Korean Immigration and Integration Program is a program that supports foreigners to have basic knowledge of the Korean language and culture. After completion, this program may able to give you a chance to be a permanent resident or naturalized citizen of Korea. Let’s check out the other details about this program.
What is the Korean Immigration and Integration Program (KIIP)?
KIIP or Korean Immigration and Integration Program is a program that aims to support foreigners to learn about the Korean language, culture, economy, law, and other information that may help the foreigners in adapting to Korean society. Any foreigner that is legally staying in Korea with a valid Alien Registration Card is allowed to the said program.
Completion of the program and receiving the Korean Immigration and Integration Program (KIIP) certificate is a big advantage to a foreigner to acquire permanent residency or Korean citizenship. But honestly, taking the program requires a lot of time from level 0 to 6. Each level requires you to pass each test to level up until you finish level 5 Basic Course (Residence Visa) or 5 Advanced Courses (Naturalized Citizenship), depends on which one you want to acquire. I am not sure but I know naturalized citizenship is only open for foreigners who are married to a Korean. And foreigners who are working in Korea may acquire a permanent residence visa renewable every 10 years.
In my experience, I took KIIP for two years. I started studying at level 3 in 2017 and finished it last year 2019. I am thankful that I have finished and completed the program and acquired my Korean citizenship. In this blog, I would like to share some tips and advice on how to take this program and study tips on how to pass each test.
What are the things you need to do?
Not all foreigners or immigrants know the details of this program. I remember when I first arrived here in Korea, I took my Korean class at the Multicultural Center. My husband doesn’t know about this program and my Korean teacher was the one who introduced it to me. At first, I don’t understand why she told me to take the level test but after researching what does this program means I got the idea already.
So here are the things you need to do:
First, you need to register or create an account at the Korean Immigration and Integration Program website and then apply for a pre-test. The result of your pre-test will determine your ability and knowledge about the Korean language. If you think that you don’t have any knowledge of Korean, you may able to request to start in Level 0 and you don’t need to take the pre-test. But if you think you have basic knowledge and have the ability to communicate you can take the pre-test and the result of your exam will determine which level are you in.
TOPIK passers are exempted to take the pre-test, they just need to submit the document to the immigration to know which level they are assigned to.
Second, you need to apply for a class on which level you were assigned based on your pre-test result. In each class, there are only 10 to 20 students allowed to apply so better you need to know the exact date of application.
Useful Tips: Upon application of class, better enroll at midnight than waiting for the sun to rise. When you able to enroll at midnight, check your application again in the morning because sometimes there are errors during the application and it will reset everything and you might miss it.
Another tip is to enroll at the school which is nearest to you and the one that fits your schedule. Remember that you are not allowed to be late every time because each level has required hours to complete.
Upon enrollment, if you may not able to apply because the class was full already there are two options for you to get in the class. You can still enroll in the class when it says 대기신청 (waiting application).
When you apply for this you will be on the waiting list and you’ll able to get in class if:
Option 1: The applicant cancels before the start of class. You may able to get that slot if there’s no one on the waiting list except you. But if there’s someone who applied before you, he/she may get that slot.
Option 2: If the student who registered for the class and may not able to show up for consecutive meetings they will automatically disqualify and those who are on the waiting list may get the slot.
Third, each level has its corresponding book so after you applied for your class you may able to purchase the book online or at the nearest bookstore since the school will not provide it. You need to have the book on the first day of your class since classes will start right away. In 2021,
Fourth, you need to complete the courses ( if you are from Level 0 to 3) to be eligible to take the evaluation exams.
Fifth, you need to complete a level 4 course and may able to take the mid-term evaluation.
Lastly, finishing the Basic Course or Advanced Course (Level 5) will allow you to take the final exam for permanent residency or citizenship.
REMINDER: Pre-test and each exam have a fee of 30,000 won.
What are the differences between KIIP Levels?
Level 0 (15 hours)
This level is all about the basics, understanding the Korean characters, and learn how to form words using the Korean alphabet. This is a very important class honestly if you are zero knowledge of Korean. This class doesn’t have a level-up exam so need to worry about that but it only requires you to complete the 15 hours.
Level 1 (100 hours)
This is a beginner class, after the basics, you’ll need to learn basic grammars. This class requires you to complete at least 80% of the total class hours. Non-completion will result in disqualification and will not able to take the exam and it will require to enroll again. The exam’s passing score is 60 points out of 100 to be promoted to level 2. The exam type is multiple choice and panel interview.
Level 2 (100 hours)
This level is beginner part 2 of level 1. This teaches simple Korean grammars which provides explanations and usage which is a big help for everyday conversation. The required time and examination mechanics are the same. You just need to complete the class and pass the exam to move up to level 3.
Level 3 (100 hours)
This course requires 80 hours of attendance and 60 points passing grade to move up to level 4. Grammar, vocabulary, conversations, and essays are a bit difficult. So before attending your class you need to do an advanced study to able to understand what is all about. Also, some Korean teachers don’t speak English or other languages so you really to do some effort in studying.
Level 4 (100 hours)
This course is the second part of the intermediate level. This teaches deeper vocabulary, grammar, and also teaches how to write longer essays. Honestly, I think this was the hardest class for me but I got lucky to take it once. Once you completed the class, you are required to register for a Mid-term test at the Korea Immigration Service Foundation website. Passing this level will grant you the KLCT (Korean Language and Culture Test) certificate and you may able to take the Level 5 course.
The exam type for this course is multiple-choice, a written exam/essay writing, and a panel interview.
Level 5 – Basic Course (50 hours for Permanent Residency Test)
This class is not about the Korean language anymore but it’s more about Korean society, culture, law, economics, and history. This course is for those who want to apply for permanent residency. Need to complete at least 40 hours and pass the exam with a grade of 60 points.
To take the Comprehensive Test, you need to complete the 50 hours and register on the Korea Immigration Service Foundation website and pay an examination fee worth 30,000 won. When you passed this exam, you will be granted the KIPRAT (Korean Immigration and Permanent Residence Aptitude Test) and Completion Certificate (이수증). And you may able to apply for Permanent Residency (F2 or F-5 visa).
Level 5 Advanced Course ( 50 hours + 20 hours for Naturalization Test)
If you are aiming for Korean citizenship you need to take Level 5 (50+20hours) for a total of 70 hours. Upon completion, you are able to take the KINAT (Korean Immigration and Naturalization Aptitude Test).
After finishing the course, you can register on the Korea Immigration Service Foundation website to able to take the Naturalization Test. If you passed the test you will be granted the KINAT (Korean Immigration and Naturalization Aptitude Test) (합격증) and Completion Certificate (이수증) for applying for Korean citizenship.
Other Useful Tips and Information
From time to time, they changed the policies and it’s getting a bit harder and harder. When you failed the exam you may not able to move to the next level. So there are some options to do if ever this situation happens to you.
In level 1 to 3, you can just simply retake the class and pass the exam to level up. While Levels 4 and 5 have two options to choose from. Option 1, retake the exam without taking the class and pass the test. While option 2, allows you to retake the class (when you failed on the first try). Take the exam and pass with 40 points and you’ll receive the KIIP completion certificate (이수증) only.
Study Tips on How to Pass the Test
Learning Korean is easy but a bit complicated due to grammar structure and usage. If you are not good at Korean, you need to really study well to pass each test. Honestly, I am not also fluent in Korean. There are instances that my grammar is wrong, I don’t understand some Korean words and others. But there are helpful tips on how to learn Korean easily.
- Read the book as many times as you can – this will help you remember the keywords you need.
- Translate the words you don’t understand – write the words you don’t understand in a notebook and read it all the time.
- Try communicating with your Korean language teachers – talking to a Korean will enhance your speaking ability.
- Listen to MP3 provided in the book to enhance your hearing ability when it comes to Korean words.
- Try answering the given questions in the book like the essays to enhance your writing ability. If you are not sure about your grammar, you may ask your teacher to check it, they are approachable at all times.
- Manage your time, so you can have extra time to study at home.
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At the end of hardship comes happiness.