Living in Korea: What if you lose your Alien Registration Card?

Living in Korea: What if you lose your Alien Registration Card?

This article was updated 6-19-2018

So you’re living in Korea as an expat, and you lose your Alien Registration Card, what are you going to do?

Your Alien Registration Card (ARC) is your official registration with Korean immigration and proof that you belong and is living in Korea legally. But what happens if you lose this card?

There is a lot of controversial, compelling and even outright wrong stories about what to do if you lose your card.

I’ve been living in Korea for quite some time now

I am here to set the record straight being that I have had hands-on experience on the matter.

Some people say you will pay heavy fines. Others say you have to file a police report first before going to immigration so that they have proof that you lost it. As if you report it lost or stolen to them is not proof enough. Some even say it takes the same day to process or even the same week. Are these people right? Well, yes and no.

Setting the record straight

Do I pay a fine?

If you are wondering if you pay a heavy fine for losing the card here is your answer. You don’t pay a fine if you get the card replaced. The only time you will pay a fine is if you don’t go to get a new card and you try to leave Korea. Why? Because immigration collects the card on your leaving the country after your teaching or whatever visa you have that requires you to have the card. The fine is 100,000 won if you don’t have the card as you are leaving.

Do I need to file a police report?

Not really. You do not need to file a police report first before going to immigration. They will begin the process without you needing a police report. However, if you want to have proof just in case you are to leave Korea before the card arrives, it is a good idea to get a police report because that would be your proof they will need. If this is you then it would help to know this phrase: “waygookin indeuhng nawkjeuhng irrossawyaw” (I have lost my ARC card) to say it to the officer in case they do not speak English.

Good to Read: Teaching English in Korea: A Note to New Teachers

Otherwise, all you need to do is go to immigration with your passport, a passport size photo (not needed but just in case for some reason your information is not in their system. But I would call them first). However, if you still have the receipt that they gave you in order for you to open a bank account etc before the card arrived, that’s all you will really need.

For some offices, all you need is to show up and tell them you lost the card and they will look you up by your name and pull everything up and get the process started for you. But I would be naive for telling you to just show up and do it because since there is no set standard that all the offices follow, each office interprets the guidelines differently so it’s safe to just take your passport and whatever documentation to prove who you are.

How long does it take to get a new card?

This depends on which office you go to. Some are faster than others. It could be the same day or it could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. It just depends on how backed up the office is.

living in korea: immigration

The immigration office in Korea

What is the process in detail?

  1. Go to the immigration officer and tell them you lost your card or it was stolen.
  2. They will give you the right form to fill out depending on which situation fits your case. The form only asks for your name, ARC number, Nationality and why you lost it. That’s it.
  3. You will pay them 10,000 won for the processing etc and give them the information they request above
  4. They will tell you how long it will take and give you a date to come and pick it up
  5. You walk out the door less afraid and possibly with a smile on your face 🙂
  6. That’s it.

If you are staying/living in Korea for more than 90 days, it’s good to register with Korean immigration service so that you are up to date on changes.

Hopefully, this article brings a little clarity to the process. But I would like to know if any else out there has lost their card and what the process was like for them. So, leave a comment.

Cheers.

Leave a Comment

  • Leo
    June 21, 2012, 3:05 pm

    Great article. I actually lost mine recently and was so confused about the process. Great information. It happened exactly the way you described it.
    I asked them if I get a new number, since i have lost my old one. But the ARC number stays the same.

    Reply
  • Achezbh
    January 8, 2013, 1:20 pm

    nice

    Reply
  • Edmund
    January 12, 2014, 10:20 am

    what happens if i lose BOTH my ARC and passport?

    Reply
    • Tate
      February 23, 2014, 3:12 am

      Get to your embassy as soon as possible

      Reply
  • Denise
    July 20, 2014, 7:43 pm

    I lost my ARC last June 2014 and I just paid 40,000 won. I am worried that ipI might not be allowed to enter Korea again. The immigration officer was asking about me going back to Korea until September but could not really understand but I did not have time to clarify anymore since I was running late for my flight. Can someone please help me, will i still be able to go back? Thanks!

    Reply
  • Denise
    July 21, 2014, 11:11 am

    I lost my ARC last June 2014 and I just paid 40,000 won. I am worried that I might not be allowed to enter Korea again. The immigration officer was asking about me going back to Korea until September but could not really understand but I did not have time to clarify anymore since I was running late for my flight. I really hope you can help me get an answer for this. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Tate
      August 4, 2014, 3:06 am

      Did you contact an office that speaks English?

      Reply
  • cory
    August 1, 2014, 10:08 pm

    i don’t have my arc nor know my arc number, but i have everything else? Problems?

    Reply
  • john
    August 19, 2014, 6:18 pm

    Can someone please help me?

    I have only been here 3 weeks so I do not Yet have an arc card.

    My father is dying and I need to get home asap. Will just my passport be OK to allow me to return home?

    Reply
    • Tate
      September 17, 2014, 2:04 am

      Yes your passport alone should be fine. Your ARC comes into question only when returning.

      Reply

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