Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Teachers E2 Guide to Pyeongtaek


Even though there are lots of us teaching English in Pyeongtaek, it can feel a bit lonely when you first arrive and you aren't exactly sure what's up. Just know that you aren't alone. Even after seven years a trip to immigration often shaves 5 years off our lives. It's simply always unnerving when you talk to people that hold your life in their hands.

To help new teachers get settled in and feel confident that they are headed to the right place, we have added the "visa" search as an option in the South of Seoul app. When you type this into search it pulls up a list of places that matter to you. A complete list of the places you might need to visit to maintain your visa. It's going to look something like this... but with more stuff to scroll through.

We recommend doing this search and having a quick look at these places to get an idea of what they are. We will keep a link to this blog post in each of these listings as well. It's not actually that hard to deal with immigration issues here, but even the smallest detail can seem overwhelming with dealing with language and cultural differences. Just always remember to breathe. Things are going to take longer than you want, but as long as your paperwork is in order every thing should be OK. Now, let's get started on what places are on this list.

Immigration Office

Subway: Seojeongri Station, however you will need to take a bus or a taxi if you are short on time. It's a bit of a walk from there.

What you do here:

  • Renew your E2 Visa - Please remember that this MUST be done online and it often can take 2 weeks to get an appointment. To be safe, reserve a date at least 4 weeks in advance. Also, this is a satellite branch of the Suwon Office. Your confirmation messages will tell you that you are confirmed with Suwon Immigration HOWEVER do not GO to Suwon. If your address is in Pyeongtaek, ALL your appointments should be in Pyeongtaek.
  • Notify of New Passport Number - If you get a new passport while in Korea you have two weeks to notify immigration. This does NOT need an appointment. Just walk in and it should be pretty painless and quick. You can get fined for doing it late so just get it done.
  • Replace A Lost ARC - If you regularly lose your ARC cards, know they aren't going to kick you out. We don't need to talk about how we know this. Just get your butt over to immigration with your passport and some new photos (you can get in the lobby) and get it replaced as soon as you know it's missing. 
  • Notify of Address Change - If you move for any reason don't mess around. Take your housing contract straight to immigration and let them know you have changed housing. If for some reason your boss had you move houses just go to immigration and tell them. Don't wait for your boss to notify them. Going to immigration yourself will make them call your boss for the new housing contract, thus protecting yourself and forcing your boss to comply on time without you begging him/her to do it.
  • Apply for a D-10 "looking for work" Visa - If you find yourself at the end of your contract but unemployed, don't panic. Just make an appointment with immigration for the D-10 visa. This will give you up to 6 months to look for a job. Click here to read more.
  • Certified Copies of Documents Held by Immigration - If you are a public school teacher Immigration will hold your Apostilles for both your FBI check and your diploma. When you are applying to different school positions - or graduate school in Korea - you will need to get certified copies of these items. You do not need an appointment. You also need to go to the fourth floor (investigations office) to request these.

Health Checks
Hospitals with Translation Teams
When you first arrive in Korea you will need to get a health check. Might as well just go to the hospital right away and get this done. It will also need to be done every year for insurance purposes. Although you can use just about any hospital for this, we recommend one of the two following options since they are used to doing them and have foreign help desks.

St. Mary's 
Subway: Jijae Station (You will then need a bus or taxi)
PRO-Tips: Although there are many different places to get your health checks done, we HIGHLY recommend making the effort to go here. Many other hospitals will take too long or provide inaccurate health checks. They just do a better job here and make more effort with confidentiality. They are required to follow more strict standards in order to be used by US military.  You do not need an appointment, in fact you can't make one. The health checks are on level B1. Just walk in and they will get you started.

Good Morning Hospital
Subway: Pyeongtaek Station (You will then need a bus or taxi)

PRO-Tips: This is the other big hospitals in the area. If you are teaching in Pyeongtaek City it can often be the easiest to get to. They have a foreigner help desk. Check in here and they will get you where you need to go.

Pyeongtaek Police Station

Subway: Pyeongtaek Station
What you might need here:

  • Fingerprinting for Background Checks
  • Korean Criminal Records Check

If you end up staying longer than a year, at some point you might find yourself in need of another criminal background check, either local or from your home country. When this happens you hurry on down to this police station. At different points in time the finger printing has been in different parts of the building. Just ask someone for help, they will point you in the right direction.

Pyeongtaek Education Office

Subway: Pyeongtaek Station
Hagwon Work Verification - There are a few reasons you will need to go here. Usually when you are changing jobs. If you are changing from a private to a public school, you will need to get your work verified here to count toward you salary grade. If you are leaving the country to work in another country, you will want to get a copy of this and then have it translated and notarized in order to help prove your hagwon work history. Please note, this is NOT where you get your public school records. These records can only be provided by your public school.

Pyeongtaek Tax Office

Subway: Pyeongtaek Station (You will then need a bus or taxi)

PRO-Tips: You need to be sure that you are registered with your local tax office. There are some hagwons who don't do this and it can come back to haunt you at immigration. You also need to be registered within the first week or two of arriving. Make sure this happens. This tiny detail can turn into a big fiasco if your hagwon has a competing school. Since all hagwon owners know that everyone does things late, when a new teacher arrives at a competing school they might notify the tax office immediately to check to see if they were registered on time.

Local Pension Office

Pyeongtaek Station (You will then need a bus or taxi)
Alright, so you have completed your public school contract and it's time to head home. Make sure you notify the pension office so that everything is in order to collect your pension. Click here to learn more.