Diary: E2 Visa application and why the forces of nature are against me

From the moment I received my degree certificate from my convocation, I began the process of gathering my documents for my E-2 Visa so that I can teach English in South Korea. That was about 4 months ago and I am still trying to get everything together in time for the start date (March 1) of the job I have applied for. The job I applied to is at a widely known private franchise called ‘YBM ecc’. I chose YBM not because I have read many good reviews about it, because I really haven’t. In fact if you are searching online for a “Good Hagwon” (private school) the results will turn up slim to none. That is because people like to share their bad experiences on the internet and rant – much like what I am about to do in this post. Sadly, the internet is a medium for complainers to come online and -for a lack of a better term, “piss and moan” about all their problems and bad experiences. Am I saying that there is no weight to their complaints? No of course not, but when you read these reviews take them with a grain of salt, and keep in mind that half of the problem is probably the posters attitude. That’s why despite the complaints made online about YBM and every other hagwon out there, I have decided to go ahead and apply because I know that YBM will at least honor the contract by paying me on time and I also wont have to worry about them going bankrupt and me losing my job randomly. Other complaints to me are not important because first of all I know the reason why I am going to Korea and that is to teach children English, not to party or to take advantage of all the benefits my job will provide, but to take my job seriously and teach. Although I have no prior teaching experience I am confident that I will have a good attitude, act professional and take my job seriously. Even if, heaven forbid, I have to go to work on a scatter Saturday or stay a little later than scheduled.

I took this in 2011 during my Korea trip, at that time I didn’t even know what YBM was, I just used this as a reference point so I would know where I was.

I took this pic of YBM again when I visited Korea in 2012, I was still oblivious that YBM was a school, I thought it was a bank. I just used this pic again as a reference point.

I took this pic of YBM again when I visited Korea in 2012, I was still oblivious that YBM was a school, I thought it was a bank. I just used this pic again as a reference point. See? It’s fate haha.

The YBM website is very organized and they clearly tell you all the steps of the application process. I will copy and paste the entire process for you:

  1. Send the following documents to the YBM Head Office Attn: Danny Kim (HR Manager) eccmain@ybmsisa.co.kr
    • Your resume with contact email and phone number
    • Digital Photo (Does not have to be formal) Please use .jpg format
    • State the month you are looking to depart from
    • State any cities or specific locations you want to apply for
  2. YBM head office will contact you after your application has been reviewed. Sponsorship for the teaching visa will require these documents:
    • Nationwide background check issued by your gov’t with the apostille certification affixed
    • Photocopy of your Bachelors/Masters degree with apostille certification affixed*
    • Passport with at least a year or more of validation left
    • 5 passport size color photos
    • * Canadians must get these 2 documents notarized at the Korean Consulate nearest to them.
  3. A phone interview will be set up once you have (all/most of) your documents in order.
  4. When one of our company-owned schools and you mutually agree upon a position, an official contract with the specific school and salary will be sent to you by email directly from the YBM Head office. View our sample contract also posted on this website.
  5. To confirm and accept the official contract, the applicant would send the required documents directly to the school by FedEx, UPS, DHL or drop them off in person.
    For those who live too far to take your documents in, you will have to mail it in using secure express mail.
  6. Once we have your documents we will apply for the E2 visa with the Korean Immigration Office.
  7. Once the E2 visa issuance/confirmation # is given out by the Korean Immigration Office it will be emailed to you.
  8. You will then submit your passport, E2 visa application form, application fee, photo and transcript to the Korean Consulate.
  9. The final E-2 application process will be completed with the Korean Consulate.
  10. After receiving the E-2 visa stamp in your passport please inform your school.

As of right now, I am between step 3 and 4. I have already had my phone interview* on December 23 with Danny (YBM HR manager) – *not so much of an interview as it is him selling you the school – and now I am currently waiting on the very last document needed before he can send me a contract: The notarized RCMP background check (If you didn’t know by now, I’m Canadian). This is where my frustration ensues.

First of all, as I said before in my introduction in the “home” section, I live on an isolated island, in an isolated town which is pretty much in the forest. Therefore, resources are very limited. I have to drive an hour away to get any of the documents I need for my application. And, the nearest Korean consulate to me is in another province, therefore, I have to send everything away and wait days and days before I ever hear from them. I first applied for my police check back in October, the same day I received my diploma. The first step was to pick up an application at the police station and fill it out. Then, before moving further, I was told I needed to get a Provincial court check. The nearest court was an hour away so I had to wait until a day when my parents and I had no work. After I drove to get my court check, I gave the court check and application form to my mom and got her to drop off after work (this police station is not in my town, but in the same town my mom works in 15 minutes away from me). Then, when she brought it back they told her: “Oh, we have new forms to fill out now, the one she filled out is wrong so get her to fill this one out instead.” That was kind of annoying but no big deal. This form though needed detailed information about about my employer and job. However, at this point I had not even applied for a job as I was told it was a good idea to start gathering your documents before applying for a job. Therefore, I held onto that form for a little while before handing it to the police station for processing. My plan was to wait until I completed my 120 hour TEFL certificate and had all of my other documents like my notarized degree and transcripts before applying. The end of November was when that happened. I applied to YBM and filled out all the required information on the police check form. However, at this point, Danny was telling me I should get the fingerprint version of the RCMP check. So, I went to the police station the next day and passed in my completed form and got my fingerprints rolled on paper. I asked them how long do they think it would take and they said about 1 week. Three weeks later, I got a call from them to pick it up. Written across it said: “this is not a certified RCMP check as fingerprints are required.” I was very confused about this since I had my fingerprints taken. I then found out that it was a Vulnerable sector check (not at all what I needed) and I was required to send in my fingerprints myself to Ottawa in order to get them processed. This, I was told, would take up to 2 months. By the way, we are now up to late December. My job offer remember starts on March 1. However, I found online that if you get your fingerprints taken electronically, it only takes 3 days to process (in Canada time, this means at least 1 week). Therefore I called and got an appointment asap (a week later) at the nearest police station that has the technology (1 hour away). Anyways, I got the results back on Jan. 9th and on the 10th after work I sent them to the Korean consulate to get it notarized (however, the 10th was on a Friday and mail don’t go out in my town on the weekend so technically Monday is when it sent). I thought it would only take a week until it got back to me because that’s how long it took them to notarize my degree so I was anxiously waiting today for the mail to arrive. However, instead of mail from the Korean consulate, I received a phone call from them telling me that they were going to process my docs today. This means I probably wont get them back in the mail until Thursday at the earliest.

That is why I am so frustrated now 😦  time is ticking! If I want to start my job on March 1 Danny said I will have to be there at least a week before the start date to go to orientation! February only has 28 days so I am freaking out right now! I can’t afford any more mix ups because even if things go 100% smoothly, I will still be pressed for time. As you can see by the application steps, there are still many more steps to go and a lot of them require me to mail out my documents which take a long time!

Anyways, my next step is to upload a pic of my notarized RCMP check to Danny as soon as I get it so he can see I have all my documents and send me a contract. Then, I have to sign it and send it to Korea along with all my other gathered documents. Then, after they receive my docs, they will begin to apply for my E2 visa through the immigration office (I read online that this takes about 5-10 days hopefully in my case it will be 5!) Then they will email my my visa # and I will fill out a visa form and send it as well as my passport, passport sized color photo and transcript to the Korean consulate so they can stamp my passport and send it back to me. Then I will tell my employer and they will book my flight whoooo. I just hope I can make it on time for my job start date, wish me luck!

Stephanie xox

P.S: Feel free to ask me any question you may have regarding this. Or, share your frustrating experiences with me so I will feel better 😛

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