Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Things I've learned about moving to South Korea.

Here's a handful of things I've learned about my journey so far... I'm sure there will be much more to come once I'm actually IN the ROK, of course, but for now, some observations and advice about the application/preparation process.

1. Submit that FBI Background Check ASAP!
Seriously... At best, it's going to take eight weeks. And even when it DOES take eight weeks, sometimes it gets lost in the mail and you have to call the FBI half a dozen times until they finally send you a replacement. (This isn't fun and equals several more weeks of waiting for a silly piece of paper that just says, "No records found." Thanks, FBI.)

As soon as you even start to possibly maybe consider finding a job abroad, SUBMIT THAT DAMN BACKGROUND CHECK REQUEST. I'm not kidding. It'll save you so much grief and stress and frustration. Trust me.

2. Call around to verify processes before heading out for paperwork errands.
Check with your local police department about the FBI CBC -- you have to get fingerprinted to submit the CBC and the station by your house may or may not offer that service. Also, if you need a copy of your diploma notarized? You probably gotta get that done in the state that issued the diploma. Same with apostilles. For me, it was a pretty easy roadtrip up I-35, but it's something to research as you make plans.

3. Make copies of EVERYTHING.
This should really go without saying. Obviously, you wanna cover your ass and have copies of all your stuff. In fact, it would be wise to also have .pdf scans of everything saved on your computer. Because really, it can't hurt anything, and it's likely you'll need them. (Quite a lot of original paperwork gets sent off and away, so having copies of the original contracts/forms with your information and signature is very smart.)

4. Be patient with the consulate when you submit your visa code/paperwork.
I submitted all of my stuff on a Thursday afternoon and was told it wouldn't be ready until the following Tuesday. (Today, actually, so fingers crossed it IS ready at 4pm as promised...) I know some of the delay is caused by the weekend being smack in the middle, but be aware that it can take longer than a day or two.

That's all I have at the moment. I have two and a half weeks left before the big move, so I'm positive I'll have another "things I've learned" entry in that time. Probably packing related... I'm really not looking forward to that process... Wish me luck!

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