First, let me explain my background. I came to the USA on a tourist visa 18 years ago from South Korea and have never been out since. Thus my USA visa has long since expired, but I changed my status to F-1 (note the subtle difference between F-1 'status' holder and F-1 'visa' holder. I did not have an F-1 visa). However, I have recently received a green card.

I am now into my fifth year of Ph.D. and will apply for postdoctoral academic job positions.

Here are some questions:

1) If I travel outside the US, now re-entry to the US would not be a problem since I have obtained a green card? I won't travel to Korea, since I did not serve in Korea's mandatory military service; therefore, they probably won't let me leave again (especially since I have left the country with a tourist visa and never returned). However, I would like to know if I can travel to places like Europe.

2) I would like to have options to apply to some jobs in Europe. However, for the reason I explained above, I am unable to get a visa directly from South Korea. Is it possible for me to get a European visa (as a Korean and a US permanent resident) in any other means? Maybe I can enter a European country, and change my 'status' there to some valid legal status without obtaining a visa? (Just as I did in the US with F-1 status)

EDIT - I do have a valid South Korean passport, which expires in about 8 years or so.

  • 2
    Do you have a valid passport? If so, is it a South Korean one?
    – origimbo
    Nov 30, 2018 at 16:14
  • Sorry, I should have provided that information. I do have a valid South Korean passport which expires in about 8 years from now. Nov 30, 2018 at 16:21
  • If a country cares about where you file a visa application, they are going to want you to file in your country of residence, the US. Nov 30, 2018 at 16:35
  • Oh, so are you saying that I can file a visa application in the USA since I am a permanent resident here? Otherwise (if I am only F-1 status holder), I would have had to apply from South Korea, correct? Nov 30, 2018 at 16:44
  • 1
    For the purpose of visa applications in European consulates, "residence" does not mean "permanent residence" but rather the place where you live. From what I've seen, they only exclude visitors categorically (people in B-1, B-2, or visa waiver program status) as well as people whose stay in the US is shorter than 6 or 12 months.
    – phoog
    Nov 30, 2018 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


However, I would like to know if I can travel to places like Europe.

You should have no problem traveling to Europe on your unexpired valid passport after acquiring a visa (if required of Korean citizens), provided it has not been revoked by the South Korean government, which is unlikely

Is it possible for me to get a European visa (as a Korean and a US permanent resident) in any other means?

Yes, see above. You do not have to go to Korea to apply for a visa to European countries. Finally, long term travel/migration and applying for work permits etc is beyond the scope of this part of stack exchange. You can check expatriates.

  • unexpired valid visa? I actually don't have a visa, but only a passport. Nov 30, 2018 at 16:43
  • Thank you for the answer! I will also check expatriates! Nov 30, 2018 at 16:45
  • For most of Europe, and for short trips where the OP isn't being paid it's possible even a visa isn't necessary. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… The biggest risk is the unfortunate travel history inside the US (overstayed visas can cause believability issues, even if the situation has subsequently been regularized).
    – origimbo
    Nov 30, 2018 at 17:08
  • he doesn't make it clear in his question whether he overstayed or whether he changed status before his tourist visa expired. Nov 30, 2018 at 17:30
  • @PeterGreen All those are irrelevant, once he has already obtained permanent residence. Nov 30, 2018 at 18:41

My understanding is that as a south korean you do not need a visa to visit Europe. If you were still in F1 status then getting a visa to get back into the US may be a problem, but as a US permanent resident your green card suffices to re-enter the US.

Generally requirements for where you can get a visa depend on residency not citizenship. So it should be no problem to apply for a Visa as a permanent resident of the US if/when you need one.

Regarding getting a job AIUI it is normal to attend job interviews (with companies/institutions that are licensed to sponsor foreign workers) as a visitor, but then it is normal to leave the country while the company makes it's descision and then the process for your long term visa/residence permit/work permit is dealt with. The UK outright requires leaving the UK for this process, i'm not sure about other countries.

(personally if I were you though I would try to stay living in the US until you can get US citizenship)

  • Sorry, what is AIUI? Nov 30, 2018 at 19:20
  • As I understand it. Nov 30, 2018 at 19:20
  • I see. May I also ask what are some of your possible concerns that makes you want to stay living in the US if you were in my position? Nov 30, 2018 at 19:22
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    If you have got permanent residence then you are probablly most of the way to getting citizenship. Once you have citizenship it's pretty much for life, permanent residence on the other hand can be lost if you move away from the US for too long. Any residence you get in another country would most likely be temporary at least initially. Nov 30, 2018 at 19:27
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    So you could end up in a situation where you have effectively given up the US permanent residence but only have temporary residence in the new country. Bad luck on the job market could then force you back to Korea. Nov 30, 2018 at 20:06

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