Successful EPIK applicants, here’s what you need to know about applying for your E-2 visa at the Los Angeles Consulate.
Process of applying (all applicants):
- Wait to receive your contract and Notice of Appointment (NOA) from EPIK. These documents will be sent to your address on file with EPIK, and you will receive a FedEx tracking email when the package is on its way.
- While you are waiting to receive these documents, learn about the process of applying for your visa. The process differs by consulate. Click here to find out which consulate has jurisdiction over your place of residence. Follow the instructions for the consulate that will process your application.
- Once you receive your contract and NOA, immediately apply for your visa. EPIK recommends that applicants purchase airfare after successfully obtaining the visa, so it’s in your best interest to secure it ASAP.
- After submitting your visa application, you can check the status here. The processing time for US applicants should take 5 business days. If you apply at a consulate, choose Diplomatic Office, choose passport number in the dropdown menu, type in your name as Last Name Given Name(s) as written on your passport, and input your DOB. It may take 1-2 business days before you can find your application in the system. My application status changed to “approved” after 4 business days.
All of the information below is specifically about the Los Angeles Consulate only. The application process really does differ by consulate, so please only refer to the info below if you’re applying in Los Angeles. Processes can change without notice so make sure to learn the up-to-date information when you apply.
Website with important information for Los Angeles Consulate: http://usa-losangeles.mofa.go.kr/english/am/usa-losangeles/visa/issuance/index.jsp
Get in touch: The LA Consulate is very responsive by phone and email, so don’t hesitate to ask any questions you have BEFORE you apply. Make sure you say that you are a successful EPIK applicant, since the process may be different than someone else applying for a private teaching job. I usually received a reply to an email inquiry within one business day, two at most if I had written during the weekend. Don’t bother to call during lunch (12-1pm) as nobody answers the phone.
How to apply: You can apply by mail or in person. If you are local, I highly recommend applying in person for faster processing (no waiting for mailing time) and so you will know immediately if you are missing something. If you apply by mail, include a SASE with tracking.
Location: Prepare for a lot of traffic and construction as you make your way down Wilshire Blvd! The Los Angeles Consulate is open to the public from 9am-4pm and closed for lunch from 12pm-1pm. They are closed on national and Korean holidays. There is validated parking in the lot next to the consulate. Make sure to get a stamp for your ticket inside the consulate.
What you need to apply:
- Passport (original booklet and photocopy): Make sure to sign your passport before making a copy!
- Contract and Notice of Appointment (NOA) from EPIK: These will not be returned to you so make a copy beforehand. Sign every page of your contract and complete the last page.
- Completed visa application form (found on their website) – see my tips for completing this here
- One 2×2 passport-style photo taken within the last 6 months
- E-2 Checklist: The checklist is a series of questions verifying your eligibility for the E-2 visa, and a lot of it was already asked during the EPIK process. I submitted a completed checklist because it was on the website but I’ve seen differing accounts about whether or not it is required. It also varies by consulate. I recommend to submit it just to be safe.
- Payment: $45 (at time of writing) in cash for applying in-person
- SASE: Only if you want the passport mailed back to you; otherwise you can pick up your passport with visa in person
The experience: I had a very positive experience with this consulate. It was a fast process to apply. After going through the metal detector, I went to the information window and told the woman that I was here to apply for a visa. She instructed me to take a number from the machine and wait to be called up. I was frantically double-checking my documents when my number was called within 2-3 minutes. The woman who received my application checked through what I had submitted, verified my passport information on the application, wrote some notes on the first page, attached payment stamps, and handed me a slip with my application information. My visa was ready for pick-up in 5 business days (I submitted on a Thursday and went back the following Thursday).
Tips for applying in-person: Have everything ready to submit rather than fill it out at the consulate; the process will be smoother and less stressful that way. I tend to feel anxious about these situations anyway. Although I had checked my application at least four times at home, I still felt like something was missing! I also printed a blank copy of the E-2 application in case there were mistakes, but this wasn’t necessary. Blank copies are available at the consulate. I also brought supplies (tape, scissor, ruler) in case I had to trim my photo due to conflicting information about what size was needed (2×2 in, or 35×45 mm) – also not necessary, and slightly obsessive (but that’s how I am).
Breathe, relax, and good luck!