Thursday, 27 August 2015

Living in Korea 101: Visiting the Korea Immigration Office in Seoul

For those of us living in South Korea, we may have to, at one time, extend our visas, or apply for an alien registration card (ARC) if we're staying in the country for a long period.  

I got my ARC early on when I started working in South Korea, and it helped me open a bank account and got me mileage cards for cafes, movie houses, supermarkets and department stores. It's even required if you want to register as a blood donor for the Korean Red Cross.

Having lived here for a number of years already, I must have gone to the Seoul Immigration Office in Yangcheon District at least once every two years to renew my visa, and considering that there are a lot of foreigners who may need to visit the same place, I decided to post a how-to-get-there blog.  

By the way, there are two immigration offices which foreigners living in Seoul can visit. One is at the Seoul Global Center building in Jongno District, and the other is at Yangcheon District, depending on which district you live. I live in the Yongsan District and my assigned immigration office is at Yangcheon District.

And this is how to get to the Immigration Office at Yangcheon-gu if you're assigned to renew your visa in this office:

1. Take the subway train and get off at Omokgyo Station (Line 5).

2. Get to Exit 7. That's the exit nearest the Immigration Office.

3. If you want convenience, take a cab from Exit 7 and just say 'immigration' to the driver. At this exit, there is a line of taxi cabs waiting for anyone heading to the immigration office. I always take the cab as it's a long walk and I want to save time.
                       (Taxis lining up at Exit 7)

4. The cab will stop at the intersection near the immigration office and the taxi driver will just point you to its direction. The immigration building is at the left of the intersection, but since there's no left-turn, you will have to alight and cross the street from there.
(The intersection near the Immigration Office)

5. Cross the street and follow the signs. Make sure you get into the right building. The immigration office is the second building, not the first one.
(Immigration building as seen from the intersection)

6. The immigration services are on the ground floor to your right when you enter. Make sure you get your 'waiting number' from the machine by selecting the service you need. 
         (The Immigration Building's directory)

Wait at the seating area till your assigned number comes up on the digital display. There is also a staff in the area who gives assistance. 

By the way, the service fees are paid in the form of stamps, which you can buy at the lobby from a lady, or from a stamp-dispensing machine for nominal amounts.

Note: Before you head to the Immigration Office, make sure all your required documents are complete and signed, so that you don't have to go back. If you are being issued a new ARC, this would take a few days.  But if you have an existing ARC and you are extending your stay, you can just wait for about 15 minutes while they stamp the 'extension date' in your ARC.

I hope these directions help.

Korean Immigration Services website:

To make a reservation for your visit:

For Korean Immigration hotline: Call #1345

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