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I'm going to be living in Korea for 6 months, working remotely for an American company. So I don't have any special study or work visa for Korea. The Korean consulate tells me I need a special visa to apply for an ARC (Alien registration card). I'm a Canadian, so I'm allowed to stay 6 months on a tourist visa. However, every website says that a foreigner staying longer than 90 days must apply for an ARC. But how can I apply if I'm not on a special visa?

Anyone been in this situation before and can help me out?

  • Are you permitted to work on a tourist visa? If not, then presumably you'll have to get a work visa. – Greg Hewgill Nov 25 '14 at 2:28
  • but what kind of work visa would I have to get for remotely working for an American company? – gofishus Nov 25 '14 at 3:16
  • The key here is that you are remotely working. No visa needed in this case. That said, you may raise eyebrows is your pay is being sent to a Korean bank account. I suspect it is not, given what you've described. – lswank Nov 28 '14 at 15:14
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You only need to apply for an ARC if you have entered the country on anything except one of the visa-on-arrival provisions. Whether you know it or not, you entered the country on a B-1 visa (사증면제) that was granted to you upon arrival for being a citizen of another country. The overwhelming majority of B-1 visas will be for 90 days, but for Canadians it is 180 days.

If you have arrived that way, I don't even think that you can apply for an ARC.

If you're really anxious about it, the best thing to do is to talk to an immigration lawyer. Depending on where you are, there will be lots near the immigration offices (출입국관리사무소). Canadians get all sorts of special treatment, though.

Unless an immigration official or consular officer stapled one of these in your passport:

ARC Notice

I wouldn't worry too much about having to apply for an ARC.

Edit: Actually, even the official website indicates that "foreigner stay" is categorized as either short term (less than 90 days) or long term (greater than 90 days) stay, and that long term stay requires that you either register as a foreigner or file a Domestic Residency Report within 90 days of arrival.

Your best bet will be to call the Seoul Global Center (02-2075-4130, 02-2075-4131) and ask there. Even if you are not residing in Seoul, they can answer your questions.

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http://can-vancouver.mofa.go.kr/english/am/can-vancouver/visa/free/index.jsp

If you entered as a visitor, you do not have to go through the arc registration process.

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I am also a Canadian. Last year I stayed in Korea for the full six months and did not apply for an Alien Registration Card. This didn't cause me any real problems. However, if it is possible to get your ARC, it will make little things easier, such as applying for a mobile contract, etc.

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