If you are not South Korean nationals, having a D-2 visa does not mean that you are now regarded as fully legally residing in South Korea. What you need is the Alien Registration Card. It is frequently called by its abbreviation “ARC” or “Alien Card,” giving a bit sci-fi feeling. How important is it? The ARC will be your identification card when dealing with anything that needs to confirm your genuine identity. Yes! Including the little online shopping and payments. The card is required when you register for a permanent mobile phone number. It is different from the phone number for tourists (lasts typically for a month) that you can buy after only showing your passport.
The question is, how can you receive that valuable-for-your-life card? I have to honestly tell you that it will not be as fast as some might expect in this palli palli country because they deal with the process seriously. The ARC registration took my time in the first month of the first semester. So, you are not alone in this.
First, I had to wait for the announcement from Ewha. Usually, the GSIS office will send the details directly to your email, informing the deadline of the pre-registration period and the date and place of Alien Registration “On-Campus Service,” which is usually at ECC. The time is set in the first week of the semester, because there is still a long way to go.
I had to pre-register for using the service on kisfvisa.org first. After completing the form, I print out the application and power of attorney (because KISF is a representative service that applies ARC for us with the immigration office) and other required documents.
The required documents are; your photo, passport, certificate of enrollment, and certificate of residence (and maybe more).
You can print out The Certificate of Enrollment at the machines located in ECC (Gate 1) near the working space in front of room B303 (available at 06:00-22:00, also on weekends). Because I did not have any debit card at that time, I also prepared a 500 won banknote for paying a fee directly into the machine. Other details of certificate issuance services are here.
For the Certificate of Residence, the form is different, depending on what type of residence you reside in South Korea. Please refer to the following table to indicate the document(s) you will need to confirm your legal residence. However, the details might alter in the year you register, so please be careful and also read the guideline provided by the university and KISF in that year. Admittedly, it is better to have more documents than what they request, especially the certificate of residence.
After I prepared all the documents mentioned earlier and collected them in a file, I took this file with confidence to the room at ECC, where KISF informed me to go.
Note: In this semester, because of the COVID-19 situation, the service is conducted differently. The process will not involve any physical meeting on the campus. You should submit online application during 10 September (Thur) – 13 September (Sun). Please learn about the whole process needed at the International Student Affair website.
When I arrived at the room, I was suddenly stunned by the long line of students waiting for their turn. The on-campus service was just two days, so you have to go there as early as possible. Some students in the queue could not make it on the last day because they had to attend classes and could not wait longer. There will be no privilege for those who have to go to classes. So, make sure that you go there as early as you can. Do not wait until the last minute. Ewha has more international students than you would imagine!
In addition to handling the documents to the KISF staff, you need to pay 40,000 won for the fee. After the staff approved my documents, she gave me an appointment paper. The paper will be used later when your ARC application passes the document screening process. Then, the immigration office will tell you to go to the immigration office to scan fingerprints into the system.
Visit the immigration office.
The immigration office is not close to the subway station. I had to walk for a while. There were A LOT of people there. I was confused by the signs but finally managed to ask for the queue number paper. If my memory is right, I waited for about 30 minutes in the crowded waiting room. Finally, my number was displayed on the screen, indicating me to go to one of the counters. The finger scanning process itself was speedy (less than 4 minutes), compared to the waiting time. The problem was that the immigration officer forgot to scan my passport, so I had to send them via email later. So, be sure that the officer asks for your passport. If not, there might be something wrong.
Since many people are waiting for the service each day, I suggest you do not expect the officers to be super nice and friendly. Please keep calm while the process is going on.
Get the ARC (finally!)
A few weeks after the finger scanning process, the International Student Affairs Team will receive the ARCs and distribute them. They will notify you when the ARC is ready. I remember that I got it from the International Student Affairs Team office in ECC. Though I do not remember exactly how long this took, another review shows that it is about one month.
The followings are some of the information that I got from the GSIS office last year, and I think it is handy;
▣ Where to take ID Photo
① Ewha Photo Studio: Located near the student restaurant lobby at Human Ecology Building (02-3277-4866)
② Photo Booth: Located in Ewha Womans University Subway Station
▣ Important Notes on the Service
- It is expected to take about four weeks for alien registration and visa extension
- Please be aware that your D-2 visa will automatically expire when you travel out of Korea before receiving your alien registration card. Please make sure to bring all the required documents and refer to the attached file for the details on the procedures of on-campus application and required documents.
- For more detailed information on visa/sojourn regulations, please visit the Immigration Office website (www.hikorea.go.kr) or call +82-1345
The registration process may change every year, please find detailed information on the International Student Affair Team’s website (Link)