Korea (South)

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Korea (South)


Compiled from the September 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Republic of Korea



Area: 98,477 sq. km. (38,022 sq. mi.); about the size of Indiana.

Cities: (2005) Capital—Seoul (10.3 million). Other major cities—Busan (3.7 million), Daegu (2.5 million), Inchon (2.6 million), Gwangju (1.4 million), Daejeon (1.5 million), Ulsan (1.0 million).

Terrain: Partially forested mountain ranges separated by deep, narrow valleys; cultivated plains along the coasts, particularly in the west and south.

Climate: Temperate.


Nationality: Noun and adjective—Korean(s).

Population: (2006) 48,846,823. Population annual growth rate: (2006) 0.42%.

Ethnic groups: Korean; small Chinese minority.

Religions: Christianity, Buddhism, Shamanism, Confucianism, Chondogyo.

Languages: Korean.

Education: Years compulsory—9. Enrollment—11.5 million. Attendance—middle school 99%, high school 95%. Literacy—98%.

Health: (2006) Infant mortality rate—6.16/1,000. Life expectancy— 77.0 yrs (men 73.6 yrs.; women 80.8 yrs).

Work force: (2005) 23.53 million. Services—67.2%; mining and manufacturing—26.4%; agriculture—6.4%.


Type: Republic with powers shared between the president, the legislature, and the courts.

Liberation: August 15, 1945.

Constitution: July 17, 1948; last revised 1987.

Government branches: Executive—President (chief of state); Prime Minister (head of government). Legislative—unicameral National Assembly. Judicial—Supreme Court and appellate courts; Constitutional Court.

Political subdivisions: Nine provinces, seven administratively separate cities (Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Gwangju, Daejeon, Ulsan).

Political parties: Uri Party (Uri); Grand National Party (GNP); Democratic Party (DP); Democratic Labor Party (DLP); People Centered Party (PCP).

Suffrage: Universal at 19.

Budget: (2004) Expenditures—$100.46 billion.

Defense: (2005) $21.06 billion; over 680,000 troops.


Nominal GDP: 2005, $787.5 billion; 2006 est., $897.4 billion.

GDP growth rate: 2004, 4.7%; 2005, 4.0%; 2006 est. 5.0%.

Per capita GNI: (2005) $16,291.

Consumer price index: 2004, 3.6%; 2005, 2.8%; 2006, 2.2%.

Natural resources: Limited coal, tungsten, iron ore, limestone, kaolinite, and graphite.

Agriculture: (including forestry and fisheries) Products—rice, vegetables, fruit, root crops, barley; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs, fish. Arable land—17% of land area.

Industry: Types—Electronics and electrical products, telecommunications, motor vehicles, shipbuilding, mining and manufacturing, petrochemicals, industrial machinery, steel.

Trade: (2006 est.) Exports—$360.0 billion f.o.b.: electronic products (semiconductors, cellular phones and equipment, computers), automobiles, machinery and equipment, steel, ships, petrochemicals. Imports—$343.0 billion f.o.b.: crude oil, food, machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals and chemical products, base metals and articles. Major markets (2005)— China (21.8%), U.S. (14.6.%), Japan (8.5%), Hong Kong (5.5%). Major suppliers (2005)—Japan (18.5%), China (14.8%), U.S. (11.8%), Saudi Arabia (6.2%).



Korea's population is one of the most ethnically and linguistically homogenous in the world. Except for a small Chinese community (about 20,000), virtually all Koreans share a common cultural and linguistic heritage. With 48.85 million people, South Korea has one of the world's highest population densities. Major population centers are located in the northwest, southeast, and in the plains south of the Seoul-Incheon area.

Korea has experienced one of the largest rates of emigration, with ethnic Koreans residing primarily in China (1.9 million), the United States (1.52 million), Japan (681,000), and the countries of the former Soviet Union (450,000).


The Korean language is related to Japanese and Mongolian. Although it differs grammatically from Chinese and does not use tones, a large number of Chinese cognates exist in Korean. Chinese ideograms are believed to have been brought into Korea sometime before the second century BC. The learned class spoke Korean, but read and wrote Chinese. A phonetic writing system (“hangul”) was invented in the 15th century by King Sejong to provide a writing system for commoners who could not read classical Chinese. Modern Korean uses hangul almost exclusively with Chinese characters in limited use for word clarification. Approximately 1,300 Chinese characters are used in modern Korean. English is taught as a second language in most primary and secondary schools. Chinese and Japanese are widely taught at secondary schools.


Half of the population actively practices religion. Among this group, Christianity (49%) and Buddhism (47%) comprise Korea's two dominant religions. Though only 3% identified themselves as Confucianists, Korean society remains highly imbued with Confucian values and beliefs. The remaining 1% of the population practice Shamanism (traditional spirit worship) and Chondogyo (“Heavenly Way”), a traditional religion.


The myth of Korea's foundation by the god-king Tangun in BC 2333 embodies the homogeneity and self-sufficiency valued by the Korean people. Korea experienced many invasions by its larger neighbors in its 2,000 years of recorded history. The country repelled numerous foreign invasions despite domestic strife, in part due to its protected status in the Sino-centric regional political model during Korea's Chosun dynasty (1392–1910). Historical antipathies to foreign influence earned Korea the title of “Hermit Kingdom” in the 19th century.

With declining Chinese power and a weakened domestic posture at the end of the 19th century, Korea was open to Western and Japanese encroachment. In 1910, Japan began a 35-year period of colonial rule over Korea. As a result of Japan's efforts to supplant the Korean language and aspects of Korean culture, memories of Japanese annexation still recall fierce animosity and resentment, especially among older Koreans. Nevertheless, import restrictions on Japanese movies, popular music, fashion, and the like have been lifted, and many Koreans, especially the younger generations, eagerly follow Japanese pop culture. Aspects of Korean culture, including television shows and movies, have also become popular in Japan.

Japan's surrender to the Allied Powers in 1945, signaling the end of World War II, only further embroiled Korea in foreign rivalries. Division at the 38th parallel marked the beginning of Soviet and U.S. trusteeship over the North and South, respectively. On August 15, 1948 the Republic of Korea (R.O.K.) was established, with Syngman Rhee as the first President. On September 9, 1948 the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.) was established under Kim II Sung.

On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea. Led by the U.S., a 16-member coalition undertook the first collective action under United Nations Command (UNC). Following China's entry on behalf of North Korea later that year, a stalemate ensued for the final two years of the conflict. Armistice negotiations, initiated in July 1951, were ultimately concluded on July 27, 1953 at Panmunjom, in what is now the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The Armistice Agreement was signed by representatives of the Korean People's Army, the Chinese People's Volunteers, and the U.S.-led United Nations Command (UNC). Though the R.O.K. supported the UNC, it refused to sign the Armistice Agreement. A peace treaty has never been signed. The war left almost three million Koreans dead or wounded and millions of others homeless and separated from their families.

In the following decades, South Korea experienced political turmoil under autocratic leadership. President Syngman Rhee was forced to resign in April 1960 following a student-led uprising. The Second Republic under the leadership of Chang Myon ended after only one year, when Major General Park Chung-hee led a military coup. Park's rule, which resulted in tremendous economic growth and development but increasingly restricted political freedoms, ended with his assassination in 1979. Subsequently, a powerful group of military officers, led by Lieutenant General Chun Doo Hwan, declared martial law and took power.

Throughout the Park and Chun eras, South Korea developed a vocal civil society that led to strong protests against authoritarian rule. Composed primarily of students and labor union activists, protest movements reached a climax after Chun's 1979 coup and declaration of martial law. A confrontation in Gwangju in 1980 left at least 200 civilians dead. Thereafter, pro-democracy activities intensified even more, ultimately forcing political concessions by the government in 1987, including the restoration of direct presidential elections.

In 1987, Roh Tae-woo, a former general, was elected president, but additional democratic advances during his tenure resulted in the 1992 election of a long-time pro-democracy activist, Kim Young-sam. Kim became Korea's first civilian elected president in 32 years. The 1997 presidential election and peaceful transition of power marked another step forward in Korea's democratization when Kim Dae-jung, a life-long democracy and human rights activist, was elected from a major opposition party. The transition to an open, democratic system was further consolidated in 2002, when self-educated human rights lawyer, Roh Moo-hyun, won the presidential election on a “participatory government” platform.


The Republic of Korea (commonly known as “South Korea”) is a republic with powers nominally shared among the presidency, the legislature, and the judiciary, but traditionally dominated by the president. The president is chief of state and is elected for a single term of 5 years. The 299 members of the unicameral National Assembly are elected to 4-year terms—243 members are from single-seat districts and 56 members are chosen by proportional representation. South Korea's judicial system comprises a Supreme Court, appellate courts, and a Constitutional Court. The judiciary is independent under the constitution. The country has nine provinces and seven administratively separate cities—the capital of Seoul, along with Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Incheon and Ulsan. Political parties include the Uri Party (Uri), Grand National Party (GNP), Democratic Labor Party (DLP), Democratic Party (DP), and People Centered Party (PCP). Suffrage is universal at age 19 (lowered from 20 in 2005).

In December 2002, President Roh Moo-hyun was elected to a single 5-year term of office. In the April 2004 elections, the ruling Uri Party won a slim but outright majority in the National Assembly. Because of the loss of seats in by-elections and as a result of convictions for election law violations, Uri no longer has a majority, but does retain a plurality of seats.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

The spellings of names of South Korean officials have been changed to reflect widely recognized spellings.

Pres.: ROH Moo-hyun

Prime Min.: HAN Duck-soo

Dep. Prime Min.: KIM Shin-il

Dep. Prime Min.: KIM Woo-sik

Dep. Prime Min.: KWON O-kyu

Min. of Agriculture & Forestry: PARK Hong-soo

Min. of Commerce, Industry, & Energy: KIM Young-ju

Min. of Construction & Transportation: LEE Yong-sup

Min. of Culture & Tourism: KIM Jong-min

Min. of Education & Human Resources: KIM Shin-il

Min. of Environment: LEE Chi-beom

Min. of Finance & Economy: KWON O-kyu

Min. of Foreign Affairs & Trade: SONG Min-soon

Min. of Gender Equality & Family: JANG Hajin

Min. of Govt. Admin. & Home Affairs: PARK Myung-jae

Min. of Govt. Legislation: NAM Ki-myoung

Min. of Govt. Policy & Coordination: CHO Young-taek

Min. of Health & Welfare: BYUN Jae-jin

Min. of Information & Communication: ROH Jun-hyong

Min. of Justice: KIM Sung-ho

Min. of Labor: LEE Sang-soo

Min. of Maritime & Fisheries: KANG Moo-hyun

Min. of National Defense: KIM Jang-soo

Min. of Planning & Budget: CHANG Byoung-wan

Min. of Science & Technology: KIM Woo-sik

Min. of Unification: LEE Jae-joung

Chmn., Board of Audit & Inspection: JEON Yun-churl

Chmn., Civil Service Commission: KWON Oh-ryong

Chmn., Korea Independent Commission Against Corruption: CHUNG Soung-jin

Head Commissioner, Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths: HAN Sang-bum

Chmn., Fair Trade Commission: KANG Chul-kyu

Chmn., Financial Supervisory Commission: YOON Jeung-hyun

Chmn., Korean Broadcasting Commission: NOH Sung-dai

Chmn., Presidential Committee on the Northeast Asian Cooperation Initiative: LEE Su-hoon

Pres., National Human Rights Commission: KIM Chang-kuk

Chief of Staff, Office of the Pres.: MOON Jae-in

Chief Sec. to the Pres. for National Policy, Office of the Pres.: BYEON Yang-kyoon

Chief Sec. to the Pres. for Unification, Foreign, & Security Policy, Office of the Pres.: BAEK Jong-chun

Dir., National Intelligence Service: KIM Man-bok

Governor, Bank of Korea: LEE Seong-tae

Ambassador to the US: LEE Tae-sik

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: CHOI Young-jin

Korea maintains an embassy in the United States at 2450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-939-5600). Consulates General are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Hagatna (Agana) in Guam.


The Republic of Korea's economic growth over the past 30 years has been spectacular. Per capita GNP, only $100 in 1963, exceeded $16,000 in 2005. South Korea is now the United States’ seventh-largest trading partner and is the 11th-largest economy in the world.

In the early 1960s, the government of Park Chung Hee instituted sweeping economic policy changes emphasizing exports and labor-intensive light industries, leading to rapid debt-financed industrial expansion. The government carried out a currency reform, strengthened financial institutions, and introduced flexible economic planning. In the 1970s Korea began directing fiscal and financial policies toward promoting heavy and chemical industries, consumer electronics, and automobiles. Manufacturing continued to grow rapidly in the 1980s and early 1990s.

In recent years, Korea's economy moved away from the centrally planned, government-directed investment model toward a more market-oriented one. Korea bounced back from the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis with some International Monetary Fund (IMF) assistance, but based largely on extensive financial reforms that restored stability to markets. These economic reforms, pushed by President Kim Dae-jung, helped Korea maintain one of Asia's few expanding economies, with growth rates of 10% in 1999 and 9% in 2000. The slowing global economy and falling exports slowed growth to 3.3% in 2001, prompting consumer stimulus measures that led to 7.0% growth in 2002. Consumer over-shopping and rising household debt, along with external factors, slowed growth to near 3% again in 2003. Economic performance in 2004 improved to 4.6% due to an increase in exports, and remained at or above 4% in 2005 and into 2006. Economists are concerned that South Korea's economic growth potential has fallen because of a rapidly aging population and structural problems that are becoming increasingly apparent. Foremost among these structural concerns is the rigidity of South Korea's labor regulations, the need for more constructive relations between management and workers, the country's underdeveloped financial markets, and a general lack of regulatory transparency. Restructuring of Korean conglomerates (“chaebols”) and creating a more liberalized economy with a mechanism for bankrupt firms to exit the market are also important unfinished reform tasks. Korean policy makers are increasingly worried about diversion of corporate investment to China and other lower wage countries.

North-South Economic Ties

North and South Korea have moved forward on a number of economic cooperation projects. The following projects are most prominent:

  • Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) Since the June 2003 groundbreaking, the KIC has grown to include a variety of South Korean companies operating in this North-South cooperation project. The R.O.K. envisages a substantial enlargement of participation in the project in the following years, although new investment was suspended following the North's testing of a nuclear device in October 2006.
  • Tourism: R.O.K.-organized tours to Mt. Kumgang in North Korea began in 1998. Since then, more than a million visitors have traveled to Mt. Kumgang.
  • Infrastructure Development: Although east and west coast rail-road and roads links have been reconnected across the DMZ, nei-ther rail link has been tested. The roads crossing the DMZ are used on a daily basis between South Korea and Mt. Kumgang, as well as to the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

Two-way trade between North and South Korea, legalized in 1988, hit almost $1.35 billion in 2006, up 27.8% from 2005. This total included a substantial quantity of non-trade goods provided to the North as aid (fertilizer, etc.) or as part of inter-Korean cooperative projects. According to R.O.K. figures, about 60% of the total trade consisted of commercial transactions, much of that based on processing-on-commission arrangements. The R.O.K. is North Korea's second-largest trading partner.


In August 1991, South Korea joined the United Nations along with North Korea and is active in most UN specialized agencies and many international forums. The Republic of Korea also hosted major international events such as the 1988 Summer Olympics, the 2002 World Cup Soccer Tournament (co-hosted with Japan), and the 2002 Second Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies.

Economic considerations have a high priority in Korean foreign policy. The R.O.K. seeks to build on its economic accomplishments to increase its regional and global role. It is a founding member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and chaired the organization in 2005.

The Republic of Korea maintains diplomatic relations with more than 170 countries and a broad network of trading relationships. The United States and Korea are allied by the 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty. Korea and Japan coordinate closely on numerous issues. This includes consultations with the United States on North Korea policy.

Korean Peninsula: Reunification and Recent Developments

For almost 20 years after the 1950-53 Korean War, relations between North and South Korea were minimal and very strained. Official contact did not occur until 1971, beginning with Red Cross contacts and family reunification projects in 1985. In the early 1990s, relations between the two countries improved with the 1991 South-North Basic Agreement, which acknowledged that reunification was the goal of both governments, and the 1992 Joint Declaration of Denuclearization. However, divergent positions on the process of reunification and North Korean weapons programs, compounded by South Korea's tumultuous domestic politics and the 1994 death of North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, contributed to a cycle of warming and cooling of relations.

Relations improved again following the 1997 election of Kim Dae-jung. His “Sunshine Policy” of engagement with the D.P.R.K. set the stage for the historic June 2000 inter-Korean summit between President Kim and North Korean leader Kim Jong II. President Kim was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for the policy, but the prize was somewhat tarnished by revelations of a $500 million dollar “payoff” to North Korea that immediately preceded the summit.

Relations again became tense following the October 2002 North Korean acknowledgement of a covert program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. Following this acknowledgement, the United States, along with the People's Republic of China, proposed multilateral talks among the concerned parties to deal with this issue. At the urging of China and its neighbors, the D.P.R.K. agreed to meet with China and the United States in April 2003. In August of that year, the D.P.R.K. agreed to attend Six-Party Talks aimed at ending the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons that added the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Russia to the table. Two more rounds of Six-Party Talks between the United States, the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, and the D.P.R.K. were held in February and June of 2004. At the third round, the United States put forward a comprehensive proposal aimed at completely, verifiably, and irreversibly eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons programs.

A fourth round of talks was held in two sessions spanning a period of 20 days between July and September 2005. All parties agreed to a Joint Statement of Principles on September 19, 2005, in which, among other things, the D.P.R.K. committed to “abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards.” The Joint Statement also committed the United States and other parties to certain actions as the D.P.R.K. denuclearized. The United States offered a security assurance, specifying that it had no nuclear weapons on R.O.K. territory and no intention to attack or invade the D.P.R.K. with nuclear or other weapons. Finally, the United States and D.P.R.K., as well as the D.P.R.K. and Japan, agreed to undertake steps to normalize relations, subject to their respective bilateral policies. On October 9, 2006, North Korea announced a successful nuclear test, verified by the United States on October 11. In response, the United Nations Security Council, citing Chapter VII of the UN Charter, unanimously adopted Resolution 1718, condemning North Korea's action and imposing sanctions on certain luxury goods and trade of military units, weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related parts, and technology transfers.

The Six-Party Talks resumed in December 2006 after a 13-month hiatus. Following a bilateral meeting between the United States and D.P.R.K. in Berlin in January 2007, another round of Six-Party Talks was held in February 2007. On February 13, 2007, the parties reached an agreement on “Initial Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement” in which North Korea agreed to shut down and seal its Yongbyon nuclear facility, including the reprocessing facility, and to invite back International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) personnel to conduct all necessary monitoring and verification of these actions. The other five parties agreed to provide emergency energy assistance to North Korea in the amount of 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the initial phase (within 60 days) and the equivalent of up to 950,000 tons of HFO in the next phase of North Korea's denuclearization. The six parties also established five working groups to form specific plans for implementing the Joint Statement in the following areas: denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, normalization of D.P.R.K.-U.S. relations, normalization of D.P.R.K.-Japan relations, economic and energy cooperation, and a Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism.

All parties agreed that the working groups would meet within 30 days of the agreement, which they did. The agreement also envisions the directly-related parties negotiating a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula at an appropriate separate forum. As part of the initial actions, North Korea invited IAEA Director General ElBaradei to Pyongyang in early March for preliminary discussions on the return of the IAEA to the D.P.R.K. The sixth round of Six-Party Talks took place on March 19-23, 2007. The parties reported on the first meetings of the five working groups. The talks recessed following the March round.

Under President Roh Moo-hyun, the R.O.K. has simultaneously sought the elimination of the D.P.R.K.'s nuclear weapons through the Six-Party Talks and pursued a policy of reconciliation known as the “Peace and Prosperity Policy.” By engaging with the D.P.R.K. through projects such as the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the R.O.K. hopes to invigorate the North Korean economy and engineer a gradual, long-term unification process.


The United States believes that the question of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula is, first and foremost, a matter for the Korean people to decide.

Under the 1953 U.S.-R.O.K. Mutual Defense Treaty, the United States agreed to help the Republic of Korea defend itself against external aggression. Since that time in support of this commitment, the United States has maintained military personnel in Korea, including the Army's Second Infantry Division and several Air Force tactical squadrons. To coordinate operations between these units and the over 680,000-strong Korean armed forces, a Combined Forces Command (CFC) was established in 1978. The head of the CFC also serves as Commander of the United Nations Command (UNC) and U.S. Forces Korea (USFK). The current commander is General Burwell Baxter “B.B.” Bell.

Several aspects of the security relationship are changing as the U.S. moves from a leading to a supporting role. In 2004, agreement was reached on the return of the Yongsan base in Seoul—as well as a number of other U.S. bases—to the R.O.K. and the eventual relocation of all U.S. forces to south of the Han River. In addition, the U.S. and R.O.K. agreed to move 12,500 of the 37,500 U.S. troops out of Korea by 2008. At the same time U.S. troops are being redeployed from Korea, the U.S. will bolster combined U.S./R.O.K. deterrent and defense capabilities by providing $11 billion in force enhancements in Korea and at regional facilities over the next four years.

As Korea's economy has developed, trade has become an increasingly important aspect of the U.S.-R.O.K. relationship. The U.S. seeks to improve access to Korea's expanding market and increase investment opportunities for American business. The implementation of structural reforms contained in the IMF's 1998 program for Korea improved access to the Korean market, although a range of serious sectoral and structural barriers remained. Korean leaders appear determined to successfully manage the complex economic relationship with the United States and take a more active role in international economic fora as befits Korea's status as a major trading nation. On April 1, 2007, the U.S. and Korea successfully concluded Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. Eight rounds of formal talks held over the course of 10 months culminated in a deal that will “further enhance the strong United States-Korea partnership, which has served as a force for stability and prosperity in Asia,” as stated by President Bush. The agreement was signed by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong on June 30, 2007. If approved by the U.S. Congress and the Korean National Assembly, the FTA is expected to stimulate billions of dollars in trade through the removal of trade barriers and increased investment.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

SEOUL (E) 32 Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-710 Korea, APO/FPO U.S. Embassy Seoul, Unit 15550, APO, AP 96205-5550, (82-2) 397-4114, Fax (82) (2) 738-8845, Workweek: 8:30 AM-17:00 PM, Website: http://seoul.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Sara A. Sorensen
AMB OMS:Karen Pennington
DHS/CIS:Jose R. Olivares
DHS/ICE:Barry Tang
DPO/PAO:Patrick J. Linehan
ECO:Andrew J. Quinn
FCS:John Fogarasi
FM:Thomas G. Martyn
HRO:Jill E. Perry
MGT:Robert E. Davis
AMB:Alexander R. Vershbow
CG:Julia R. Stanley
DCM:William A. Stanton

Patrick J. Linehan
GSO:Daniel F. Romano
RSO:Pasquale Capriglione
AFSA:David Moyer
AGR:Lloyd S. Harbert
APHIS:George A. Ball
ATO:Stanley S. Phillips
CLO:Thelma C. Jenks
DAO:Kip A. McCormick
DEA:Tro A. Derb
EEO:Michael McKeown
EST:Milton L. Charlton
FAA:Joseph Tymczyszyn
FMO:Sau Ching Yip
ICASS:Chair Troy A. Derby
IMO:Wade A. Taylor
IPO:James A. Harrison
IRS:Stanley Beesley
ISO:Wade A. Taylor
LAB:Am Conrad
LEGATT:J. Sung Maeng
POL:Joseph Y. Yun

Additional Resources

The following general country guides are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402:

  • Library of Congress. North Korea: A Country Study. 1994.
  • Library of Congress. South Korea: A Country Study. 1992.
  • Department of State. The Record on Korean Unification 1943-1960. 1961.
  • Department of the Army. Communist North Korea: A Bibliographic Survey. 1971.

Internet Resources on North and South Korea

The following sites are provided to give an indication of Internet sites on Korea. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications, including Internet sites.


Consular Information Sheet

October 23, 2007

Country Description: The Republic of Korea (South Korea or ROK) is a highly developed, stable, democratic republic with powers shared between the president and the legislature. It has a modern economy, and tourist facilities are widely available. English is often not spoken outside the main tourist and business centers.

The Korea National Tourism Organization (KNTO) can be reached from American and Canada by calling 1-800-868-7567 and has a useful website in English at http://www.tour2korea.com. The KNTO also operates a telephone information service in the Republic of Korea, which traveling or resident Americans in Korea can reach by calling 1330 (02-1330 from cell phones) anywhere in the country. The telephone service has English speakers and is available 24 hours every day throughout the year. The Seoul Help Center (SHC) assists foreigners with an English-speaking help line at (02) 731-6800 or 731-6802. The SHC is located in the Seoul City Hall and is open from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2:30 -5:30 p.m.

Entry Requirements: A passport is required. U.S. passport holders may enter the Republic of Korea without a visa for a stay of up to 30 days for tourism or transit to another country. When staying for more than 30 days or for any purpose other than tourism or transit, the U.S. passport holder must obtain a visa prior to entry. Generally, individuals staying in Korea for longer than 90 days must apply for an Alien Registration Card. Individuals who plan to stay longer than the period authorized must apply to Korean Immigration for an extension in advance. Individuals who stay in Korea longer than the period authorized by Korean Immigration are subject to fines and may be required to pay the fines before departing the country. Changes of status from one type of visa to another (from tourism to teaching, for example) are normally not granted in the Republic of Korea and must be obtained at a Korean embassy or consulate after departing Korea.

Active-duty U.S. military personnel may enter the Republic of Korea under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with proper Department of Defense (DOD) identification and travel orders. Every civilian accompanying the force, including DOD civilian employees, invited contractors and family members, must have a valid passport to enter Korea and should obtain an A-3 SOFA visa prior to arrival in Korea. Active duty military personnel should obtain a tourist passport prior to leaving the U.S. to accommodate off-duty travel elsewhere in Asia. DOD travelers should consult the DOD Foreign Clearance Guide before leaving the U.S.

Exit permits are not required to leave Korea. However, if a parent requests through the Korean Immigration Office that a travel restriction be placed on a child, the child is likely to be prevented from departing Korea.

For the most current visa information,visit the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea at 2320 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 939-5660, or see the Korean Embassy website at http://www.kore-aembassyusa.org. Republic of Korea Consulates are also located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Guam, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a web site directory of all Korean diplomatic missions worldwide at http://www.mofat.go.kr/me/me/index.html; at the bottom of the page is a pull-down menu of Korean overseas missions.

Safety and Security: In recent years, the U.S. Embassy and U.S. military installations throughout the Republic of Korea have taken steps to increase security at all facilities. The participation of Korean troops as part of the coalition in Iraq raises the potential for violent actions against Korean and U.S. Government facilities and personnel in Korea. U.S. citizens in the Republic of Korea should review their own personal security practices, be alert to any unusual activity around their homes or businesses, and report any significant incidents to local police (tel: 112; from a cell phone: 02-112).

Demonstrations occur frequently, with participants protesting either for or against the presence of U.S. military forces in Korea, U.S. military base relocations in Korea, labor accords, discussions regarding the Free Trade Agreement between Korea and the United States, the war in Iraq, and the Republic of Korea's decision to maintain troops in Iraq. While political, labor, and student demonstrations and marches have on occasion become confrontational and/ or violent, the majority of these demonstrations were not violent in nature.

Nevertheless, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid areas of demonstrations if possible and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.

American citizens and their families, especially young adults, are advised to exercise prudence and caution when visiting the Hongdae and Sin-chon areas of Seoul. These areas, where many night clubs are located, have occasionally been the sites of bar or street fights and harassment involving Westerners.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll-line at 202-501-4444.

Crime: Although the crime rate in the Republic of Korea is low, there is a higher incidence of pick-pocketing, purse snatching, assault, hotel room and residential burglary, and residential crime in major metropolitan areas, such as Seoul and Busan, than elsewhere in Korea. U.S. citizens are more likely to be targeted in known tourist areas, such as Itaewon (near the U.S. Army Garrison in the Yong-san area) and large market areas downtown. Incidents of rape have been reported in popular nightlife districts in Seoul, as well as in the victims’ residences.

Travelers should exercise caution when traveling alone at night and should use only legitimate taxis or public transportation. Travelers may reduce the likelihood of encountering incidents of crime by exercising the same type of security precautions they would take when visiting any large city in the United States.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/ or fines. More information on this serious problem is available at http://www.cybercrime.gov/18usc2320.htm and at http://www.ustr.gov.

Information for Victims of Crime: The emergency number to reach the police anywhere in the Republic of Korea is 112 (02-112 from a cell phone). Foreigners who do not speak Korean can be connected to an English-speaking interpreter on a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week basis.

If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. The Embassy staff can assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and to get funds transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and provide a list of attorneys, if needed.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Hospitals in Korea are generally well-equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. High quality general and specialty dental care is available in Seoul. Western-style medical facilities are available in major urban areas of Seoul, Busan, Daegu, and a few other large cities. However, not all doctors and staff in these major urban areas are proficient in English. Most clinics in rural areas do not have an English-speaking doctor. A list of hospitals and medical specialists who speak English is available at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul or on the Embassy's web site at http://korea.usembassy.gov/health.html.

Pharmacies are first-rate and most prescribed medications, except psychotropic medications, can be obtained with a prescription. Travelers taking any psychotropic or controlled medications should bring a sufficient supply as well as a copy of the prescription for Korean customs clearance at the airport.

Korean ambulances do not carry sophisticated medical equipment and the ambulance personnel do not have the same level of emergency medical training as in the United States. However, ambulances operated by the fire department (dial 119) will respond very quickly and take patients to the nearest hospital. For medical evacuation to points outside Korea, SOS International is located in Seoul (tel: 02-3140-1902, web site: www.internationalsos.com.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith

Medical Insurance: Korean hospitals generally do not accept foreign medical insurance and expect advance payment for services in the form of cash or credit cards from foreigners. The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: The Republic of Korea's roads are well paved, traffic lights are functional, and most drivers comply with basic traffic laws. However, Korea has a significantly higher traffic fatality rate than does the United States. Causes of accidents include excessive speed, frequent lane changes, running of red lights, aggressive bus drivers, and weaving motorcyclists. Pedestrians should be aware that motorcyclists sometimes drive on the sidewalks and drivers of all types of vehicles do not always yield to pedestrians in marked cross-walks. It is safer to use pedestrian underpasses and overpasses where available.

Traffic laws in the Republic of Korea differ from traffic laws in the United States in some respects. Left-hand turns are generally prohibited except where a green arrow indicates other-wise. Drivers may turn right on a red light after coming to a complete stop. Seat belts are mandatory. Children riding in the front seat of vehicles must wear a seat belt or use an appropriate child car seat. Passengers on motorcycles must wear protective helmets. An international driving permit issued in the U.S. by the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) is required of short-term visitors who drive in Korea. Otherwise, drivers must have a Korean driver's license.

In all accidents involving an automobile and a pedestrian or motorcycle, the driver of the automobile, regardless of citizenship, is presumed to be at fault. Police investigations of traffic accidents usually involve long waits at police stations. Police may request to hold the passport of a foreigner involved in a traffic accident if there is any personal injury or a dispute about the cause of the accident. Criminal charges and heavy penalties are common in accidents involving injury, even if negligence is not proven.

Persons arrested in accidents involving serious injury or death may be detained until the conclusion of the police investigation and legal process. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense. Drivers in the Republic of Korea may wish to carry a disposable camera to document any traffic accidents, even minor ones.

For specific information concerning Korean driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Korea National Tourism Organization office in Fort Lee, N.J., (telephone 1-800-868-7567) or check http://www.tour2korea.com.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of the Republic of Korea's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the Republic of Korea's air carrier operations. For more information, visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Dual Nationality: The Government of the Republic of Korea does not recognize dual citizenship. An individual is a citizen of the Republic of Korea if his or her name appears on the Korean Family Census Register. The Korean Government requires persons with a claim to dual citizenship to choose or reject Korean nationality by December 31 of the year the individual turns 21 years old.A person's name is not automatically removed from the Korean Family Census Register simply because he or she is an American citizen.

It is the obligation of an American citizen to inform the Korean government of his or her American citizenship for the purposes of removing his or her name from the Korean Family Census Register. Any male whose name appears on the Korean Family Census Register must fulfill his two-year military obligation unless he has surrendered his Korean nationality before March 30 of the year he turns 18 years old. An American male in this situation must notify Korean authorities of his parents’ immigration status, renounce his Korean citizenship, and remove his name from the Korean Family Census Register. If an American male fails to remove his name from the Korean Family Census Register, Korean authorities may require that he serve in the Korean military if he lives in Korea or visits Korea during conscription age (18 to 35 years of age).

Under a law that went into effect on May 26, 2005, men who have dual citizenship may be required to serve in the military before they can give up their Korean citizenship. Women are not required to serve in the military.

The new law affects American men of Korean descent in different ways.

  • A Korean male born in Korea who emigrates to the U.S. and becomes a naturalized American citizen loses his Korean citizenship and therefore has no military obligations in Korea.
  • A male who was born in the U.S. whose Korean parents were U.S. citizens at the time of his birth does not have Korean military obligations.
  • A male who was born in the U.S. whose name is on the Korean Family Census Register and whose parents were not American citizens at the time of his birth but immigrated to and live in the U.S. is not obligated to serve in the Korean military if he renounces his Korean citizenship prior to March 30 of the year he turns 18 years of age.
  • A male who was born in the U.S. and is on the Korean Family Census Register, whose Korean citizen parents lived only temporarily outside Korea, may not renounce his Korean citizenship until he completes his service in the Korean military.
  • A U.S. citizen male who was born in and lives in Korea and is on the Korean Family Census Register may not renounce his Korean citizenship until he serves in the Korean military.

After fulfilling his military service, a dual national has two years to choose his nationality before he loses his Korean citizenship.

There have been several instances in which young American men of Korean descent—who were born in and lived all of their lives in the United States—arrived in Korea as tourists only to be drafted into the Republic of Korea army. At least two of these cases involved individuals whose names had been recorded on the Korean Family Census Register without their knowledge.

U.S. military members should contact the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Legal Office prior to making plans to travel to Korea, whether for official or personal purposes. Direct contact is Mr. Hyun S. Kim, DSN (315) 738-7175, commercial (82-2) 7918-7175, e-mail [email protected].

Customs Regulations: Persons traveling to/from Korea or transiting Korea to/from other countries should be aware that the Republic of Korea's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning the temporary importation into or export from Korea of items such as firearms, ammunition, explosives, narcotics and prescription drugs, non-prescription health supplements, radio equipment, and gold, as well as books, other printed material, and videos or audio recordings that might be considered subversive to national security, obscene, or in any way harmful to the public interest and cultural property.

Furthermore, the Republic of Korea has customs laws and regulations to prevent the spread of livestock diseases, such as hoof-and-mouth disease, avian influenza, etc. The following products must be declared to Korean customs officials upon arrival: live animals, such as dogs, cats, pet birds, etc.; animal products, such as antlers, bone, blood meal, etc.; beef, pork, mutton, chicken meat and processed meat products, such as sausages, ham, meat jerky, boiled meat, canned products, boiled eggs, etc.; processed dairy products, such as milk, cheese, butter, etc.; processed egg products, such as egg, egg white, egg powder, etc. For further inquires, please send an email to nvrqs@ nvrqs.go.kr.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection lists items whose entry into the Unites States is prohibited or restricted at http://www.cbp.gov. For additional information please see the section above on Crime.

Passport Seizures, Exit Bans, And Commercial Disputes: The Government of the Republic of Korea sometimes seizes the passports and blocks departure from Korea of foreigners involved in commercial disputes. While the U.S. Government may reissue a passport to a U.S. citizen who applies for one in such circumstances, the Korean exit ban remains in effect, thereby preventing departure.

Working In The Republic Of Korea: Americans going to the Republic of Korea to teach, model, or work for a company (part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid) must enter Korea using the appropriate work visa. Changes of status from any other visa status to a work visa are not granted within the country. Any foreigner who begins work without the appropriate visa is subject to arrest, costly fines, and deportation. Persons working without a valid work permit and who have a contractual dispute with their employers have little or no entitlement to legal recourse under Korean law.

Teaching English: The U.S. Embassy in Seoul receives many complaints from U.S. citizens who enter the Republic of Korea to teach English at private language schools (“hagwons”). The most frequent complaints are that the schools and/or employment agencies misrepresent salaries, working conditions, living arrangements and other benefits, including health insurance, even in the written contracts. There have also been some complaints of physical assault, threats of arrest/deportation, and sexual harassment. Some U.S.-based employment agencies have been known to misrepresent contract terms, employment conditions, or the need for an appropriate work visa. Since the Spring of 2005, Korean police have investigated a number of foreign teachers for document fraud. Several Americans have been arrested and charged with possession of fraudulent university diplomas that were used to obtain employment in Korea.

Disaster Preparedness: Legally, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea—the DPRK) and the Republic of Korea remain in a state of war. Peace has been maintained on the Korean peninsula under an armistice for more than 50 years. In the last few years, political, economic, and social contacts between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea have increased significantly. However, the possibility of military hostilities that could necessitate the evacuation of U.S. citizens from the Republic of Korea cannot be excluded.

The U.S. Government has developed a Non-combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) plan for the evacuation of U.S. citizens from Korea in an emergency. A guide for U.S. citizens about the NEO plan is available online at http://korea.usembassy.gov/emergency_evacuation.html, or at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.

The U.S. Government does not provide protective equipment to private American citizens in the Republic of Korea. As always, U.S. citizens should review their own personal security practices and make their own decisions with regard to those precautions that they might take to avoid danger. Those who may wish to acquire protective equipment for personal use should contact commercial vendors who may be able to provide such equipment.

If the Department of State becomes aware of any specific and credible threat to the safety and security of U.S. citizens, that information will be provided to the American public at large. During the monsoon season (June-August) and the typhoon (hurricane) season (May-November), there may be heavy rains and flooding in Korea. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Persons violating Korean laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the Republic of Korea are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. American citizens in Korea have been arrested for past use of illegal drugs based on urine tests, hair samples, or other tests. Korean authorities frequently arrest Americans on drug charges by scanning suspicious packages sent through the mail system and by using information provided by other persons charged with drug possession or use.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living in or visiting the Republic of Korea are encouraged to register through the State Department's travel registration web site and obtain updated information on travel and security within the Republic of Korea. American citizens may also sign up for warden messages and monthly newsletters by providing their email address at http://seoul.usembassy.gov.

The U.S. Embassy street address is 32 Sejong-no, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 110-710. The APO address is Unit 15550, APO AP 96205-5550. Telephone (82-2) 397-4114 (from a cell phone in Korea: 02-397-4114); fax (82-2) 397-4101. Please visit the U.S. Embassy Seoul's consular web site at http://seoul.usembassy.gov.

International Adoption

August 2006

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: South Korea's special adoption law No. 2977, Section 9 (A), requires the use of an adoption agency for overseas adoption of Korean orphans, and Section 10 (A) provides that such agencies must be authorized by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The government office responsible for adoptions in South Korea is the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The address is as follows:

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

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: South Korean authorities have advised the U.S. Embassy in Seoul of the following criteria for selecting adoptive parents. These criteria have been established by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. They are administrative policy guidelines and not legal requirements, but local adoption agencies can be expected to follow them:

  • The adoptive parents must be eligible to adopt under the laws of their country or state of residence.
  • Single parents are not eligible.
  • The couple should be married for at least three years and be between the ages of 25 and 44. Korean authorities usually require that both adoptive parents in overseas adoptions be younger than 45 years old; however, they may make exceptions in some cases. The following three factors, while unofficial and applied differently from case to case, may be considered when making exceptions to the age limit: 1. At least one parent is under 45; 2. The adoptive parents have previously adopted a Korean orphan; 3. The parents are willing to adopt an orphan with serious medical problems.
  • The adoptive couple should have no more than five children. This number includes the child or children to be adopted.
  • The couple should not have an age difference of more than 15 years.
  • The income of the adoptive couple should be higher than the national average of their country and sufficient to raise the child.

Residency Requirements: Parents living in US don’t need residency in Korea to adopt a child from Korea. They only need to contact one of US adoption agencies affiliated with Korean adoption agencies authorized by Korean government.

Time Frame: The period of time between when a couple begins pre-adoption processing and when the child arrives in the United States is anywhere between one and four years. This time frame includes the total timing for processing in the U.S. and in Korea. In the U.S., the adoptive parents should have an Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petiton (I-600A) filed and approved by the Department of Homeland Security. Following approval of the I-600A, processing time in Korea will be about 5 to 6 months.

Effective January 1, 2007, Korean law will require a five-month waiting period before an infant orphan can be considered for intercountry adoption. This new requirement, however, is not expected to lengthen adoptive parents’ overall waiting time.

Adoption Fees: According to the Korean Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and Korean adoption agencies, the total cost is between $9,500 and $10,000. This includes:

  • Child care fees (including payment for foster mother)
  • Medical expenses
  • Legal processing fees
  • Administrative fees
  • Social worker payment and counseling fees
  • Post adoption service fee

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: The Korean government requires prospective adoptive families to work with agencies that have been approved by the Korean government. Please review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family for a list of agencies.

Adoption Procedures: Korean adoption is always conducted through one of the aforementioned authorized adoption agencies. Accordingly, the first step for couples who wish to adopt a Korean child would be to contact the adoption agency.

The procedure with the adoption agency is generally the following:

  • Pre-adoption counseling
  • Submission of application for adoption
  • A home study
  • Child assignment
  • Application for child's overseas adoption to the Korean government
  • Applications for child's passport and visa
  • Fly to the adoptive parents

Documentary Requirements: Most of the documents required by the Korean government will be prepared by the adoption agencies. Adoption agencies will require from the would-be parents the following documents:

  • Home study report
  • Affidavit of support (Form 1-864)
  • Adoptive parents’ birth certificates
  • Notice of petition approval (Form I-797)

Embassy of Korea
Consular Section
2450 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-939-5600
Web address:http://www.koreaemb.org

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.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adopting parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy
32 Sejong-Ro, Jongno-gu Seoul, Korea
Tel: 011-82-2-397-4114
Fax: 011-82-2-738-8845
Web: http://usembassy.state.gov/seoul
Mailing Address
U.S. Embassy Unit
APO AP 96205-5550

Doctors: In addition to the designated panel physicians who must be consulted as part of the U.S. immigrant visa process, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul maintains current lists of doctors and sources for medicines, should either a prospective parent or prospective adoptive child experience health problems while in Korea.

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in South Korea may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. General questions regarding international adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.