U.S. Embassy in South Korea
32 Sejong-Ro
Seoul, Korea
Tel: 011-82-2-397-4114
Fax: 011-82-2-738-8845

Mailing Address: U.S. Embassy
Unit 15550
APO AP 96205-5550


South Korean Adoption Authority
Population & Children’s Policy
Anyang Construction Tower 3rd Fl.
1112-1 Dalan Dong, Tongan Gu, Anyang
Tel: +82-31-440-9654

Embassy of South Korea
Consular Section
2450 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel:  202-939-5600
*South 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.


Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel:  1-888-407-4747

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)



493, Changchun-Dong, Sudaemun-Ku, Seoul
Tel: 82-2-332-3941/5
Fax: 82-2-333-1588


382-14, Hapjong-Dong, Mapo-Ku, Seoul
Tel: 82-2-332-7501~4, 322-8102~3
Fax: 82-2-335-6319 or 334-5440


533-3, Ssangmun-Dong, Dobong-Ku, Seoul
Tel: 82-2-908-9191~3
Fax: 82-2-908-3344


718-35, Yuksam-Dong, Kangnam-Ku, Seoul
Central Post Office Box 24,
Seoul, Korea
Tel: 82-2-552-1015~8, 552-6227
Fax: 82-2-552-1019.

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South Korea

Map of South Korea


South Korea is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for South Korea did not change.

South Korea ’s law requires the use of an adoption agency for overseas adoption of Korean orphans, and it requires that such agencies must be authorized by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.

Updated: April 2008



To bring an adopted child to United States from South Korea, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government.  The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, South Korea also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS:  There are no residency requirements for South Korean intercountry adoptions.


  • AGE REQUIREMENTS:  Prospective adoptive parents must be between 25 and 44 years old.  Korean authorities usually require both prospective intercountry adoptive parents be younger than 45 years old.  The age difference between the couple can be no more than 15 years.  Some considerations in waiving the age requirements are at least one parent is under 45 years old, the prospective adoptive parents have previously adopted a Korean child, and are willing to adopt an orphan with serious medical problems.


  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS:  Married couples must have been married at least three years.  Single individuals are not eligible to adopt a child from South Korea.  


  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS:  The prospective adoptive parents must have an income higher than the U.S. national average and be sufficient to support the adoptive child.


  • OTHER REQUIRMENTS:  The prospective adoptive parents cannot have more than five children, including the child(ren) to be adopted.



In addition to South Korea’s specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her home back to the United States.  Learn more about these U.S. requirements.



South Korean Adoption Authority
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare

The Process

The process for adopting a child from South Korea generally includes the following steps:

1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
3. Be Matched with a Child
4. Adopt the Child in South Korea
5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
6. Bring Your Child Home


1.  Choose an Adoption Service Provider 

The first step in adopting a child from South Korea is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption.  Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate.   Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.

2.  Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt 

To bring an adopted child from South Korea to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Learn how.

In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of South Korea as described in the Who Can Adopt section.


3.  Be Matched with a Child

If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in South Korea will provide you with a referral to a child.  Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child. 


4.  Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in South Korea  

The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in South Korea generally includes the following:

  • Role of The Adoption Authority:  The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs authorizes the adoption agencies.  They also establish the criteria for selecting adoptive parents.  The criteria are administrative policy guidelines and not legal requirements.  Local adoption agencies generally follow these guidelines.


  • Role of The Court:  The South Korean courts grant legal custody to the prospective adoptive parents.  Note: The prospective adoptive parents must complete various procedures (i.e., home visits, complete reports) before permission to adopt is granted.  The adoption agency notifies the prospective adoptive parents when they can begin the adoption procedures in the United States. 


  • Role of Adoption Agencies: Prospective adoptive parents are required to work with an adoption agency approved by the South Korean Government.    Approved agencies are listed in the Contact Information tab. 

The adoption agency facilitates the pre-adoption counseling, submission of application for adoption, home study, child assignment, application for child’s overseas adoption to the Korean Government, applications for child’s passport and visa, and flies to the adoptive parents.


  • Adoption Application:  The application for an intercountry  adoption is filed with the Korean Government.


  • Time Frame:  The time from when prospective adoptive parents apply for a child in South Korean and when the child arrives in the United States is approximately one to four years.  Healthy infant adoptions take approximately three years and children with special needs can take approximately one year. 


  • Adoption Fees:  The cost for intercountry adoptions from South Korea is between $9,500 USD and $10,000 USD.  This includes child care fees (including payment for foster mother), medical expenses, legal processing fees, administrative fees, social worker payment and counseling fees, and post adoption service fee. 


  • Documents Required:  Most documents required by the Korean Government will be prepared by the adoption agencies.  Some of the documents required include:
    • Home study report 
    • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
    • Copy of prospective adoptive parent(s) birth certificate(s)
    • Form I-797, Notice of Petition Approval


5.  Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption

After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in South Korea, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600).  Learn how


6.  Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home.   Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate
You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport.  Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. 

South Korean Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from South Korea. 

U.S. Immigrant Visa 
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child.  After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child.  This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.  As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more.


Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad:  The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents. 

For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree. 

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible.  Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.


Statisitcs about adoption from $country_sm



Applying for Your U.S. Passport

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave South Korea. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify United States passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining Your Visa

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa.  A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit.  Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for South Korea, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.  

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country.  The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability. 

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in South Korea, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.



What does South Korea require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

South Korea has no post-adoption requirements for parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption.  Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it’s another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. 

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note:  Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Posted 2977 days ago
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