A Practical Guide to Teaching English Abroad

Frank and Friendly Advice written by a Retired Teacher-Trainer, Experienced EFL Teacher
& Former Peace Corps Volunteer Living & Working Abroad since 1989

Do I arrange my employment and or resident visa before I go overseas?

These issues vary for every country and it is a good time to head over to the discussion board at ELT World.

The Usual Process

Is to get a special visa that means that you will be working in that country - before you leave.  You'll need to get it at the embassy of the country to which you are moving.  Usually, all this can easily be done through the mail. 

Know though that embassy people like government employees everywhere, are not always as helpful as they could be, so be very positive and pleasant with them.  Basically, you need to "kiss their (whatevers)" - you know what I mean.  These people are critical to you - please them. Sing, dance, be very patient - don't lose your cool.  And this is just the beginning - so get used to it!

They are, btw, sometimes VERY helpful and very pleasant.  The lady who runs the Thai embassy in Korea - is the very best of the best!


Once in the country in which you will be working, you'll typically need to go somewhere (maybe immigration, maybe the Ministry of Labor - maybe both) to get your work permit sorted out.  Usually, your residence visa is only for a short time when you first enter the country.  It will then be extended to the period of time for your work permit.


This can be fun - as with all things governmental - when your work permit can only be issued for the period of time of your visa - but your visa will only be issued for the period of time of your work permit - but does the chicken come before the egg? 

Don't worry about it - some how it all gets done.  Lean on your employer - it won't usually be the first time they have gone through it.  This part always stresses me out a bit - but I have learned to just have faith that it will all get done somehow . . .


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