Okay, so you are required to get an Alien Registration Card (ARC) if you are staying in Korea over 90 days on any one visa. (So not required for a tourist visa; required for a student visa) Here’s how to do that.
- ARC vs Visa: the differences and what they do
- Think of your visa as your invitation to a fancy party. You need it or else you can’t get into the party just like how you can’t get approval to get into Korea without your visa.
- But once you get inside to the party, you can get your hand stamped/get a bracelet thingy that will let the people at the door know that you were invited, but you just left for a smoke or something and are ready to come back inside to the party. The stamp/bracelet is your ARC.
- When you got your visa, it should say “single entry” on it. However, once you get your ARC, you can leave and reenter Korea as many times as you want for as long as your visa is valid. In the case of a student visa—6 months.
- When your visa is going to expire, you should get a renewal slip in the mail (so make sure your address is valid).
- You don’t actually get a new visa in your passport when you renew. Instead you get a new date stamped onto the back of your ARC. In the case of a student visa, when you renew, you get another 6 months.
- When should you apply to get your ARC?
- The Korean government just started a new policy (Apr 4, 2016) where you are required to book an online reservation in order to do anything with the immigration office—this of course includes getting your ARC.
- (Unless you are just picking up something from there. Then you don’t need a reservation.)
- While this does make the process move smoother, you need to make sure to book way farther in advance than you think you need—especially if you arrive in March when all the English teachers are arriving too.
- When I went to book my reservation, it was early March, but everything was booked solid until the first week of April. It probably isn’t that bad during other months, but it’s still a good idea to book early.
- TL;DR: Book as soon as you can.
- Get Documents:
- When you go, you’ll need documents from Sogang. Just go the office on the 7th floor of Arrupe, and tell them that you’re going to get your ARC card.
- They’ll give you a copy of your Certificate of Enrollment, your Certificate of Admission, and your Official Receipt. (The lady at the immigration center only took my Certificate of Enrollment. I would still bring all the documents just in case.)
- Booking Online Reservation:
- I can give you the starting url: http://www.hikorea.go.kr, but I had to do a little digging on the site to finally find the place where I could actually make the reservation. I wish I could post a link that would take you directly there, but I can’t for reasons that I will explain below.
- The trick about booking the reservation is that while Korea is miles ahead of most countries in terms of wifi speed, it is lightyears behind in the fact that most of its websites are optimized for Internet Explorer. This creates a wide range of annoying issues. For example, if you try to access almost any Korean government website with Chrome, it will not allow you to access the site because it is ‘corrupted’ and deemed unsafe for you to be on.
- However, there is no other way for you to do this, so your options are
- to use Internet Explorer should you have it (this might require you to download annoying safety things first.)
- find a friend or family member who has Internet Explorer and have them sign up for you
- or you can use the computers on floor 7 of Arrupe Hall in the office that I’m pretty sure they keep around for this purpose (you cannot print from these computers though)
- Know Your “Gu”:
- When you sign up, make sure you know what immigration office’s district you live in as this determines which immigration office you will be going to.
- This is based off of where you live—not where Sogang is.
- Most likely you will be going to the Seoul Immigration Office. The Seoul Immigration Office covers two jurisdictions/hosts two office branches in the same building: the regular Seoul area (the blue area in the picture above) and southern Seoul (the orange area).
- If you are living near Sogang (in Mapo-gu), you are in the Southern Seoul Immigration Office’s district.
- What to bring to the immigration office:
- 35mm x 45mm passport photo (I think 2in x 2in works too?)
- Certificate of Enrollment, Certificate of Admission, Official Receipt
- 30,000W in EXACT cash (or 33,000W in EXACT cash if you want your ARC mailed to you)
- How to get to the Seoul Immigration Office:
- Again, this is for people living in the regular Seoul and Southern Seoul Immigration Offices’ jurisdictions.
- The closest subway is Omokgyo off line 5 (the purple line). You’ll want to leave straight out exit 7.
- When to get to the Seoul Immigration Office:
- This new system works very well, and the numbers in the regular immigration office were only 10 minutes behind the reservation time, and the Southern immigration office was way ahead of schedule.
- You will also need to pay the fees for your ARC card and fill out your paper work.
- That being said, make sure you arrive plenty early.
- Paying the Fees:
- When you get there, you’ll first need to pay the 30,000W fee. When you walk through the door, look just to the left of the reception desk. There should be two Woori ATMs there.
- At the ATMs, after you select “English,” hit the button that says something to the effect of “paying for ARC fees.”
- You’ll have to put your passport on the scanner.
- After that, it will ask you to select if you just want to pay the 30,000W fee for the ARC and then come pick it up in person when it’s done or pay 33,000W and have them mail it to you.
- Put the money in the receiver in exact cash.
- Take the receipt. You’ll need to show this later to prove you paid the fee.
- [not sure about the stamp or where that comes from because I picked it up in person]
- Go to the right floor:
- The first floor (the floor you enter on) is the regular Seoul Immigration Office. If you live in this district, go here.
- The third floor is the Southern Seoul Immigration Office. If you live in this district, go here.
- (The second floor is for Chinese only.)
- Waiting for your number:
- When you get there, there will be a bunch of papers displayed that have your reservation time, your assigned number, and your name.
- There will be several desks with TV monitors that display which number is being called. There will usually be a loud dinging noise to signal that a new number has been called.
- The number will be also announced on a speaker though they will only be in Korean. (However, the Southern Immigration Office is smaller and sometimes they just call the numbers out loud.)
- The numbers go in order with the occasional one from the regular waitlist for the people who had errors with their paperwork.
- There is no wifi in the building, so keep that in mind when thinking of a way to entertain yourself during the wait.
- When your number is called, go quickly to the desk as they will not wait long to call the next number.
- During the wait:
- While you wait, fill out your paperwork. USE PEN (pens are provided)
- Get the form that says “Application Form (Report Form)”
- check the first box next to “Alien registration”
- Fill in your surname, and given names (the third box next to it is for your hanja name which you won’t have unless you are Korean, Chinese, or Japanese)
- Check the box next to your gender
- fill in your date of birth
- leave the registration number blank
- put your nationality
- list your passport number, passport issue date, and passport expiry date
- put your cell phone number
- address in home country
- you can skip the next boxes about workplace and business registration numbers and their telephone numbers
- skip the box about reentry
- write your email
- if you don’t have an ARC yet, you probably won’t be able to get a Korean bank account so you can skip that part too
- fill out the date you’re applying
- sign it
- sign it again in the next section nearby where it says “signature seal”
- After that, you can use one of the provided glue sticks to glue your picture to the page
- While you wait, fill out your paperwork. USE PEN (pens are provided)
- At the desk:
- Hand over all your paper work, documents, your passport, and your receipt.
- This process only takes about 5 minutes.
- (I live fairly close to the immigration office so I chose not to have them send it to me. That means that I don’t actually know how the process goes for them to send it to you. Sorry.)
- If you just chose to pick up your card when it’s finished, they will hand you a document back that will tell you the day it will be ready for you to pick up on the 2nd floor.
- For me, it said that it would be ready in a little less than a month
- Picking Up Your Card:
- If you chose to just pick up your card from the Immigration Office, then return to the building on the day the form tells you. You don’t need to make a reservation for this.
- You should go to the 2nd floor. Yes, even though it says that floor is for Chinese only, it is the correct floor for everyone of all nationalities picking up their card.
- Go straight to the guy at the desk and hand him the paper you were given. He will add you to the wait list.
- When your number is called, give the worker your paper (I didn’t even have to show my passport though it’s probably still a good idea to bring it anyway).
- They will then hand you your new ARC, and you’re free to go.
Now it might be a good idea to check out how to get a SIM/wifi egg.
How to Sogang: The Application Process
How to Sogang: Visa
How to Sogang: Flights and Housing
How to Sogang: Packing and Predeparture
How to Sogang: The Airport
How to Sogang: Getting to Campus and the Placement Test
How to Sogang: New Student Orientation and the First Day of Class
How to Sogang: Getting a SIM/Wifi Egg
How to Sogang: The Seoul Subway System
How to Sogang: The Seoul Bus System
How to Sogang: How to Get the Most Out of Sogang
How to Sogang: Level 1 Summary
How to Sogang: Level 2 Summary
How to Sogang: Level 3 Summary
How to Sogang: Graduation
How to Sogang: Retests
Sogang University Korea Language Program