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What age is considered minor in Korea?


The concept of minors is crucial in every society, as it helps to protect the rights and interests of young people. In Korea, the definition of a minor varies depending on the context, but generally refers to those who are under the age of 19. This article will explore in detail what age is considered minor in Korea, how this age is determined, and what rights and protections minors have under Korean law.

Legal Definition of a Minor in Korea

The legal definition of a minor in Korea is anyone who is under the age of 19. This definition applies to various areas of law, such as criminal law, civil law, and family law. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the age of majority for marriage is 20 years old in Korea.

Korean Age System

In Korea, people use a different age system than in other countries. Instead of counting from the day of their birth, Koreans consider themselves one year old at birth and add one more year every New Year’s Day. This means that someone born on December 31st would be considered two years old on January 1st.

Age Limits for Drinking and Smoking

The legal drinking age in Korea is 19 years old, which means that minors under this age are not allowed to purchase or consume alcohol. The same applies to smoking – minors under the age of 19 are prohibited from purchasing or using tobacco products.

Age Limits for Driving

In order to drive a car in Korea, you must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. Minors under the age of 18 are not allowed to obtain a driver’s license in Korea.

Age Limits for Voting

The legal voting age in Korea is 19 years old. This means that minors under this age are not eligible to vote in national elections.

Age Limits for Military Service

All able-bodied Korean men between the ages of 18 and 28 are required to complete mandatory military service. Women are not required to serve, but can volunteer. This means that minors who turn 18 are eligible to be drafted into the military.

Age Limits for Education

In Korea, education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 15. After this age, students can choose to continue their education through high school and university.

Rights of Minors in Korea

Despite being young, minors in Korea have certain rights that are protected by law. These include the right to education, healthcare, and protection from abuse and neglect. Minors also have the right to express their opinions and participate in decision-making processes that affect them.

Legal Guardianship of Minors

In Korea, parents or legal guardians are responsible for the care and upbringing of minors. If a minor’s parents are unable or unwilling to provide care, the court can appoint a legal guardian to act on behalf of the child.

Penalties for Crimes Committed by Minors

Minors who commit crimes in Korea are subject to different penalties than adults. The goal of these penalties is to rehabilitate the minor and prevent future criminal behavior. However, serious crimes can still result in significant consequences, such as juvenile detention or probation.


In conclusion, the legal definition of a minor in Korea is anyone under the age of 19. This age is used to determine various rights and protections for young people, such as education, healthcare, and protection from abuse. While minors are subject to different laws and penalties than adults, they still have certain rights that are protected by law. Understanding the age limits and protections for minors in Korea is essential for ensuring their well-being and safety.

How old are 17 year olds in Korea?

An updated guide from 2023 on how to express your age in Korean based on your birth year. The chart includes the Korean phrases for ages 15 to 85.

Is 16 and 18 legal in Korea?

In South Korea, people who are 19 or younger cannot legally give consent for sexual activity. If such activity occurs, it may be considered statutory rape or a similar local law, and the individuals involved may face legal consequences.

Are you a minor at 18 in Korea?

In Korea, the age considered as legally mature is 19.

Is 16 a minor in Korea?

In Korea, the age of majority is 19 according to international age, not Korean age. Once you reach 19 years old, you are considered an adult and have the legal ability to make decisions independently, such as entering into contracts without the need for parental consent. This information was last updated on December 3, 2016.

What grade are you in at 17 in Korea?

The typical ages for students in high school are 15-19 years old, with the different levels or grades being 10th, 11th, and 12th grade.

Can I drink at 18 in South Korea?

In Korea, the legal age for consuming alcohol is 19 years old.

Child Labor Laws in Korea

Korea has strict laws regarding child labor to protect minors from exploitation and ensure their education. According to the Labor Standards Act, minors under the age of 15 are not allowed to work, and those between the ages of 15 and 18 are subject to certain restrictions on working hours and conditions. Employers who violate these laws can face fines and imprisonment.

Child Protection Services in Korea

Korea has a system of child protection services to ensure the safety and well-being of minors who may be at risk of abuse or neglect. These services provide support and intervention to families in need, as well as alternative care for children who cannot live with their parents. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is responsible for overseeing these services.

International Child Abduction in Korea

International child abduction occurs when a minor is taken across international borders without the consent of their parents or legal guardians. Korea is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which provides a framework for resolving these cases. If a minor is abducted to or from Korea, the central authority can assist in locating and returning the child.

Online Privacy and Protection for Minors in Korea

As technology becomes more prevalent in society, there is growing concern about online privacy and protection for minors. In Korea, there are laws that regulate the collection and use of personal information online, including the Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection. Additionally, there are measures in place to protect minors from harmful online content, such as mandatory age verification processes.

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