Foreign Registration Card in South Korea

All the essential information about residency and applying for a foreign registration card in South Korea...

To stay in South Korea for more than 90 days, individuals must apply for a foreign registration card. The card is commonly referred to as an Alien  Registration Card (ARC). All foreigners over the age of 17 are required to carry a passport, visa or foreign registration card while in the country. Failure to present one on request is a punishable offence.

An ARC is required for opening a bank account, online shopping, and receiving medical insurance benefits. Sometimes an employer will help with the application process however the responsibility ultimately lies with the applicant.


There are some cases where it is not necessary to apply for the card:

  • People engaged in diplomatic work or official business and their family members
  • People whose work relates to national security and their family members
  • Others deemed not to need registration by the Ministry of Justice
  • Canadians intending to reside in South Korea for less than six months who hold either a cultural arts, religious affairs, family visitation or dependent family visa

How to apply for an Alien Registration Card

The application for an ARC must be made within 90 days of arriving in the country. Applications are made at the Immigration Office or a branch office.

The following documents are needed by anyone making an application:

Additional documents required to make an application depend on the type of visa held by the applicant.

  • View a list of documents needed for specific visa types and to download an application form. (Click on "English" in the top right of the screen. Then select "Immigration" in the bar along the top of the "Information Shortcuts" box in the middle of the page and click on "Foreigner Sojourn". Then select "Foreigner Registration" from the menu down the left side of the page. Finally select " Required Documents for Foreigner Registration"; an application form can be downloaded by clicking on the icons under "Common Required Documents")
  • UPDATE: It is possible that the Hi Korea website has been infected with malware. Use the link above with caution


A fee must be paid to process the application. Once an application has been processed a foreign registration card is issued, usually in around two weeks.

The card is valid for one year, after which it will need to be renewed.

The card must be returned to the immigration office when leaving the country permanently.

Applications for children

Children must apply separately for a registration card if they are aged 17 or over. The application must be made within 60 days of the child's 17th birthday. The application requires a passport, two colour photographs and a foreign registration card (a parent's or guardian's).

Getting a new card

A new foreign registration card can be applied for if one is lost, stolen, damaged or if there is a change to any of the details (for example a change in name or nationality) recorded on the card. An application must be made within 14 days of it becoming necessary. The application process is similar to that for an original card; an "application for re-issuance" form must be filled in and submitted at a local immigration office with a colour photograph and the original card, if available. If the original card was lost, then a document stating the reason for needing the new card is also required.

There is a fee to apply for a new card.

Changes in circumstance

Changes in employment or place of residence must be reported within 14 days. Failure to do so can result in a fine.

Sample Alien Registration Card

Image Credit: South Korea Immigration