APPLYING FOR RECOVERY OF KOREAN CITIZENSHIP
Things to consider before applying for dual citizenship:
1. The application process is lengthy (nearly 12 months)
2. The application process requires you to spend several months in Korea
3. You will need to have a Korean phone number and mailing address in Korea, even if you are not living in Korea during the application period
4. Male dual citizens are required to complete 4 hours annually of civil service duty if residing in Korea*
The estimated timeline for reinstating Korean citizenship is 12 months starting from the submission of the application to receiving your Korean passport. It is highly recommended that applicants remain in Korea for as much of this time period as possible.
*Male adoptees are exempt from mandatory military service but not the 4 hours per year of civil defense training (mostly lectures). This training is required annually for all males until the age of 38 (international age) unless registered as living overseas.
Required for dual citizenship eligibility. Must be valid (not expired).
Application to Recover Citizenship
There is a waiting period for all applicants after submitting the application at the Nationality Office. This time period gives the Ministry of Justice time to review your application, complete a criminal background check* (both in Korea and your country of adoption), and finish any other necessary administrative tasks.
If your application is approved, your Korean citizenship will be reinstated whether or not you take the next step (signing the pledge).
*MALES: Please read the Military Manpower section below*
*The background check is independent of any other criminal background checks that have been conducted in the past - a previous criminal background check for the purpose of employment within Korea will not expedite your application.
Group Oath Ceremony
Notification of approval will be made by phone call, SMS, or registered mail. The Ministry of Justice will not make notification to an overseas phone number or address.
The notification message will contain a date, time, and location for the group oath ceremony. The ceremony is usually 2~4 weeks after the date of notification and almost always on the first or last weekday of the month.
At the ceremony: You will repeat the Korean pledge of allegience as a group, receive both a Korean flag and the Certificate of Citizenship Restoration (국적회복증서), and take a group photo.
*NOTE: If you are not in Korea at the time of notification, the Ministry of Justice will give a date by which you must return to Korea in order to receive your final approval. After arriving back in Korea, you will receive notification of final approval and will be sent the information regarding the group oath ceremony.
The next step is to sign the pledge at the office where your original application was submitted*. This document states that you will not exercise your foreign citizenship rights within the Republic of Korea (you are now seen as a Korean citizen, not a foreign citizen).
You must wait a minimum of two weeks following the group oath ceremony to sign your pledge.
To sign your pledge, the following must be provided:
-Certificate of Citizenship Restoration (국적회복증서)
After signing the pledge, the document will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice. If there are no issues*, you will be given a receipt (서약확인서) and pay the receipt fee of KRW 2,000. This receipt is proof of your pledge approval.
NOTE: If you attempt to leave the Republic of Korea with your foreign passport, you will be in violation of the pledge. You may be subjected to a fine, jailed, or your Korean citizenship may be terminated.
*This document should be obtained from the Gucheong (구청) that presides over your district, not from a Jumin Center (주민센터). If you were registered on your Korean family register (birth family), you will have to first cancel the register by reporting loss of nationality and then re-add yourself after reinstating Korean nationality.
*If there are any issues with your documentation or , you will be required to come back again at a later date. The office will send you a text message or letter regarding when to come back to sign the pledge.
Korean Identification Card
The receipt (서약확인서) allows you to apply for your Korean ID, which can be done at the local Citizens Service Center (동사무소). You will be fingerprinted during this visit (both hands).
If you had a Korean ID number at the time of your adoption, the old ID number will be re-activated. If it is found that you were registered with a Korean ID number in the past but the office cannot officially determine if that ID number was yours, your registration may be delayed up to 10 days while a thorough search is conducted.
If you did not have a Korean ID number, a check will be made to see if a new one has already been created for you by the Ministry of Justice. If no previous ID number is found, a new ID number will be issued to you during your visit.
After the ID number is created or re-activated, a document that acts as your temporary ID will be issued. This allows you to change your name and ID number on your bank account, mobile phone plan, rental agreements, etc. It also allows you to apply for your Korean passport.
If you have an official stamp (인감 도장), bring it with you. You will need to register it to your Korean ID number.
NOTE: Once your ID number is created/reactivated, you cannot leave the Republic of Korea until you take possession of your Korean passport.
NOTE: It is recommended to arrive at the Village Office or Citizens Service Center before 17:00 (5PM). The entire process takes approximately 1 hour, and offices usually close at 18:00 (6PM).
*MALES: This ID number will allow you to apply for your military service exemption with the Military Manpower Administration.*
|3~14 business days|
Military Manpower Administration Exemption (MALES ONLY)
Currently, ALL male adoptees must individually apply for military exemption. Adoptee dual citizens hold a "Level 5" exemption, where Level 1 = no exemption and Level 6 = full exemption. This means that male adoptees are exempt from the mandatory 21~24 months of service but not exempt from Civil Defense duty.
Males that have completed their service (or hold Level 5 exemption) are required to complete 4 hours annually of Civil Defense training until the age of 38 (Korean age). For adoptees residing in Korea, a representative from the National Emergency Management Agency will visit your residence with a Notice of Training (입영통지서), which you have to sign for in person. The notice made at your residence will give the time, date, and location of the training day. After completing your training, you will recieve a stamp of copmletion. You can also sign up online.
If you do not plan on residing in Korea, it is highly recommended that you change your residential status to Overseas Korean. This will remove the requirement for Civil Defense training, however, with Overseas Status, you will be required to surrender your Korean ID card. Your Korean ID number will be suspended until your residential status changes back to Domestic Residency, which will also resume your Civil Defense training responsibility.
Please check the MMA website for more information -https://www.mma.go.kr/eng/index.do
NOTE: It is imperative that this step is completed by males who are eligible for conscription. If you do not file for exemption and do not report for your physical exam, you may be fined and/or detained. If you attempt to depart Korea, you may be detained (upon exit or arrival) and turned over to the Military Manpower Administration.
NOTE: If you are listed on your original family registry (birth family) and you apply to recover your Korean citizenship before turning 38, you will be subject to mandatory military service. You will not be eligible for military exemption.
*G.O.A.'L is not responsible for failture to apply for military exemption. It is the applicant's responsibility to apply for exemption or risk being called in for mandatory military service.*
Creating a Korean Passport
District Offices (구청) are responsible for the issuance of passports in Korea and are not district specific. You can apply for your passport at whichever office is most conveniently located for you.
The current fee for a 10 year passport is KRW 55,000.
NOTE: If you do not plan on residing in Korea, it is recommended that you change your residential status to Overseas Korean. If you do so, however, you will be required to surrender your Korean ID card and your ID number will be suspended until you change your residential status back to Domestic Residency.
If you wish to apply for dual citizenship but do not reside in the Republic of Korea, you must come to Korea complete the application process. There are no exceptions to this rule.
If you wish to remain abroad after receiving your Korean passport, you can then change your status to Overseas Korean status.
To find the closest Nationality Office to you, please visit the HiKorea website: Nationality Civil Petition Application Center
At this time, dual citizenship application assistance is a paid member service provided through G.O.A.'L. If you are not a member but wish to utilize G.O.A.'L's help to apply for dual citizenship, please first sign up as a member HERE.
For more information, contact our Dual Citizenship Mentor - [email protected]
The complete Dual Citizenship Guidebook is available in the following digital formats:
We appreciate the support of our Guidebook. The proceeds from the purchase of the Dual Citizenship Guidebook go directly towards G.O.A.'L operational costs helping us to continue helping adoptees around the world.
"Dual Citizenship: Guidebook to Dual Citizenship for Korean Adoptees"
Global Overseas Adoptees' Link
G.O.A.'L is not responsible for applications after they have been submitted to the Nationality Office. For inquiries on the status of your application, please contact the Nationality Office directly. G.O.A.'L is not able to make inquiries on your behalf.