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Types of Visa

  • F-4
  • D-2
  • D-4
  • E-2
Requirements & Timeline

Currently, you can only apply to recover your Korean Citizenship within the Republic of Korea. If you desire dual citizenship, but do not reside in the Republic of Korea, you will have to establish temporary residency in the Republic of Korea.

It cannot be done overseas. Once you receive your passport as a domestic citizen, you can then change your status to Overseas Korean. If you would like to recover your citizenship, please expect an approximate time of 9 months to receive your Korean passport.

1) F-4 Visa - you must posess a unexpired F-4 visa to be eligible to submit your application :

3 weeks.

2) Application to Recover Citizenship - once you submit your application, there is a 4~6 month

waiting period.

3) Pledge - after your Application to Recover Citizenship has been approved, you will be required to

sign a pledge stating you will not utilize your foreign citizenship while in the Republic of Korea :

2 weeks.

4) Korean Identification Number - once your pledge has been processed, you will report to your

local Citizens’ Service Center to apply for your Korean ID number : 2 weeks.

4a) Military Manpower Administration exemption (males only under 36 years old) - after your

Korean ID number has been issued, apply for your exemption status : 2 weeks.

5) Application for Republic of Korea Passport - once you receive your Korean ID number, you are

eligible to apply for your Korean passport : 14 days.

Benefits of Recovering Your Korean Citizenship

As a F-4 visa holder or foreigner, access to websites in Korea can be difficult. Having a Korean ID number grants you easier access to the in Korea. Often financial insitutions or telecommunications companies introduce certain policies which are directed against foreign nationals. A Korean national will not be affected by such policies. A foreign national does not have any kind of credit within Korea and it is often difficult to obtain a credit card.

As a Korean national, you benefit from easier access. Additionally, there is a wide range of credit and mortgages available which are not available to foreign nationals.

Once you recover your Korean citizenship, you gain the ability and power as a potential voter. As an adoptee, you are viewed as a foreign national. Korean adoptees were usually not taken as serious as a Korean national since an adoptee did not have voting rights. As a F-4 visa holder, you are eligible to enroll in the National Health Insurance plan (NHIC); however, at a higher premium. Once you recover your Korean citizenship, usually your premium is reduced substantially without losing any benefits.

Disadvantages of Recovering your Korean Citizenship
Most Korean adoptees are not fluent in the Korean Language.
As a result of this, becoming a Korean citizen could potentially create some problems in accessing basic services. Currently most scholarships are designed for foreign nationals only (e.g. NIIED Scholarship, GSIS Scholarship). If you recover your Korean citizenship, you could potentially become ineligible as a scholarship recepient. Under Korean Law, if recover your Korean citizenship, your dependents also become Korean citizens. Once they are of age to attend school, they will not be eligible to attend an international school where a foreign citizenship is one of the requirements.
History & Basic Information

“Act on Entry / Exit and Legal Status of Overseas Koreans”

This Act was passed in September 1999 during a plenary session of the National Assembly and went into effect on December 3, 1999.

It grants Overseas Korean Nationals, who have established residency in a foreign country and Foreign National Koreans who once possessed citizenship of the Republic of Korea, virtually all of the same legal rights as Korean nationals.

Since then, the F-4 visa has been available to adult adoptees and their dependants which has made living and working in the Republic of Korea much easier.

If an adoptee wishes to reside in the Republic of Korea for 90 days to 3 years, the F-4 visa should be obtained. The F-4 visa can be issued by Korean overseas missions (consulate or embassy) prior to arrival in the Republic of Korea, or after arrival on a regular tourist visa.

The F-4 visa obtained overseas is primarily for international travel. This allows you to purchase a one-way ticket into the Republic of Korea.

Once you arrive, the Entry/Exit Control Law, requires you to report domestic residence within 90 days.

Adoptees who complete the procedure of reporting domestic residence within 90 days of entry into the Republic of Korea are regarded as having successfully completed the foreigner’s registration in accordance with the Entry/Exit Control Law. During their stay, they can receive legal treatment equal to that of a Korean national in transactions of real estate, foreign currency exchange, finance and eligible to enroll in the National Health Insurance Corporation regime. Moreover, they can engage freely in economic activities and employment within the country.

The Director of each Immigration Office or Immigration Branch Office is responsible for issuing the identification (ID) card (외국국적동포 국내거소신고증) specific to holders of the F-4 visa holders. The ID card serves the same function of the “Resident Identification Card” carried by Korean citizens. Once you obtain the F-4 visa ID card, you are not required to obtain any additional re-entry approval if, re-entry to the Republic of Korea is within your specified period of stay. Currently, each approval of stay is 3 years. The F-4 visa can be renewed within the country up to 60 days prior to the expiration date printed on your ID card.

Duties of the F-4 Visa Holder

Change of Address - in accordance with the Immigration Control Act, you are required to report the change of your residence 14 days prior to your move. If not, you are subject to a fine of up to 2 million Korean won (approximately the equivalent of $1,900 USD or 1,500 EUR).

The change can be reported to the Immigration Office or the local District Office which has jurisdiction over your new residence.

Lost, Stolen or Mutilated ID Card - in the event your card is lost, stolen or mutilated, you must report this immediately to the Immigration Office. The cost of a replacement ID card is 10,000 Korean won and will take 21 days.

Departure from the Republic of Korea - when an F-4 visa holder no longer requires the ID card, it should be returned to the Immigration Office within 14 days. Violation of this procedure may result in fines of up to 1 million Korean won (approximately $1,000 USD or 800 EUR).

National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC)     Source: www.nhic.or.kr/english

As a F-4 visa holder, you are permitted to register for the national health insurance plan. If you are employed, your employer should be responsible for your registration. If you are not employed, you will need to register yourself. Your rate will be calculated based upon your assets. Usually, F-4 visa holders pay anywhere from 60,000~120,000 won per month. In order to register, you must reside in Korea for a continuous 90 days after you obtain your F-4 ID card. If you depart and return, your 90 day clock starts over. With the NHIC plan, you can receive a yearly general check-up which is covered 100% by the Corporation. For persons 40 years old and over you can also receive a yearly cancer check-up, also covered 100% by the Corporation, (females 30 years old and over can receive a cervical cancer check-up biannually, 100% covered by the Corporation).

Preparation & Required Documents

The procedure for the initial issuance, first extension and second extension all varies.

First Time Applicant - Required Documents:*

1) Application Form 34 (신청서)

2) Passport, original AND submit copy only, must be valid for more than 3 years.

3) Two 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm Photos, same photo, less than 6 months old

4) Adoption Certificate, original, less than 3 months ol

5) Korean Family registry, 1,000 Korean won per copy, less than 6 months old

6) Certificate of Citizenship/Naturalization, original AND submit copyd

7) Certificate of Citizenship/Naturalization translated to Korean, original

8) Processing Fee, 60,000 Korean won

9) Name Change Document(s), if applicable

10) Marriage Certificate, if applicable

At the Immigration Office or Immigration Branch Office, all documents should be submitted with the exception of your passport, original certificate of citizenship/naturalization, original marriage certificate (if applicable). The processing time will be 21 calendar days. You are not allowed to leave the country during this period. You have the option of returning to pick-up your ID card, or it can be mailed to the address of your choice for an extra fee of 4,500 Korean won. If you choose to have it sent by mail, someone has to be present to sign for the delivery, there are no exceptions.

*Cancelation of Korean Nationality/Citizenship

If your Family Registry does not have a “X” or the word “제적” over your name, you may need to complete the “Notification of Loss of Korean Nationality” (국적상실 신고서). The completion of this document is just an administrative task only as your Korean Nationality was canceled 6 months after you acquired the nationality of your adoptive country. There are some adoptees that still have their Korean Passport or come to realize their Korean resident ID number has not been deactivated. The cancelation of Korean Nationality, passport and resident ID number was automatic under the Nationality Act, Article 15(2)2 (Loss of Nationality by Attainment of Foreign Nationality). If you do not sign this document, you will not be eligible to apply for the F-4 visa; however, by not signing this document, does not preserve your Korean Nationality.

First Extension

Sixty (60) days prior to the expiration of your current F-4 visa, you can extend your stay for an

additional 3 years.

For the first renewal, you will need the following:

1) Application Form 34 (신청서)

2) Passport. must be valid for more than 3 years.

3) Korean Family registry, 1,000 Korean won per copy, less than 6 months old*

4) Processing Fee, 30,000 Korean won

*In some cases, the Immigration Officer, will waive the need for the Family Registry: however, it is

written in the law.

If you do not obtain this document, you risk having to return with the correct documents.

Second & Each Subsequent Extension

The procedure is the same : however, the family registry document is not necessary.