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Guide for expats who just started to live in Korea
Welcome to Korea!
Don’t know where to start? Here are three simple steps you need to follow. 
[Step 1] Basics for expats

First guide of what should you know and where you should visit.

1. Residence Card (formerly known as ARC, or Alien Registration Card)

Your Residence Card is your primary ID as an expat in Korea, so don't lose it!

If you stay for more than 90 days, you need to apply for a Residence Card at the Korea Immigration Service.

Image source: Hi Korea

2. Opening a Bank Account

If you have a Residence Card, you can now open a bank account.

Bring both your Residence Card and your passport to the bank to open an account.

Some of the most well known banks are Kookmin Bank (국민은행), Woori Bank (우리은행), Shinhan Bank (신한은행), and Hana Bank (하나은행).

You can also download Toss, a financial services app to open bank account indirectly. (Toss app is available only Korean for now)

[Step 2] Support or Assistance 

1. Foreign Support Center

The Korean government runs several support centers for expats in cooperation with local governments.

For example, you can get consultation, take lessons, or enjoy various cultural activities at the Seoul Global Center.

For more details, you can visit their websites below.

2. Professional Service Assistance 

Wonderful is a virtual personal assistance service that can help you with virtually any errands.


Ziptoss is real estate platform where you can search for a residence that suits you.


[Step 3] Basic Facilities

1. Convenience Stores and Supermarkets

Korean convenience stores like CU, GS, and E-mart 24 are usually open 24/7. You can buy snacks, ramen, medicine, and drinks, among others. 

Korean supermarkets can be classified into three types: (1) franchised hypermarkets like E-mart, HomePlus, Lotte Mart and Hanaro Mart; (2) wholesale markets like Costco and E-mart Traders where you can buy in bulk; and (3) local supermarkets by region. 

Here's a map of various E-mart locations: 

2. Hospitals

You can generally walk into any small local hospital.

If you want to get a more comprehensive medical checkup or need surgery, you should make a reservation at a larger hospital.

There are different hospitals for otorhinolaryngology/ENT (이비인후과), orthopedics (정형외과), dentistry (치과), pediatrics (소아청소년과), ophthalmology (안과), dermatology (피부과), obstetrics and gynecology (산부인과), and urology (비뇨의학과).

Over-the-counter medicines are readily available at pharmacies everywhere. 

If you want to know more about Korea's health care system, please click the 2nd link below. 

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