INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
The following is intended as a very general guide to assist U.S. citizens who plan to adopt a child from a foreign country
and apply for an immigrant visa for the child to come to the United States. Two sets of laws are particularly relevant: 1)
the laws of the child’s country of birth govern all activity in that country including the adoptability of individual
children as well as the adoption of children in country in general; and 2) U.S. Federal immigration law governs the immigration
of the child to the United States.
The information in this
flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding.
It does not necessarily reflect the actual state of the laws of a child’s country of birth and is provided for general
information only. Moreover, U.S. immigration law, including regulations and interpretation, changes from time to time. This
flyer reflects our current understanding of the law as of this date and is not legally authoritative. Questions involving
foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal
South Korea’s special adoption law No. 2977, Section 9 (A), requires the use of an adoption agency for overseas adoption
of Korean orphans, and Section 10 (A) provides that such agencies must be authorized by the Ministry of Health and Social
PATTERNS OF IMMIGRATION
OF ADOPTED ORPHANS TO THE U.S.: Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to Korean
Number of Immigrant Visas Issued
AUTHORITY: The government office responsible for adoptions in South Korea is the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
The address is as follows:
Population & Children’s
Anyang Construction Tower 3rd Fl.
1112-1 Dalan Dong, Tongan Gu, Anyang
REQUIREMENTS FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS: South Korean authorities have advised the U.S. Embassy in Seoul of the following
criteria for selecting adoptive parents. These criteria have been established by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
They are administrative policy guidelines and not legal requirements, but local adoption agencies can be expected to follow
The adoptive parents must be eligible to adopt under the
laws of their country or state of residence.
Single parents are not eligible.
The couple should be married for at least three years and
be between the ages of 25 and 44. Korean authorities usually require that both adoptive parents in overseas adoptions
be younger than 45 years old; however, they may make exceptions in some cases. The following three factors, while unofficial
and applied differently from case to case, may be considered when making exceptions to the age limit:
1. At least
one parent is under 45
2. The adoptive parents have previously adopted a Korean orphan
3. The parents are
willing to adopt an orphan with serious medical problems
The adoptive couple should have no more than five children.
This number includes the child or children to be adopted.
The couple should not have an age difference of more than
The income of the adoptive couple should be higher than the
national average of their country and sufficient to raise the child.
Parents living in US don’t need residency in Korea to adopt a child from Korea. They only need to contact one
of US adoption agencies affiliated with Korean adoption agencies authorized by Korean government.
The period of time between when a couple begins pre-adoption processing and when the child arrives in the United States is
anywhere between one and four years. This time frame includes the total timing for processing in the U.S. and in Korea.
In the U.S., the adoptive parents should have an Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petiton (I-600A) filed and approved
by the Department of Homeland Security. Please see "U.S. Immigration Requirements" below for more information on the
I-600A. Following approval of the I-600A, processing time in Korea will be about 5 to 6 months. Effective January
1, 2007, Korean law will require a five-month waiting period before an infant orphan can be considered for intercountry adoption.
This new requirement, however, is not expected to lengthen adoptive parents’ overall waiting time.
According to the Korean Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and Korean adoption agencies, the total cost is between $9,500
and $10,000. This includes:
Child care fees (including payment for foster mother)
Legal processing fees
Social worker payment and counseling fees
Post adoption service fee
AND ATTORNEYS: The Korean government requires prospective adoptive families to work with agencies that have
been approved by the Korean government. The list is as follows:
EASTERN SOCIAL WELFARE
493, Changchun-Dong, Sudaemun-Ku, Seoul
HOLT INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S
382-14, Hapjong-Dong, Mapo-Ku, Seoul
Tel: 82-2-332-7501~4, 322-8102~3
Fax: 82-2-335-6319 or 334-5440
KOREA SOCIAL SERVICE
Ssangmun-Dong, Dobong-Ku, Seoul
SOCIAL WELFARE SOCIETY,
718-35, Yuksam-Dong, Kangnam-Ku, Seoul
Central Post Office Box 24, Seoul, Korea
Tel: 82-2-552-1015~8, 552-6227
KOREAN ADOPTION PROCEDURES: Korean
adoption is always conducted through one of the aforementioned authorized adoption agencies. Accordingly, the first
step for couples who wish to adopt a Korean child would be to contact the adoption agency.
The procedure with
the adoption agency is generally the following:
Submission of application for adoption (please see below
“Korean Documentary Requirements”)
A home study
Application for child’s overseas adoption to the Korean
Applications for child’s passport and visa
Fly to the adoptive parents
REQUIREMENTS: Most of the documents
required by the Korean government will be prepared by the adoption agencies. Adoption agencies will require from the
would-be parents the following documents:
Home study report
Affidavit of support (Form I-864)
Adoptive parents’ birth certificates
Notice of petition approval (Form I-797)
DOCUMENTS TO BE USED ABROAD: The language describing the process of authenticating U.S. documents to be used
abroad is currently under review. Please click on the following link for more information until the new language is finalized.
AND CONSULATES IN THE UNITED STATES:
Embassy of Korea
2450 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
Web address: http://www.koreaemb.org
Korea also has Consulates
in Agana (Guam), Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Evanston (Illinois), Ft. Lauderdale, Honolulu,
Houston, Kansas City (Kansas), Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Mobile, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix,
Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle and St. Louis.
Before completing an
adoption abroad, prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to read the requirements for filing Form I-600, Petition
to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. Please see the flyer “How Can Adopted Children Come to the United States” at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs web
Once the I-600 is approved,
the U.S. Embassy in Seoul will receive the notice of approval from CIS. The Embassy will then inform the adoption agency,
so they may prepare the immigrant visa application and medical examination. After receiving the visa application, the
visa is normally issued the following business day.
Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa
to adoptive parents on the day of the interview.
CITIZENSHIP: The language describing the acquisition of U.S. citizenship for adopted children is currently under
review. Until the new language is finalized, please click on the following link for further information: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/info/info_457.html.
IN SOUTH KOREA: Americans living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov/, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within
the country of travel. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.
The Consular Section is located at:
APO AP 96205-5550
In addition to the designated panel physicians who must be consulted as part of the U.S. immigrant visa process, the U.S.
Embassy in Seoul maintains current lists of doctors and sources for medicines, should either a prospective parent or prospective
adoptive child experience health problems while in Korea.
Specific questions about adoption in South Korea may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. General questions regarding
international adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29,
4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.
is also available from several other sources:
• Toll Free
- For information on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction, call Overseas Citizens Services at
1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except
U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information
and assistance during these hours by calling 1-202-501-4444.
• U.S. Department
of State Visa Office - recorded information concerning immigrant visas for adopting children, (202) 663-1225.
• U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services - recorded information for requesting immigrant visa application forms, 1-800-870-FORM (3676).
Information Flyers: The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs web site at: http://travel.state.gov/ contains intercountry adoption information flyers like this one
and the International Adoptions brochure.
Information Sheets: The State Department has general information about hiring a foreign attorney and authenticating documents
that may supplement the country-specific information provided in this flier. In addition, the State Department publishes Consular
Information Sheets (CISes) for every country in the world, providing information such as location of the U.S. Embassy, health
conditions, political situations, and crime reports. If the situation in a country poses a specific threat to the safety and
security of American citizens that is not addressed in the CIS for that country, the State Department may issue a Public Announcement
alerting U.S. citizens to local security situations. If conditions in a country are sufficiently serious, the State Department
may issue a Travel Warning recommending that U.S. citizens avoid traveling to that country. These documents are available
on the Internet at: http://travel.state.gov/ or by calling the State Department's Office of Overseas Citizen
Services Toll Free at 1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday
(except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may
obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-202-501-4444.