Permanent residence in South Korea

What steps you have to take

Permanent residence in South Korea

Upon arrival in South Korea, those holding long-term visas must obtain an Alien Registration Certificate from the Immigration Office. You have up to 90 days upon arrival to complete the process, which is usually completed within 3 to 10 working days.

Additionally, changes of any information contained on the Registration Certificate must be reported to the District Immigration within 14 days of occurrence. A Registration Certificate is required of all accompanying family members. Each family member who is over the age of 16 years is required to undergo finger printing at the Immigration Office at the time of application.

Outside of exceptional cases, the Korean authorities will not issue a dependent permit to an unmarried partner. Same-sex partners cannot obtain a dependent permit.

Long-term visa holders must also obtain a Multiple Re-Entry Permit upon their arrival and prior to their departure from South Korea. This will ensure their subsequent re-entry into South Korea following an overseas visit.

Applying for a residence permit

Applying for permanent residency can take place either before or while you are in South Korea. However, it may be easier to get this completed prior to leaving. Along with many of the documents already listed for obtaining a visa (see our other articles in this section), you will also need:

  • Exact address of residence in South Korea
  • Copy of your national ID card/permanent resident card (front and back)

Naturalisation – becoming a South Korean citizen

Acquirement of citizenship in South Korea is increasing in popularity but in no way easy. The most basic way is through marriage of a Korean citizen or by having at least one parent of Korean descent.

However, for those who have no such connections to Korean citizens, the process becomes much more difficult. Obtaining citizenship is possible but will require ardent proof that the applicant has a serious desire to become a citizen. In 2003, Only 291 foreigners without the previously mentioned ties achieved Korean citizenship.

Application process

The application process may include some of all of these requirements:

  • at least five years of residence in South Korea
  • proficiency in language (reading, writing, and speaking)
  • knowledge of Korean culture and history
  • an interview & written test

Further reading

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