Please note the following information is only applicable for Seoul Campus students. Additional information will be sent out to Anseong Campus students in due time.
You’ve finally made it to Korea! You’ve checked into the dorms, went to orientation, and experienced the campus tour. Now you can officially embark your journey to explore the new country. But, before you can actually do so, you might experience some problems. Since you are an exchange student staying at least for a semester or even a year, there are certain requirements needed in order for you to become “officially legal” in Korea. All exchange students who are staying more than 91 days are required to apply for an Alien Registration Card (ARC). If not, then say goodbye to your dreams of living in Korea and say hello to returning back home! Now it may sound complicated at first to get an ARC, but honestly it’s not. As long as you follow these instructions you can freely explore Korea with no worries.
At the beginning of the semester, during the orientation, the Exchange Student Advisor will mention the ARC and how to set up an appointment. As non-natives you’re not expected to set up the appointment by yourself. Luckily GLAMs are there to help! During the first two weeks of the semester each GLAM has a group chat where they make an announcement on where to meet and set up ARC appointments. Plus, there will be multiple emails sent as reminders to make appointments. In order for this to happen, you need to bring your passport! The most important thing is to set up a day and time that works well for you. The GLAMs then will mention all the information next to apply for the ARC.
When the appointment day arrives, the next step requires some traveling on your own. All exchange students have to go to Seoul Immigration Office to hand in all the following documents needed for an ARC. These documents are mandatory, so do not forget them or misplace them:
- An EXTRA COPY of your passport and visa – there is a copy machine on the first floor of the dorms, if you didn’t bring copies from home.
- Certificate of Registration – this can be picked up at the OIA. An email will be sent out when you can pick this document up.
- Passport Picture
- You can take this at any subway station. The closest one to campus is Heukseok Station and costs around $10. if you’re running low on time, there is one at the Seoul Immigration Office as well, which costs $8. While taking the photo make sure your hair doesn’t cover your face, or you will be ask to retake the photo…spending extra money (this happened to me twice).
- One thing that’s cool and quite surprising about photo stations in Korea is you can actually edit your picture! BUT, do not get too carried away to the point where the photo doesn’t resemble you…because trust me, they will ask you to retake that too!
Now, how do you get to the Seoul Immigration Office? There is directions in the booklet you’ve received on orientation. The easiest way is to go by taxi, but the cheapest way is by the subway.
I would recommend taking the subway station. If you’re not familiar with navigating the subway, there are many apps to help make things easier. The one that I use is Kakao Metro.
Seoul Immigration Office is located in Omokgyo Station Exit #7. You can get there by leaving from Heukseok Station. It will take roughly 20 minutes depending on what time you are going. If anything, I suggest leaving an hour early for your appointment. Here are the directions from the subway:
Once you take exit #7 and arrive outside you will see an Olive Young. Just start walking straight for at least 10 minutes. If you pass by a vegetable/fruit market you are definitely going the right way.
There will be multiple signs around the area pointing toward the Immigration Office.
When you see an SK Global gas just take a slight turn and cross the street. If by any moment you feel like you’re lost don’t hesitate to ask for help. A lot of Koreans are willing to assist foreigners. Majority of the time though, there are group of foreigner and 99.9% of them are heading toward Seoul Immigration Office, so you can always follow them if you need to.
When you do arrive there will be a ATM area to your left. Go inside to purchase your ticket for the ARC which costs $30, if you want them to deliver your ARC to the dorm it will be an additional $3.
If that’s the case, make sure to bring exact change. After purchasing your ticket head toward “Seoul Immigration Residence Section” where you can fill out an application, and cut and glue your photo onto the document.
When filling out the form make sure to write the address to where you want your ARC to be sent, if its the dorms here is the address:
84 Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-Gu, 308 Bldg. Blue Mir Hall, Building B Room #*** Seoul, Korea 06974
Once they call the ticket number, all you have to do is give the staff the following documents listed above. Now you wait…
The ARC usually takes around 2 weeks or even less to be delivered to the dorms. To pick up the actually card there will be a white sticker placed on your mailbox. The mailbox is based on your room number and is located in the 308 building by the laundry room on the far left. On the sticker it will tell you to go to the 309 building where they will physically hand you the Alien Registration Card.
Now you’re “officially legal” in Korea and can use this identification card everywhere, in the clubs, to amusement parks, or even to purchase some drinks!
BUT, there are rare cases where the ARC never gets delivered to the dorms. This has happened to me, and a few other students. There no need to freak out because you can always go into the OIA office to call the Seoul Immigration Office. If they still have it in the office, then you will need to make another trip to go pick it up.