Getting My F6 Visa… The Beginning

After two wedding ceremonies and a month vacation in the States, we finally made it back to Korea and after a week of resting from the vacation got our rears in gear to get everything filed for the F6 visa. We had started the process a few months ago, but after Jae-oo inadvertently made me make an unecessary trip to the American Embassy I pushed everything aside until we were definitely ready to get serious about it.

At the start, those months back, I had scoured the internet for information on what was necessary and what to expect of the process, but came to the conclusion that it all depended on the official we ended up with at the immigration office. That, unfortunately, tends to be the way of most any dealings with the immigration office and I thought I’d better get over prepared just in case. The other conclusion I came to was that the visa I’d expected to be applying for, the F2, was being changed to an F6.

What’s the difference?

From what information I could find it seems the F2 visa, previously for foreign spouses and other long term foreigners, was causing some issues as the Korean spouses could cancel the visa prior to the expiration date if they so felt the urge. This clearly was giving an upper hand to the Korean spouses as they could at any moment threaten and then use this to affectively have their foreign spouse kicked out of the country if the visa was cancelled. With the new F6 visa, this is not the case. The Korea Times reported on October 26, 2011 this new visa is “reserved for foreigners living in the country after marrying South Koreans and will be introduced as part of efforts to guarantee their stable stay and better deal with their growing numbers.” They also added that the F2 residency visa will now be for foreign investors, “who have more than $500,000 in South Korea while staying here for over three years, and those who have made over $300,000 in investments while hiring more than two Koreans.”

After I found this information I started searching for information on what was necessary to receive this new F6 visa. Of course, the Immigration website hadn’t been updated (still hasn’t), and as people seemed to be confused, I went with the assumption that the requirements for the F2 and the F6 would be similar if not the same and jotted down the list. I also happened to check the American Embassy’s Website, which was pretty helpful on the matter when all said and done.

Necessary documents for the F2 Visa, but applicable to the F6 Visa

(As found on the HiKorea website)

Visa Application
Documents that prove the family relations
(marriage certificate, a copy of the family register, or other documents verifying this new couple)
Documents that prove financial capability
Reference of a spouse with Korean nationality
1 color photo of the applicant (3.5cmx4.5cm taken within the past 6 months)

Most of these things are pretty obvious. For the ones that aren’t I’ll explain where, how and what we had to do. This is as an American with an E2 visa marrying a Korean.

Passport: Check
Visa Application: Could be done at the immigration office, so check

Marriage Certificate…

We were married in Korea, so to get the marriage certificate here we had to go to our district office to register our marriage. But, before we could go there I had to go to the American embassy and get a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage. This form just affirms that you are free and eligible to marry, with no other marriages that are still intact, etc. This is sort of amusing however, because the embassy doesn’t check anything. You stand and put your hand up swearing you haven’t been married, or if you were you’ve had a clean divorce, and you are free to marry. In fact at the bottom of the form you receive, it says “The U.S. Embassy has no information concerning the affiant’s marital status.” Thus, this is only based on the words of the swearer and in no way has been technically proven. Not that I would have wanted to go home and get any verification, but this is just humorous to me in that anyone could say anything while raising ones right hand and so it goes. The notary at the embassy notarizes your affidavit and you pay $50 and you’re on your way.

What was also quite dumbfounding was that once we got to the district office to apply for our marriage certificate they needed us to translate the Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage from English into Korean. This seems dumbfounding in that if it is necessary for all foreigners, and Korean and foreign marriages are on the rise, one would assume they would already have some translated version of this form available instead of my husband and I standing there with a white piece of paper they gave us and a pen for 30 minutes while we figured out how to translate all of the information, including the very arduous paragraph at the bottom:

I, the above named American Citizen, being duly sworn, I depose and say: that I am of marriageable age and the consent of neither parents nor guardian is required, or if required given; that I do not have a disqualifying blood relationship to my intended spouse; that I am not now married, that there is not hindrance, legal or otherwise, to this marriage and that all facts concerning me set forth upon this document are true, correct and complete.

I highly suggest translating this before you go if you don’t want to sit there doing it. Once we turned that in, along with my passport and Jae-oo’s family registry and his Korean ID card we realized we needed two witnesses. We had no one with us, but a great thing about Korea, they didn’t really mind. They told us to call two of our friends, ask/tell them we were writing their names and numbers down on our form. After we did as we were told we left and were told to come back in a week to pick up the certificate.

Marriage certificate: check…maybe

With the marriage certificate ready I thought we were set to go to the immigration office, however with a call to check that we’d gotten all of our necessary documents we were told that an English marriage certificate would be necessary. This was before our second wedding ceremony in the States mind you, and after some consideration on the subject I decided getting a certificate here and then one in the States with dates that would be three months apart could hinder Jae-oo in the future getting a green card. In Korea, for me to get the F6 visa it’s mostly on him to show he can support me and he’s a Korean. I just smile and look pretty. In the US on the other hand, the stories for people getting green cards can be nerve racking. It is on the person filing for the green card by and large to show why they deserve to be there and not the person who is showing the support. Basically, on both ends, Jae-oo has to do all of the work. I don’t want to give the U.S. government any reason to trip him up in the future.

With that in mind, we decided the best option for us would be to get the Korean certificate translated and then authenticated by the American embassy. This is where I ended up making the unnecessary trip to the American embassy I mentioned earlier. To get the Korean marriage certificate translated you must take it to a local notary to get it translated and notarized, and then the American embassy will ultimately just authenticate the notary. The American embassy has a list of local notaries that they recognize and only one of them may be used. I told my husband the addresses for the two nearest notaries and sent him on his way while I was working. Either I neglected to mention that ONLY one of those could be used, or he didn’t listen to my explanation of how I came to have these addresses in the first place. On his own he went out and when I came home I found the certificate translated and notarized. The next day I had a half day at work, so I made an appointment to go to the embassy. Upon turning up and turning in all of my paperwork I was told, and shown on the computer that the notary used was not one that was on the list. This confused me as I had specifically given Jae-oo two addresses and I was certain he listened, so I went back and forth with the lady at the embassy for a bit about her list and the list I saw being different. They weren’t. When I got home, I was pretty peeved at the fruitless trip and blamed Jae-oo. We had to go back to the district office to get another certificate printed, since the one we had had stamps all over it from the notary, and then back to another notary to get the process done again.

To be continued

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