We finally decided on a date to go to the immigration office to renew our F4 visas. And somehow it fell on a cool rainy day. Nothing wrong with the rain, but you know I was just hoping it would be a nice walk to the immigration office.
Seoul Immigration Office is about 15 minutes walk from the Omokgyo (line 5, purple color) station. I think I've been to this office 5+ times or so, but I still get jittery thinking of visiting it. It helps having a camaraderie, or a husband in my case, to tell you that it's just another chore, procedure, duty, whatever you can call this stuff.
I've been quite lucky the first time I think I came to this one - I remember having to need some sort of paper/information and vouching it by talking him out of having me bring it in. Those were the old days.
I think Korea has tightened its "act" a lot these days, last time I checked, you need a whole lot of new things to teach English here now, when it didn't require much except a 4 year college degree before.
So I figured I would check what we needed to renew our F4 visa just the day before our promised date. We DO need something new that we never needed before, a LEASE (to confirm your address).
And so today is the day, and it's raining, so we hopped into a taxi in order to stay dry for the visa renewal duty. And out of all the days, our taxi driver is one harmless talkative ajoshi. He asked us about who we were, why we were here, where we lived, how much our rent was, and the last 5 minutes consisted of him advising us how we should save more money (since we were a young married couple) by moving just a bit away from the center of Seoul - I knew all this talk was his way of trying to be friendly. We nudged our heads in order to show him we were listening and throwing a few laughs and giggles at his advice and so forth. You never know what kind of taxi driver you will get in Korea. They seem to either be careless or too caring(in their own way).
We arrived, but since the streets were one-way streets around the immigration office, he let us out that we had to cross 2 crosswalks to get there. I was wrong in thinking I was going to stay dry. My holey Crocs didn't help. My toes were soaking wet. Oh well, at least we are here, let's get this done.
Despite how many times I've been here, I don't exactly remember what to do. I asked the help desk lady and she told me to get up to 3rd floor to renew our F4 visas. I would advice checking with a staff to make sure you are at the right place.
The 3rd floor was emptier than we imagined and a room we've never been before (or my memories have failed me). It's been 3 years since I've done this and for some reason, I felt pretty good about it seeing an emptier room. There were only 3 people ahead of us (get a ticket number at the door).
We waited about 15 minutes or so and our turn came! Much faster than I expected!
We handed our
- application form (form #34),
- stamp receipts,
- and our lease.
With the guy scribbling this and that on our forms, photocopying the lease, and not even checking our passports - it took about 10~15 minutes there at the desk. He told us to sit and wait 20 minutes to get our cards back with the new expiration date.
By this time, the room was filling up and it was about 10:30am. We got there around 10am.. Keep that in mind - the earlier the better.
About 5~10 minutes later, our cards were handed back to us with our new expiration dates stamped on our cards. We are good for 3 more years in Korea! Pretty easy breezy.
Done and done. We were out of there in no time. We decided to walk back to the subway despite the pouring rain.
We stopped by a Paris Baguette to warm ourselves up to get some breakfast and coffee The coffee was pretty good for 1500won and the yummies were just as good. Freshly baked bread makes me feel like I have it all.
It has been a while since we walked and got wet in the rain. My toes were soaking wet with the brine of whatever the street water composed of, but it felt refreshing to be "dirty".
I didn't mind much of it - especially after having to get the visa chore done! whoohoo!