The uppermost row shows the old (left) and new (right) designs of residence cards for non-Korean expats, the middle for permanent residents and the bottom for ethnic Koreans from abroad. (Ministry of Justice)
Newly designed residence cards for expats are set for release on April 1.
The Ministry of Justice on March 28 said it will change the designs of such cards including those for permanent residents and ethnic Koreans from abroad by shifting to color photos from black and white and enlarging their size.
The new cards will have photos 35% bigger to ease confirmation of the bearer's identity. The placement of the portrait will be also moved from left to right of the card, and the gender category will be omitted to enhance uniformity as the registration number will be used to identify sex.
The seventh of an expat's 13-digit registration number identifies the cardholder's sex; five or seven for male and six or eight for female.
A QR code on the card will also expedite checking of the bearer's personal data like registration number, name, country or region, status and issue date by screening the code through a machine.
The old cards remain valid unless they are reissued for loss or change of sojourn status, so those with the older versions need not apply for the new ones. If expats wish to get the new cards, however, they must turn in their old cards and pay the issuance fee of KRW 30,000.
By Yoon Sojung