Yes, that’s right. I’m a legal alien. I got my Alien Registration Card (ARC) at the end of last week, and it was certainly not as painful as it could have been. All it involved was taking a trip to the immigration office (in my case the one in Uijeongbu), filling out a form (which even had some English on it!), handing in my medical forms and some documents from my school, paying my W10,000, and then getting the ARC posted to me. It took less than a week. In fact, I applied on the Monday afternoon, and received the card on Friday morning. Not bad. Not bad at all.
The postage was extra, but definitely worth the couple of thousand won that it cost. It would have cost me more to get to the immigration office in person. I also went for a multiple-entry visa (you could apply on the same form as for your alien registration), and this cost an extra W50,000. This is a bit steep, but at least I can do some travelling now. The annoying thing is that my original E-2 was not cheap, but in South Africa the Korean embassy does NOT issue multiple entry E-2 visas. Other nationalities can get a multiple entry visa for just a little more than for the normal E-2. So I paid twice as much in the end for a multiple entry visa. Oh well.
Now I can go ahead and get my own cellphone and finish a couple of other admin things. Thank goodness. It’s great to finally have this card, even if it reminds me of having a dompas.