Alien Registration Card

If you want to stay in Korea for more than 90 days, you need to register with the Immigration Office and obtain an Alien Registration Card (ARC). I don’t feel like talking about this process in too much detail since you can find a bunch of detailed descriptions of the process online elsewhere. Let’s just link to a few:

Survival Tip: How to get an alien registration card in Seoul

Bothering Seoul: Alien Registration Card


A few notes of my own:

  • the prices might be outdated. The ARC cost 30k KRW for me + 3k for shipping
  • the university supplied a bunch of information for us how to get there, what to bring, etc. So hopefully you’ll have somebody to help you out as well
  • there is an online registration system, but you do not need to make a reservation to get an ARC, even if your university might tell you otherwise. At least that’s how it is right now. The online appointments were all booked up for the next three weeks when I tried, so your best shot might just be to show up and hope for the best
  • The clerks expect you to pay for your ARC before going to the counter, but nobody tells you about this. There’s an ATM machine with English instructions on the ground floor (at least in the central immigration office)
  • Show up as early as possible. Otherwise, you’ll just spend hours and hours waiting. Actually, you might spend hours waiting either way, so bring something to read or whatever. At least this allowed me to finally catch up on Billions. You all need more Paul Giamatti in your life, so go check it out
  • The process is pretty easy on the whole – you need to bring the required documents, ideally fill them out beforehand, and then you should be fine…hopefully. It’s still about as pleasant as any interaction with a big government bureaucracy, so be prepared for that
  • It might take a while to get your card. Everybody tells you that it’ll only be two weeks, Korea’s immigration office website says it’ll only be 3-4 days, so imagine my surprise when I was told it would take a month for me. And you apparently can’t leave the country until your ARC arrives, so keep that in mind, or you’ll have to cancel your vacation plans like I’ll have to *sigh*


Of course, all of this is just based on my personal experience and might be outdated or plain wrong once you read this, so don’t blindly trust my word on this please.



Bonus: You can check out a Korean Top Team gym if that’s your thing. Can’t miss it on your way from the subway station to the Immigration Office



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