Social Security Number In Korea

Social Security Number In Korea: Expats Guide

Ah, the elusive Korean Social Security Number—a string of digits that unlocks the door to adulthood in Korea, or at least to some pretty essential adulting tasks.

If you’ve been scratching your head over how to get one, you’re in the right place.

Get ready, because we’re about to dive into the nitty-gritty of Korean SSNs, making it as easy as a Seoul subway ride.

What Is a Korean Social Security Number?

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In South Korea, the social security number is referred to as the Resident Registration Number (RRN) or Korean Social Security Number (KSSN).

It can be transliterated as Jumin Deungnok Beonho. It is a 13-digit number. It is different for every individual.

This number is significant as it is used for various purposes associated with identification, insurance, banking, and taxation. Different government systems also use this number for tracking different financial transactions.

After 2013, there were some alterations made in the identification laws where the resident registration number would not be allowed to be used for the sole purpose of identification to prevent fraud.

Resident Registration Number is granted to all residents of South Korea, irrespective of their nationality.

Foreign residents of different nationalities can receive their resident registration number from the local immigration office when they arrive in Korea.

After the 17th birthday, every citizen of South Korea is issued a resident registration number by the government’s local office.

It contains different details to verify their identity and nationality, such as their name, home address, and biometric details.

What Is The Format Of Social Security in Korea?

The resident registration number has a specific format: YYMMDD-SSSSSSG. The format can be understood in the following manner.

Firstly, YYMMDD: As the capital letters hint, the first six digits represent the birth date of the individual to whom the number is issued. Y.Y. is the year, MM is the month, and D.D. is the individual’s birthday.

The letter S is the seventh digit of the registration security number, and it is used for verifying the gender of the individual and the century in which the person was born. As shown in the following details:

9It represents males born between 1800-1899  
0It represents females born between 1800-1899  
1It represents males born between 1900-1999  
2It represents females born in 1900-1999  
3It represents males born in 2000 till the present.  
4It represents females born in 2000 till present.  
5It represents foreign males born in 1900-1999  
6It represents foreign females born 1900-1999  
7It represents foreign males born 2000-today.  
8It represents foreign females born in 2000-today.  

Secondly, the next coming digits are serial numbers assigned to each individual based on where their birth registration took place.

The following 8 coming digits are serial numbers assigned to each individual based on where their birth registration took place. For foreign residents, these numbers represent the agency code that issued them the registration number.

Each Centre that assigns the registration number to an individual has a unique code with which it is represented in the national security number.

The Ministry of the Interior and Safety assigns this number to the Center.

The next digit is the 12th digit in the security number sequence used to differentiate between those of the same sex born on the same day.

The 13th digit is the verification digit. This digit will verify whether the details present on an individual’s issued registration card are correct.

That is all for the format of the resident registration number issued in Korea. So read the details above to know about the social security number.

When Do Foreign Residents Need To Apply For The Social Security Number In Korea?

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Foreign nationals residing in Korea for more than 90 days must register with a local government office to be granted a resident registration number.

All foreign residents receive the resident registration number except those associated with the U.S. Military. With this registration number, foreign residents can do many activities.

It would not be possible to operate their phone, open a bank account, register for a driving license, or participate in daily activities, as many activities in Korea require one to operate through SMS verification (also known as I-PIN).

Why Do The Foreigners Need To Apply For Social Security Number In Korea?

The resident registration serves as the social security number; thus, it is needed to verify different official matters. It can be used in various situations, a few of which have been mentioned below.

Registration Of The Resident Card In Korea

Foreign residents in Korea have to register for the resident registration cards. As it is mandatory for every foreign national who stays in Korea for more than 90 days.

Certification For Alien Registration Card

The Alien Certificate that verifies one’s identity as a foreign national in Korea also has a Registration Number.

Thus, one needs a resident registration number to be officially granted an Alien Certificate, allowing one to roam easily in Korea.

For Employment

If one wants to work in Korea as a Foreign national or get a new job there, one would need the resident registration number as an official identity in the employment contracts.

For Corresponding With The Government

If the government needs to correspond with an individual or one needs to correspond with the Korean government, then one would need the resident registration number.

It will help the individual to avoid any legal problems.

In Financial Matters

One can only open one’s bank account with a social security number, and one can operate it online.

Thus, it’s essential to register for the resident registration number first and foremost during one’s stay in Korea.

For The Immigration Documents:

If one has to go through any immigration matters, one would need the resident registration number on the official documents. There is no way around it.


If one has to be a part of Korean Society, one must also be a part of their national Healthcare Insurance Programs.

For registration in any insurance program, one would also need the RRN.


If any foreign national wants to pursue further education in Korean Institutes, one would again need the resident registration number, as educational institutes in Korea use RRN for enrollment and Financial Aid.

For Taxation

Any resident overstaying 90 days in Korea would also become eligible for paying a certain amount of taxes.

The foreign nationals would need a Resident Registration Number to file taxes, tax returns, and refunds.

Social Security Benefits

Having a Resident Registration Number also makes one qualified to apply for national social security benefits initiated by the Korean Government.

The benefits include insurance programs and a pension program. Also, it includes aid programs that benefit people with disabilities and survivors.

How Is The Social Security Number Assigned In Korea?

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Assigning the social security number, known as the resident registration number in Korea, is straightforward for the nationals. All Korean nationals are assigned this number on their birth.

At the age of 17, the nationals are issued a resident registration Card with the resident registration number on it.

This number is the primary document for identification in Korea throughout their life.

Foreign nationals who stay in Korea beyond 90 days for work or education or some other issue get assigned a resident registration number differently from the nationals.

The process of assigning these numbers to foreign nationals in Korea has been given below:

Visit To The District Government Office/Immigration Office

When one enters South Korea with a valid visa within 90 days of arrival, one must apply for an Alien Registration Card at the local immigration Office.

Fill The Application

One can download the application form to register the resident number online from the official website of the Korean Immigration Office, or one can get it physically from the local District Immigration Office nearby.

Get Resident Certificate

One also needs to get the place where one stays in Korea registered. The residence registration certificate will be asked to be submitted to the immigration office for the issuance of the resident registration number.

Present The Needed Documents

After one has filled out the application form, one would need to attach certain required documents with the application form. The needed documents are listed below:

  1. Passport
  2. 2 Passport Sized Recent Photos
  3. Valid Visa Documents
  4. Health Check Certificates
  5. Proof of Residence
  6. Employment or Study Documents
  7. Application Fee

Biometric Data

One of the documents required to be attached to the application form for issuing a resident registration number is the document that has one’s biometric data.

Biometric data is very important as it will verify one’s identity through fingerprint and facial scans.

Issuance Of Resident Registration Number

After the timely submission of one’s application and documents, the request will be processed by the authorities. One will be issued their resident registration number in a matter of days.

Update All Changes

One would also need to submit all the changes in one’s life to the immigration office timely. This includes if one changes one’s residence or job.

The changes can be personal too, for example, if one gets married or divorced or if any family member dependent on one passes away.

Card Renewal

After the expiration date of the resident registration card or to update any changes in one’s life, one needs to apply for the renewal of the resident registration card in Korea.

What Are The Social Insurance Programs That One Gets Access To With The Issuance of Social Security Number In Korea?

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The Social Security and Social Insurance numbers can be the same in most countries but might be different in a few. When the numbers are different, then their functions are different too.

The Social Security Number is also known as the Resident Registration Number. It is primarily used for personal identification and administrative purposes like government correspondence, taxation, and other matters.

In Korea, one can also get access to different social insurance programs and also has to pay taxes with the issuance of a social security number.

Some of the insurance schemes and facilities provided in Korea have been mentioned below:

Social Security ProgramsContributions
National Pension9% of Salary Per Anum
National Health Insurance3.9% Premium Rate
Employment Insurance1.15% to 1.75% E.I. rate
Worker’s Compensation Insurance0.7% to 18.6% From pay
Consumption Taxes10% VAT
Property Taxes0.07% to 5%

Why Should One Be Careful About Korean Social Security Numbers?

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On 26 July 2011, a hacking incident took place in Korea, which led to the identity theft of 70 percent of Koreans. Thus, there have been changes in the policy of issuance and use of RRN online.

The purchases are now approved online after verifying via SMS.

The Southern government has also made highly restrictive laws about using social security numbers and allotted stringent punishments for identity theft and fraud.

Offenders might have to serve three years in jail or may also have to pay a fine of  10,000,000.

Any Expected Changes In The Issuance Of Korean Social Security Number For Foreigners?

In January 2023, the Korean Government has been planning to lift the mandatory registration policy for foreign investors.

This will help the Koreans to reach a global standard like that of the USA and invite more private investment.

It will also help foreigners who want to invest in the Korean stock market not be hassled or intimidated by the registration process in the local Korean institutions.


So there it is, folks—your decoding guide to the Korean Social Security Number. Now you can navigate the system without breaking into a cold sweat, or worse, filling out the wrong form.

Happy Applying!

But Wait, There’s lot more that you might be interested in to follow:

  • Korean Citizenship: Expats Guide
  • Dual Citizenship In Korea
  • Permanent Residence In Korea

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