you and your spouse could both speak English, you won’t need to take the Korean proficiency test.

The Immigration said that other countries like Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and even the United Kingdom requires language proficiency as one the requirements in granting marriage visas.

Another policy that the Immigration is considering has something to do with income. A visa could be delayed or denied if the Korean spouse earning less than 120% of the minimum cost of living (about 1.12 million). Additionally, the Korean spouse should be able to afford decent housing. This means that they should not be living in a “kosiwon” or “motel”.

Divorced Koreans would also have to wait for some time before they could remarry a foreign national. (There are cases wherein the marriage immigrant would divorce the Korean national after getting a citizenship, and then marry another foreign national.)

On Korean citizenship, a lawmaker has proposed that the couple should have a child before the marriage immigrant could be eligible for a visa.

The new regulations will be finalized and an announcement will be made on a later date. They are meant to protect both the marriage immigrant and the Korean. Whether they would be effective in curbing domestic violence or decrease divorce rates of international marriages remain to be seen. In the end, it is the couple who should work on having a happy marriage life.

16 comments

  1. Ate betchay you are an angel..I am a fan of yours..Your site is very informative and updated.Ate betchay my husband is highly considering to take me and our daughter to Korea for good.He is a korean national and my daughter was born here in the Phil.Should my daughter hold 2 passports?She was registered in the civil office in Korea last month.pls.help me out.

  2. hi ms Betchay
    I am working po here in korea as a teacher.gusto ko lang po sana itanong kung nagbibigay ng working visa ang korean embassy for filipino who wants to work as a teacher here?kasi nabanggit ko po sa boss ko(hagwon owner)na may cousin po akong teacher and she is very interested she’s willing to hire my cousin kaso ang alam ko po hindi po nakakakuha ng visa ang pinoy as a teacher kasi nga hindi tayo native speaker…Is there a possibility to hire my cousin and work here?kahit kasi boss ko hindi po aware sa mga visa rules.please help me!thank u po in advance.

  3. Hello po ms.betchay!ask ko Lang po if kailangan pang ikasal ka ulet dito sa korea para makakuha ng korean citizenship kahit ikinasal na po sa pilipinas?tnx po!

      1. Maraming salamat po ms.betchay sa reply nyo..itatanong ko rin po sana about dun sa pag-aaral ng korean language sa mga center,ilang taon at bwan po ba dapat mag-aral sa school?ilang level po ba ang dapat matapos?may certificate po ba na binibigay ang mga center kapag natapos na mag-aral?ano po ba ang advantage ng tinatawag nilang topik licensed?kapareho Lang po ba yun n tinatawag na kiip?pasenxia na po madami tanong ko,wala po kasi makapag explain sa akin tungkol jan,nalilito po talaga ako..salamat!

  4. Hi po Ms. Betchay.. Tanong ko lang po.. What if my korean partner can speak in English but not that fluent.. I mean he can speak in simple sentence and per words, would that be okay?? or i still need to study korean language or vice versa enhance his English Speaking? Thank you Ma’am. 🙂

    1. Hi Nelly! That would be up to the consul, I guess. Anyway, it would be to your advantage if you’ll learn Korean even before you come here.

  5. good afternoon po Ms.Betchay, ask ko lang po, my husband and I plan to visit Korea this September, would I need to get a spousal visa kahit na 1 week lang kami mag stay dun?pwede po kayang tourist visa na lang?also my passport is still valid pero single pa po ang status, would that be ok po kaya?thank you po ^_^

  6. hi ms. Betchay. ask ko lang po sitwatsyon asawa ko koreano dito po kami kasal sa korea kc open visa naman po ako dito C-3. almost 1yr. na kami, nagkaproblema sya hirap makakuha ng work dahil sa kamay nya nadali sa car accident. nakakita man sya ng work sa palengke lang pero ung amo nya di sya mabigyan ng work certificate at di sya kinakaltasan sa TAX. kaya zero bal. po I.T.R nya. now kailangan po sa kor. Embassy panu po gagawin namin kaya naman nya akong buhayin khit ganun sya tinutulungan naman ako asawa ko s financial problem. problema po ung amo nya d maka provide ng kailangan nyang papers para ipasa namin sa Korean embassy at baka tanggalin na sya sa work this month kc po sasama sya sakin din at para ipaliwanag papers nya. Nag aalala po ako na ma deny ako kc my i.t.r sya zero bal. naman kc disable na po sya pero kahit ganun nag street vendor sya para samin. mahal ko po asawa ko gusto ko po makasama sya habangbuhay dito sa Korea. pero panu po gagawin namin kung ma deny ako. parang devorce na ba kami nun just incase na di ako mabigyan visa, panu na po kasal namin parang baliwala na po ba un? kung di qualified asawa ko sa mga rules nila? please lang po need ko tulong nyo panu gagawin ko. ayoko mangyari na magkalayo kami ng dahil lang ma deny ako. kinakabahan po ako.

  7. Hi, I just want to ask and hopefully you can help me. I will process my husband’s 13A temporary resident visa in Philippines. What are the requirements and process? and is it possible for me to arrange that or should my husband go with me. Thank you for listening and I’m hoping that you can help me with this matter.

    1. pano nmn po kaya ako ate bechay sinaktan ako at my 2 anak po ako at kasama ko po ngaun n nkatira s shelter almost 2yrs n kmi rito at ang bgal ng takbo ng kaso hnd prin aq citizen mg 7 yrs n ko dto! my posibilidad kya ako mbigyan ng citizenship or residence visa?

  8. regarding to the Danish integration law.. the Danish Citizen WHO would like to marry a foreigner.. he/she should present the bank certificate proving that his/ her income is sufficient enough to accomodate the partner, has his own house ( not renting/or provided by the gov´t) ,a permanent job.. never received any government grants in 3 years,and needs to have a 57thousand kroner depositum ,, it will serves as a gurantee in cases of divorce or legal legitation. If the Danish Citizen can provide all of these,, that´s the only time.. a visa can be provided for the other party to stay in Denmark.

  9. Hi po ate bechay tanong ko po s inyu bout s problem ko ngayon..gusto ko po sna itanong sau ate..dti po akong divorce s dati kung asawa n korean tpos po ngayon korean citizen na po ako ate at ska nakapag~asawa ng ibang lahi..ang tanong klng po bkit hindi mkakuha kmi ng asawa ko ng marriage visa..ang binigay png po s bnsa nila is tourist visa..pero nong tinanong nmin dto s immigration pra sana kumuha ng alien card niya ate..ang sabi don pabalikin cya s bnsa nila kc di raw cya mabigyan nito ate..kya need ko po advice nio sna po matulongan nio po ako…fb ko name ko poh linabelardo hope ate you can massage me there pra po mag usap tau s phone ate..sumasakit na po ulo ko s problem ko ngayon kung ano dpat gwin ko wish klng po pagkatapos ng 3months contract niya is ma extend yong visa niya no need na uuwi s bnsa nila mahirap kc po mamuhay mag~isa dto s korea ate..tnx a lot po!!god bless…

    1. Hi Lina! Ang processing talaga ng marriage visa ay sa home country ng nakapag-asawa ng Korean. Pinapayagan lang nila i-process sa Korea kung buntis at hindi pwede mag-biyahe. Sa kaso ng asawa mo (lalaki) kailangan talaga na umuwi siya ng bansa niya para dun ayusin ang visa niya.

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