Good morning, good afternoon and good evening to anyone who stumbles upon this post!
In a few days, I will be on a plane to South Korea to start my life as an English Teacher. You might have already read my nerve filled post. I sent in my application around the second week of August (about 10 days after the application was open to everyone to start submitting). In October, I had my interview. Once I passed, my coordinator told me I would have to send him the documents EPIK required so that he could recommend me to MOEs/POEs.
MOE: Metropolitan Office of Education
POE: Provincial Office of Education
These required documents are already up on EPIK’s website, so if you want you can get a head start on it even before your interview since some of them can take awhile to get a hold of. Frankly speaking, this process can put a dent in your wallet especially if you’re already someone who tries to be frugal with their money. That’s why I wanted to write this post so that if you’re thinking of applying you can have some sort of idea of how much you might pay for each document. However, if you are sure this is something you want to do, go for it! Even if you don’t get placed with EPIK, I believe you can ask for your documents back. If you go through a recruiter and you’re not accepted, they can most likely help you apply with another program using the documents you sent in so you don’t have to pay for all of these documents twice. That is all information you would have to look into if that happens to you, but think positive in the beginning!
I will put a disclaimer that the prices I quote will be specific to my experience as a U.S. resident living in the state of New York, including the specific routes I took to obtain certain documents (specifically the CRC).
CRC: Criminal Record Check
Here are the documents EPIK requires including the price:
- EPIK application:
- This is the application you initially send to EPIK before your interview and they ask for the documents to be sent in so it’s free!
- Proof of Level 2 status:
- (TEFL certificate/Education Major/Mastor’s Degree) I will not be calculating the cost of TEFL certification here. The prices can range so much depending if you want only online, online/in class, what company you decide to go with, etc.
- Copy of your passport page:
- If you already have a passport and it will not expire anytime soon, you do not have to worry about this price. However, if you are getting a passport for the very first time, you will need to pay $110 for the application fee and $35 for the execution fee for a total of $145. If you are renewing your passport, you will just need to pay the $110 for the application fee.
- An Apostilled National Background Check: There are two ways to go about this process.
- Option One: Cheaper, More Time
- Print out form 1-783 from the FBI’s website. You have to pay $18 to have your record checked. Get your fingerprints taken (many people go to their local police department). This could cost around $20. It might be cheaper or more expensive depending on your local station or where you decide to go.
- Wait about 12-16 weeks to get your record checked and sent back to you.
- Now, you have to get the apostille which means the FBI has to attach a form to your background check with their seal verifying that your clean background check is real. You can send this to their office after completing Form DS-4194 for a fee of $8. I think it takes about two weeks to get it back. Or you can walk into the office if you live in DC and that takes around a couple of days.
- Option Two: More Expensive, Less Time (This is what I did)
- Use a channeler such as Accurate Biometrics. I walked into their office and they digitally fingerprinted me. They then sent it off to the FBI and I had my background check sent to my e-mail as a PDF in less than 24 hours. This cost me $95. I think it might cost more if you want a physical copy as well. Different channelers will most likely have varying prices so compare and see which one is best for you! (also check which company has offices close to you)
- I used Monument Visa to get my CRC apostille. I sent them the PDF and in about a week I had my apostilled CRC in my hands. This cost $55.
- Option One: Cheaper, More Time
- Apostilled Diploma:
- To get a duplicate of my diploma, it cost $25. If you are able to physically go to your school to get it. I suggest this. I’m kind of paranoid about the mail so if I can pick it up myself I will do that, haha.
- Once you get your diploma, you have to get it notarized. You can get it done at a bank or post office, wherever you can find a notary. I had my diploma notarized at an Allstate near my house. She didn’t charge me so I’m not sure if there is a fee normally. If there is, I believe it isn’t that expensive.
- This next step is specific to applicants living in New York! Once you get your diploma notarized you have to go to your County Clerk (Google) and have them verify the person who notarized your form. They will attach a paper to your diploma with a statement of something similar to “I, of _____ verify this notary.” Not the exact words but that’s the gist! This cost me $3.
- Next, you go to the Secretary fo State office. I live a train ride away so I just walked inside, but I believe you can also send it in. Again, the mail scares me so if you’re able to go to the office yourself, I suggest you do! They charge $10 to apostille documents. It might be more expensive in your state, so please check that.
- I had already graduated when I applied to EPIK. If you are still in school when you apply, make sure to let your school know you will need your diploma as soon as possible once you graduate or arrange a way to get it earlier if possible.
- Sealed Transcripts:
- You only need one set. So, for me, this cost $10.
- Two Letters of Recommendation:
- I would hope you don’t have to pay for a recommendation.
With this in mind, you now have to actually send in all of these documents. You can use FedEX, DHL or UPS (NOT USPS). I used FedEx and was charged about $90. Apparently I sent in my documents on a day when prices are higher than normal, but it was all good. I sent them in on a Thursday or Friday and they got to EPIK on Monday. Some people said DHL was cheaper than FedEX for them, so that is something to look into.
This is extra: If you want to avoid being double taxed for two years while in South Korea there is a form you can fill out. You can fill out the 8802 form and send it to the IRS. This will take about 4-6 weeks and will most likely get to you after you arrive in Korea so be sure to put down an address of someone you trust to send it to you once you arrive and know your Korean address. The cost for this form is $85. This is a completely optional step, but it’s something to think about. Please read, this blog post and this blog post for more in depth information of the 8802 form and how to fill it out.
In total, I spent $373. I already had a passport so I didn’t have to pay for any fees related to that, I went with FedEX when sending my documents and I did send in the 8802 form.
I hope this post was helpful. If you’re considering EPIK and the prices make you nervous, I totally understand. This isn’t even counting your visa and plane ticket. But, trust me the number sucks now but it’ll be worth it.
Please comment below and let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them or refer you to a post that will!
*Featured Image taken from Pexels.