It’s hard to believe that this adventure is coming to an end so soon. It’s been an incredible two years, an experience Rosie and I will be reminiscing about until we’re old and grey. Leaving is always hard but this time we have family and friends to look forward too. It’ll be nice being in the same time zone as everybody again!
Getting here was no walk in the park. Courses were taken, applications were filed and interviews were had. Getting home isn’t quite as involved but it isn’t as easy as buying a plane ticket either. I wanted to document our leaving process so that others could stumble upon it after a quick google search: ‘How to leave Korea’ or ‘Preparing to leave Korea’ or something like that… Hopefully this finds you well.
Getting your Pension
Yes, we can collect Pension. Well, Canadians, Americans, and Australians can. If you’re leaving Korea forever you’ll want to collect this. It can be a pretty huge sum depending on how long you’ve been here. That said, if you plan on returning you may want to leave without it the first time so that you can accumulate a bigger pension the second time. Once you claim it though, you can’t start another one.
We’ve been here for two years so we’ve been making contributions to our pension every month for 22 - TWENTY TWO - months, NOT 24. Be sure to compare your yearly pension summaries and make sure your balance is in line with other foreign teachers. I found that my administration had made a crucial error, calculating my contribution over 24 months, which left me a little short by the time we were ready to leave. This was cleared up after a week or so and it all worked out, but if Rosie hadn’t compared them we would never have known and I’d by leaving a little short.
We actually ended up going to the pension office twice. Procedure dictates that making your claim MUST take place no greater than ONE month before your departure. You ‘ll have to provide a flight itinerary to prove it too. We had some extra time during our Winter break and thought we might be able to get it out of the way early. No dice. We returned a week later and everything was okay.
Preparing your claim
There are a few documents you’ll be required to bring in order to complete this process.
1. Passport and ARC [Alien Registration Card]
2. Foreign Bank information [your bank back home]
- Bank name and branch address.
- Institution/bank number, branch number, and your account number.
PROTIP: All this information can be found on a direct deposit form from your bank back home OR on the receipt you get from your Korean bank when you make a money transfer to a foreign bank.
3. The appropriate forms. Available online here or in the pension office. Employees are more than happy to help you fill out the form. There were a lot of sections we were told to ignore and it was a pretty quick process.
4. A copy of your flight itinerary [print out the confirmation email sent from your airline with all important dates included.]
After all that was out of the way we were told that it would take up to one month to receive the refund, and that’s pretty much it. It was rather straightforward once we got there.
We live in Busan and the closest Pension office was in Hadan on the 10th floor of the Samsung building closest to Hadan Subway exit 7. Good luck!