Read 3451 times

  • jshtchr
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • November 05, 2020, 05:59:10 pm
EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« on: November 23, 2020, 12:46:21 pm »
I'm currently studying Korean on a D-4 visa.

I applied to EPIK, and I would be an obvious choice with many years of public school experience and happy former co-teachers. Last week, I received a generic e-mail about quarantine and visa processes. It stated, amongst many other things, that they wouldn't accept people applying while on a "student visa" because visa runs are not possible.

I called immigration. They told me with absolute certainty that it is possible to transfer a D-4 to an E-2 without doing a visa run. I would be able to transfer my visa well in advance of orientation as my final intended semester finishes in the first week of February.

I explained my situation to EPIK and they eventually stopped asking more questions, but they didn't confirm anything.

Searching r/teachinginkorea via Google tells me that transfers from a D-10 are not permitted by EPIK, but there's nothing about D-4 visas.

I can't understand why EPIK would refuse to hire someone currently in Korea on a transferable visa. It doesn't make any sense at all, so I'm wondering if there's some reason that is applicable to people on a D-10 or a D-2, but not applicable to me on a D-4.


  • shostager
  • Super Waygook

    • 359

    • November 06, 2012, 06:08:10 am
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2020, 02:55:33 pm »
From what I remember (so maybe not fully correct), switching from a D-10 to an E-2 for EPIK isn't allowed, because you have to do orientation (kind of working) before you could get your placement and the information you need to switch visas.

Maybe that's the rule they're applying here? It looks like you can get permission to work on a D-4 visa, but again, you might not be able to get all the information you need to apply for that before the end of orientation.


  • jshtchr
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • November 05, 2020, 05:59:10 pm
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2020, 03:30:39 pm »
The PoE I've listed as my preference is one I've worked for in the past. They're very reasonable. They're willing to help me find a placement that will provide housing allowance, and I've heard they will let people know where they're going to be working if they have a good reason to know. I believe that would allow me to get the documents I'd need. The only problem is that for this intake, applying via EPIK is the only option due to Covid-19.

If EPIK are not willing to make exceptions, I guess the positive attitude of the PoE is not enough. I find it horrific to think that EPIK would hire a random newbie from a Covid-19 hotspot over somebody with years of experience and positive co-teachers, especially for a very rural location. I really hope that doesn't happen.


  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 2609

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2020, 07:50:54 am »
They won't let you switch from a D10 to an E2?  How are you suppose to work for them?   Stupidity piled upon stupidity.  You want to leave one POE and go to another for an example. 


  • OnNut81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1615

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2020, 09:30:11 am »
From what I remember (so maybe not fully correct), switching from a D-10 to an E-2 for EPIK isn't allowed, because you have to do orientation (kind of working) before you could get your placement and the information you need to switch visas.

Maybe that's the rule they're applying here? It looks like you can get permission to work on a D-4 visa, but again, you might not be able to get all the information you need to apply for that before the end of orientation.

Not saying you're wrong, but just that I find this confusing.  If they let you come into a new Epik position on an existing E2 you would also have to switch visas.  Is their position that an existing E2 doesn't have to do the orientation, but that a D10 does?  That makes no sense, which of course doesn't rule it out at all. 


  • shostager
  • Super Waygook

    • 359

    • November 06, 2012, 06:08:10 am
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2020, 09:49:01 am »
Not saying you're wrong, but just that I find this confusing.  If they let you come into a new Epik position on an existing E2 you would also have to switch visas.  Is their position that an existing E2 doesn't have to do the orientation, but that a D10 does?  That makes no sense, which of course doesn't rule it out at all. 

My understanding was that everyone does the orientation, but an E-2 visa allows work, while a D-10 doesn't, and orientation counts as work (but you need a specific location to apply for an E2 from a D10?). Again, this is what I remember from when I was trying to move to SMOE from another province. I ended up just getting the F-2-7 and bypassing the whole issue, but it does seem weird to me too.

Edit: I found the original email. From 2017:

"It would not be possible for you to obtain a job with EPIK on a D-10 visa. You would need to change over to an E-2 before the start of your contract. However, you would not get the documents you needed to do so until after the orientation, which ends after the start of the contract."

I assume the documents for the visa change are the problem for the OP as well.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 09:51:49 am by shostager »


  • OnNut81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1615

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2020, 10:07:48 am »
My understanding was that everyone does the orientation, but an E-2 visa allows work, while a D-10 doesn't, and orientation counts as work (but you need a specific location to apply for an E2 from a D10?). Again, this is what I remember from when I was trying to move to SMOE from another province. I ended up just getting the F-2-7 and bypassing the whole issue, but it does seem weird to me too.

Edit: I found the original email. From 2017:

"It would not be possible for you to obtain a job with EPIK on a D-10 visa. You would need to change over to an E-2 before the start of your contract. However, you would not get the documents you needed to do so until after the orientation, which ends after the start of the contract."

I assume the documents for the visa change are the problem for the OP as well.

Interesting, but still a bit perplexing.  The E2 allows work, but at a specific location.  So, for you to legally go to orientation with an existing E2 you would legally have to go to immigration and make some change to your visa.  Anyone who worked in Gunpo for example, had to go put in some paperwork at immigration just for doing the winter or summer camps that were held on a Gunpo City property and staffed by Gunpo city employees and run by the office of education that employed all these teachers already.  So, if I were to finish up at my school this year and sign on to EPIK  I wouldn't be allowed to go to orientation and work on my current E2.  My point being, if they are going by the book, why could a D10 not just go and make the same switch an E2 would have to, and then do the same paperwork again that all the others would have to? 

Not arguing with you Shostager, just their position. 


  • jshtchr
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • November 05, 2020, 05:59:10 pm
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2020, 10:31:19 am »
Edit: I found the original email. From 2017:

"It would not be possible for you to obtain a job with EPIK on a D-10 visa. You would need to change over to an E-2 before the start of your contract. However, you would not get the documents you needed to do so until after the orientation, which ends after the start of the contract."

I assume the documents for the visa change are the problem for the OP as well.

Thank you for taking the time to find the e-mail that explains EPIK's reasoning, directly from them. I'm sure my preferred PoE would be willing to give me the documents in advance, but EPIK will probably just decide it's too complicated.

I guess I'll have to do hagwon work for a year. I'd eventually like to start my own business in education, so a year of private sector teaching might not be a bad idea.

My point being, if they are going by the book, why could a D10 not just go and make the same switch an E2 would have to, and then do the same paperwork again that all the others would have to? 

Not arguing with you Shostager, just their position. 

I think EPIK want teachers with current E-2 visas to attend orientation on their E-2 and then switch to the new sponsor (PoE/MoE) after orientation. An E-2 sponsor transfer is done on the spot, whereas D-4 to E-2 takes two weeks.

That still doesn't explain why EPIK aren't willing to give the necessary documents to in-country applicants in advance. I assume it's because they have a policy of not providing proper placement information until the end of orientation. That in itself is very disrespectful, and it discourages teachers with an established presence in Korea.

I'm one of the few people who prefers rural locations. A town of 10,000 would be fine. Instead, those positions are probably going to go to late applicants who couldn't get their chosen location of Seoul.


  • duskwish
  • Newgookin

    • 2

    • March 17, 2018, 06:12:42 am
    • South Korea
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2020, 10:43:26 am »
The problem with a D-10 switching is that, as far as I know, you're supposed to switch 2 weeks before your contract starts. There's no way EPIK will be able to give you the necessary documents that far in advance. A direct-hire public school might, a hagwon should be able to, but there's too many layers of EPIK for them to have the ability to do that.
A D-4 likely runs into a similar problem, where you have to switch visas before the contract starts but won't get the paperwork until after the contract begins.

You should be able to switch to a hagwon, though.


  • OnNut81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1615

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2020, 11:22:16 am »
The problem with a D-10 switching is that, as far as I know, you're supposed to switch 2 weeks before your contract starts. There's no way EPIK will be able to give you the necessary documents that far in advance. A direct-hire public school might, a hagwon should be able to, but there's too many layers of EPIK for them to have the ability to do that.
A D-4 likely runs into a similar problem, where you have to switch visas before the contract starts but won't get the paperwork until after the contract begins.

You should be able to switch to a hagwon, though.

That explains that. Thanks. 


  • OnNut81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1615

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2020, 11:24:05 am »
You should be able to switch to a hagwon, though.

Kind of like telling someone who's used to travelling in business class on flights, even though the flight is full they shouldn't have a problem getting a seat on a Greyhound or Mega Bus.  Probably not the news they're hoping for. 


  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 2609

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2020, 12:58:47 pm »
My understanding was that everyone does the orientation, but an E-2 visa allows work, while a D-10 doesn't, and orientation counts as work (but you need a specific location to apply for an E2 from a D10?). Again, this is what I remember from when I was trying to move to SMOE from another province. I ended up just getting the F-2-7 and bypassing the whole issue, but it does seem weird to me too.

Edit: I found the original email. From 2017:

"It would not be possible for you to obtain a job with EPIK on a D-10 visa. You would need to change over to an E-2 before the start of your contract. However, you would not get the documents you needed to do so until after the orientation, which ends after the start of the contract."

I assume the documents for the visa change are the problem for the OP as well.

I guess a lot of these people are really stupid in the head.  Still makes no sense.  Illogical.  Not sure why a teacher who worked for EPIK would need to go to orientation or why since orientation is not paid that they couldn't just go anyways on a D10?  Either or.  Seems like some folks working there are lazy dumbasses too stupid or incompetent to change the rules or procedure.  Heaven forbid anything takes any work.  More of you folks transferring should argue it with them and not back down.  Maybe if enough people complain, they'll get the hint and change the rule.  I mean if they aren't going to hire you cause they're assholes, you got nothing to lose at this point.  I guess if I ever wanted to transfer I wouldn't be able to?  Guess I'd have to go to Vietnam or somewhere unless the hakwon is paying me near to 3 million or so.  (I did actually recently get a F book message from one place offering me a 3 mil job but I already am employed so didn't take it.) 


  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 2609

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2020, 01:05:40 pm »
A lot of you folks are quick to accept bad answers and never push back.  It's why nothing ever changes.  It would actually be better for the program to hire experienced in Korea teachers, but because some dipshits in an office don't want to do anything "complicated" or anything that requires "work"; they'd rather make more work for someone else now forcing them to hire from outside of Korea plus they have to pay the flight reimbursement to come to Korea.  So, more money out of their pocket. 

I guess at this point, you'd have to go D 10 for a while, then cancel it, go to Japan, come back on a tourist Visa just in time to start elsewhere?  Really is stupid and retarded....


  • OnNut81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1615

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2020, 02:44:45 pm »

I guess at this point, you'd have to go D 10 for a while, then cancel it, go to Japan, come back on a tourist Visa just in time to start elsewhere?  Really is stupid and retarded....

Or, the much easier route of just moving to an EPIK position with your current E2 once your current job finishes. 


  • buckybee
  • Veteran

    • 124

    • August 30, 2015, 02:36:08 pm
    • Daejeon
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2020, 03:24:46 pm »
I had a situation regarding the D-10 visa when I was a TaLK scholar. 

My Epik coordinator emailed me this:

I have asked the Immigration Office and they explained that a TaLk scholar can extend the period of stay within Korea, if they change their visa from E-2 to D-10, and then from D-10 to E-2 again.

If that was the case for me, I don't see why it would be a problem for anyone else. D-4 in theory, shouldn't be different either.

However, the reason I wanted to know about the transferring of visas is because I was told by an epik coordinator that I could not do that and that I needed a visa run. I think there is a lot of miscommunication going on. Also law changes. I recommend stating your ground and letting them figure it out. Hopefully it will all work out for you.


  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 2609

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2020, 10:48:32 am »
I had a situation regarding the D-10 visa when I was a TaLK scholar. 

My Epik coordinator emailed me this:

I have asked the Immigration Office and they explained that a TaLk scholar can extend the period of stay within Korea, if they change their visa from E-2 to D-10, and then from D-10 to E-2 again.

If that was the case for me, I don't see why it would be a problem for anyone else. D-4 in theory, shouldn't be different either.

However, the reason I wanted to know about the transferring of visas is because I was told by an epik coordinator that I could not do that and that I needed a visa run. I think there is a lot of miscommunication going on. Also law changes. I recommend stating your ground and letting them figure it out. Hopefully it will all work out for you.

Did immigration change it back to an E2 automattically without having the documents?  (Thought someone said EPIK didn't give you the documents till after orientation)?


  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 2609

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2020, 10:51:21 am »
Or, the much easier route of just moving to an EPIK position with your current E2 once your current job finishes. 

You can as long as the job period lines up.  If you have to go on a D 10 for a couple of months or more, not really an option.  Fortunately, I have stayed with the same province since I have been here.  Had wanted to go to Seoul a long time ago, but the market got flooded with the great recession, then the wages stayed low up there, then there were job cuts in Seoul and Gyeonggi.  Then, if they cut your school, they made you re apply again which I thought was pretty disrespectful.  My province would just move us to another open position or another town if the position we were in ended. 


  • jshtchr
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • November 05, 2020, 05:59:10 pm
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2020, 10:59:55 am »
First of all, I did reply to everyone again, but my post was stuck in the approval queue as this is a new account. https://www.waygook.org/index.php?topic=121013.msg846121#msg846121

I could wait to be offered an interview with EPIK and try to persuade them to be flexible. The PoE I'm hoping to be placed in (rural) would probably be willing to give me the documents early given the circumstances. However, EPIK insist that you have to be willing to be placed anywhere, and their focus is on everything being smooth and uncomplicated.

I'm willing to do hagwon work for a year, if I can find a good hagwon in the right kind of location. I tried signing up for Facebook to join groups for areas I'm interested in, but Facebook's AI is going crazy and keeps blocking me, so I'll probably have to go through a recruiter.

It's a frustrating job search.


  • jshtchr
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • November 05, 2020, 05:59:10 pm
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2020, 08:29:25 pm »
EPIK has actually rejected my application without even calling me for an interview, presumably due to the visa and their unwillingness to be flexible.

I'll do hagwon work for now, and then apply specifically to JLP when they're hiring through their regular recruiters. My understanding is that JLP are only using EPIK for the current intake to deal with Covid-19 quarantine requirements, although I could be wrong.

If anyone knows of a good teaching position in the Suncheon area, please let me know!


  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 2609

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: EPIK: D-4 to E-2
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2020, 07:54:41 am »
However, EPIK focus is on everything being smooth and uncomplicated.


Ironic considering how complicated Epik is making things.  The schools and the Korean Teachers say they want experienced teachers, then EPIK disrespects their wishes by denying the hiring of experienced teachers.  Their arrogance is more important I guess.  If any of you ever go to one of those EPIK feedback meetings, you should all bring this point up and push for them to change it.