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Monday, September 3, 2012

INFO: New Rules for Korean Citizenship drafted


The Ministry of Justice recently drafted new set of rules that will serve as the new guidelines for allowing a foreigner to apply for Korean citizenship. The draft will be submitted to the National Assembly any time soon and if approved, the new guidelines will take effect by next year. Here are some points in the new rules drafted by the Ministry of Justice:

  1. The current rules allows foreigners to apply for naturalization as long as they have lived continuously in Korea for 5 years. But all these will soon change upon implementation of the new guidelines for Korean Naturalization/Citizenship. If implemented, foreigners applying for Korean Naturalization/Citizenship will be REQUIRED to acquire Permanent Resident Status (F5- Permanent Resident Visa) first before they can apply for Korean Citizenship. 
  2. With the new guidelines, the Ministry of Justice will issue Permanent Resident Cards that needs to be reviewed every 7 years. In short, F-5 visa will now have a sort of expiration date(as of the moment F-5 Permanent Resident Visa doesn't have an expiration date so F-5 visa holders are not required to renew their visa from time to time).
  3. Marriage Immigrants (Foreigners married to Koreans) are required to live in Korea for  at least 3 years and should have been married for more than a year before they can be eligible to apply for Korean Citizenship. 
  4. Business investors will be able to apply for Korean citizenship using the simplified process as long as they can prove that they have made a large investment in Korea and they can contribute to Korea's society.
  5. New applicants will be required to submit a residence record to prove that they have not committed any crime or they have not violated any law in Korea during the required 5 years of stay.
  6. New applicants SHOULD know Korean language and culture.

For more details please check the Korea Times article below:

KOREA TIMES :Naturalization rules will be strengthened

The justice ministry building in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province

Regulatory changes target illegal immigrants

By Yi Whan-woo

The Ministry of Justice said Sunday it will strengthen naturalization requirements and take tougher action against those using forged passports and falsifying documents.

A draft containing these changes will be sent to the National Assembly for deliberation. If passed, it will go into effect from the next year at the earliest.

In the amendment, foreigners wanting to obtain Korean citizenship will be required to acquire permanent resident status before applying for naturalization.

Currently, immigrants are eligible to obtain Korean citizenship as long as they have continued to live in the country for five years. However, the new regulations will require foreigners to obtain permanent resident status first.

The ministry plans to issue permanent resident cards that need to be reviewed every seven years.

The measure is designed to counter illegal immigrants who forge documents for naturalization, the ministry said.

“We found that a number of immigrants, including low-skilled workers, sneak into country on forged passports and also submit fake documents indicating that they have met the requirements for naturalization,” an official said.

He said the revision draft reflects the changing environment of immigration and naturalization. He added that the tougher rules will not necessarily dampen the nation’s efforts to usher in a multicultural society.

In June, the Korea Immigration Service rounded up 130 Korean-Chinese immigrants who entered the country between 2003 and 2011 under false identities. Many of them were females, who married Korean men to obtain citizenship.

The ministry said that foreigners who submit forged documents may face a maximum three-year prison sentence or a fine of up to 20 million won ($17,630).

“Being a permanent resident will mean that a person is staying in the country legally with a legal passport and legitimate documents,” an official said.

The ministry said foreign spouses married to Koreans will be given priority for permanent resident status with simplified processes as long as the spouse has lived here for at least three years and has been married for more than one year.

Children of couples will receive the same benefit. Business people who have made a large financial investment in the country or have unique skills that can contribute to the development of society will also enjoy a simplified process of naturalization.

Other applicants, on the other hand, will be required to submit a residence record that shows they have not violated any Korean law during their minimum five years stay.

The ministry also said applicants for Korean citizenship should know the Korean language and culture.

“Acquiring permanent resident status is what the U.S. and other countries with a high number of immigrants requires for their citizenship applicants, and the policy has proven effective,” an official said

“And we hope our draft revision will improve the transparency and accountability of the country’s immigration policy.”  


  • September 14, 2012 at 2:12 PM
    Anonymous :

    Just went through the citizenship interview, and I passed. It is nice to be on this side of the process. I am a long term resident, but seeing some of the changes made will definitely place more burden on those who apply after the first of the year.

  • September 30, 2012 at 2:32 PM
    Anonymous :

    I'm also glad I became a citizen last year. Although I wouldn't have any problem passing those additional requirements. ;-)

  • November 9, 2012 at 11:32 AM
    Anonymous :

    HI, I was hoping to become a citizen next year. I have been here since 2007. But I was wondering if you or anyone can help me as I'm not sure whether my situation qualifies me in the 5 year stay. Like I said, Ive been here since 2007, but I have gone home on vacation, too. Does this mean I havent fulfilled the 5 year requirement?

  • November 23, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    @anonymous: Calculation of your period of stay begins on the day of your alien registration. If you temporarily left Korea (for travel/emergency) during the 2 years, it will be deducted from your entire period of stay. (ex. 2 years – 6months out of Korea = 1 year and 6 months)

  • March 16, 2013 at 8:49 AM
    Anonymous :

    I applied for korean citizen lastyear and got the message that I don't need to take an exam anymore but needed to visit the immigration on the stated date. .I'm just wondering if there is still an interview where in you will be ask situationally about korean lifes? I'm almost 7 years living in korea with my korean husband what I'm nervous about is I'm still not good in korean language..
    I need comments plz..

  • March 16, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    @anonymous: foreignrs married to koreans are no longer required to take the written exam but they are required to take the interview

  • April 6, 2013 at 8:57 PM
  • November 13, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Hi cher@survivingkorea ^^ any hints about the interview please??! How long will I wait after passing all those requirements? Thank you

  • January 17, 2014 at 2:08 AM :

    Hi I am a Junior in High school and I hope to Immigrate to Korea after I graduate. I have no clue how to even begin so I was wondering of anyone has any tips for me? Another thing is that I wish to be an English teacher and am in the midst of attempting to graduate early so that I can get my teachers license, is there anything that I should be cautious of when applying for a teaching job and will a lack of citizenship affect my chances of getting a job when I move?

  • June 19, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    you'll need a bachelors degree (apostilled with sealed transcripts) from an accredited university for obtaining an E-2 visa before coming here to teach english. with a bachelors degree you wouldnt have any problem finding an employer to sponsor your visa (there are many recruitment agencies to be found online)

    they will pay for your flight here and provide you with free housing.

    if they dont like you or if a student complains about you for any reason they will fire you and put you on the street. you will be forced to leave the country el promto using your own resources.


    yes.. let that sink in.

    but that's the risk you'll have to take.

    or you could come here with no visa / degree and take your chances working illegally. the chances of finding someone to employ you illegally are pretty much nil but you never know. if you did manage to find someone, expect to be mistreated, blackmailed and not paid for your work.

    i could just report them surely.

    yes, if you speak korean fluently and have lots of money.


    you could come as a university student

    there are many universities here with scholarships for foreigners

    if you have a level 6 in the topik exam, some unies will pay the whole 4 years of your tuition fees.

    a level 5 will get you 1 year.

    level 4 will get you a discount off 1 year.

    you need at least a level 3 to get in but in that case there are no tuition waivers.

    however, foreigners with a student visa are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week to help them with living expenses and tuition fees. you wouldnt be able to teach english legally but there are many many many coffee shops and the like that would take you on. the pay is very low. 5000~6000 won an hour (about 5 usd)

    teaching private english lessons to korean students would be one way to supplement your income (illegal, but safe as long as you dont get on the wrong side of anyone to make them report you.

    well, the decision is yours.

    have fun

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