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.

Tips:

– 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

– Passport

– 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
  • Passport
  • 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
  • Passport
  • Alien Registration Card
  • Any other documents related to the change

Are you still struggling with ARC?

If you are still struggling with issuing Alien Registration Card (ARC), book Trazy’s phone interpretation and translation service! Trazy’s English/Korean bilingual staff will be assisting you.


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.

Photo Credits

Hi Korea Official Homepage

88 thoughts on “Your Complete Guide to Getting an Alien Registration Card (ARC) in Seoul

  1. It doesn’t require health certificate? I heard it needs one…I’m going to Seoul for study this sept 4th…and I’m planning to get arc ASAP so I can make bank account. If it doesn’t require health certificate then I’m good to go.. 😊

    1. Hi, I’m from the Philippines. I have a single entry visa valid for 59 days (tourist). Can i apply for an ARC in the period of 59 days? Am i eligible to do so?

    2. Hey! I tried looking for an answer but I couldn’t find one. I applied for an Alien Registration Card on 7th October and chose the delivery method. I am planning on going back to my hometown for my vacations on 21st November, will my ARC come in time? I have a Single Entry D4 Visa so it’s quite worrisome.

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  4. 5 months remaining on my Alien registration card and i need to travel urgently. do I need to wait for 14 days or there’s emergency way. Thank you

  5. 5 months remaining on my Alien registration card and i need to travel urgently. do I need to wait for 14 days or there’s emergency way. Thank you

  6. Actually it sounds very easy, and thats scary somehow hahaha Im going to Korea in October. I dont require a visa as I hold a peruvian passport and I can stay 90 days, but I want to stay more since my desire is to live there. Any help for me? Any advice would be great

    1. Hello Aminata.
      Our advice is to consult the Korean embassy in your area to see if there’s any requirements for you to extend your stay once you get to Korea! 🙂

  7. Actually it sounds very easy, and thats scary somehow hahaha Im going to Korea in October. I dont require a visa as I hold a peruvian passport and I can stay 90 days, but I want to stay more since my desire is to live there. Any help for me? Any advice would be great

    1. Hello Aminata.
      Our advice is to consult the Korean embassy in your area to see if there’s any requirements for you to extend your stay once you get to Korea! 🙂

    1. The alien registration card can only be applied for at the Immigration Office that has jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence in Korea. Hope this answers your question. 🙂

    1. The alien registration card can only be applied for at the Immigration Office that has jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence in Korea. Hope this answers your question. 🙂

    1. The alien registration card is required for those who want to stay over 90 days in Korea. With a tourist visa, you are allowed to stay in Korea up to 30 days only and thus you must have another visa type in order to be eligible for the issuance of alien registration card. Hope this answers your question:)

      1. I can stay for 90 days visa free as a tourists.
        I want the registration card to make a bank account in korea and I want to apply for residency. So is it still possible?.

        1. With a tourist visa, it is not possible for you to make an alien registration card. You must apply for a long-term visa if you want to make the alien registration card. Hope this info helps! 🙂

  8. Can you go to immigration without an appointment and just wait till there is a free time? My appointment is 2 weeks later, but it’s a long time to wait for the ARC to get phone, internet etc connected.

    1. Hello cyrusb! Regarding your question, there are offices that you can visit without making an appointment and offices that require an appointment. Please call +82-1345 to check which offices don’t require an appointment before you visit. 🙂

      1. Ah ha. I thought I could only go to Omokgyo, because I’m staying in Gwangjin gu. I didn’t realize I could ask for other places, is that right?

      2. Thank you. I called 1345 but they said that Omokgyo requires an appointment and if I go to another office, they won’t accept my documents. Good to check it out anyway. The only thing that will make it a little faster is to go a bit earlier in the day and if lucky, your number comes up quicker than the scheduled appointment time.

  9. Can you go to immigration without an appointment and just wait till there is a free time? My appointment is 2 weeks later, but it’s a long time to wait for the ARC to get phone, internet etc connected.

    1. Hello cyrusb! Regarding your question, there are offices that you can visit without making an appointment and offices that require an appointment. Please call +82-1345 to check which offices don’t require an appointment before you visit. 🙂

      1. Ah ha. I thought I could only go to Omokgyo, because I’m staying in Gwangjin gu. I didn’t realize I could ask for other places, is that right?

      2. Thank you. I called 1345 but they said that Omokgyo requires an appointment and if I go to another office, they won’t accept my documents. Good to check it out anyway. The only thing that will make it a little faster is to go a bit earlier in the day and if lucky, your number comes up quicker than the scheduled appointment time.

  10. Can I work with a alien registration card, I am a us citizen planning to move over the summer, and can I arrange that in Korea or does that have to be done here in my local town in the states

    1. Hello Sam! You must register and apply the alien registration card at a local or district Immigration office within 90 days upon your arrival in Korea. Hope this answers your question! 🙂

  11. Can I work with a alien registration card, I am a us citizen planning to move over the summer, and can I arrange that in Korea or does that have to be done here in my local town in the states

    1. Hello Sam! You must register and apply the alien registration card at a local or district Immigration office within 90 days upon your arrival in Korea. Hope this answers your question! 🙂

  12. I need to make a bank account as quickly as possible. I am doing freelance work in Korea right now and need a place to store the money so I can send back to United States. What would you reccomend?

    1. Hello Paul! You may want to set up your bank account at Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), which is the only one that offers foreigners-only bank accounts and record all transactions in English. Various types of bank accounts, as well as a global check card, which can be used overseas, are available. If you would like to to open a bank account with KEB, make sure you bring a valid passport and alien registration card. Hope this info helps! 🙂

  13. I need to make a bank account as quickly as possible. I am doing freelance work in Korea right now and need a place to store the money so I can send back to United States. What would you reccomend?

    1. Hello Paul! You may want to set up your bank account at Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), which is the only one that offers foreigners-only bank accounts and record all transactions in English. Various types of bank accounts, as well as a global check card, which can be used overseas, are available. If you would like to to open a bank account with KEB, make sure you bring a valid passport and alien registration card. Hope this info helps! 🙂

    1. Hello peter h! According to Immigration Bureau, Canadian citizens, with the status of stay such as B-2, D-1, D-6, F-1, F-3, G-1, can enter Korea without a Korean visa for a stay of up to 6 months. B-2 (Tourism/Transit) holding Canadian nationals must apply for change of their status after five months of stay and must register upon application. For more details, you may want to contact the Immigration Contact Center (+82-1345).

    1. Hello peter h! According to Immigration Bureau, Canadian citizens, with the status of stay such as B-2, D-1, D-6, F-1, F-3, G-1, can enter Korea without a Korean visa for a stay of up to 6 months. B-2 (Tourism/Transit) holding Canadian nationals must apply for change of their status after five months of stay and must register upon application. For more details, you may want to contact the Immigration Contact Center (+82-1345).

  14. Hello!
    I have some questions regarding the Alien Registration Card.
    Firstly, could you please tell me if there is any biometric procedure needed/mandatory for receiving this type of card?
    I am asking this because I saw the “fingerprinting” part and I would like to know some more details about the procedure of getting an Alien Card once we arrive at the office.
    Also, does this card have a chip inside(containing my details or anything else)?
    Additionally, is it possible for you to tell me what I will be asked to do for identification once I arrive at the airport in Korea?- as I understood the requirements are different from country to country.
    Additionally, what are the office hours for the Immigration Contact Center?

  15. Hello!
    I have some questions regarding the Alien Registration Card.
    Firstly, could you please tell me if there is any biometric procedure needed/mandatory for receiving this type of card?
    I am asking this because I saw the “fingerprinting” part and I would like to know some more details about the procedure of getting an Alien Card once we arrive at the office.
    Also, does this card have a chip inside(containing my details or anything else)?
    Additionally, is it possible for you to tell me what I will be asked to do for identification once I arrive at the airport in Korea?- as I understood the requirements are different from country to country.
    Additionally, what are the office hours for the Immigration Contact Center?

    1. Hello Lorelai Luli! Yes, they will need your finger prints and signature. The card does not have a chip that contain your personal information, but your name, nationality, visa type, date of issue, gender and your registration number will be shown on the card instead. Regarding your inquiry about the questioning for the screening procedure at the airport, we cannot give you a definite answer on it but the questions will probably be related to the purpose of your visit. The Immigration Contact Center operates only on weekdays from 9:00am to 22:00pm (Only Korean, English and Chinese provided after 18:00). For more detailed information on the alien registration card, we strongly advise you to contact the Immigration Contact Center (☎1345 or +82-1345 from Overseas) or check out their website (http://www.immigration.go.kr/HP/IMM80/imm_04/imm_0405/imm_405010.jsp). Hope this info helps!

      1. Hi wanna ask if after submit all the document,would we still be questioned about the reason we apply for Korea id or interview?

        1. Hi Jordan! They probably won’t interview you for applying for the ARC Card or ask questions unless there are issues with your visa or so but if you’d like to make sure, we strongly advise you to call the Immigration Contact Center (☎1345 or +82-1345 from overseas / Operates on weekdays only: 9am-22pm KST) for more detailed information. 🙂

  16. Hi, i am holding a Singaporean passport. and its 90days exemption visa to Korea under B-1 Visa.
    Is it possible if i apply for the alien registration card when i arrive korea with the 90days exemption visa as i have thought of applying for d-4-1 (general trainee visa) in korea.

  17. I’ve got following question. I’m hired in the company in UE and I’m gonna work in Seul for half a year (a simple business trip) meaning more than 90 days, so I need to get Alien Registration Card. Anyway I’m gonna still be paid by UE company. Because of having it do I need to submit any tax documents afer I have left Korea?

    1. Hi, Tom! Regarding your question, we strongly advise you to contact the Immigration Contact Center (☎1345 or +82-1345 from overseas / Operates on weekdays only: 9am-22pm KST) for more detailed information! 🙂

    1. Hello Asbjørn! You should report changes of particulars of your Alien Registration card to a local or district immigration office having jurisdiction over the place of their stay, within 14 days since the changes occur. Regarding changes in your visa, we strongly recommend you to check in the official website for immigration (www.immigration.go.kr/HP/IMM80/imm_04/imm_0405/imm_405010.jsp) or call the Immigration Contact Center (1345 or +82-1345 from overseas / Operates on weekdays only: 9am-22pm KST). You will be able to receive assistance and more detailed information on your issues regarding Alien Registration Card and visas. Hope this info helps!

  18. Hello!
    I heard that I need also renting contract signed by the owner of accommodation about the place where I will live. Is it true?
    And if I will stay my friends home then which document I must to give the immigration office about my living place? Where I can get it?
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Hello, Anastasia! We strongly recommend you to check this website regarding the immigration related info (http://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/main_en.pt) or call the Immigration Contact Center (1345 or +82-1345 from overseas / Operates on weekdays only: 9am-22pm KST). You will be able to receive assistance and more detailed information.

  19. Hello good pm.. I would to ask about for Malaysian is that possible to apply alien card? Any policy ,I want to stay more then 90 days in Korea for reason to work

  20. Hi…I want to open a bank account in South Korea. With what I gathered, most banks need an ARC to be presented, however, I do not want to stay more than 90 days. Is it possible to get an ARC even though I have no intention of staying more than 90 days??? OR…are you aware of any banks in South Korea which do not require an ARC in order for a foreigner to open a bank account???

    1. Hi Mathew! Regarding your question, it is difficult to make a bank account in Korea without ARC. But we strongly advise you to contact the Immigration Contact Center (☎1345 or +82-1345 from overseas / Operates on weekdays only: 9am-22pm KST) for more detailed information!

  21. dear sir ,

    i would like to know why some youg afrian who travel in south africa for tourism was reject from the seoul aeroport therefore they have valid visa? how to avoid to be reject from the aeroport by the immigration agents so i know most of them don’t speak english and their french speak are poor.
    hope to hear you

    1. Hi Ali Dia 🙂
      Unfortunately, we do not know the specific details about the immigration process at the airport. We highly recommend you inquire the embassy in your country for further help.
      Thanks!

  22. Hello,
    I intend to take the language there and i need the AC for registration , but for the first month I have to stay in a hotel i can ask for the alien card with the address of the hotel?
    PS: I don’t require a visa as I hold a moroccan passport and I can stay 90 days, but I want to stay more since my desire is to live there. Any help for me? Any advice would be great

    1. Hi Hasnaa Ouacif,
      In order to register for an alien registration card, you must have a long-term visa instead of a tourist visa. Once you have the visa, we highly recommend you to consult with the personnel at the immigration office regarding the address as you will need several documents if you are planning to stay at a hotel for a long term.

  23. Hi, how long does it usually take at to apply at the immigration office for the ARC? I got online an appointment, but do I still need to wait for a long time and do I just hand in my doxuments, or do I still going to need to answer questions?

  24. Hey there! I’m going to Korea for a student summer program that lasts 4weeks. I’m also from a visa free country and plan on staying there after the program and applying for school and staying there. Will they let me work and stay there even though the reason I went there is over?

  25. Hey There!
    I already visited Pohang in 2015 as an Exchange Student and received an ARC. Now in my last Mastersemester I am planing to study in Seoul as an Exchange Student again. So my Question: There wont be any Problems in the Immigration Office because I will apply for the ARC for the seconde time Right?

    Thank you and have a nice day 🙂

  26. Hello my question is do I need a Korean if card if I’m just visiting korea for a visa trip my intended stay should be no longer than 1 week

  27. Hi,

    I’m applying for a H1 (Working Holiday Visa) and am a little confused with the residency guidelines.
    To obtain the ARC, what kind of residency proof will be accepted?
    Is there a way around not having to provide an address?

    1. Hi Tahnee!
      When applying for an ARC in Korea, you are required to write down an actual address where you stay in and submit a document that can prove your stay. It can be a contract with a dormitory/real estate or a residence confirmation. Hope this information helps 🙂

  28. Hi,

    Can I change name in Korea if I have a student visa? Or can I change my name when I have ARC? Or do I really need to be a citizen first before I can change it there in Korea?

    1. Hi Sally! The name on ARC should be the same as it appears on your passport. Please visit or contact the Immigration Office for further details.

  29. Do I always need to keep my ARC with me? e.g. my work is 3 minutes walk from my home (literally 3 minutes) and do I need to carry it with me when I go running in the park (10 mins walk from my home). I come from the UK where we don’t need IDs anyway, so I don’t know what’s sensible here in Korea. e.g. My thinking is that I only need to carry my ARC when I go out to places where I would take my purse.

    1. Hi!
      You don’t need to hold your ARC all the time you go out. You will mostly need it when you verify your identification or your age. Hope this information helps.

  30. Hi!
    I have to apply for the extension of stay since my visa is expiring soon.
    I was wondering if I must make an appointment beforehand? or can I just go, take a number and wait for my turn? (I don’t mind waiting).
    Also, when is the latest I can apply for an extension of stay? Two months before the expiry date? One month? Or is it okay as long as I do it before it expires?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Sofia,
      To extend the visa, first of all, there must be a specific reason that you cannot leave Korea or enter your home country such as canceled flights or closed airports.
      As long as you are eligible for extension, you can request it online at https://www.hikorea.go.kr/pt/main_en.pt. You must submit a form at least 3 business days before the visa expires.
      If you prefer to visit an office, you need to make a prior reservation from the link above. Or, please call 1345 for further information/help.

      We hope this information helps 🙂

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