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Does Korea give citizenship to foreigners?


Korea is a country that is known for its rich culture, fascinating history, and innovative technology. It has been attracting people from all over the world who are interested in studying, working, or living in Korea. One question that many foreigners have when they come to Korea is whether they can become citizens of the country. In this article, we will explore the topic of whether Korea gives citizenship to foreigners.

Korean Citizenship Laws

Korean citizenship laws are complex and vary depending on the circumstances of the individual. In general, Korean citizenship is based on the principle of jus sanguinis, which means that citizenship is inherited from one’s parents. However, there are also provisions for naturalization and other ways to acquire Korean citizenship.

Naturalization Process

Foreigners who wish to become Korean citizens through naturalization must meet certain requirements. These include having lived in Korea for a certain period of time, being of good character, having a basic understanding of the Korean language and culture, and passing a written test.

Types of Visas

To live and work in Korea, foreigners must obtain the appropriate visa. There are many types of visas available, including student visas, work visas, and business visas. Each visa has its own specific requirements and limitations.

Visa Renewal

Foreigners who wish to stay in Korea for an extended period of time must renew their visa before it expires. The renewal process can be complicated and time-consuming, but it is necessary to maintain legal status in the country.

Permanent Residency

Foreigners who have lived in Korea for a certain period of time may be eligible for permanent residency. This allows them to live and work in Korea without the need for a visa. However, permanent residents are still considered foreigners and do not have the same rights as Korean citizens.

Marriage to a Korean Citizen

Foreigners who marry a Korean citizen may be eligible for Korean citizenship. However, the process is not automatic and there are certain requirements that must be met. These include living in Korea for a certain period of time and passing a language test.

Children of Foreigners in Korea

Children born to foreign parents in Korea do not automatically receive Korean citizenship. However, they may be eligible for citizenship if their parents meet certain requirements.

Dual Citizenship

Korea generally does not allow dual citizenship. This means that foreigners who become Korean citizens must give up their original citizenship. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Benefits of Korean Citizenship

There are many benefits to becoming a Korean citizen, including the right to vote in elections, access to government services and programs, and the ability to work in certain fields that are restricted to Korean citizens.

Challenges of Becoming a Korean Citizen

Becoming a Korean citizen can be a challenging process, requiring significant time, effort, and resources. Foreigners who wish to become citizens must be prepared to navigate complex laws and regulations, learn the Korean language and culture, and demonstrate their commitment to the country.


In conclusion, while it is possible for foreigners to become citizens of Korea, the process is not easy or straightforward. It requires significant effort and dedication on the part of the individual. However, for those who are willing to put in the time and effort, becoming a Korean citizen can be a rewarding experience that opens up new opportunities and possibilities.

How can an American get Korean citizenship?

To become a citizen of Korea, as a permanent or long-term resident, you must reside in the country for at least 5 years, unless you have familial ties with a Korean citizen. The eligibility for citizenship begins after the 5-year residency requirement has been fulfilled, as of February 4, 2023.

Is it hard to get Korean citizenship?

Obtaining South Korean citizenship is not an easy process. It is widely recognized as quite challenging. Therefore, it may be more feasible to instead obtain a permanent resident visa, known as an Alien Registration Certificate, as this option has fewer limitations, although still has some restrictions.

Does marrying a Korean give citizenship?

Getting married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident gives noncitizens a direct path to U.S. immigration. Contrary to popular rumor, however, the foreign national does not immediately or automatically receive the right to immigrate, nor to U.S. citizenship.

Does South Korea allow dual citizenship for foreigners?

South Korea legally recognizes dual citizenship.

How long can a US citizen live in Korea?

Visitors from countries exempt from visa requirements can stay in South Korea for a duration ranging from 30 to 180 days depending on their country of origin. This list includes countries such as the US, South Africa, Australia, Canada, the UK, and most EU countries.

How can I live in Korea permanently?

To obtain a Permanent Resident Visa in South Korea, one must meet certain eligibility requirements, which include investing at least 600 million KRW (equivalent to 500,000 USD) into a Korean business and employing five or more local workers, marrying a Korean citizen or an F-5 holder, or obtaining a degree from a South Korean institution.

It is important to note that the process of obtaining Korean citizenship can vary depending on the individual’s specific circumstances. For example, individuals who have Korean heritage or are married to a Korean citizen may have different requirements or eligibility criteria than those who do not. It is recommended that foreigners interested in becoming Korean citizens consult with an immigration lawyer or specialist to determine their specific options and requirements.

Another important factor to consider when contemplating becoming a Korean citizen is the country’s military service requirement. All Korean men between the ages of 18 and 28 are required to complete two years of military service, which can be a significant commitment for those who become citizens later in life. Foreigners who become Korean citizens may also be subject to this requirement, depending on their age and other factors.

In recent years, Korea has made efforts to attract and retain foreign talent through various government programs and initiatives. These include the Global Korea Scholarship, which provides financial support for foreign students to study in Korea, and the Start-up Visa program, which enables foreign entrepreneurs to start businesses in Korea. These programs may provide additional opportunities for foreigners interested in eventually obtaining Korean citizenship.

Overall, while the process of becoming a Korean citizen can be challenging, it can also be a rewarding experience for those committed to integrating into Korean society and culture. With its vibrant economy, rich cultural heritage, and innovative technology sector, Korea offers many opportunities for foreigners looking to build a new life in a dynamic and exciting country.

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