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Naturalization (General,Simplified, Special)


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To acquire Korean nationality, a foreign national must go through the naturalization procedure including the written test, interview, and renunciation of foreign nationality after applying for naturalization. See more information below.
Q&A (Questions and Answers about Naturalization)
Questions and Answers about Naturalization
Q How long will it take to process my application?
A To find out how long your naturalization process will take after lodging your application, check the announcement page on the Korea Immigration Service web site www.immigration.go.kr or Hi Korea web site www.hikorea.go.kr which are updated at the beginning of each month.

Please note that processing times give you a general idea of how long a process takes. The notification time may vary depending on individual cases.
Q Who can be exempt from the written test and/or interview?
A Persons exempt from the written test and/or interview is prescribed in Article 4 of the Enforcement Rule of the Nationality Act and Article 7 and 8 of the Guidelines for Nationality Affairs.
※ For more information, please visit our National Law Information Center web site www.law.go.kr

Written test exemption: The written test can be waived if you are aged 60 and over, a minor, applying for naturalization by marriage*, re-applying after having passed the written test in the last 3 years or if you have completed the social integration program.
*Persons whose marriage has been terminated due to divorce, death or disappearance of the spouse are not exempt from the written test

Interview exemption: The interview can be waived if you are aged 15 and below, the spouse of a person who has recovered his/her Korean nationality (married prior to recovery of nationality) and aged 60 years and over, spouse of a Sakhalin Korean whose nationality has been determined (married prior to determination of nationality) and aged 60 and over, or if you have completed the social integration program.
*Regardless of completion of social integration program, persons with limited basic knowledge are not exempt from the interview
Q How are the written test and interview conducted?
A In the written test, you will be tested on your knowledge of Korean history, politics, culture, language and customs as well as basic knowledge required to become a Korean national. The test consists of forth and fifth-grade-level questions.

There are a total of 20 multiple questions. You must score over 60 out of 100 points to pass the written test.

The interview will be conducted by an interviewer who will ask questions to assess your attitude, behavior, belief in liberal democracy, and whether you are able to sing the national anthem etc.

If you fail to pass both the written test and interview, you will be given an extra chance to re-take both. Sample Questions for Naturalization Written Test, Sample Questions for Naturalization Interview, and A Guidebook to Basic Knowledge are available on the Hi Korea web site www.hikorea.go.kr
Q Who must accompany me on the date of my interview?
A If you are an applicant for naturalization by marriage,* you must be accompanied by your spouse who is a Korean national or if you are an applicant for special naturalization**, you must be accompanied by one of your parent who is a Korean national (for adoptees, your foster parent) on the date of your interview.
*Naturalization by marriage: applying for naturalization on the grounds of the spouse being a Korean national
**Special naturalization: applying for naturalization on the grounds of a parent being a Korean national
-You must submit supporting documents if a person is unable to accompany you to the interview due to illness etc.
Q What is the next step I should take after acquiring Korean nationality?
A You must renounce your foreign nationality or declare not to exercise foreign nationality within 1 year of your grant of Korean nationality.
※ If you fail to follow the above procedure, your Korean nationality will be lost after 1 year of your grant of Korean nationality
- Notification for the grant of naturalization → Apply for identification certificate (community centre) → Submit the certificate of renunciation of foreign nationality* or written declaration of the intent not to exercise foreign nationality (immigration office) → Apply for a written verification of the renunciation of foreign nationality* or declaration of the intent not to exercise foreign nationality (immigration office) → Register as resident (community centre)
*Issued by a Consul or by a relevant officer
Q What does it mean to submit a written declaration of the intent not to exercise foreign nationality?
A You are to renunciate your foreign nationality within 1 year of acquiring Korean nationality. However, you may exercise multiple nationalities if you submit a written declaration of the intent not to exercise foreign nationality in Korea addressed to the Minister of Justice.

If you have multiple nationalities, your Korean nationality can only be exercised in the Republic of Korea. Therefore, you may be ordered to choose one nationality within the period of six months, if you:
-traveled to and from Korea repeatedly using a foreign passport, or
-registered as a foreigner or reported on your place of residence for the purpose of exercising foreign nationality, or
-exercised or intend to exercise the rights of foreigners over the State, local governments, public institutions, public organizations, or educational institutions by making use of a foreign passport in the Republic of Korea without any justifiable reason.
Q Who is eligible to submit the written declaration of the intent not to exercise foreign nationality?
A - A person who has acquired Korean nationality by marriage*
*Persons whose marriage has been terminated due to divorce or death or disappearance of the spouse must renunciate his/her foreign nationality
- A person who has acquired or recovered Korean nationality based on his/her special achievements or great contribution to the country
- A person who has acquired Korean nationality after having resided in a foreign country in which he/she was adopted by a foreigner and acquired the nationality of that country before becoming an adult under the Civil Act of the Republic of Korea
- A person who has recovered his/her Korean nationality after the age of 65 with the purpose of permanently residing in Korea
- A person who finds it impracticable to renounce his/her foreign nationality due to laws and institutions of the foreign country despite his/her efforts to follow the procedure* to renounce his/her foreign nationality within 1 year of the grant of Korean nationality (you must submit relevant documents to certify your circumstantial difficulties).
*Submitting certificate of renunciation of foreign nationality to the Korean government or embassy within 3 months of acquiring Korean nationality

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