How to Immigrate to South Korea

Immigrating to South Korea is considered more difficult that immigrating into other countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, or Japan. This is because only a very small amount of immigrants are given a permanent resident (PR) status. Moreover, South Korea is considered a hermit kingdom or a country that doesn’t encourage discourse with other countries or nations, although it has diplomatic ties with 100 countries.

The following is a basic guide on how to immigrate to South Korea:

Step 1: Determine which immigration route to take.

If you’re really determined to become a permanent citizen of South Korea, there are several ways on how you can achieve this:

through marriage
– opening up a business worth at least 500,000,000 won or more than US$500,000
– by living and working for several years in South Korea (This route is the most difficult, as most people applying for South Korean citizenship through this are rarely granted a permanent residency).

Keep in mind that the most popular route and less tedious option is to marry a Korean citizen.

Step 2: Get a an Alien Registration Certificate.

You can obtain your Alien Registration Certificate at the Immigration office. Upon arrival in South Korea, make sure to get the certificate and complete the application process within 90 days. The process takes about three to ten business days, giving you enough time for the entire process. If there are changes in the information indicated on the Alien Registration Certificate, you must report such changes within 14 days.

Step 3: Apply for a permanent residence permit.

You can actually start the application process before leaving for South Korea for faster results. Aside from the usual requirements for a visa, you need to submit the following:

– Your exact address in South Korea or where you plan to live
– A copy (front and back) of your permanent resident/ national ID card

Step 4: Apply for naturalisation.

Korean naturalisation is the process wherein a foreigner is given a South Korean citizenship. During the application process, you must also submit or meet the following requirements:

– proof of at least 5 years residence
– language proficiency (You must prove that you are proficient in speaking, writing, and reading Korean.)
– Knowledge on Korean customs, traditions, history, and culture
– written test and interview

Step 5: Wait for about 8 months.

The naturalisation process in South Korea may take about 8 months, so the applicant should be able to comply with any visa requirements mandated by the Korean Immigration Control Act. Any foreigner living in Korea (whether he or she is married to a Korean citizen or not) should have a legal status as a temporary resident, visitor, or worker. As long as the naturalisation is not yet granted, a foreigner should regularly update or renew his or her legal status.

Because the immigration process to South Korea is quite challenging, make sure that you strictly follow the rules and submit all the requirements before the deadlines. While waiting in South Korea for the naturalisation process to be approved, make sure you won’t do anything that will make the immigration control deport you.

Related questions:

1. Does South Korea grant special PR status in certain instances?

2. What other requirements are needed for a PR application?

3. Do I have to get married in Korea to speed up the PR status application?

4. What if my parents are Korean?

5. Is the 8-month waiting period the maximum waiting time for a PR status application?

Related posts:

Migrating to USA as a Student – Migrating to the US

US Fiance Visa and Migration – US Fiance Visa

US Immigrant Visa Conversion – US Tourist Visa into Immigrant Visa

Photo Credits: Manu2573

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