ESL South Korea

Required Documents

A list of the required documents to teach English in South Korea
A)  CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK (CRC) (Also known as Police Clearance)
The Criminal Record Check (CRC) may take the longest, so it is recommended that you get it first. You can get a CRC done by your provincial/state or national police authority. CRCs issued by police authorities at the local level will not be accepted.  The CRC must have been issued within the last 6 months. Once you have the CRC, you must have an apostille affixed to the original by the issuing government office (usually your State Secretary or Department of State) and submit the apostilled original. See apostille information below.


You must submit an apostilled copy of at least one degree diploma – in most cases this will be your Bachelors diploma. The apostille will be affixed to an official copy made by the government agency or a notary public. Try to avoid having an apostille affixed to your original diploma because you must submit the document that is affixed to the apostille and you will want to keep your diploma yourself!

Note for current or recent students: All applicants must complete their study requirements and earn their degree before they arrive in Korea; however, some applicants may not receive their actual diploma until after the application deadline. In this case, you must obtain a letter of expected graduation from your school’s Registrar Office describing your academic program and expected degree as well as the expected date by which you will complete the requirements for that degree. This will suffice in the meantime before you have received the diploma, but you must submit an apostilled copy of your diploma as soon as you have received it.

Note: There is a difference between an apostille and a notarization!
An apostille is a government seal verifying the legal veracity of a document. You can read more about it on this Wikipedia. There are two required documents which must have apostilles affixed: your original criminal record check and an official copy of your diploma. For the Criminal Record Check, you must get the apostille affixed to the original CRC. For the diploma, for your own convenience, please have the apostilling agent affix the apostille to an authorized copy of your diploma, not the original. This way, you can retain the original. Apostilles are generally issued by the State Secretary or Department of State. You might try inquiring about details at your local public police authority or government office – the process differs from country to country.

Note for Canadian applicants: Canada does not adhere to the apostille convention. Canadian applicants must 1) have their documents notarized by a public notary (search notary public in a phone directory); and 2) then submit that notarized copy to the nearest Korean consulate or embassy for them to supply a final notarization.
You must submit one (1) copy of transcripts for your bachelors degree, obtained from your university.  If you transferred schools, you will need transcripts documenting your full academic record for your degree – it is not sufficient to submit transcripts from only the final school from which you graduated if the credits from other schools are not fully recorded on your final transcripts.

Submit hard copies of both one-page reference letters written by a professional acquaintance (e.g., supervisor, professor, director) that you submitted with your initial application. The letter must state the first and last name of the applicant. It should explain the writer’s relationship to the applicant (how long and in what capacity) and the strengths and weaknesses of the applicant relevant to teaching English in Korea.
Reference letters must be signed in ink, dated and contain at least the phone contact information of the writer. It is also preferred that the letter be written on the official letterhead of the institution of the writer.
Please include a simple photocopy or scan of your passport. If you do not already have a passport, you will need one before you can travel to Korea. Applying for a passport can take several weeks or more.

Submit a copy of any English-as-a-second-language certifications and bring the original(s) with you to Korea. Diplomas/certificates must clearly state the number of hours for the course. If they do not, the applicant must provide proof of the number of hours (e.g., by submitting a copy of the course calendar or a copy of an online description of the course). Usually, only certificates with 100 or more hours will qualify applicants for a possible higher pay scale. If you are in the process of completing an ESL certificate, please be sure that your coordinator is aware of this and send a copy of the final certificate as soon as you have completed the program.

Proof of teaching experience should be in the form of a letter of service on official letterhead from the institution(s) where you have full-time teaching experience. The letter should state your full name and clearly state that your employment has been full-time and for how long (including specific start and finish dates) and in what capacity as well as what levels and subjects were taught. Letters from co-workers are not sufficient to prove teaching experience; letters must be issued by the appropriate school administration office.