Visa application (…and kimchi jjigae!)

It finally happened!  I waited and waited, and my acceptance letter to Sogang finally came in the mail!  …it also so happened to coincide with the day I decided to play with my home-made kimchi.  So today I’ll be telling you how to make up a application for a D-4 Student Visa for Canadian citizens in Korea and next time I’ll show you how to make kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) and kongnamul muchim (soybean banchan [side-dish]) from home.

So, visa applications! Yay!…only…not so much.  Like any government form (passport, student loans, cadet camp applications, ect) they can be tedious and unforgiving.  You need to supply several things in order to apply for and you have to be sure that you’re sending it to the right embassy.  For those of us in Canada, there are four different Korean Consulates that you can send your application to…and each have their own application form.  I only checked out two of the consulate websites (the ones in Ottawa and Vancouver) and both applications were slightly different.  So make sure you have the right form before mailing it away.

The Vancouver Korean  Consulate covers all provinces in western and northern Canada.  This includes British Colombia  Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, the North West Territories and EXCLUDES Nunavut and Manitoba.  Canadians from Manitoba and Ontario (save Ottawa residents) need to apply through the Toronto Korean Consulate, Ottawa residents through the Ottawa Korean Consulate, and lastly the rest of Canada (Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) apply through the Montreal Korean Consulate.  All websites offer both Korean and English language options (I’ve supplied a link to all the English language pages).  Now it just may be that the Canadian government forgot that Nunavut exists or just believes that no one from that territory wishes to travel to Korea, but they are suspiciously missing from the country lists.  If you ARE from Nunavut and are looking for a consulate to send off your application to, I’d pick between the Vancouver or Montreal consulates.   For the remainder of the walkthrough I’ll be making references to the Vancouver Consulate because they were the one I had to submit my information to.

So, Step 1: The Application Form!  This step is actually quite easy.  The form is a simple one page document that is the same for all the different visa applications.  The only tip I have for you with this step is to not fret over finding a Korean sponsor.  If you have more than $3000 dollars in your account then you don’t need to have one.  They just need to know that you will be financially set while you’re in Korea.

Step 2: The list of what you need
This list isn’t very hard to find, but you have to make sure you have everything. For any application you need: both the original and a photocopy of your passport (I always feel weird not having my passport within five minutes of my person, so I hate that I had to send it away), one official passport photo on a white background, a certified bank statement (some banks [i.e. mine] don’t know how to do this, but when I needed one for my student visa for Norway they accepted a print off copy of my account funds along with an official stamp from my bank), a photocopy of both the front and bank of your drivers licence, the application fee ($50 CND and $45 USD) [**NOTE** They will not accept a personalized cheque, so make sure you get a money order from your bank], and the last thing you need is your acceptance letter from Sogang.

I will say this again, if you are having trouble reaching Sogang by email, do NOT hesitate to call them!!!!! (I’d put more exclaimation marks here, but according to Pratchett more than 5 exclamation points is a sure sign of madness) If I hadn’t called them that week and a half after transfering my tuition I’m not sure if they would have sent my letter. But one quick phone call later and my letter was in the mail that day. They shipped the letter EMS, of which I don’t have any real experience with them. This time however the tracking number did not work. Not that I needed to worry, 10 days after they sent it away (which is the approimate estimated date I was given) I had the package in my tiny little hands.
Inside the envelope you will have three pieces of paper; the official acceptance letter, a letter of enrolement, an a reciete from Sogang for the tuition paid. It is my understanding that you only needed to send te acceptance letter for the visa, but I’ll let you know if the consulate contacts me stating otherwise.

Step 3: Mailing off the application!
So, you’ve filled out the application form, gathered all the necessary information, it’s time to put that sucker in the mail! When I first started gathering information for the visa I was under the impression that you should submitt everything approixametly 2 months before departure…this is not so (according to the lady on the telephone at the Vancouver consulate). Apparentely you only need to allow for sufficient time to be mailed there, approximately a week for processing, and enough time for it to be mailed back. When you go to the post office to mail everything off, you need to buy two specific envelopes; both have to be either X-press post or Priority Courier from Canada Post. The first envelope has to be large enough to fit all the paperwork, and the second should be able to fit your passport. The smaller envelope MUST be self-addressed back to yourself. This is so they can mail your passport and visa back.

So, there you go! Application done in three easy steps! All the information on the Vancouver consulate website is easily navigated, if time consuming. If you have any specific questions, they are open from 9-4:30pm (with a lunch break from 12-1 pm). The phone number is on the left hand side of the main page along with their address.

A few other tips: 1- If you’re only planning on staying in Korea for one semester, than you won’t need a D-4 visa, a C-2 will be sufficient. Though, with a D-4 visa, after 6 months you can apply for a D-4 part time work inclusion on your visa. 2 – Make sure you get the tracking number on both envelopes. This way you can find out when they’re mailing your passport back.

Hope this was helpful for someone ^^ Till next time!

P.S. Here is a teaser pic of my kimchi jjigae


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