Korean Start-up Visa: First Visa Issued to Korean American Entrepreneur

A Korean government news portal announced that the first “Start-up Visa” has been issued to Jason Lee of J.J. Lee Company.  Ignoring the fact that he, most likely, qualified, for an Ethnic-Korean visa (F-4), the entrepreneur obtained the visa, apparently, with few issues.  We are unsure how difficult it will be for other entrepreneurs to obtain this visa. 

The major requirements for the visa are:
1.  Intellectual Property registered in Korea (yes registered in Korea-overseas is not good enough);
2.  A Korean company; and a
3.  University degree.

We suggest, also, having a business plan.  We are not sure how this visa is more beneficial than the D-8 Investment visa.  We assume the, only, advantage (since little information exists) is that you do not need the KRW 100,000,000 capitalization ((Foreign-capital invested company).  The visa is new and we and seemingly, also, Korean Immigration is not sure of how this visa will assist in encouraging foreign start-ups to invest in Korea.  I would assume most start-ups with intellectual property registered in Korea would have the KRW 100,000,000 required for a D-8  visa and a foreign-capital invested company.

We will update the reader when more information is known.   

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Sean Hayes may be contacted for a consultation by emailing him at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com or via the numbers shown to the left.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. He assists clients in their contentious, non-contentious and business developments needs in Korea and China. He has, recently, been ranked as one of only two non-Korean attorneys as a Top Attorney working in Korea by AsiaLaw.

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