MEDICAL CHECKS are required for E2 (Teaching) Visa applicants
In their initial application package, prospective teachers must fill out a short, unofficial health statement regarding infectious diseases, drug use, and psychological problems. Then, within three months (90 days) following her/his arrival in Korea, the teacher’s official medical data must be provided to the immigration office, as part of the application for residence registration. The medical exam to be conducted by government-approved public and general hospitals includes tests for narcotics use and HIV or AIDS and are at the teacher’s expense. The employer does not pay the costs of these tests.
After entering Korea, applicants must submit themselves to a medical check at a government approved hospital, public health clinic or general hospital.
Medical Exam – All E-2 visa holders for teaching occupation will need to undergo a medical exam within their first 90 days. The medical exam will be conducted at a designated hospital or medical clinic within your area of employment. Please Note: Although teachers are required to complete the health check within their first 90 days, most schools require their teachers to complete this requirement within the first few weeks since this determines your legal residency in Korea.
What the medical tests examine you?
Testing for narcotics and contagious diseases – The medical exam will check to see if you have any contagious diseases that may be detrimental to a student’s health (e.g. Aids, Hep, TB, STDs, etc.). Secondly, the check will determine whether or not the teacher has any traces of illegal substances in their system (e.g. marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, speed, etc.).
Current tests are being conducted via blood samples, urine samples and chest x-rays. Please be prepared for this health examination when you arrive in Korea. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the health checks then please don’t hesitate to discuss the matter with TeachEnglishKorea team before you enter Korea as early as possible. You are not required to get a health check in your home country before arriving although it’s always wise to get a complete physical from your family physician before traveling to a foreign country.
Hepatitis A and B Inoculation- TeachEnglishKorea strongly advises teachers to get their HEP (A&B) shots before departing for Korea. Generally speaking, Korea is a very clean and disease free country but HEP is quite common and protecting yourself from the potential risk is advised. Getting these shots can take several months to complete.
Cannaboid Test (Testing for marijuana and hash)- The cannaboid test was eliminated from the medical check requirement back in 2009 but it was reinstated in 2011. All teachers will be tested for marijuana during the medical examination – no exceptions. Please be advised: Depending on the amount of exposure, marijuana can stay in a person’s system for 2 weeks to 3 months.
This is one of clauses commonly shown in an employment contract;
The teacher should examine the medical checks (including HIV, TBPE, Cannabinoid (THC)) after coming Korea. If the instructor tests Positive, The Employer may terminate this contract, at which point the Teacher has to reimburse all of the cost of the plane ticket to the institute for coming. Also, the teacher must reimburse all of the cost of hiring (Commission for agency, and so on), and the teacher would have to leave Korea by him/herself.
Important– The Korean government takes zero risk when it comes to the safety of their students. Any disease or condition, regardless of risk, that is deemed a potential health threat is automatically screened by Korean Immigration officials. People with a history of severe depression and anxiety, or people who are taking medications for neurological conditions are currently being screened by Korean Immigration as well. Note: These policies are enforced by Korean Immigration.
Example with TeachEnglishKorea experinces;
Other medicine such as Ibuprofen,Tyrelnol and etc: Although you may not take any medication of depression or such, teacher who has taken Ibuprofen or Tyrenol made a result of positive with unknown drugs. They had to retake medical exam after a week while drinking a lot of water and cranberry juice. After one week, the result came out as negative. Thefore We recommend teachers to not take any medicine even for light usage for one month before arrival. If you have any concerns for your medical check, please consult with TeachEnglishKorea in advance.
My name is Erin and I just finished doing my TEFL degree. I knew I had to do a health check, but I wasn’t aware of how rigorous it was. I have both OCD (+anxiety) and daily chronic headache (+migraines) for which I take medication every night. I’m able to work perfectly fine and pretty much anybody who looks at me would assume that I’m “normal”. After reading all of this though, I’m starting to get worried I won’t be able to teach in Korea. If somebody reads this, I’d love to hear their thoughts.
Hi Erin, actually those medication you have, a lot of teachers have similar medication in general. It’s really rare case that your health comes out as positive on drug test from that kind of medication usage. I recommend not discouraging yourself coming to Korea just because of that. 🙂