- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- New applicants SHOULD know Korean language and culture.
For more details please check the Korea Times article below:
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.”