Directions for Sejongno Branch of Immigration: Just go out Jonggak Exit 6, walk straight, and it is on the second floor of the Seoul Global Center building.
This post is kind of just an excuse to get that info out there. Most of the blogs you find when searching online about the branch are super old ones and lead to COMPLETELY to the wrong place. ALWAYS CHECK THE DATES OF ANY BLOG POSTS YOU ARE READING! So much changes here so quickly that blogs that are more than one or two years old might lead you to businesses that no longer exist or have moved, directions from before a subway stop changed the numbers of all the exits, or to a station that USED to be the closest, but now there's a new one that is closer!
I guess I should write about more stuff though, shouldn't I?
Ways to Avoid Immigration Hassels
1) Go to the right branch!
There are 2 branches of Seoul immigration each servicing a different section of Seoul. If you do not live in the boroughs (in Korean, Gu) that immigration office services they WILL deny you service and send you to your appropriate branch. There is the Mokdong Branch and the Sejongno Branch. Sejongno is for most of the Gu northeast of the Han River. If you live in Jongno-gu, Jung-gu, Eunpyeong-gu, Jungang-gu, Dobong-gu, Seongbuk-gu, Gangbuk-gu, or Nowon-gu you MUST go to Sejongno. If you live anywhere else in Seoul you should go to the Mokdong Branch.
Sejongno Immigration Directions: Just go out Jonggak Exit 6, walk straight, and it is on the second floor of the Seoul Global Center building.
|Look for this massive logo outside!|
Mokdong Immigration Directions: Omokgyo Station exit 8, walk straight, take a left at the CitiBank, walk straight, pass the Temple, continue to walk straight, the Mokdong Immigration Center will be across the road.
|Here's what the building looks like|
2) Make an Appointment
You can make appointments to see immigration officers using the immigration website. You will need to register with the website and the appointment page appears to frequently not work. It is also highly recommended that you make an appointment VERY far in advance, since these tend to get snatched up pretty quickly. It's rare that you'll be able to get an appointment if you are planning only a week or two in advance. I suggest making one a month in advance.
3) Get there SUPER EARLY!
4) Make sure you have ALL your documents!
Seriously, bring every piece of paper you have ever been asked to provide of proof of your identity ever. That participation ribbon from the 5th grade science fair might prove useful.
To be clear, though, for your first time registering AS WELL AS if you are switching to a new school you NEED to have a copy of your contract AND the original contract, a copy of your school's business license (NOT SMOE, GEPIK, EPIK, or the corporate office of you hagwon, your SPECIFIC SCHOOL'S business license), your passport AND a copy of your passport, your apostilled post-secondary school degrees (ALL OF THEM), a passport-sized photograph (even if you don't need a new card), and your apostilled FBI background check (don't know about requirements for non-Americans, sorry!).
If you are continuing your contract at your school from the previous year you will only need your new contract and a copy of it, your passport, your old ARC, a passport sized photo, and a copy of your school's business license (they said online they needed it, but the lady didn't even ask for it this time).
5) Pay Up!
|ok... so it won't really cost THAT much....|
EXPERT LEVEL TIP: If you are getting your first ARC or know that you will need a new card (if your current card is damaged or has had an address change already written on it and you need to change your address again) then you can also get a delivery envelope from this same counter. The office will just mail you your new card and you won't have to come back to the office a second time!
6) Fill out your forms
It will be pretty obvious which forms are for you. Make sure you are filling out the right ones for E2, F4, or Student Visas. Hopefully, your school will be extra awesome and have some of these in their office so you can arrive with the forms already completed. Fill them out completely. Don't worry about the bubbles at the top for "reason for application." These have SUPER confusing language and will make you panic ("wait... I am renewing my registration but am also changing my address, but am also changing information in the system... do I need three forms?!"). I even suggest leaving them blank and then just telling the immigration agent what you're doing. I'm sure they won't be too pissed about making a few checkmarks. Oh, and you totally only need to fill out one form.
7) Bring something to occupy yourself, it's gonna be a long wait
|Blame it on the alcohol?|
|I believe you, Rose.|
There you have it! Please be careful! Triple check that you have EVERY PAPER THEY COULD EVER ASK YOU FOR and, if possible, bring someone who is Korean with you so they can make sure the immigration officers don't screw you over (it's happened before and having a Korean has proven to be an asset).
How have you experiences been with immigration?