EPIK, korea, travel

The Anxiety-Riddled Nerd’s Guide to the EPIK Application Timeline

I will fully admit, when I was applying to EPIK I did not have it together.

I was in my final semester of university, and stressed out. It took me forever to get my documents together, and I sent the wrong thing more than once. As it took me so long to get everything submitted, I didn’t learn that I was headed to Korea until three weeks before I had to leave – just barely long enough to get my visa, kiss my mom goodbye, and head out the door.

As I do not want you – or anybody else – to repeat my mistakes, here’s my guide to the EPIK application timeline. There are two major intakes with EPIK: one in the fall and one in the spring. I’ll outline the EPIK application timeline with what you need to get done by when for both.

(Note: I’ve already written a pretty thorough guide to EPIK that you can find here which outlines the application procedure pretty thoroughly, so I won’t  repeat myself too much in this post.)


Step 1 – Submit your application to EPIK

February – July (Fall)/ August – January (Spring)     

It’s generally better to submit your application sooner rather than later, especially as you can put down your regional preferences. The application  process is pretty long and arduous, so make sure you have plenty of time to     get everything in order. You’ll need:

  • Two letters of recommendation (from a professor or past employer. Not your mom.)
  • An apostilled background check (an FBI background check, if you’re American.) You normally have to send it in via post to to get the apostille.
  • An apostilled copy of your degree (I got mine apostilled at a local notary’s office)
  • Original sealed transcripts
  • A copy of your TESL/TEFL/TESOL certificate
  • A copy of your passport
  • An example lesson plan

It can take weeks, if not months, to get all of these documents together, especially the background check. Take my learned-the-hard-way advice and send for that particular piece of paper early (though not too early, as it’s only valid for six months).


Step 2 – Interview with EPIK

April- July (Fall) / October – January (Spring)   

Your interview can be with the EPIK office itself, an official recruiter, or a MUO/MUA organization. I actually had an interview both with my recruiter – who asked me what I wanted from my experience and such – and then a much more formal interview with the actual EPIK office. As interviews are scheduled around the interviewer’s convenience (and the interviewers live in Korea), you can expect to wake up at an odd hour of the night in order to do your interview if you live in the US or Canada.

Step 3 – Document Screening

April- July (Fall) / October – January (Spring)       

The EPIK office will screen your documents to make sure everything is correct and in order. This process can be tedious, as it just feels like you’re waiting, but it makes getting a visa later on a breeze.


Step 4 – Final Review

April- July (Fall) / October – January (Spring)

This is where the EPIK office will look at everything you’ve submitted and decide if you’re in or not. If you get past this stage, great! Your hard work has paid off and you’ll be on your way to Korea soon. If not, why not check out these other ways to teach English in Korea?


Step 5 – Get the Email You’ve Been Waiting For

June- July (Fall) / December- January (Spring)

Congrats! You’re in! EPIK will send you your notice of appointment along with a sample contract and a Notice of Appointment you’ll need to apply for your visa with.


Step 6 – Get Your Visa

July – August (Fall) / January – February (Spring)

Hey, remember all that gross paperwork you had to submit in Step 1? This is where it comes in handy. The Notice of Appointment that EPIK sends you basically says that you’ve passed your background check and everything, and so you don’t have to bring it again with you to your visa appointment at your local consulate. (You can find a complete list of consulates/embassies in the US here.)

I’ve had both student visas and work visas in the past and let me tell you, work visas are a hell of a lot easier to get. I had my passport back within a week, and the man working at the consulate office in Atlanta was super friendly.


Step 6 – Buy a Plane Ticket and Pack

As soon as you have your visa!

I would really recommend waiting to get your visa to buy your flight, just in case something goes wrong. If you arrive on a certain day (which you should be informed about via email), EPIK will actually pick you up and take you to your orientation or new place of living.

It’s never too early to start packing, especially if you have an entire apartment to clear out like I did. Here’s a guide to help you pack for Korea if you need, but don’t stress too much. After all, Korea is a modern country that sells everything you might need. Best of all, delivery is good enough that you never even have to leave your house to get it if you don’t want to.


Step 7 – Head to Korea (Finally!)

August / March

Once you’re in Korea, the EPIK timeline can go a few different ways. As I just mentioned, you might go immediately to your new apartment, or else to the orientation program held every year for new teachers.

Even though you have a visa, you’ll still need to get an ARC (Alien Residence Card) at the local immigration office within a month after arriving. Your coteacher should be able to help with this. You’ll need it to be legal – and also to serve as an ID to do things such as open a bank account and get a phone – so make sure you get it as soon as possible.



Do you have any questions about the EPIK application timeline? Let me know in the comments below!




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