Things you should know when leaving Korea after a year of teaching…

I did alot of research about leaving Korea and things that needed to be taken care of or completed before making the final plane voyage out of Kimchistan.  Most of what I found was conflicting information or outdated.

I can tell you that the date on your Alien Registration Card (ARC) is very important.

We were told that we had a week or so after our final working day to leave Korea without a penalty.  This is wrong!  You must be at the airport by midnight of the ending date on your ARC.  This date will vary from your actual Visa dates, but they will go by the date on your ARC.  Things I read online were that the dates aren’t important and that it is up to the airport staff as to whether you pay a fine or if they let you pass through.  Most things I read told me not to worry, told me to leave whenever.

If your current employer in Korea does not renew your ARC, then you are overstaying your visa even if it’s only by 1 day.  Our employer told us that things would be fine.  He either lied or didn’t know.  I suspect that he did know, but wanted us to continue working that final day.

At the airport, it took us almost three hours to go through security because of the stupid one day over on our ARC.  We were shuffled to various offices, filled out various documents, and received a nasty stamp in our passport that says we overstayed our visa.  They were going to make us pay $150 each, but they would have had to hold the plane for us to have enough time to give them money.  So, instead of holding the plane they made us run to our terminal.  We actually had to RUN through the airport to make our flight.  It was awful.  We were the last people on the plane and everyone was upset with us.

Keep in mind that we each had a carry on bag, laptop bag AND guitar case!  Seth had his original acoustic and I had his newly acquired Korean Bass guitar.

All of this just made me happy that I was leaving Korea.  I was no longer sad.