The idea of going to the immigration office in a foreign country can be a nail-biter for many. But fear not, as we’ve prepared this guide for all of you to make the process of applying for an ARC as smooth as possible. So take a deep breath, read ahead, and make those brave steps to the immigration office.
What is the ARC?
– Short for Alien Registration Card, the ARC is a Korean national identification card, essentially a form of ID and social security for foreigners. You’ll need it to sign up for services like cell phone plans, internet, banking, and health insurance.
– All foreigners intending to stay for more than 90 days must register and apply for one (not applicable for tourist visas).
*Holders of A-1, A-2, and A-3 visas are exempt from this requirement*
– Going along with this, you must register for one within 90 days of your arrival, or you’ll be in trouble.
– Once you get your ARC, you’re free to leave and re-enter Korea as many times as you want, for as long as your visa is valid (6 months for student visas).
– You can leave the country in the process of making your ARC if you have a multiple entry visa as well as your passport, but we advise against this unless absolutely necessary. Contact the Korean Immigration Office before you intend to leave to ensure that re-entry is allowed.
*If you are under the age of 17, you can get an Alien Registration card on your own or simply get recorded on your parent’s card.
The Application Process
As of April 4, 2016, you must make a reservation online for anything to do with the immigration office.
Head to the immigration homepage and book a date and time.
– Make sure you know which immigration office district you are in. Districts in Korea are characterized by “gu”, for example “Mapo-gu” or “Seodaemun-gu”. You will most likely go to Seoul Immigration Office (Omokgyo Station Exit 7) as it hosts two office branches in the same building.
– Make your booking as early as possible since spots fill up quickly (especially during months like February and August when many new teachers and students come to Korea). Without a booking, you could be waiting for over 3 hours which you definitely don’t want!
– The process of registering is not difficult, but you may have some issues because of the internet. It’s an on-going mystery that the country with the fastest internet still has websites optimized for Internet Explorer. The immigration site is no exception. If you try and access it using Chrome, you’ll probably be denied access as they deem it unsafe for you to enter.
We recommend installing Explorer or using a friend’s computer, but you’ll be relieved to know that most computers at schools or dorms will have it installed.
Preparing the Necessary Documents
– 3.5mm x 4.5mm color passport photo with white background
– Application form (available at the immigration office)
– 30,000 KRW (for ARC pick-up in person) or 33,000 KRW (if you want your ARC mailed to you) in exact amount
– Optional only to those applicable*: 1 sealed medical test result (including TBPE and HIV test).
*Medical check-up record for tuberculosis
- People from any of the 18 countries: China, Sri Lanka, Russia, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Nepal, East Timor, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mongolia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, or Malaysia are required to submit the medical check-up report including the examination for tuberculosis issued from a neighborhood public health center.
Note: Additional paperwork may be required depending on the visa type. Please ask your center’s admin staff to help you prepare the necessary paperwork.
Locations of Immigration Offices:
1) Omokyo Office: Covers the areas of Seoul excluding Jongno-gu, Jung-gu, Eunpyeong-gu, Dongdaemun-gu, Jungnang-gu, Dobong-gu, Seongbuk-gu, Gangbuk-gu, Nowon-gu)
Address: 151, Mokdongdong-ro, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul, Korea
Opening Hours: 9:00 – 18:00 (only weekdays)
Contact Number: +82-2-2650-6214
(About 15 mins by foot from Subway Line #5 Omokgyo Station Exit #7)
2) Sejongno Office: Covers Jongno-gu, Jung-gu, Eunpyeong-gu, Dongdaemun-gu, Jungnang-gu, Dobong-gu, Seongbuk-gu, Gangbuk-gu, Nowon-gu
Address: SK Hub Bldg. 2F, 89-4, Gyeongundong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: 9:00 – 18:00 (only weekdays)
Contact Number: +82-2-6908-1345
(About 5 mins by foot from Subway Line #1 Jonggak Station Exit #5)
Once You Arrive At the Immigration Office
1. Pay the 30,000 KRW fee using the atm to the left of the reception as soon as you walk in.
- Select “English” on the screen, then select the option of paying the ARC fee.
- Place your passport on the scanner.
- Choose between the options of paying 30,000 KRW for picking up the ARC in person once it’s ready, or 33,000 KRW if you want it mailed to you.
- Put the exact amount of money in the machine and take the receipt (make sure you keep this as you will need it later!!!)
2. Head to the right floor.
- First floor: Regular Seoul immigration office (Anyang-si, Dongjak-gu, Gangdong-gu, Gangnam-gu, Gwacheon-si, Gwanak-gu, Gwangjin-gu, Hanam-si, Seocho-gu, Seongdong-gu, Seongnam-si, Songpa-gu, Yongsan-gu)
- Third floor: Southern Seoul Immigration Office (Gangseo-gu, Mapo-gu, Geumcheon-gu, Seodaemun-gu, Guro-gu, Yangcheon-gu, Gwangmyeong-si, Yeongdeungpo-gu)
*Second floor is for Chinese citizens only
3. You will see desks with TV monitors displaying the number called, usually followed by a “ding” noise. Head to the desk promptly once you hear your number.
- Be attentive as they tend to skip through numbers quickly if you don’t respond promptly.
- Fill out your paperwork in pen while you wait.
- Don’t forget to glue your photo to the application.
4. Once your number is called and you arrive at the desk, hand over your paperwork, prepared documents, passport, and receipt from the atm. If you chose the option of picking up your card in person, you will receive a document telling you the day your ARC will be ready for pick-up (usually a little less than a month).
Picking up your ARC
If you chose to pick up your card at the immigration office, return on the date listed on the form. No reservation is necessary.
Head to the second floor and give the person seated at the desk the form. They will then put you on a waitlist. Once your number is called, you will (finally) receive your ARC.
Sample of an ARC
1. Registration Number : First six digits(birth date) – last seven digits(personalized number)
2. Name : Name as it appears on passport
3. Nationality : Nationality as it appears on passport
4. Place of stay : Address in Korea
5. Status of sojourn
6. Date of issue, Expiry date
7. Issuing office
“Help! I Lost My ARC!”
If you lose your ARC, you must report it to the Immigration Services Office within 14 days or you will be fined.
Prepare the documents listed below and submit them to the relevant Immigration Services office.
- Application Form
- One color photo (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm) with white background
- Application fee of 30,000 KRW
- Proof of residency
It will usually take around three to four days for you to receive a new one.
Reporting Changes in Alien Registration
If you have any information to be updated such as your name, passport number, place of residency, or workplace, you must do so within 14 days of the occurrence of the change.
Bring the below documents to your local community office to report the changes:
- Application form
- Alien Registration Card
- Any other documents related to the change
You’re all set! Now that you have your ARC, hop on over to Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, to discover all the latest exciting things to do in South Korea.
Hi Korea Official Homepage