So, you’ve gotten a job teaching English in South Korea, and you might’ve even just touched down after doing a visa run to Fukuoka. Regardless, you’re stepping into a new world, but there are still a few things you’ll need to do before you can really settle in. The most critical thing is to apply for your alien registration card, often abbreviated as an ARC. This card is what gives you license to stay in the country longer than 90 days and will help you transition from a tourist to a resident. With that said, here’s what you’ll need to get your South Korean alien registration card!
*NOTE* This guide is strictly for E2 visa holders. Others may need additional documentation.
Things you need
Sealed results from your health exam
This one is the biggest pain to get (literally) and will involve a trip to the nearest hospital. Bring your passport and some passport photos, as well as a credit card to pay for the health check. Fees can vary from place to place but expect to pay between 80 ~ 100,000 won.
Show the receptionist your passport and E2 visa. That should be enough to clue them in on what you’re there for. They’ll hand you a form to fill out and take payment for the test. Once that’s done, you’ll be given a numbered slip and a sheet of paper. Wait until your number is called, then let the staff shuffle you from one station to the next as you get your urine, vision, hearing, teeth, heart, blood pressure, blood, height, weight… well, pretty much everything, checked and tested. Don’t blink, or you might miss the whole process.
*PRO TIP* Your blood will not only be tested for AIDS, but also for any signs of drug use. Be smart, and don’t do drugs, kids!
Once finished, you’ll have to come back in a few days to pick up your results. Make sure the envelope stays sealed. If you open it, the Immigration Office won’t accept the test as valid.
Just one is required, but it’s a good idea to have some extras on hand. If you forget, the immigration offices usually have a machine where you can get a passport photo taken, and they’re often cheaper than getting it done at a photography studio.
These can be picked up from the immigration office, or you can download a form online (it’s the top option: Integrated Application Form) and print it out. I’d advise filling it out with your employer, as several of the fields will require information only your boss will have.
Passport with E2 visa inside
Hopefully, you were able to get this taken care of back home before you left to come teach English in South Korea. Or, if you were like me this last time, you had to do a visa run to Japan. Whatever the case, before you apply for your alien registration card, you will need to have your E2 visa sorted.
I’d seen many sources saying it was 10,000 won, but I had to pay 30,000 for the application plus an additional 3,000 to get the card delivered to my apartment. There are usually ATMs at the office, but bring enough cash for either eventuality and you should be fine.
Things you might need
- A copy of your apartment lease.
- Your employer’s business registration form
You’ll need to have your employer sort these out. Work with them to get all of these things assembled and it should be a breeze to get your alien registration card!
Expect to wait about two weeks before you get your actual card in the mail. Fear not, however, as they’ll give you a temporary card which you can use to open up a bank account, get phone service, etc. Just make sure to read the terms on the front, especially if you plan on traveling before you receive your permanent card. You might be required to clear any border crossings with the official reviewing your application.
- Call 1345 from a Korean phone number to speak to an Immigration Specialist before you go to the Immigration Office. They can help you confirm exactly what paperwork you’ll need, as well as be able to tell you hours and address information.
- Don’t know where to go? Check the Immigration Bureau’s website for the office nearest to you.
How about you? Have you ever had to apply for your alien registration card? Or did your employer take care of the process for you? Whatever the case, how was your experience? Share it in the comments below!