How to Become a Korean Citizen: The General Naturalization Method (일반귀화)

This article is the second in a 4-part series on the Korean naturalization system and how to become a Korean citizen. Skip to the end for links to the other articles.

General Naturalization Requirements  

So you’re crazy about Korea and you’ve finally decided that you’d love to become a Korean citizen. There are a few ways of going about that, but here is the one the Immigration Office considers the most routine or “General” (일반) way of going about it.

For this method you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You must be 19 years of age or older
  2. You must have been a legal resident of Korea for 5 consecutive years  
  3. You must have displayed that you will be a responsible citizen while in Korea, by having never been convicted of a criminal offence or other bad behavior on the public record.
  4. You must have proven your financial stability and your ability to be a contributing member of society. This means having an annual combined income above that of Korea’s GNI per capita (roughly 30 million won as of 2017).
  5. You must  prove your knowledge of Korean language, customs, and culture. You can prove this by taking a written test and being interviewed by Korea’s immigration office. Alternatively, you can avoid having to take the written test and interview by passing the Korean Immigration & Integration Program (KIIP).

If you meet all of these requirements, you can then begin the application process. It will likely take anywhere from one and a half to two years to complete.

Before beginning the process, note the general naturalization method is only applicable for those who intend to rescind their original citizenship. If you are not willing to give up your original citizenship, then you will not be able to receive Korean citizenship through this method.

If would like our assistance with the General Naturalization process, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

9 thoughts on “How to Become a Korean Citizen: The General Naturalization Method (일반귀화)

  1. WAHIDA D. KALID says:

    Hi im wahida kalid and im from the Philippines but now I’m here in kuwait im working as an ofw and im willing to live in korea. Is it possible to live without any business included ? I’m really interested to live in korea, what should i do? What is the easy way to live in korea? I want your advise. I will wait for your response, pleas3 notice me. Im waiting .. by the way im learning a korean words ang phrases right now that’s all thank you.

  2. Alfredo Gani lll says:

    Hi I’m Alfredo Gani lll also from the Philippines but now I’m here in Hawaii And Im a student and I’m willing to live in South korea. what personal documents should I bring? what should I do? What requirements do I need to meet in migrating to South Korea? That’s all Kamsahamnida.

    • Simon D. Lee, Esq. says:

      If you do not have a KIIP completion certificate, you will have to take a KIIP exam in the course of the application process. There are some categories of people that can be exempted from this requirement.

        • Simon D. Lee, Esq. says:

          Dear Jona, here is a list of the people that do not have to take the exam:
          – Minors;
          – Those who are over 60 y.o.;
          – Those who have made special contribution to the Republic of Korea;
          – Those who have already took the exam in the past 3 years;
          – Other people that have special grounds preventing them from taking the exam.

          Thank you!

  3. Smith says:

    Does the consecutive 5 years means on same visa status for 5 years ? Or it doesn’t matter on different visa status but resident in Korea for more than consecutive 5 years?

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