Starting An E-Commerce Business In Korea

E-commerce isn’t just a thing of the future, with numerous companies currently operating in this field. With Korea being one of the most attractive destinations for entrepreneurs, you may want to consider setting up an e-commerce business in Korea. There are many requirements for a foreigner to set up an e-commerce business in Korea, one of which is a business license.

Without a business license, you cannot operate an online business in Korea, and with the potential market present there, it will prove costly. To help you as a foreigner, get your e-commerce business up and running, we take a look at how you can get a business license in Korea.

Can Foreigners Start An Online Business In Korea?

A foreigner can start an online business in Korea, provided their visa allows it. Not all visa holders in Korea can start an online business, and you will have to verify whether or not yours qualifies. If you do not hold a Korean visa, then it is impossible to start an online business in Korea. You will need to get a Korean visa first before you can proceed to set up an online company.

There are three main classes of Visa holders that are eligible to start a business in Korea. The F class visa, the D-8-4 visa, and the D-8 visa. The F-class visa holders that can start a business in Korea are the F-2, F-4, F-5, and F-6 visas, all of which will require you to live in Korea. The D-8 visa on the other hand is less demanding but will require you to invest at least KRW 100 million ($76,863.41) before you can get one. Applying for a Korean visa is easy, and all you have to do is visit the official government website.

Alternatively, you can get someone or an organization with a Korean visa to get a business license on your behalf. 

How To Get A Business License For E-Commerce In Korea 

It is easy to get a business license in Korea once you have met the visa requirements. The documents you will need for registration will be determined by the industry your business fall under. You will also need to have an official office address, and present the lease when applying for a business license. Once you have all the requirements, the process is simple and as follows:

  • Go to the nearest tax office with all the required documents and your passport
  • Obtain and fill out the business registration form
  • Submit the completed form along with all the required documents to the tax officer, and you will be issued a receipt
  • Once your application is processed and your license is ready, you will receive a notification
  • Return to the tax office to receive your official business license

It is important to note that all the details in your documents will need to be accurate, as it is all subject to verification. You may also receive a phone call from the tax office as part of the verification office. If you do not speak Korean, you may need to have a translator present when the call arrives.

Once you have your business license, you may still have to worry about other requirements before you can officially start your online business. One of such requirements may be to create an official company bank account, which may prove to be just as demanding as obtaining a business license.

How Can Premia TNC Help?  

If you already have a business license or a visa, then can PremiaTNC offer you consultancy services as regards setting up your online business in Korea. For those who don’t have a visa and require assistance obtaining a business license or setting up an online company, PremiaTNC can help with both. We can also help guide you through the entire process to ensure you don’t overlook any steps when setting up your online business in Korea. 


With Korea primly placed in the Asian market, it is a no-brainer to set up an e-commerce company there. There are a lot of processes you may encounter when setting up your e-commerce business, but with the right assistance, everything becomes easier. Premia TNC provides consultancy and proxy services to ensure your e-commerce business can be a success.


Q: Are foreign companies required to pay tax in Korea?

Tax is mandatory for all companies in Korea except the company in question qualifies for exemption. It doesn’t matter whether your business has generated a profit or not, you will still need to file. You have to worry about more than one tax in Korea, with all businesses required to pay both value-added and income tax. Value-added tax is due twice a year and has a standard rate of 10% while income tax is annual, and is due on the last day of May annually. While VAT is fixed, income tax varies depending on your income and can be as low as 6% or as high as 42%.

Q: What is the cost of obtaining a business license in Korea?

Obtaining a business license or registering your business isn’t free and will cost about KRW 4.9 million ($4,300). It is important to note that this cost is just the basic fee required for getting the license. There may be other costs encountered especially when you need to obtain a visa or hire a lawyer. Once you have met all requirements, you can expect to pay the required fee for obtaining a business license.

Q: Can a residential address serve as a business address?

If you already have a residential address in Korea, you can use it as your official business address and present the lease when applying for your business license. You will, however, require the permission of your landlord, before registering your home address as your business address.

Q: Are there any visa holders that cannot register an online company in Korea?

Not all visa holders in Korea are eligible to register an online business in Korea. The most notable visa holders that cannot register an online business in Korea are student visa holders, English teacher visa holders, and employee visa holders. Anyone under any of the visa categories that wish to start an online company will need to apply for a different visa.

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