Applying For Dual Citizenship (Recovering your 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 total of approximately 9 months from submission of application to receiving your Korean passport.
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 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 purposes of employment within the Republic of Korea will not expedite your application
Once your application is approved, your Korean citizenship will be reinstated whether you take the next step (signing the pledge) or not.
***MALES, please read the Military Manpower section***
Group Oath Ceremony + Pledge
After completing the 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. To sign your Pledge, you will be required to show the following:
After signing the Pledge, the document will be submitted back to the Ministry of Justice, usually within the same visit. If there are no issues with the applicant's Pledge, a receipt (서약확인서) costing KRW 2,000 will be given. This receipt is proof of approval of the Pledge. After receving the document, the applicant may then go to the Jumin Center to create their temporary Korean ID.
If the immigration office has any issues with the applicant's Pledge form, the applicant will have to leave. They will be sent either a text message or a letter at a later date regarding their Pledge.
If you attempt to leave the Republic of Korea with your foreign passport, you will be in violation of the Pledge you signed. You may be subject to a fine, jailed, or your Korean citizenship may be terminated.
Korean Identification Card
If you had an ID number at the time of your adoption, the old number will be re-activated. If you did not have an ID number, they will check to see if a number has been created for you. If they are unable to determine if an ID number existed, your registration will be delayed approximately 10 days while a more thorough search is conducted. If it is determined that you were not issued an ID number, one will be issued to you on the spot.
After your old ID number is re-activated or new ID number is issued, you will receive a document that acts as your temporary ID, allowing you to change your name on your bank account, mobile phone carrier, rental agreement, etc.
This ID number will allow you to apply for your Republic of Korea passport, and you will be fingerprinted during this visit.
If you have an official name stamp, bring it to the Village Office or Citizens Service Center, you will need to register it to your Korean ID number.
For males, this will allow you to apply for your military service exemption with the Military Manpower Administration.
Note: Once your ID number is reactivated or issued, you cannot leave the Republic of Korea until you take posession of your Korean passport.
*Please DO NOT report to the Village Office or Citizens Service Center after 5 PM. The entire process takes approximately 1 hour.
Military Manpower Administration Exemption (males only)
Once your application is approved, your Korean citizenship becomes active. Currently, adoptee-citizens hold a "Level 5" exemption [Level 1 - no exemption ~ Level 6 - full exemption].
This means, 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 are required to do 4 hours of Civil Defense training until the age of 40.
You will continue to receive notices at your residence until you attend the training and receive your stamp of completion.
If you plan to reside in the Republic of Korea, each year, a representative from the National Emergency Management Agency will visit your residence with a Notice of Training, which you have to sign for in person.
If you do not plan to reside in the Republic of Korea, it is recommended you change your status to Overseas Korean. This will remove the requirement for Civil Defense duty, however, with Overseas Status, you are required to surrender your Korean ID and your ID number will be suspended until you change your status back to Domestic Residency - this will also resume your Civil Defense training responsiblity.
In order to apply for your MMA exemption, please contact the G.O.A.'L Office ASAP
Once your application to recover your citizenship is approved, your citizenship becomes active.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THIS STEP IS COMPLETED BY ALL MALES WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR CONSCRIPTION. IF YOU DO NOT FILE FOR YOUR EXEMPTION AND DO NOT REPORT FOR YOUR PHYSICAL EXAM, YOU MAY REQUIRED TO PAY A FINE AND/OR DETAINED. IF YOU ATTEMPT TO DEPART FROM KOREA YOU MAY BE DETAINED (OR UPON ARRIVAL) AND TURNED OVER TO THE MILITARY MANPOWER ADMINISTRATION.
Update January 2018: If you are still listed on your original family registry and you apply to recover your Korean citizenship before the year you turn 38 years old (international age), you will be subject to mandatory military service ~ you are not eligible to file for military exemption. Please contact G.O.A.'L prior to initiating your application to recover your Korean citizenship.
G.O.A.'L is not responsible for failure to apply for military exemption. It is the applicant's responsiblity to apply for exemption or risk being called in for mandatory military service.
Application for Republic of Korea passport
District Offices are responsible for the issuance of passports in Korea and are not district specific. You can apply for your passport in any district making it possible to apply close to your residence or place of work.
The current fee for a 10 year passport is KRW 55,000.
If you do not plan to reside in the Republic of Korea, it is recommended you change your status to Overseas Korean. However, you will be required to surrender your Korean ID card and your ID number will be suspended until you change your status back to Domestic Residency.
|Note: The given times are estimates ONLY. Processing time can vary. G.O.A.'L is not responsible for any delays.|
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.
Once you receive your Korean passport as a domestic citizen, you then can change your status to Overseas Korean status if you wish to remain abroad.
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.