Korea Adoption Factsheet

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DISCLAIMER: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

PLEASE NOTE: The Republic of Korea’s special adoption law No. 2977 Section 9 (A) requires the use of an adoption agency for overseas adoption of Korean orphans, and that section 10 (A) provides that such agencies must be authorized by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.

Prospective adoptive parents are advised to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services. For U.S. based agencies, it is suggested that prospective adoptive parents contact the Better Business Bureau and licensing office of the Department of Health and Family Services in the state where the agency is located.

GENERAL: The following is a guide for U.S. citizens who are interested in adopting a child in Korea and applying for an immigrant visa for the child to come to the United States. This process involves complex South Korean and U.S. legal requirements. U.S. consular officers give each petition careful consideration on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the legal requirements of both countries have been met, for the protection of the prospective adoptive parent(s), the biological parents(s) and the child. Interested U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to contact U.S. consular officials in Seoul before formalizing an adoption agreement to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed which will make it possible for the Embassy (Consulate) to issue a U.S. immigrant visa for the child.

AVAILABILITY OF CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION: Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans:

FY-1996: IR-3 immigrant visas issued to Korean orphans adopted abroad - 16
IR-4 immigrant visas issued to Korean orphans adopted in the U.S. - 1,500
FY-1997: IR-3 visas - 17, IR-4 visas - 1,640
FY-1998: IR-3 visas - 19, IR-4 visas - 1,810
FY-1999: IR-3 visas - 11, IR-4 visas - 1,996
FY-2000: IR-3 visas - 10, IR-4 visas - 1,787

KOREA ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The government office responsible for adoptions in South Korea is the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Credits: U.S. Department of State

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