Korean NHIS: How Much it Costs & Who Needs It

If you are coming to Korea to study or work, you need to know about Korean NHIS (National Health Insurance). When I first came to Korea, I knew nothing about it and suffered some pretty big financial consequences. Here is what you need to know about NHIS so that you don’t spend more than you need to.

*This article was written in 2022*

My Korean NHIS Catastrophe

Before moving to South Korea, I got myself a travel insurance plan. It was not cheap, but my understanding was that it was needed since I would be gone for a long time. The thing is, I didn’t know about NHIS.

What I discovered

NHIS is the National Health Insurance Service, which you must have in Korea as a student. For students under a D-4 (language school) visa, you get it after 6 months of living in the country.

However, if you are a D-2 visa student (full-time or exchange student), like me, you have to start paying for NHIS right away, from the first month until you depart from the country.

I didn’t know about it, but I can’t blame the university a hundred percent for this. Turns out that in an email to new international students they sent the instructions but it was in Korean. And the English translation was so vague that I thought I could take the insurance I had already paid and have it count for NHIS.


Turns out that travelers’ insurance can be substituted for NHIS only under certain circumstances, and sadly I didn’t meet the requirements. So, monthly, I have to pay for NHIS despite having already paid for travelers’ insurance. I pay 54,000 won per month.

Some people may say it’s not much, but please if you can’t afford to pay double insurance, then make sure you Click Here and read the requirements.

One way or another, I realized I didn’t prepare correctly for this life-changing trip. But I don’t think I would change a thin. Dealing with all kinds of stuff has given me more knowledge and understanding of different matters so I can help other people.

If you’re looking to move to Korea to study, make sure you do a deep research on every aspect of the student life… including these tiny details that sometimes are a stressful addition to everyday life challenges.

Korean NHIS for Students (D-2 & D-4)


For those on a D-2 visa, or attending training or language school, you will need to get Korean NHIS 6 months after arriving in South Korea. Until February 2023, the price is around 54,000 Won per month. However, after February 2023, the price will jump to 140,070 Korean won per month.


For those on a D-4 visa, or international and exchange student visa, you will have to pay for Korean NHIS immediately after arriving in South Korea. Until February 2023, the price is around 54,000 Won per month. However, after February 2023, the price will jump to 140,070 Korean won per month.

Korean NHIS for the Unemployed (D-10 Visa)

For those on a D-10 visa, you will need to pay the full price of Korean NHIS (140,070 Korean Won per month). It is extremely important that you continue to pay for insurance while unemployed. When extending your D-10 visa or switching to a new visa, you have to prove that you have paid insurance.

If you did not pay insurance while on your D-10 visa, you will have to backpay to the start of your visa. Additionally, you will have to pay late fees.

As your visa is not sponsored by any organization, you MUST register for insurance on your own. This will require an in-person visit to the NHIS Center for Foreign Residents.

Korean NHIS for Workers (Regular & Self Employed)

Regular Employemnt

For those working in South Korea, the monthly NHIS contribuition is 6.86% of income. However, employers must contribute 50% of the cost.

So, for example if your monthly income is 3,000,000 Won, the monthly insurance contribution that will be deducted from your paycheck is 102,900 won.

Self Employed

Those who are self employed, mostly those on E-6, C-4, or F series visas will have their monthly NHIS contribution calculated by a point system. You will need to provide information on all of your assets in Korea. This will include income, property, and car value. If will be calculated as follows:

Monthly Contribution = Contribution Score X Value per score (KRW 201.5).

As with those on a D-10 visa, you will need to register for insurance in person through the NHIS Center for Foreign Residence. Be sure to call ahead so that you can prepare all of the necessary documents they require.

If you are living in South Korea, and would like to learn more about mental health services, Click Here.

🇨🇱 Dani

Biotechnology student, vanilla latte lover, plus sized latina.