Need for Legal Stability
Marrying someone and having a family in a foreign country is certainly a challenge. It would be even more challenging if you didn't have a stable legal status. Not having a permanent (or at least semi-permanent) status is much more than having to fill out some documents. It is quite stressful to be a foreigner in Korea because every legal step is unkind and intimidating. Additionally, information about the visa process is quite difficult to obtain unless you are somehow fluent in Korean.
This holds true for getting divorce as well. Those who have gone through a divorce would agree that the process alone will make you exhausted. This is perhaps the most fragile time for an individual. Foreigners have suffer ed an additional layer of fragility due to their now shaky legal status.
So, what? Should you accept this as a fact of life and suffer through this? Well, not really. If you know more about visas and the rights related to that, you will be able to understand how you can maneuver through the legal procedures in Korea. This would give you a layer of stability so that you can face other problems too. I simply believe one thing. That is:
Information is power and we need to share this to empower one another.
Knowing simply what rights you are entitled to and what you are permitted to do will give you great confidence. That is what I want you to have.
Let's Talk Visa
So, you are probably wondering what types of visa you can have. I am here to tell you exactly that. This time, I am going to talk about visas related to marriage, divorce, and inviting family members after marrying a Korean citizen.
First, let's talk about the marriage visa.
The marriage visa is called an F-6-1 visa. This is perhaps one of the best visas to have. You can extend this visa indefinitely as long as your marriage is valid and there are virtually no restrictions. The requirement is quite simple. There are some requirements for income and housing. But if both you and your spouse are working, those requirements are easily met. Additionally, you need to prove that you and your spouse can communicate and the marriage is valid.
The most attractive thing about this visa is that it is really easy to get a permanent residence. Many the most attractive thing about this visa is that it is really easy to get a permanent residence. Many requirements are amended if you are trying to change your status from an F-6-1 visa. This is quite natural considering that marrying a Korean citizen and staying in Korea for a few years is an indication that the person is a good fit for Korea.
Another benefit of this visa is that you can grant a visa to your family member. C-3-1 visa is only for 90 days, but once they are in Korea, they can switch their status to a long-term visa.
Many people think that they need to stay in a terrible marriage to enjoy these benefits. So, a lot of foreign spouses submit themselves to an abusive marriage just so that they can maintain legal stability. This is especially true for those who rely on the Korean spouse's income. But this is just not necessary.
If there is abuse or other reasons that divorce is necessary due to the fault of a Korean spouse, the foreign spouse can obtain a visa after the divorce. This visa can be extended indefinitely and there are no restrictions. So, if there is a clear reason for divorce such as physical or other forms of abuse, getting a divorce will likely result in improved quality of life while maintaining nearly the same level of legal stability.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand that the ability to extend indefinitely is vaguely defined in the policy. It would be a safe decision to get an immigration lawyer to help you through the process. You may encounter unpleasant surprise otherwise.
If you are in this situation, it would be best to get an immigration lawyer who can guide you through the divorce process and permanent residence. Because it is highly likely that you may qualify for permanent residence by the time you need to get an extension on this divorce visa.
There is another visa that grants indefinite extension is an F-6-2 visa. This visa is for those who are raising a Korean citizen's child. You will be able to extend your visa until the child becomes an adult. You will most likely qualify for a permanent residence before the child reaches the age.
You want to be smart about this. Although you may qualify for a permanent residence before the child grows up, you still need to meet all qualifications. Working with an immigration lawyer to make sure that you are working towards meeting those requirements will ensure that there will not be an unexpected bump on the road ahead.
This is perhaps the worst visa to get if you would like to live in Korea for the long-term. However, it still gives you a generous amount of time to change your visa to your previous visa.
It gets complicated if you didn't have a visa previously. But chances are high that you may qualify for a visa depending on what you did during marriage and how long it lasted.
About Getting Divorced
You may be frustrated that the descriptions are vague, but you have to understand that things are quite different cases by case. There is no clear cut answer, unfortunately.
I would highly recommend that you see an immigration lawyer before you go through with a divorce. This will give you enough time to build a strategy for yourself.
These descriptions are brief. Each visa will be discussed in detail on other posts. For now, you can reach out to me to get more information that is most appropriate for you.
Good luck with your visa journey!