Leaving Korea

Category : Surviving in Korea
Nov 28, 2014

Leaving Korea will no doubt be a bit of a stressful process. You may be so happy to kiss kimchi goodbye that you forget to do some of the important stuff (like figuring out what to do with your phone or ARC). Don’t let that be the case! Here are some tips to make your move back home go as smoothly as possible:



Returning Your Alien Registration Card

Want to keep your ARC for fond memories? Well, too bad. Unless you want to be hit with a 100,000KRW fine, or have your privileges of visiting Korea in the future severely limited, you have to return your ARC card upon leaving Korea at the airport. An immigration officer will take it, and then destroy it.


Getting Rid of All that Junk

So, you don’t want to take back your electric fan, dishes, drying rack, laundry basket and who knows what else? Throwing them out would just be a waste. But who would you give them to? Maybe all of your friends are leaving too, and you’ve already asked the Koreans you know if they want to take your stuff – not successful.


  • Option 1: Online Classifieds

If you have a lot of time on your hands, and want to make some extra cash, considering posting your stuff on an online classifieds listing, like WorknPlay’s Online Forum. Many foreigners new to Korea check online classifieds for cheap home supplies, so you might get lucky and have someone come over to take everything off your hands – and you’ll even get PAID for it! It’s good to browse around first to see how much things are selling for, so you can attract more buyers. You can either meet them at your nearest subway station or invite them into your house; it’s all up to you and the buyer.


  • Option 2: Donating

Using online classifieds can be time consuming, though. Sometimes buyers end up being “no-shows” or you’ll spend a lot of time answering email questions from people who are “kind of interested”, but who never follow through. In that case, consider donating your leftover stuff.


Below are some organizations who will accept your used item donations:


Organization Accepted Items Store Locations How to Donate
Salvation Army Phone: 1588-1327
Email: nanumistore@naver.com Website

Yes: Clothes, furniture, appliances, food,


No: Bedding, curtains, large closets.

Seoul: Jongo, Mapo, Seodaemun, Yongsan, Seongdong, Ganbuk.


Gyeonggi-do: Bucheon

Pick-Up: Email nanumistore@naver.com

(Gyeonggi and Seoul area only)


Drop-Off: At any Salvation Army store location (directions here)

Beautiful Store






Yes: Clothes, small furniture, kitchen ware, appliances, bicycle, TV, rice cooker

No: Video or cassette tapes, air conditioner, water purifier, medicine, food,

Seoul: Jongo, Bogunsa, Hongdae, Yangjae, Seongbuk, Seochu, Seoul Sation


Gyeonggi-do: Ansang, Anyang, Namyangju, Pocheong, Bucheon.

Drop-Off: At any Beautiful Store location (directions here)


Delivery: Call 1588-1255

Goodwill Store



(Korean only)


Yes: Clothes, small working electronics, books.


No: Mattresses, futons,  furniture, perishable food items

Seoul: Yangchun, Songpa


Gyeonggi-do: Suwon

Busan: Hadan, Sasang

Drop-Off: Songpa Store (Seoul):

Jamsil Station (Exit 1) à Bus 3315. Get off at Yoonkin building.


Seoul Global

Village Centers


Itaewon 02-2199-8883

Seorae 01-2155-8915

Yeoksam 02-3453-9038


Itaewon itaewon@sba.seoul.kr

Seorae seorae@sba.seoul.kr

Yeoksam yeoksam@sba.seoul.kr


Yes: Clothing, toys, kitchen ware, small sports equipment.


No: Unwashed clothes or broken items

Seoul: Itaewon, Seorae, Yeoksam


Drop-Off: At any listed Global Village location (directions here)


  • Option 3: Random Suggestions

Here are some other random ways people get rid of their stuff before leaving Korea:

  1. We heard about one English teacher who invited her students to “go shopping” in her closet, so they could take any of the clothes she didn’t want to bring back home. Apparently they loved it, but definitely check with the parents first before doing that.
  2. Contact university international offices (IO): depending on what time of the year it is (late August/early September for the fall semester, or late February/early March for the spring semester) there will be a lot of new foreign students coming to study. They have to get things like bedding, drying racks, or other household items within the first few days of being in Korea, and often have no clue about where to go to buy them. On top of that, most foreign students have a lot of disposable income, so you could probably make some decent cash off of your used items. The IO can pass along your information to incoming students.


Alternatively, you can even leave furnishings like your bed or closet in your apartment for the next person.


Shipping Things Back Home

Another option for taking care of anything you don’t need in Korea is to ship it back home. Rates vary based on the destination and package size. For the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, regular mail takes around 50-70 days; deliveries to Great Britain take 70-90 days.


For more information on delivery times & options, pricing, and other mail-related matters, please visit the article, The Korean Post.


You could also enlist the help of an international mover. Below are some companies that will deliver your things overseas:





AGS Four Winds – Korea

Packing, short and long-term storage, domestic and international moving services.

Headquarters: Yongsan, Seoul

Phone: +82 2-333-7747

Email: manager-korea@agsfourwinds.com


Tong-in International Moving Ltd.

Packing, domestic and international moving services.

Headquarters: Yongsan, Seoul

Phone: +82 2-385-7551

Email: tongin@tonginkorea.com


Asian Tigers - Korea

Packing, domestic and international moving services.

Headquarters: Keumcheum, Seoul

Phone: +82 2-3489-2500

Email: info@asiantigers-korea.com


Corea International Logistics (CIL) Co

Packing, delivery, and storage.

Headquarters: Pajusi, Gyeunggido

Phone: +82 2-737-3200

Email: cil@cilkorea.com


Crown Relocations Korea

Domestic and international moving, storage, insurance, resettlement services (including employment and language support), and immigration services.

Headquarters: Jongo, Seoul

Phone: +82 2-796-5717

Email: seoul@crownrelo.com



Shipping Your Car Home

If you brought a car to Korea, or just had enough money lying around that you thought you’d buy a new one, here’s how you can ship it back home:

  • Compare prices with shipping agencies around Korea
  • Select the port city you want to ship it from (Incheon, Seoul, Daegu, Busan or Gangneung
  • Prep your car for delivery:
    • Clean it inside and out; inspect it for damages before it gets shipped. That way, you’ll know if it arrived in the same shape you sent it in once you return.
    • Keep a separate set of keys for the shipping company.
    • Prepare all necessary documentation for export customs (ex: car title, vehicle registration, current driver’s license). The shipping company might ask for more documentation.


Tying Up Loose Ends: Settling Your Finances before Leaving

Before you leave Korea, it’s important to make sure you don’t leave any unsettled finances behind. Here are some important steps to take to ensure everything’s good-to-go before you leave.


Paying Remaining Bills

Before you leave Korea, you should request to have your remaining bills sent to you. After you receive them in the mail, take them down to your local bank’s ATM. From there, you can pay for them manually. Find a machine with English banking options and follow the prompts from there. You’ll either have to scan your bill or input the payment receiver’s info (usually just account number) manually. If you’ve been living in Korea, this process should already be down pat for you. However, if you’ve been previously paying online, or in person to a teller at the bank, this option is a quick and easy alternative.


Afterwards, keep your receipts so you can show them to the receiver in case of any problems.


Closing Your Bank Account

There are several options when it comes to closing your bank account. Some people recommend just withdrawing all of your cash, then exchanging for your home country’s currency it at the bank or the airport. After some time, many banks shut down dormant accounts with a 0KRW balance.


However, if you want to go through a more formal procedure, this is what you need to do:

  1. Visit your bank and submit an account closing application.
  2. Bring the same ID you used to set up the account (ie: passport or Alien Registration Card).
  3. Give the teller your bankbook and seal (seal not necessary if your signature was registered).


Cancelling Your Cell Phone

To cancel your cell phone, visit a branch of the provider you currently use (SK Telecom, LG U Plus+, or KT). Make sure you’re not visiting a retailer, one of the smaller cell phone stores that line the many streets of Korea. This is because not all of them perform administrative duties like cancelling contracts or pay-as-you-go plans. It’s better to go to a major electronics center like the one at Yongsan iPark. An added bonus is that many of the vendors speak English, and if they don’t, they’ll point you out to someone who does. Some may even buy back your phones. You could also try to sell your used phone online,



Gabrielle interned as a Content Creator for Work'n'Play during her exchange trip to Chung-Ang University in 2012-2013. She graduated from Vancouver Island University in May 2014 with her BA in Global Studies. She is now a Master's student at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa, Canada. The things she misses most about her year in Korea are: going for makgeolli + jeon with friends, exploring Seoul's new and old hidden treasures and getting to practice Korean every day. You can connect with her on Twitter at @MsGabrielle or email her at gabrielle.bishop@hotmail.com.