Leaving South Korea and Moving On

Information on the formalities to be completed when leaving South Korea...

Regulations and laws vary widely among different countries, so it is important to research these before leaving South Korea.

Foreign Registration Card

Foreigners who have a foreign registration card must return it to the Immigration Office when they leave South Korea permanently.

  • Further information can be obtained from the Immigration Contact Centre: Click here

Schools

The procedure for informing schools when leaving Korea is very similar for all public, private and international schools. Parents should notify the school about their child's departure and ask for their academic records and a certificate of attendance in English.

Financial Issues

Social security

Usually, employers terminate contributions to the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC). However, foreigners who are individually insured should contact the National Health Insurance to stop payments.

Employment insurance and Workers' Compensation & Welfare insurance

Terminating these insurances is generally handled by the employer. However, those who are self-employed and own businesses should go to a local office in person.

National pensions

In certain cases, foreigners covered under the National Pension Scheme may be entitled to a lump sum refund when leaving South Korea.

  • For information on eligibility and how to claim for a refund: Click here

Tax

Usually the employer informs the National Tax Service when an employee leaves a company. However, those who are self-employed and own businesses must contact the local tax office themselves.

Bank accounts

To close a bank account, go to the nearest branch with identification and foreigner registration card. It may be possible to keep the account open for a period of time after the move to cover any outstanding debits.

Housing Issues

Rental contracts

It is common for large deposits to be paid when renting property in South Korea. It is therefore advisable to establish a legally binding agreement as a security to make sure that the money is returned. In this case, the House Lease Protection Act covers the return of a tenant's deposit.

Notice periods depend on the rental contract:

  • Rental periods for lump sum deposit contracts (Jeongsei or jeonse) can range from one to three years
  • Rental periods for monthly instalment and small deposit contracts (wolse) vary from a few months to one year

If tenants move out before a contract's stated termination date, they may be charged a penalty fee or lose their deposit unless they find new tenants themselves. Usually the notice period for ending a rental is 60- 90 days.

When moving out of a rental property, tenants should make sure that it is left in good condition, at least to the same standard as when they moved in. This helps make sure that the deposit or key money is returned in full.

Electricity

Kepco is the electricity supplier in South Korea. When moving out, tenants or owners should call KEPCO's customer care centre to get a meter reading, or go online to find out the outstanding balance.

If the electricity bill is included in a management fee, contact the management office to clear the balance.

Insurance

To cancel all private insurance in Korea, contact the insurance company and notify them of the departure date.

Insurance companies can generally issue a no claim certificate in English if required.

Exporting a Car

When a car is exported that is registered in South Korea and is for personal use only, it is classified as a "personal export". Contact the Korea Customs Service to find out the estimated exporting tax. Regulations and import tax of the destination country should be checked with its consulate.

Exporting Pets

Pets that leave Korea require an Animal Health Certificate that is issued by a veterinary surgeon, plus a rabies vaccination certificate. They must also have the necessary vaccinations for their destination country. Pets that are being transported by plane must be checked at the quarantine office at the airport before they board and all documents must be in order. There is a small fee for this quarantine inspection.

When transporting a pet by air, some airlines insist that a professional pet exporter is used to arrange flights to ensure that everything is completed on time prior to departure.

The International Air Transport Association provides guidelines on how to transport an animal by air. To travel by air, the animal must be in a the container that allows it to stand and turn normally, as well as sit and lie in a natural position.

Travelling can be very traumatic for an animal so it advisable to allow it to get used to its travelling crate in the months leading up to the flight. Different airlines have different regulations so the rules for a chosen carrier should be checked when planning the journey.