It’s barely a one-hour flight from Seoul’s Incheon airport to the capital city of the self-governing Jeju Island off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula.
They call it the “Island of the Gods.” It’s a popular destination for Korean honeymooners and Asian tourists from across the region. Yet, almost nobody outside of the area has ever heard of it.
Plus, in a number of ways, the culture of Jeju Island is rather different from mainland Korea.
Have you considered a North Asian country in your plans for your second residence or second passport?
If you are willing to invest in a local Korean business, you can get a South Korean residence and citizenship.
The Nomad Capitalist team has helped our clients obtain 28 different country’s citizenships, from often-overlooked and unknown programs to fast-tracked investment options and even exclusive programs for high-net-worth individuals. Contact us, and we can help you find the best choice.
About Jeju Island
Jeju Island is an interesting place. For one thing, almost ANYONE can visit here without a visa. The island calls itself “a Free International City where the provincial citizens are happy.”
As long as you’re not carrying a passport from one of a dozen troubled African or Middle Eastern nations, you can get into Jeju Island visa-free.
That even includes holders of passports from Mainland China, who are forced to get a visa in advance for almost any country they visit.
Jeju Island is one of nine provinces that make up South Korea, but its location away from the mainland gave it the ability to obtain status as the country’s only Special Autonomous Province.
The idea of an autonomous region within a country is nothing new. Hong Kong and Macau are China’s two Special Administrative Regions.
Labuan in Malaysia benefits from a similar arrangement that allows it to run an offshore financial center separate from the rest of the country.
Similar autonomy allows Jeju to make its own immigration laws, and, in their desire to be an international city, they’ve decided to let just about anyone come here.
South Korea’s Jeju Island: Unless you carry a passport from somewhere like Ghana or Iraq, you’re welcome in this autonomous “international city.”
Seoul may experience some rather inhospitable weather, but it has quite hospitable people and has gradually become a more popular destination with an easy visa program.
Jeju Island strives to be different and attract more foreigners to its shores. English is more widely spoken here. While South Korea is like any other liberal, developed country, things feel a bit more open in Jeju.
Not to mention that the place is a nature lover’s paradise, with a volcanic peak to hike, great beaches, and great scenery.
And, if you have enough money, anyone can live in Jeju. We shared how to get a second residency in South Korea by starting a business.
While the program used to be super cheap and easy, demand went through the roof, and the government raised the price and the standards. This is a common issue with residence and citizenship programs and a reason to take action on your internationalization plans sooner than later.
How to Get a Residence Visa on Jeju Island
The process of obtaining a second residency in Jeju is easy. Unfortunately, due to Korea’s proximity to wealthy markets like China, it’s not cheap.
However, it could be a good fit if you’re looking for a lifestyle investment.
Specifically, Jeju Island offers immigration of real estate investors who purchase a single property valued at around $374,000 (500 million South Korean) won or more.
Jeju will likely raise the minimum investment under its real-estate investment to 1.5 billion won or over $1 million.
The provincial government has also stated that it wants to impose a mandatory residence period for foreign investors and restrict the sale of properties for a specific period.
Properties purchased for the immigration program should be “recreational, ” so you need to want to live there. You can buy a larger property and go in with other investors, but each party needs to have at least 500 million won in the game in order to get a residence visa.
To be clear, this is a second residence option for high-net-worth individuals, and the government requires proof that you can support yourself. This isn’t Thailand, and prices aren’t exactly cheap here.
The government also requires your 500 million won investment to be in cold hard cash. If you mortgage the property to the point that your equity goes below this threshold, you’re out.
After five years of living on Jeju Island and keeping your nose clean, you can apply for permanent residence and work toward a South Korean passport.
If you’ve always wanted to live on an island with beaches, mountains, and a bit of city life, Jeju Island might be an option for you. More and more service workers here are learning English, Japanese, and other languages.
Like any other small place that wants to attract wealthy people to its shores, Jeju aspires to be truly international. Nobody’s going to be put out if you don’t speak Korean.
If South Korea or Jeju is a bit out there for you, plenty of other programs may be more suitable for your needs.
Keep in mind that in this fast-paced world, programs’ requirements are getting more complex every day.
We have helped over 1,500 clients move their business overseas, legally reduce taxes, become dual citizens, bank, and invest offshore.