APPLYING FOR RECOVERY OF KOREAN CITIZENSHIP
You can only apply to recover Korean citizenship within the Republic of Korea. It cannot be done overseas.
If you would like to apply for dual citizenship, please expect a timeline of approximately 10-12 months starting from the submission of the application to receiving your Korean passport. Though it is not required, it is highly recommended that you remain in Korea during as much of this time period as possible.
Required for dual citizenship eligibility. Must be valid (not expired).
Application to Recover Citizenship
After submitting the application, there is a waiting period for all applicants. This period gives the Ministry of Justice time to conduct a review of your application, criminal background check* (both in Korea and your country of adoption), and complete any other necessary administrative tasks.
*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.
Once 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*
|4~8 months, depending on busyness of Nationality Office|
Group Oath Ceremony
Once you have not been approved to recover your Korean citizenship, you will be notified by phone, SMS, or registered mail - the Ministry of Justice will not make notification to an overseas phone number or address. You will be given a date, time, and location for the group ceremony. The ceremony is usually 2~4 weeks after you receive the notification.
At the ceremony: You will repeat the Korean pledge of allegience and receive both a Korean flag and the Certificate of Citizenship Restoration (국적회복증서).
*NOTE: If you are not in Korea at the time of notification, you will be given a date by which you must return to Korea in order to receive your final approval. After arriving back in Korea, you will then receive notification of final approval and sent the information regarding the group oath ceremony.
After completing the group ceremony, you will have to sign the Pledge at the office where your original application was submitted*. This document states that you will not use your foreign citizenship within the Republic of Korea.
*You must wait a minimum of two weeks following the group oath ceremony to sign your pledge.*
To sign your pledge, you will be required to show the following:
-Certificate of Citizenship Restoration
After receiving the receipt, you may go to the Jumin Center to create your temporary Korean ID.
If there is any kind of issue with your pledge, you will have to come back again. The office will send you a text message or letter at a later date regarding when to come back to sign the pledge.
*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.*
Korean Identification Card
Once you receive the receipt (서약확인서), take it to the local Village Office or Citizens Service Center which services your Dong* to apply for your Korean identification number. You will be fingerprinted during this visit.
If you had a Korean ID number at the time of your adoption, the old number will be re-activated. If you did not have a Korean ID number, the office will check to see if a new one has been created for you.
-If they are unable to determine if you had a valid Korean ID number in the past, your registration may be delayed up to 10 days while a more thorough search is conducted.
-If no previous ID number is found, a new ID number will be issued to you during your visit.
After your ID number is created or re-activated, you will receive a document that acts as your temporary ID. 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 wil 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.
*MALES: This ID number will allow you to apply for your military service exemption with the Military Manpower Administration.*
Military Manpower Administration Exemption (MALES ONLY)
Once your application is approved, your Korean citizenship becomes active.
Currently, ALL male adoptees must individually apply for military exemption. Adoptee dual citizens hold a "Level 5" exemption, with 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.
Each year, males that have completed their service (or hold Level 5 exemption) are required to complete 4 hours of Civil Defense training until the age of 40. 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 contact G.O.A.'L for more information on how to apply for your military exemption or 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 40 (international age), you will be subject to mandatory military service. You will not be eligible for military exemption. Please contact G.O.A.'L prior to applying to recover your Korean citizenship.
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.
*Note: G.O.A.'L is not responsible for any delays in the application process.
If you wish to apply for dual citizenship but do not reside in the Republic of Korea, you will have to complete the process within the Republic of Korea.
If you wish to remain abroad, once you receive your Korean passport, you can then change your status to Overseas Korean status.
To find the closest Nationality Office to you, please go to the HiKorea Nationality Civil Petition Application Center
For more information, contact our 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 GOA'L's operational costs helping us to continue helping adoptees around the world.
"Dual Citizenship: Guidebook to Dual Citizenship for Korean Adoptees"
Global Overseas Adoptees' Link
DO NOT submit your application to recover your Korean citizenship until after you have consulted with G.O.A.'L.