Korea–Change in law for Korean nationals residing abroad
26 February 2015
When a Korean national leaves Korea to reside permanently in another country (“Korean nationals residing abroad”), such Korean national should give up their resident registration card. Previously, Korean nationals residing abroad (defined as ‘Korean nationals who have attained permanent residency status in foreign countries, or who are residing in a foreign country with the aim of attaining permanent residency status’), visiting Korea for business, working as an employee, etc., were required to file a domestic residence report with the Korean Immigration Office and issued a Local Residency ID Card (similar to the Residential Registration ID Card issued to the normal Korean nationals).
Summary of law change
The Act on the Immigration and Legal Status of Overseas Koreans and the Resident Registration Act were amended, and effective January 22, 2015, Korean nationals residing abroad who have Local Residency ID Cards (which were issued by the Korean Immigration Office) should apply for a Residential Registration ID Card to be issued by the local governmental authorities (not the Immigration Office) no later than June 30, 2016, and current Local Residency ID Cards shall not be valid after June 30, 2016.
Korean nationals residing overseas who enter into Korea after January 22, 2015, intending to stay in Korea longer than 30 days, should apply for a Residential Registration ID Card to the appropriate local governmental authorities.
The Residential Registration ID Card for Korean nationals residing abroad shall contain a distinguishing mark to identify the individual as a Korean national residing abroad.
Obtaining the Korean Residential Registration ID Card
To obtain the Korean Resident Registration ID Card, individuals should visit the relevant local “Dong” office and submit an application form along with original passport having “permanent resident overseas” mark or Certified Certificate of “Korean national residing abroad” Registration issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, the original Local Residency ID Card (issued by the Immigration Office) should be turned in with the application.
Generally, the applicant should visit the relevant local “Dong” office in person; however, if unable to do so, the application may be submitted by an immediate family member on behalf of the applicant.
If an applicant has not already registered fingerprints with the local government office, the applicant must visit the local “Dong” office in person to have fingerprints registered.
The Residential Registration ID Card will be issued approximately three weeks after submission of application and all required documents.
Korean nationals residing abroad currently holding the Local Residency ID Card issued by the immigration office should apply for a Residential Registration ID Card at the relevant local Dong office prior to June 30, 2016.
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