So, my student and I have had a rather frustrating experience and now that we know what to do, I am typing it all down to share with everyone who is importing things from any country INTO South Korea. I will now tell you exactly what we did and the emails given and everything.
My student and I made a combined purchase, with my account, from Amazon.com on September 27th, 2014. He needed to buy a specific item and it was MUCH cheaper to buy from Amazon than to buy through Gmarket. I also had some items to get, some new shoes from my favorite maker, and a book I’ve been wanting anyway. So we made a deal, I’d buy the items and we’d split the shipping cost and he’d pay me back in a few days. Nice arrangement. I ordered, Amazon sent me the standard email saying that it had shipped, and everything looked fine, just the same as when I had bought a microphone about 6 months ago from Amazon, no problems.
Until I got this email from I-parcel:
Thank you for purchasing xxxxxxxxx from Amazon.com. i-Parcel is Amazon.com’s parcel delivery partner and we are eager to get you your delivery as soon as possible.
Due to a Korean regulation that took effect in October 2014, i-parcel is required to obtain your PIN (Personal Identification Number) for customs clearance so that we can clear your parcel appropriately. No additional fees are assessed with fulfilling this requirement and it is used for customs clearance purposes only. To input your PIN, thereby allowing us to export your shipment from the United States and affecting prompt customs clearance, please click <here>.
If you do not yet have a PIN you can register for one <here>, and then enter it using the link above.
Please be advised your shipment will not be able to export from the US until we have received the information.
Us unlucky ducks got to be the first to experience this new law first-hand, literally the SAME DAY IT WENT INTO EFFECT $(@&%(*!^%#&)#.
There were two links included, and a Korean translation below with roughly the same information (Although there may have been some extra fees involved for Koreans, as my student read the email and noted that it said that there may be extra fees. However, it is it clear in the wording on the English side that there are no fees. We were worried. The first link led to i-parcel.com, where you will see your basic shipment details (the items in your shipment) and a little space to input a number. The other link led to http://portal.customs.go.kr, the website where I had to register for a PIN so we could get this done. Problem is, most of the site is in Korean! There’s only the tiniest amount of English, and the words don’t really make sense anyway as they are letters like m/bl. We tried inputting the Tracking Number given by Amazon into those m/bl and Cargo Management boxes, as the numbers seemed to fit perfectly. It didn’t work. We tried quite a few variations, to no avail. So, my student went home to research for us.
He ended up finding this little golden nugget of information.
Please refer to the two types below.
1. By the Internet Clearance Portal (without sign-in): (http://portal.customs.go.kr)
(1) Click Clearance Unique Code Application for an Individual
(2) Enter you name and Alien Registration Number to check if you have issued the Code before or not
(3) Identify yourself with the Public Certification service
(2) Type in an application form
2. By Customs
Attach a copy of an application form and a copy of Alien Registration Certification by post, fax, email, or personal visit to the officer in charge at Main Customshouse in order to obtain the Clearance Unique Code within one day. (Refer to FAQ)