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The 2020 Guide to Moving to Seoul

Blake Shaw March 5, 2020
Posted March 5, 2020 In Moving Tips&Tricks,
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Are you planning on moving to Seoul soon? Since your international relocation is getting closer, you need to prepare for it early enough to be sure it all goes smoothly. As one of the favorite destinations among expats and one of the ten leading global cities, the capital of South Korea has a lot to offer. You can be sure you won’t regret your decision to make this city your new home. But how do you get there?

Like any international relocation, your move to South Korea seems a bit overwhelming. After all, you will be moving across the world, and you are about to live among people so different from you. There are so many things you need to take care of. But we have some good news for you – even international relocation can be a breeze if planned properly. So, you just need to stick to this guide and pay attention to the crucial aspects of your move to East Asia. Let’s start with documentation.

Take Care of Visa Requirements to Enter South Korea

Just like it happens with any international relocation, documents needed to travel abroad should be your primary concern. Without the necessary travel documents, you can’t do anything else, so your first stop should be handling visa requirements. These might differ depending on whether you already have a job waiting for you there or you plan to look for one once you arrive.

Learn What Type of Visa You’re Applying For

Depending on your profession, i.e., the job offer you got in Seoul, South Korea, there are several different visas. The most common visa types include the following:

  • Temporary employment
  • Foreign language teaching
  • Employment after industrial training
  • Short-term business
  • Special profession
  • Non-professional employment

In most cases, you are supposed to enter the country within 90 days after your visa has been granted. Otherwise, it will expire.

Find the Right Part of the City to Call Home as an Expat

When moving abroad, it’s entirely reasonable to be afraid of being so far away from home. So, wherever you go, you want to feel as comfortable as possible. That’s why you should pay special attention to choosing the part of the city that will be your future home.

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Choose Some of the Best Districts Popular Among Expats

Whether you’re moving abroad alone or with family, it might be a good idea to consider one of the districts most expats choose when relocating to the capital of South Korea. People who choose to live here usually opt for one of these districts:

  • Itaewon-dong (Yongsan-gu)
  • Ichon-dong (Yongsan-gu)
  • Hannam-dong (Yongsan-gu)
  • Seodaemun-gu

Check the Housing Market

Once you’ve found your perfect neighborhood, it’s time to find an ideal house or apartment, too. This means that you should check the housing market and look carefully, considering the rising housing prices in Seoul.

Know the Difference Between Several Housing Options in Seoul

To be sure you have found what you’re looking for, you need to be familiar with several different housing options. These include:

  • Serviced apartments – suitable for a short-term stay
  • Regular apartments – most popular option
  • Officetel – popular among students and singles
  • Private houses – suitable for families

It’s Best That You Find a Job Before Moving to Seoul

Before you start packing to move, make sure you find a job well in advance. One of the safest job options for you is to work as an English teacher. Of course, there are other opportunities, too. It’s up to you to research the competitive Korean job market and find the work that fits your qualifications.

Find out More About Employment by Economic Sector

In addition to English language teaching, there are also job opportunities in technology and IT, and there might be something in tourism, too.

Make an Effort to Learn Some Korean to Increase Your Odds of Landing a Job

If you want to work outside of the educational sector, breaking the language barrier is a must. Stick to a guide to learning a new language and get down to business as soon as possible, as Korean is rather complex. Whether you like it or not, you will need to speak the language.

Decide on the Most Convenient Mode of Transport

Think about how you’re going to get around the city after you move. Seoul has a well-organized public transportation system, so that might be a good option. You’ll be able to get anywhere you want without much hassle.

Consider Shipping Your Car to South Korea

No matter how good public transportation is, it’s always more comfortable to get around in your own car. If you, too, think so, it might be a good idea to look for help. Ask for overseas vehicle shipping and get your car delivered to your future address.

Check the Cost of Living

When moving internationally, it is always a good idea to save some money for this endeavor. The cost of living in Seoul is rather high. Be sure you save some cash for your first months there and find a well-paid job to live comfortably.

Plan Your Monthly Budget

To avoid any unpleasant surprises, it is advisable that you consider approximate monthly costs in your chosen city and plan your budget accordingly. Be sure you can afford to live there before you get on that plane.

Prepare for Culture Shock

Adjusting to a new country after moving can be challenging, especially when you’re relocating to a place so different from your home country. You can experience culture shock even when you just travel, let alone when you relocate. So, to make this an enjoyable experience from the very first day, put in some effort and learn about Korean culture, food and customs, and Koreans themselves before you move there. Knowing what to expect will also help you deal with stress and anxiety.

Join an Expat Community to Ease the Adjustment Period

Joining an expat community can be of great help if you’re having trouble getting used to Korean culture. You will feel much more comfortable when you meet other people living there with whom you can share your experience and be sure they’ll understand what you’re going through.


Even though you’re relocating to another part of the world, things can go smoothly if you plan every step properly. Take one step at a time, organize everything carefully, and you can be sure this will be a pleasant experience to remember.



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