Arrival in Korea: Alien Registration Card (ARC), Opening a Bank account, Getting a mobile plan.


Foreigners who intend to stay more than 90 days in South Korea must apply for an Alien Registration Card. After they arrive in Korea, it is a crucial step for all international students. Once you receive the ARC, it will be your Identity Card during your stay in Korea and you do not need to carry your passport anywhere. After arriving in Korea, you should apply for an ARC within 90 days. You can make a reservation at the nearest immigration office (closest to your residence) through the website The website is accessible in three languages: Korean, English, and Chinese.

The documents you need to apply for the ARC are:

  • The application form (You can get it from the website or when you arrive at the immigration office)

  • Your passport

  • 2 colour photos

  • Attached documents per status of stay (international student’s case: university certificate of enrollment and certificate of stay)

  • Fees (30,000 KRW).

The time for issuing the ARC may vary from time to time, so after applying, you will be informed when you can receive your arc form the immigration office.

The ARC makes life easier in Korea as you can register your mobile number and your bank account with it and then you can do online shopping and also transfer money to anyone using mobile applications.


Foreigners can easily open a bank account with no restriction of age. However, some banks require the ARC to open a bank account. If you are not getting funds from any organization in Korea, you can just wait and open your bank account after getting your ARC. But if you are getting funds from Korea and you need a bank account to receive your money, you would rather find a bank where you can open an account with your passport only.

Image: Internet source

KEB-Hana Bank and Shinhan Bank are banks known for opening accounts with a passport (may not be applicable in all branches). Other than your proof of identity, banks also ask international students for a university certificate of enrollment and a certificate of stay. After registering your ARC, you can easily use the bank app for online banking.


A sim card is also something that requires an ARC. However, there are a few alternatives in case you do not have an ARC or are waiting for one. The first alternative is that you can get a temporary prepaid sim card from the airport. The sim cards available at the airport can be valid from 5 days up to 90 days.

The second choice for you is to get a prepaid sim card (알뜰폰) with your passport only from agencies selling those prepaid sim cards (not the original telecommunication companies as SKT, and KT). One of them is CHINGU MOBILE (친구통신) and their stores are commonly available near universities like Sungkyunkwan University, Ewha University, Chung-Ang University, Konkuk University, Hongik University, and Kyunghee University. This choice is more convenient because after you receive your ARC, you can easily register it to your sim card with the same number and then you can convert it to a post-paid sim card.

Receiving an ARC is a great relief and it will ease your life here manifold. Once you are done with the above-mentioned stuff, you can enjoy various online shopping or delivery apps or just any other app without any obstacles.

By Yomna Mostafa


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