After arriving in Korea with an E-2 visa (one designated specially for English teachers), it’s necessary to get an Alien Registration Card (ARC). The ARC is more or less my ID as a temporary resident in Korea and is necessary for things such as opening a bank account (which I actually did without an ARC thanks to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education‘s sponsoring us at orientation) and acquiring a cell phone (which I actually did without an ARC thanks to the shadiness of Itaewon).
The process is somewhat tedious, but I finally got my ARC this week with the help of my Korean co-teachers. Here are the steps to apply for a Korean alien registration card:
- Get two passport-sized photos of yourself.
- Get a medical check at one of the public hospitals in Seoul. You’ll need one of your photos for this.
- Pick up medical check a few days later.
- Make an appointment at the Seoul Immigration Office or show up and wait forever (I’ve heard up to two hours) in line.
- Show up and turn in your ARC application with 10,000 KRW, your medical check, and your passport.
- Wait 1-2 weeks for your ARC.
Or you could have a co-teacher who knows someone who works in immigration in Incheon who makes a phone call to someone who works in immigration in Seoul and can shorten the whole process at the Seoul Immigration Office to a painless 20-minute wait and have you walk out the same day with your ARC in hand.
I went with the latter of the choices. It was fantastic. Also, in other fantastic news, I learned my school doesn’t require me to be at school during winter break when I’m not teaching the winter camp. The holidays lasts from December 24 to February 2 and then from February 14 to March 2. After taking out two weeks for the camp, I have about three weeks in January and two weeks in February to do whatever the hell I want — and still get paid for it.
I’m thinking a three-week backpacking excursion through southeast Asia in January and maybe a jaunt through the States in February, but as we all know, that could very suddenly change. Stay tuned.