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Petition for foreigners living in Korea


27 Aug 2004
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Hi, not too sure how many people here have lived in Korea before but due to the prevalence of ESL teachers there I assume there are quite a few. For those who don't know, foreigners in Korea all receive a registration number, similar to the ones Koreans use. It's a 13-digit number that is used quite a bit, much more than social insurance numbers in places like Canada and the States.
When signing up for pretty much anything online (even forums such as this one) one needs to have a Korean Resident Registration Number, and even though our numbers are nearly identical in form, Korean sites don't recognize them so in most cases it's impossible to sign up.
In these cases one has the choice to:
-Borrow a Korean friend's ID, technically illegal but usually not a big deal. I've done this quite a few times before.
-Send an email directly to the administrator of the site and hope for a response.
-Give up.

The Ministry of Justice has actually created a program that recognizes our numbers for businesses to download, but generally they don't which makes the whole thing useless. There is also the fact that many Koreans live overseas, and a great many people who have lived in Korea before and are now living overseas continue to have an interest in the country but because they are no longer residents, don't have a number and wouldn't be able to register anyway.

Therefore the petition asks the government to require all businesses and internet sites with a registration page to make it possible for people without resident numbers to sign up as well, just like with most other countries in the world. Korea is trying too market itself as the 'Hub of Asia', and this is just a logical step for them.

The petition itself can be found at


and already over 150 people have signed it. It requires but a name and an email address (which isn't displayed) and takes under a mnute to sign.

Oh, and I'll be back to check on responses so feel free to ask any questions. I'm not just posting the ad for the petition and taking off. I've lived in Japan myself for two years, Nagoya and Fukuoka, and though I love living in Korea there are a few 'quirks' in the system that need to be taken care of. Next target on my list is the visa system, but I'll get to that later. ^^

A lot of the people who have signed it have been Korean and Japanese as well. Most of the responses from Japanese people have been very positive as they make more of an effort to learn the language than most English expats to, and run into this registration problem early on.

Lastly, here are some comments from people who have already signed the petition:

"It would be very helpful to be able to register online for products, services, and information available on Korean web sites."
"Allowing on-line registration of persons other than Korean Nationals will show that Korea is truely a member of the international community."
"Something like this is long long overdue."
"25 years in Korea and still struggling with this problem! How about giving us expats valid id nbrs that work on-line!"
"THis is something that foreign residents of Korea need. If Korea is truly determined to be the hub of Asia, it should see if it can accomplish this simple act first."
"I mentioned this very idea in a letter (mainly about Korean spam) published by the Korea Times last year"
"Changing this will definitely help foreigners working in Korea feel more welcome."
"the registration number was changed several years ago and it was supposed to somehow make life easier by increasing the number of digits to the same as the korean id....needless to say IT DIDN"T WORK."

Thanks for listening!
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