life in korea, pinoys in korea

Additional Requirement for Renewal of the Alien Registration Card

My family renewed our Alien Registration Cards (ARCs) last March 2017. Aside from renewal, we also had to get new IDs as we have already consumed the spaces reserved for extension on our current ID.

Scheduling an appointment

You need to do an online appointment through the Immigration website. As soon as you have secured a spot, go to your designated Immigration Center (ours is at Mokdong) and bring your requirements and the corresponding fees. Strictly, each applicant only has 10 minutes application processing. We all know the ppali-ppali (빨리 빨리) culture of the Koreans and you won’t even have to doubt this. In our case, hubby applied for two spots and on each spot he indicated 2명 (2 persons). That’s for him and me and our 2 sons, otherwise the Immigration staff won’t process those which were not applied for.

How much did we pay?

Let’s make the charges clear and simple:

Renewal fee:30,000-won/applicant

ID fee:20,000-won/applicant

Please note that you don’t need to pay for your ID every renewal. You are only charged when you get a new ID (my sons and I needed new IDs because our IDs didn’t have space anymore for stamping for extension). You can choose to go back to personally pick up your ARC or you can opt to have it delivered to your preferred address. Delivery service is reliable and efficient so I personally suggest to use the delivery service.

New requirement as of March 2016

Image source: http://www.korea4expats.com/res/articles/10345tb%20test.jpg

My husband and I were surprised when we were told that the staff cannot process our extension yet. We, my husband and I and our 2 sons, need to undergo a tuberculosis test. This was new to us. Apparently, this requirement took effect on March 2016. And NOT ALL expats and foreign workers are required to undergo a tuberculosis test. Only foreigners from high risk T.B countries are required:

  • China
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Philippines
  • East Timor
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Bangladesh
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Indonesia
  • Nepal
  • Myanmar
  • Mongolia
  • India
  • Uzbekistan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Russia

Foreigners who have submitted medical check-up records with T.B. test results after the law took effect do not need to undergo this test again. The Immigration staff gave us a list of authorized centers and hospitals. We chose the Sinchon Yonsei Hospital since it is nearest to us.

What are the fees for a T.B. test?

Testing fee: 27,970-won/person

T.B. test result certificate: 30,000-won/person

Yap, to get that official piece of paper indicating your test result, you need to pay on top of the actual testing fee. That is the official result that you need to bring to the Immigration Office so your application will be processed. For the 4 of us, this year was an expensive trip to Immigration.

What do you think of this new requirement? Is it discriminating against citizens coming from the 18 countries listed above?

In the meantime, while this requirement is in effect you may spare yourself the stress and the waiting time by processing your T.B. test and bringing the result on your appointment. Better yet, you might want to call the Immigration hotline (Foreigner Complex Counselling Center) 1345 for further clarification.

I wish this will be abolished. It is discriminating. And it isn’t cheap.

Until then.

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4 thoughts on “Additional Requirement for Renewal of the Alien Registration Card

  1. In my case, I did the TB testing at a government health center. I live in Eunpyeong-gu so I went to the health center in our area. But you can also go to other health centers. Eunpyeong-gu Health Center charged 3,000won for the test and I had to wait 3 days to get the result. Yongsan-gu health center charges 5,000won (if I remember it correctly) and results will be available after 5 days – as there are more foreigners undergoing the same tests.

    Honestly, I find this law stupid. In my case, I only visit the Philippines once a year and usually for only a week. What are the chances I will get TB while in the Philippines? I spend 90% of my time in Korea. Are they saying that TB is genetic? Just because I came from a TB high-risk country doesn’t mean I can get infected in an instant. My husband explained to me that it’s possible for us to get infected with TB because we mingle with other Filipinos who might have TB…but duh, so do other people! Then they should just require everyone to undergo TB test. I would understand if they require this to those who are entering Korea from those TB high-risk countries. The law should be : submit a TB test before entering Korea! >.<

    1. Hi K, thanks for letting us know that it can be done in health centers. Ours was a rip-off. But we were given a list of accredited hospitals and there was a note that immigration accepts certificate from accredited hospitals. Also, we got our result in an hour. At least, now we know that Immigration isn’t too strict about it.

      I do agree that only those entering Korea should be required to take the test. Not those who have lived here for a certain amount of time and are only processing renewal or extension.

    2. The law is stupid, and E-2 visa holders have already gone though this, and the Korean government was taken to the UNHCR about this. The Korean government agreed to drop testing for renewing visas (as per UN treaty they signed back in the 1990’s) and then simply didn’t stop the testing.

      What are the chances you’ll get TB from your 1 week trip to the Philippines? Given your English level, much, much less than most Korean people who travel to the Philippines and can’t read. When will they start testing the Korean’s returning from these countries?

      1. Your suggestion is funny and oh sooo true, lol. Following the logic behind this requirement, they should indeed let vacationing Koreans undergo the TB test, too:-).

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