Applying for South Korean Citizenship: Essential Requirements and Procedures

Applying for South Korean Citizenship: Essential Requirements and Procedures

South Korea is a beautiful country with a rich culture and friendly people. If you have been living in South Korea for a while and want to become a citizen, this guide will help you. Applying for South Korean citizenship can seem daunting, but with proper documentation and knowledge of the process, it can be done with ease.

Essential Requirements for South Korean Citizenship

Before applying for citizenship, you must meet the following criteria:


You must be at least 18 years old to apply for citizenship in South Korea.


Permanent residency is essential to qualify for South Korean citizenship. You must also have resided in South Korea for at least five years before filing your citizenship application.

No Criminal Record

You should not have committed any serious crime; otherwise, your application will be rejected.

Language Proficiency

You should be reasonably fluent in Korean, and the Korean government may test this during the application process.

Procedures for South Korean Citizenship

The process of applying for South Korean citizenship involves the following steps:

Step 1: Gather and Submit the Required Documents

You will need to collect and submit the following documents when applying for South Korean citizenship:

  • Proof of identity (passport or ID card)
  • Proof of residence in South Korea
  • Proof of language proficiency
  • No criminal record certificate
  • Proof of your financial status
  • Proof of your job or business in South Korea

All documents must be submitted in Korean, and any documents issued in a foreign language must be translated by a certified translator.

Step 2: Attend an Interview

Once your documents are submitted, you will be called to an interview with the Korean Immigration Office. This interview is conducted to assess your eligibility for citizenship.

Step 3: Take the Citizenship Exam

If you pass your eligibility assessment, you will be required to take a citizenship exam. This exam is meant to test your knowledge of South Korea’s culture, politics, and history.

Step 4: Wait for Approval

After your interview and exam, you will need to wait for approval from the Korean Ministry of Justice. The processing time for citizenship applications can vary, but typically the process takes around six months.


Q: Can I apply for South Korean citizenship if I am married to a Korean?

Yes, marriage to a Korean national is one of the paths for citizenship. However, you must have lived in South Korea for at least three years while married to your Korean spouse before applying for citizenship.

Q: Can I keep my original citizenship if I become a Korean citizen?

It depends on your original country of citizenship. Some countries allow dual citizenship, while others do not. You should research your country’s citizenship laws before applying for Korean citizenship.

Q: Are there any exceptions to the five-year residency requirement?

In some cases, the South Korean government may make exceptions for those who have made a significant contribution to Korean society or have married a Korean national.

Q: How can I prove my language proficiency?

You may be required to take a language proficiency exam in Korean to prove your fluency. You can register for the exam at the Korean Immigration Office.

Q: Can I apply for citizenship if I have a criminal record?

It depends on the severity of the crime committed. In general, serious criminal convictions are grounds for the rejection of citizenship applications.


Becoming a citizen of South Korea can be a long process, but with the right documents and preparation, it is achievable. With a rich cultural heritage and welcoming people, South Korea offers a unique experience for new citizens. Apply today, and you may soon call South Korea your new home!