KIIP Level 5: How to Apply and What to Expect

KIIP Level 5 marks a major milestone in the path to a stable life in South Korea for many immigrants. Completing the Korean Immigration and Integration Program allows foreigners to gain the points they get closer to receiving a residency visa. It allows them to live more comfortably, without having their immigration status linked to their employer, spouse, or school.

What is KIIP?

The Korean Immigration and Integration Program 사회통합프로그램 is an education program introduced by the Ministry of Justice. It aims to help foreigners, who stay long-term, integrate into Korean society. It consists of 6 levels, 0 -5. The first five levels are mainly Korean language classes. While the last level focuses on understanding Korean society. During the program, you will learn the basics of Korea’s legal and education systems, history, and culture.

Why should you do KIIP?

All courses are free. You just have to buy the books, that’s it. That is, except for the test for level 5, for which you have to pay 38,000 won. After the completion of level 5, you can take two different tests to get a certificate that will allow you to earn extra points for visa applications. So, it is a good opportunity to learn about the Korean language and culture while opening more opportunities to stay in Korea long-term.

How to apply for KIIP?

To apply for the classes you have to make an account on the Immigration & Social Integration Network (Click Here) site. It is automatically linked to your immigration information (especially important because of your address). On the website, you can find everything on the programs and also apply for the courses.

For the KIIP classes, you have to choose 사회통합프로그램 과정신청. Unfortunately not all the pages and information are in English.

Also, keep in mind you have to register on the website before you can see the available classes and when to register for them. Each semester, the dates of the classes change so you have to check back regularly for registration dates.

Level tests

There are two ways to determine your level for KIIP: Level tests or TOPIK results.

You can also start from Level 0 if you have no prior experience. Otherwise, you will need to take a level test or the TOPIK to find out which level you belong to. You can check the dates for the level test on the homepage after registering.

If you take a TOPIK test, you can submit the certificate and get in a level depending on your TOPIK score.

  • The equivalent of TOPIK 1 is KIIP Level 2
  • TOPIK 2 is equivalent to KIIP Level 3
  • If you have a TOPIK score of 3, you will be placed in KIIP Level 4
  • Finally, if you have above TOPIK 4, you can enter KIIP level 5.

Where to submit your TOPIK score

There are two ways you can submit your TOPIK score in order to register for KIIP. One is to go to the nearest immigration office and apply there. The other way is that you call 1345 and ask them how to submit it by mail. They will give you the mailing address of the office responsible for your immigration status. Then just send your TOPIK score, with your ARC and the application form to them. After a few days, they will update your info on ‘My page’.

KIIP Level 5

There are two Level 5 classes. The residency one is 70 hours long, while the naturalization one is an additional 30 hours. They also have separate tests and the books are different. So, if you are not aiming to get Korean citizenship, just take the 70-hour course. But if you want, you can always take the extra 30-hour course without taking the test afterward.

The basic 70 hours are divided into 60 hours of classes with a teacher and 10 hours of extra credits, for each of them you are required to attend 80 percent of the class time.

If you are taking the class remotely, you will be required to have your camera on the entire time. Additionally, are not allowed to leave your place, otherwise, they can mark you as absent. Also, you can’t eat during class. After every 50 minutes, there are 10 minutes breaks.

Extra points

You can earn the 10 extra hours in different ways. In my case I could choose between these options (but they can vary between institutions):

  • 3 hours: Full vaccination plus one booster shot.
  • 4 hours: donating blood in South Korea.
  • 4 hours: A field trip (anything related to the topics of the book. The teacher should give you a document for its approval).
  • 2 hours: If you did more than 10 hours of voluntary work at a registered NGO or volunteer organization.
  • 2 hours: Extra classes (mentor or another topic they announce: I had a class about consumer rights). They will offer 4 of them at different times, depending on how many points you have from other things, you can complete your hours with these courses.

Test

Just after finishing your class completely, you are able to register for the test. For good locations, you have to be really fast (e.g. Suwon). You will get a text message that gives you all the necessary information before taking the test. You can find information about the test on the homepage of the Korea Immigration Service Foundation by Clicking Here.

If you finish the course, you get a completion certificate. However, if you complete the score and pass the test, you receive a KIPRAT certificate for permanent residency (70-hour course) or for naturalization, the KINAT certificate (100-hour course).

Before the test

If you enter the testing room, you have to give them all your electronic devices at the entrance. You won’t get them back until you finish the speaking test. You are not allowed to take anything out of your bag during the entire test. This means that you have to sit there waiting for the speaking test without anything. When going to the toilet just one person is allowed to leave the room at a time.

During the test

During the test, you can have correction tape and your ID on the table. The first part takes 50 minutes for 36 multiple choice questions and 10 minutes of writing. After that, you will have a 20-minute break. Then the speaking test will start.

For the speaking test, you will be assigned a partner and you will take the test together. They will ask you 5 questions, 2 of them about a text, and the rest are about the topics in the book. After the test, you have to leave the building and are not even allowed to use the toilet. This will prevent you from telling other people the questions.

Conclusion

KIIP definitely is worth taking if you plan on staying in South Korea for a long time. But if not, you can still learn a lot of useful things for your daily life. It is not always easy and if you work full time you have to be aware that it takes a lot of time and effort to complete KIIP. Take it at your own pace and complete it in a reasonable schedule based on your priorities.

🇦🇹 Neith

Adventurer, nature and coffelover currently living in South Korea. I love exploring new places, hiking and unique cafes.