Definitions

registration number

Resident registration number (South Korea)

A resident registration number (Korean: 주민등록번호, Hanja: 住民登錄番號) is a 13-digit number issued to all residents of the Republic of Korea. Similarly to national identification numbers in other countries, such as social security numbers in the United States, it is used to identify people in various private transactions such as in banking and employment. It is also used extensively for online identification purposes. Upon registration with their city office, foreigners receive an alien registration number, which serves as a substitute, on their alien registration card.

Some foreigners incorrectly refer to a resident registration number as a KSSN, or Korean Social Security Number.

Components

The resident registration number consists of 13 digits, with each block serving a certain function, as illustrated below:

yymmdd-sbbbbnc

The first six digits signify the person's date of birth. For example, a person born on September 1, 1946, such as former President Roh Moo-Hyun, would have 460901 for the first six digits.

s, the seventh digit, indicates the sex and the century in which the person was born. The code used for each category follows:

  • 9: male born 1800 - 1899
  • 0: female born 1800 - 1899
  • 1: male born 1900 - 1999
  • 2: female born 1900 - 1999
  • 3: male born 2000 - 2099
  • 4: female born 2000 - 2099

bbbb, the eighth through eleventh digit, signify a code for the person's place of birth: eup, myeon, or dong.

n, the 12th digit, is a sequential number used to differentiate those of the same sex born on the same day in the same location.

c, the 13th digit, is a check digit, used to verify that the number has been transcribed correctly. It is generated from the rest of the digits.

Online use

Many South Korean websites require the submission of a valid resident registration number in order for users to register an account. This practice ties each registered account to a unique online identity, rather than allowing anonymous registration. Because only a few large websites allow alternate means of identification, such as an alien registration number or passport number, foreigners cannot use many South Korean websites.

The principal means of authenticating a valid resident registration number is to use an algorithm to check the last digit against what it should be based upon the rest of the digits entered.

Fraud

The widespread requirement of a valid resident registration number to create an account on many South Korean websites presents many opportunities for identity theft and other fraud. For example, it was found that South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun's resident registration number was used to gain access to hundreds of pornographic websites, as well as to register accounts on a number of entertainment and gaming web sites. Complaints about identity theft led the South Korean government to implement stiff penalties for using someone else's resident registration number. Offenders are eligible to serve 3 years in jail or to be imposed a 10,000,000 KRW fine.

References

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