For over the past 5 years, I would need to go to the Seoul Immigration Office every year to get my Alien Registration Card extended. You need your ARC for pretty much everything when living and teaching in Korea. You will need it for banking, setting up internet services, setting up your mobile phone and this will be your primary ID while living here. Here are some things that you need to have prepared before going to the immigration office. This is specifically for those who are located in Seoul. If you are not in Seoul, please click on this link to find your designated immigration office.
Make sure to take with you:
- Visa Application
- Employment Contract
- Employee Work Schedule
- Housing Contract
- Academy’s Business License
- Appointment Receipt*
*Make sure that you or your your manager sets an appointment for visiting the immigration offices. Print the document and take it with you so that you will automatically be numbered in their system.
Take Purple Subway Line #5 to Omokgyo Station and take exit #7. From the station, it is about a 10 minute walk and as long as you pass by the Audi dealership, you are going the right way. When the street ends, cross the street and turn left. You will see the building and more than likely a bunch of other foreigners who are waiting for the same thing.
On your right hand side, make sure that you go to the immigration office that handles your districts. Many of the districts are dealt with on the first floor, but major districts like Mapo are on the second floor. You will see two large signs on the window directing you which way to go. When you go into the office, make sure that your name is on the list that is on the stand. If you are on it, go to the ATMs that are located on the first floor. You will see a cashier where you can pay for your visa. Make sure to have cash on you because that is all they take. Keep your payment receipt (Revenue Stamp of Government of the Republic of Korea) ready because you will need to show it to the immigration officer. If you don’t have a picture for your visa application, you can a take a picture in their photo booth for a modest fee.
After getting the payment receipt, you can just sit and relax until your number is called. I arrived at 8:20, my appointment was for 8:40 and the officer called me at 8:48. While I was waiting, I ended up prepping for my day’s class. Since I had everything ready, the officer was pleased because I did not have to leave the counter to fill-in any extra forms. She went over all of my documents and gave me a number to wait for my ARC to be renewed. I think i waited less than 10 minutes and the officer at the far right counter handed me back my updated ARC. If this is your first time getting an ARC, I suggest to pay a little bit more and have the ARC sent to your work address or to your home. The extra cost will save you a lot time and hassle from going to the immigration office.
If you are able to follow these steps, your immigration processing will go smoothly and dealing with the officer will be easy!
Marc Gonzales has been living in Seoul working at the ChungDahm's Gangdong Branch for 5 years now. During those 5 years, he worked his way up from being a teacher and is now a faculty manager for that location. He majored in Finance and Marketing at the University of Nevada Las Vegas while working as a manager for a national bank. In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking the numerous mountains around Seoul and biking along the massive Han River. To know more about him and his adventures living in Korea, follow Marc on Twitter @geonmakku and on Instagram @geonmakku.