Coming from Europe, at least the western European countries, you do not need a visa to travel to Korea for holiday. By filling out the form for temporary stay you may be in Korea for up to 3 months. However, if you intend to work here you must have a visa, and within three months of entry you must also have registered for an alien ID card.
The procedure of the visa application may differ from country to country. My employer did not give me sufficient information, so i found the best thing was to contact the South Korean embassy. I tried to call, but you will be asked to send an email, so just go ahead and do that right away. I received an email with a list of instructions.
First of all you need a valid passport, you will not be issued a visa for longer than your current passport is valid. Second, you need to fill out the application form included in the email.
You will need confirmation of employment from your company, a copy of business registration certificate from the Korean or Korean based company you will be working for or with, their certificate of tax payment and, if employed by a company based in your country, you also need a copy of a business plan or order agreement between your company and the Korean company you will be dealing with. Hopefully your employer knows what they need to do when they send you abroad, I was given all these documents in a ready package with my name filled in.
Lastly you will need a passport photo, in colour, and a visa fee (cash).
Mail all this ( including your passport) to the embassy, it should only take about two weeks to receive your visa. It is also possible to visit the embassy to deliver your application and then pick it up, if you live close by.
Once in Korea you need an address. If you are staying at a hotel temporarily, i would advise against applying for the alien card until you find an apartment and get your permanent address. otherwise you will have to re-apply when you change your address. Waste of time and money.
My company has hired a Korean HR company. They assist us in aqquiring apparments, vehicles, mobile phones, and also the alien card. So since they paid for my application i cannot tell you how much it costs.
You have to go to the immigration office in your area and fill out a registration form. Remember to bring your passport with visa and a passport photo. They will fingerprint you, you pay and then leave. After two weeks you may then collect your alien ID card.
So you may ask, why do you need it?
Well, apart from being mandatory, you need it for just about everything. Memberships, bank account... Korean drivers license, but that we will cover another day.
Anyeong hi gaseyo 안녕히 가세요