Please check closer to the date for your specific case, but here is the process that we had to follow.
- Application – Basically, you will be going to a local elementary school and ask for the child to be accepted. They will have some forms for you to fill out plus you will need some passport pictures (Korean size). There are over 200 schools that are designated as “multicultural support” schools, so it will be a good idea to see if the area you are going to has a school for it. Those schools have more infrastructure and experience to work with foreigners. They are more likely to have Korean as a second language class, counselors on site, etc. In our case, the closest “multicultural support” school was a little too far, so we ended up going to a school that is right in our neighborhood and asked for additional help. We were lucky to get some additional help with Korean language tutoring, but it’s not a guaranteed thing so, if additional help is a must then going to a designated school would be a better bet. Also, although most likely they will accept a student for elementary school, if the school principal chooses not to accept, then you’ll have to check out a different school or bring it up to the department of education for that area. Most likely, it’s a procedural thing (they don’t know what to do) or they might not have an infrastructure to help the child. Again most likely they will accept, generally it’s more of a procedural process than anything else for elementary school.
- 출입국 사실 증명 (Certificate of the facts concerning the entry & exit) or 외국인등록 사실증명 (Certificate of Alien Registration) – You get these at a local Korea Immigration Office. Might need for the whole family. Couple dollars each.
Here is Korea Immigration site for your info: https://www.immigration.go.kr/immigration_eng/index.do
- Vaccination information. Most likely you can grab the info from school. Most US states have similar vaccination schedule as Korea, so generally a no-issue. There are some disease that are in East Asia that aren’t prevalent in the US, or some schedule might be slightly different, so there might be a couple of shots needed. You’ll eventually want to register info at a local Korean Public Health center system.
- Report cards/Trascript. Here is a link to a list schools that does not require additional steps for report cards:
Link to the page (in Korean):
Most public schools should be on the list and they keep updating the list and adding a lot of private schools, too. However, if your school is not on the list then you will need to get an apostille for those report cards. One of our kids school list wasn’t on it, so we had to get an apostille. In Hawaii, it was through Lt. Governor’s office.
- Probably the MOST important: This item gave us a lot of headache. Certificate of Enrollment (Enrollment verification, something along that line) WITH THE PRINCIPAL’S SIGNATURE(or SEAL) (재학 증명서)
One of our kids’ school didn’t understand that we needed this document, so they did not provide even with our request. They thought the general transfer packet they provided us was sufficient. However, Certificate of Enrollment is a common document in Korea and it was a MUST for us to complete the application. We ended up having to make multiple requests and get it fedexed over to us. Our kids middle school was familiar with it and provided to us without any issue. I highly recommend to inquire to the office until you get it in your hand. We asked to include Name, DOB, enrollment duration, and grades attended and those info were sufficient. Main thing here was signed be the principal.
Here is a great info guidebook for living in Korea:
go to their main page and there are a lot of info as well.
Here are some additional info about sending kids to school that you can check it out (hopefully the direct link works for you 🙂 )
If any document is missing or unable to be obtained, they may go through a different process to place the child in a specific grade. They might have the child go through some testing. Testing will be in Korean, so they may place the child in a younger grade if the alternative placement process takes place. A placement committee reviews the docs/testing results to determine the grade to enter. Anyway, the point is that even with missing documentation there are some processes in place (but, it could take awhile – like a month or so).
Hope these info help 🙂
Regarding the visa question before, Korea takes the stand with United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and all children regardless of visa status can go to school. And for those who don’t have a legal residency alternate documents may be needed. But, I wouldn’t recommend planning on an illegal alien status 🙂
However, getting the proper visa for everyone i