So you’re getting married in Korea!

Frisch getraut

You bought the ring, you popped the question, you asked the parents and they told you that Aunt Bertha would be happy to sing at the event.  Everything is going as it should – well except for that Aunt Bertha thing.  As you happily stroll down the path, patting yourself on the back for being so organized your soon to be spouse smiles up at you and says “So this is going to be a fantastic party but do we have to do something to make this legal?”  Legal?  Oh man.  You hadn’t thought of that.  You were so focused on the party you forgot that marriage is actually a legal contract.  It’s not really a marriage if it’s not legally registered with the state.

So now you’re in a panic… how do I make this legal!  You try to think fast. You would ask your friend, cousin, aunt or sibling but they all got married back in the states and you’re fairly certain that as an American in a foreign country the process is probably going to be different.  Fortunately for you the American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy has some information for you.

The first thing you should know is that the United States is a bit different than many other countries.  Most countries, Korea included, have a central registry for vital documents like births and marriages.  These centralized registries maintain all sorts of vital statistics about the citizens of that country.  In Korea for example, information about when a person was married or when a child was born is all maintained by the ward offices.  In the United States the Federal Government does not maintain records of these vital statistics.  Maintenance of these records is the responsibility of the individual states and territories that make up the USA.  So in the United States if you want to get married in Virginia you need to get a marriage license from the state of Virginia and after you’re married you need to register your marriage with the state of Virginia. If in the future you want a copy of your marriage certificate you’ll need to request a certified copy from the State of Virginia.  The Federal Government does not have this information.

The second thing you need to know is that most countries in the world, the United States and Korea included, give full faith and credit to each other’s vital records documents.  So… if you get married in Korea you are married in Korea, the United States, Greece, and just about everywhere else.  Once you’re married, you’re married…. Everywhere (or most places)!  As I regularly reminded my husband after our wedding in Greece, once we filed the official registration we were married everywhere and forever!  No escape!
So keeping the above in mind, what do you need to do to get married in Korea?  Because you’re a U.S. citizen you’ll need to come to either the U.S. Embassy or your U.S. military legal office (if you work for U.S. Forces Korea) and obtain an affidavit of eligibility to marry.  The Korean ward office (guchung) requires this document of U.S. citizens because we have no federal marriage registry in the United States.  If you were a Korean citizen the ward office would just look up in their central database and verify that you have never been married before.  Since no such database exists in the U.S., the Korean government accepts a notarized statement from you swearing to the fact that you’re not currently married.  If you’ve been married before you’ll need to bring proof that your previous marriage has been terminated, which usually means presenting a certified copy of your divorce decree(s) so we can see that you’re indeed eligible to get married.
Once you have the affidavit of eligibility to marry you’ll need to go to a Korean ward office and get married.   The ward office will hand you a document in Korean – this document is your official Marriage Certificate(Verification of Registration of Marriage).  CONGRATULATIONS!!!  You’re now married.  In Korea, in the US, everywhere!!!   That’s all there is to it.  Nothing more required for your legal marriage.

The “Verification of Registration of Marriage ” document will be in Korean. If you need to have the “Verification of Registration of Marriage” document translated into English and notarized, please note that the Embassy cannot provide this service. The Korean Government will apostille marriage documents at their MOFAT Annex located near the Embassy.

Please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Republic of Korea directly for more information on Apostille.

So that’s it. You are married and you have the paperwork you need.  See… getting “legally” married in Korea as a foreigner wasn’t that difficult!  Now you can relax and enjoy that happy newly married glow…. Well at least until you forget the date of your anniversary!

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152 responses to “So you’re getting married in Korea!

  1. This is a huge help. What is the difference though between a Verification of Registration of Marriage and a Korean Marriage Certificate? One is given to foreiners and one is given if one of the spouses is Korean. Is the Verification of Registration recognized as a legal wedding certificate by the military?

    • A. Thank you for your inquiry. Korea has a central registration system of vital records such as birth, marriage and death for Korean citizens. A Korean Marriage Relationship Certificate is issued to Korean citizens to prove their marital status. For non-Korean citizens, a Certificate of Verification of Marriage is issued to certify the marriage has been registered with the Korean authorities. These documents are official Korean marriage certificates and would generally be acknowledged. Whether the document would be acknowledged by the military should be determined with military officials. If you are on active military duty, we suggest you contact the army legal office about your inquiry.

  2. im planning to get married to Korean bf this coming month of Nov here in Philippines,what are the documents needed by my bf in order to marry me here in philippines and if happen.is this marriage is also became legal there in Korea?or do we need to get married again in korea in order to legal our marriage anywhere.?
    And after our marriage can i go with him also in korea when he come back in korea.Please help me coz im a little bit confuse and insecure in securing marriage to my korean bf.im afraid but i really love him,so pls help me.
    Thanks in advance and i wish i could here from u soon.

    Respectfully yours,
    Elaine S.Villasenor

  3. Hi, is it possible to translate the Korean Marriage Certificate on our own? Or is it mandatory to have it translated from a service provided by the embassy?

    Regards,
    John

    • Hello John-

      Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, you may translate the Korean Marriage Certificate yourself, although an official translation is preferable. Please note that the Embassy is unable to provide translation services.

      Regards,
      U.S. Embassy Seoul
      Consular Information Unit

  4. Thank you for your help I heard somewhere that US Embassy Seoul doesn’t do notarizing Korean Marriage Certificate anymore (SuriJeungmyeongseo) from June 2012. is that correct? Also I would like to apply a marriage certificate and marriage license in USA also. Can I still do that after the marriage in Korea? (I got married in Korea applied CR-1 Visa but haven’t gotten married yet in USA) . The reason why I want to get a marriage certificate and marriage license in USA is to change my maiden name to my husband’s and have document ready to apply I-751 after two years.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. After Jan 1, 2011, Korean ward offices stopped issuing the marriage certificates, and started issuing the Verification of Registration of Marriage (수리증명서: Soo-ri-jeung-myong-seo) in Korean.
      Therefore, we provide no longer any notarial services on verification of registration of marriage, although our office assists with notarizing affidavits of eligibility to marry.
      For information of name change for immigration, U.S citizenship, or general questions about USCIS processes, please contact USCIS directly at 02-397–4548 or 02-397-4282, or visit website at http://www.uscis.gov. If you are writing us from within the United States you may also contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.
      In general, marriages which are legally performed and valid abroad are also legally valid in the United States. Inquiries regarding the validity of a marriage abroad should be directed to the attorney general of the state in the United States where the parties to the marriage live. For further information, please visit the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov/law/family_issues/marriage/marriage_589.html.

  5. Hello,
    I have been trying to find the list of the registered translation services on the U.S. embassy’s website, but I cannot seem to find it even after searching for it. Would you mind posting a link on here that would direct me to that list? Thanks so much!

  6. When you get married in Korea, do you need any witnesses?

    • Thank you for your inquiry. You do not have to bring any witnesses to the Embassy to get a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage.

      You will be required to bring the notarized copy of the Affidavit of Eligibility of Marriage along with other documents required by Korean government to your local district office (called Gu Cheong in Korean) to report and register your marriage. There you can obtain several forms in Korean, including the names and addresses of two individuals as “witnesses” to the marriage. In general, witnesses are not required to appear at the local district office. However, it may vary by local district office. Therefore, we suggest you to contact the local district office where you wish to report and register your marriage for the latest information.

  7. I am an American and my girlfriend is Thai. Is the process above valid(the same) if we want to get married here in Korea or is it different?

    • Thank you for your inquiry. The marriage registration process in Korea would basically be the same for all country nationals. However, if your fiancée is not a Korean or an American Citizen, she should contact her own Embassy for information on what is required to marry in Korea as the procedures followed by other embassies may differ. Please ensure you have fulfilled those requirements prior to going to the ward office. We hope this information is of assistance.

  8. Hello, I’m a US citizen and my fiance is a UK citizen. We’ve both received our notarized Affidavit of Eligibility from our respective Embassies. Do these need to be translated to Korean before we can visit our local Gu Cheong for the Certificate of Verification of Marriage? I’ve heard from some foreigners that they just informally translated it themselves and some Koreans insist that it must be from a formal institution (ie law office).

  9. Kellie McCormick

    Hello, I am a U.S. citizen and my boyfriend is a citizen of South Korea, also having a second wedding in the U.S. We was planning on getting married in Korea, but we was a little confused of all the proper documents needed to get married in Korea. (your article was very helpful, in giving us some the information that we was concerned about, so thank you for the information.) But I still have a few questions about “After Marriage”.#1 When our marriage in completed and we wanted to live in South Korea, what documents would I need to Work in Korea? #1 Would I be considered as a citizen of Korea after my marriage to my Boyfriend? Or is the other documents, (example: applying for a Visa) I must require before I am able to work. #3 Also, my boyfriend has family that lives in the U.S. and we have also talked about living in Korea for awhile, and maybe in the future move to the U.S., What would we need to do and what documents must we fill out when we return to the U.S.? #4 Would my new husband be considered as an Citizen of the U.S., or would he need to apply for a Visa also?
    Sorry for the many questions, but we really want this… and we want to make sure we do everything properly. Thank you so much for your help and your time..

    • Thank you for your inquiry. Please note that the U.S. Embassy has no authority over matters related to Korean visas that allow non-Koreans to work and live in Korea. As a foreign spouse of a Korean national, he/she needs to obtain the appropriate visa to stay in Korea. If you are in the U.S., you may wish to consult with the Korean Embassy in the U.S. at http://usa.mofat.go.kr/english/am/usa/main/index.jsp. If you are in Korea, you will need to contact the Korean Immigration Authority in Seoul at http://www.immigration.go.kr or by telephone at (02)1345.

      Marriage to a U.S. citizen does not automatically confer permanent resident or citizenship status on the Korean spouse and vice versa. To obtain U.S. permanent resident status for a foreign spouse, the U.S. spouse must file an immigrant visa petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and start an immigrant visa application for the foreign spouse to be able to live in the U.S. For more information on U.S. immigrant visa, please refer to our website at http://seoul.usembassy.gov/visas.html

      We hope this information is helpful to you and congratulations on your marriage!

  10. i am us citizen and getting married to korean. and i am going to live in korea. i understand how to file for the marriage ceritifcate in korea but im confused about if i have to chnage status(also the madien name)on citizenship single to married. do i have to go to US and change it? what do i need to do?

    • Thank you for your inquiry. After you are legally married, there is no need to report your marriage to the U.S. Embassy. The U.S. does not have a central marriage registry and the Embassy does not keep record of marriages performed in Korea. Your Korean Marriage Certificate is sufficient proof of your legal marriage.

      If you would wish to change your name to your married name on your U.S. passport, you may apply for a passport renewal with a proof of your marriage. If you request a name change on your passport within one year from the passport issuance date, you may receive a free replacement passport. Please check our website http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_ppt_card.html#name for detailed information.

      You may also choose to change your name on your Social Security Number Card. If your passport does not have the name change yet, you may need to change that first before you can get a new SSN card. As we are not the Social Security processing post, therefore, we suggest you contact the Regional Social Security Administration Office in Manila (FBU.Manila@ssa.gov) for more information on applying for a replacement card due to name change.

      We hope this information is helpful.

  11. Great article. It cleared up some questions that I had. Thank You!

    However, I am in a confusing situation and I don’t know if you are the right person to ask, but here it goes anyways. My wife and I got married in Korea in march 2012 before I left for the United States. She is currently finishing up school to become a nurse and we decided that it would be best if I went to the US and got ready for our new lives together. I have been in the US for about 9 months now, and she is about to finish her schooling and make her way to live with me.

    I was wondering what steps I needed to take to bring my wife over for good in the most safe and quick way possible. It’s confusing because people told me that the US does not accept a notarized Korean Marriage certificate, and that it would be faster to just get married in the US and file for adjustment of status. Others that I know actually went through the process of doing all the paperwork and waiting for a long period of time before actually receiving a VISA to go to the US.
    Would she be able to come to the US on a tourist visa, and use the notarized/translated marriage certificate to adjust status in the US, or would that be looked down upon?

    I’m not trying to take any shortcuts, however I am trying to find the best way and not spend any unnecessary time and money.

    I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. If your spouse plans to live in the U.S., she needs to apply for an immigrant visa. In order for her to do this, you have to first file a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on her behalf. The Korean marriage certificates issued by the Korean ward office are official Korean marriage certificates and would generally be acknowledged in the United States. However, to find out if USCIS accepts a notarized Korean Marriage Certificate, you need to check with the USCIS directly. Please refer to the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis for the procedures for the immigration petition for the spouse of a U.S. citizen including the contact information. Please note that an alien who attempts to enter the U.S. with a nonimmigrant tourist visa must be able to demonstrate that the nature of his/her visit to the U.S. is a short term visit and that they have a residence abroad which they do not intend to abandon. If the alien cannot demonstrate such a fact clearly, the alien may be subject to refusal of entry to the U.S., which may affect a later immigrant visa application.

      Regards,

      U.S. Embassy Seoul
      Consular Information Unit

  12. Thanks for the informative post.

    For the authentication step after receiving the Korean marriage certificate, do you need to make an appointment through the same method as the notarization of eligibility step? Is the process for authentication quick chat that it is taken care of during the visit or is there a processing time after which you must return?

    Thanks again.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. We used to provide authentication of translations from Korean to English, if performed by notaries registered with the Embassy, but we no longer provide this service. The Korean marriage certificates issued by the Korean ward office are official Korean marriage certificates and would generally be acknowledged in the United States. However, if you wish to have your Korean marriage certificate apostilled/authenticated, you need to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT), Republic of Korea.

      The contact details are;
      Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Annex I
      Korean Re-Insurance Bldg. 4th Floor Consular Service Section
      #80 Susongdong, Chongro-ku, Seoul, Korea
      Tel: 02-2100-7600

      Please note that an “apostille” is a form of authentication issued for documents that will be used in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961.

      Regards,

      U.S. Embassy Seoul
      Consular Information Unit

  13. I am a US citizen, I downloaded the “Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage (PDF-41.1KB) for for a U.S. citizen marrying a non-U.S. citizen” and went to the US embassy and had it notarized. My fiancé is from Pakistan and he had a similar form provided by his Embassy (this contained a place for both of our names and the US form does not provided by the US embassy). We had the papers translated and had all of the paperwork completed…or so we thought as of yesterday. We went to the local ward office to get married in Incheon. She made copies of everything at the office and said she had to call the American Embassy about my paperwork. She said it was not the right paperwork but couldn’t tell me anything else. I heard that some offices aren’t experienced with two foreigners getting married. This confuses me because I downloaded the form that said I was marrying a NON-US CITIZEN. Her English was not good, but I can’t go back to the US embassy for several weeks due to my teaching schedule. Please advise.

    AMG

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. We regret any difficulties you and your spouse may have experienced at the local ward office. As you are aware, the U.S. Embassy offers notary services for two different Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage forms (a U.S. citizen marrying to another U.S. citizen form and a U.S. citizen marrying a non-U.S. citizen form) so that U.S. citizens can report and register their marriage legally in Korea.

      If you downloaded the form of Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage for a U.S. citizen marrying a non-U.S. citizen from our Embassy website, you have the correct form, and we are unable to tell you why the staff at the wardoffice said it was not the right form. However, since a marriage in Korea is under the jurisdiction of the Korean government, we suggest that you check with the ward office again about it. You may also wish to check with the Seoul Global Center at http://global.seoul.go.kr regarding marriage procedures for foreign nationals in Korea. Meanwhile, if you could have the staff at the ward office call the U.S. Embassy, American Citizen Services at (02) 397-4040 (9:00am-11:15am, M-F, except U.S. and Korean holidays), we can explain our two Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage forms to the staff. We hope this information is helpful to you and your spouse.

  14. I am a U.S. citizen living in South Korea. I wish to marry a non-Korean woman living in South Korea. However, her Visa expired and as of now she does not have valid Visa status. If we report to a ‘ward’ to get married, would she be deported? Or, would she then be able to legally live with me in South Korea because we have married … ?

    • A)Thank you for your inquiry. Please be aware that the U.S. Embassy has no authority over matters related to Korean visas or stay in Korea. You should contact the Korean authorities directly for the information you require. Please refer to the Korean Immigration website at http://www.immigration.go.kr. They can be contacted at 1345 (no area code). Thank you

  15. I saw that the Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage form asks for a permanent address. I heard that this must be one in the country of nationality? I have been living out of the country for the past 8 years so I no longer have one. If this is true what can I do?

    • A)Thank you for your inquiry. A permanent address does not need to be an address in the United States. If you have no permanent address, you may use your local address as your permanent address.
      Thank you.

  16. Thanks for all your help! I’m just beginning the marriage process, however my situation is that I’m an American and am marrying a South Korean national, but we are both living in Shanghai, China. This is a reach, but do you know whether they can process us here, or if it would be more convenient to have this processed in Seoul? If it’s possible in China, is the process much different than that of Korea? Thank you.

    • A)Consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies; we can only assist U.S. citizens with the necessary paperwork. For example, we can notarize an Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage form, required for a legal marriage in Korea. The marriage in Korea actually takes place at a Korean Ward office, where a record is made on the family census register. For more information on marriage procedures in Korea, please refer to our website: http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_getting_married.html. You may also want to contact the Seoul Global Center at 82-2-2075-4180 for detailed guidance on the marriage procedures in Korea. For information regarding the marriage procedures and requirements in Shanghai, China, please contact the specific Chinese authorities in the city you wish to register your marriage.
      Thank you.

  17. hi i am an american citizen and i just got married last year Sept. to a non american citizen living here in Korea, i wanna ask about the paper we got when we got married from the ward office is on the VERIFICATION OF REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGE and we are trying to have our MARRIAGE REPORT/REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGE for her country but we don’t have the list of WITNESSES for we only got verification of marriage at the ward office. What can we do to get the names of the witnesses.?

    • A) Unfortunately, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul does not provide a list of witnesses, nor can we recommend any specific organization to provide such services. You may want to contact the embassy of your spouse’s country for questions related to that country’s marriage report/registration of marriage.
      Thank you.

  18. good morning,i am a Pilipina and got married to korean national last dec 14,2012 here in Barasoin church here in Philippines,i got my married license the National Statistic Office last Feb 25,2013.Right after my marriage my husband back to korea and told me to arrange all of my document so that i can also go to his place.We got legal capacity to get married last Oct 28 at the Korean Embassy.
    Is this marriage is legal not only here in Philippine but also in korean?When i need to get visa,do i need to change my previous philippines passport and to use my husband surname before going to korea.Is this marriage is legal also in korea?Pls help me!thanks in advance

  19. Just trying to clarify somethings.. Me and my fiance are US Citizens but we are Both living in Korea.. We’ve never been married before. Cut and Dry please tell me what we need to do to be legally married.

    From the article im getting “Just go to Embassy and get Affidavit” then on the other hand im seeing ” Get Affidavit from prospective embassy”

    Do we both just go to the embassy ? or do we need to get something from ur states saying we’ve never been married ?

    • Congratulations on your marriage! The best step-by-step guide that I know of for Americans getting married in Korea is here. To summarize, however, there are two steps to the process.

      1. Bring proof of U.S. citizenship, a photo ID, and a completed “Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage” to the U.S. embassy (follow the link above to see documentation requirements and print the Affidavit). The Embassy will review all of your documents and notarize your Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage. The fee for this notarization will be USD $50 for both you and your fiance. (No charge for active duty service members assigned to U.S. Forces, Korea).
      2. With your fiancé, take your documents along with the notarized Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage to your local ward office (Gu Cheong;구청) for approval by a Korean government official. The ward office will provide you with a “Verification of Registration of Marriage” (수리증명서, pronounced soo-ree jeung-myung-suh). When both of the marriage partners are U.S. citizens, they will receive this verification form right away.

      While this is not required, strictly speaking, I would recommend one more step. The “Verification of Registration of Marriage” document will be in Korean. If you need to have the “Verification of Registration of Marriage” document translated into English and notarized, please note that the Embassy cannot provide this service. The Korean Government will apostille marriage documents at their MOFAT Annex located near the Embassy for 1,000 KRW (price subject to change.) Again, follow the link above for more details.

  20. I am a US citizen living in Canada and will be getting married in Korea in a couple months. It would be convenient for me to go to the US consulate in Toronto to have the affidavit of eligibility for marriage signed there. However, if it is signed by the consulate in Toronto will it be recognized in Korea?

    Thank you very much!

    Rob

    • A)Thank you for your inquiry. Please note that U.S. embassies and consulates abroad may use different types of Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage form according to the laws of the host government in their consular jurisdiction. You may find an Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage form for U.S. citizens who wish to report marriage in Korea at http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_getting_married.html. The marriage in Korea actually takes place at a Korean local ward office, where a record is made on the family census register. Therefore, if you would like to submit the Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage form signed by the U.S. consulate in Toronto to the Korean local ward office, we suggest you contact the ward office where you plan to report your marriage directly to confirm whether they will recognize it or not as well as other required documents.
      Thank you

  21. My fianci is military we are getting married here in korea i am filipina and weve been together for 8months now we already have all the papers we just need some interview so far we are done with 2 interviews . I am curios if how long it takes to have an interview with the security officers and i know they need my background but i want to know how long it takes.

  22. Rob Macgregor

    Thank you for your answer. An additional complication is that altho I was married in the US, I got divorced in Canada. I have the official Divorce Certificate from Ontario; my question is, will this Canadian certificate suffice at the US Embassy for the purposes of obtaining an affidavit?

    Thanks again!

    • A)Thank you for your inquiry. In order to obtain an affidavit of eligibility for marriage, you must submit your final divorce decree. Based on the evidence provided during the interview, a consular officer will determine if your Canadian divorce certificate will suffice.
      Thank you.

  23. Hello, I am a US citizen currently staying here in South Korea as a tourist. I got married last April 2013 here in Seoul to a foreigner also. My wife has a D2 visa (student visa) here in South Korea and in order for me to be dependent to her visa is to get a “certificate” (from the US embassy after I report my marriage) required from the Korean Immigration I would like to inquire about where to report my marriage in South Korea as a US citizen so I can get the “certificate” required from the Korean Immigration? If I report my marriage at the US Embassy here in Seoul, can they provide me this required “certificate”? I just want to be sure where to go exactly to avoid hassles. Thank you so much for your time and hoping to hear from your reply soon.

  24. Good day,

    My wife and I are having a few issues as of late. I am an American and she is Korean, I have lived here in Korea for a total of 5 years and we have been married almost 2 years.

    We have a 1 year old son and another child on the way this fall, everything seems to be going good except for one issue. My visa process, we are trying to apply for an F6 visa with many obstacles.

    As when we first decided to get married, life was hectic and the wedding planning was the top priority so many things happened to stop us from focusing on important issues. I am the only parent working as my wife stays home with our child and as I said we are expecting a newborn later this year.

    Simply put my visa expires this Summer and I would like to obtain the F6 visa without any problems, I am new to this paperwork and procedures. My only true concern is my families safety and to provide for them. Now the story gets thicker as I have an A-3 visa, not really common here in Korea as I was employed by the Department Of Defense.
    Now I am working at a Hogwan and teaching English privately. But my main goal and job is marketing which I have been doing now in Korea for over 3 years. It is my own company, but my wife is the CEO.

    This is a stressful situation that I do not want to escalate as my wife should not be stressed while pregnant, so my question is how can I do this smoothly without any problems.? I know the Korean culture now, I respect the people and their positions so I know that anything is possible.

    I believe in my heart that with Gods guidance and your assistance that we can resolve this matter soon. I have not done anything against the law here in Korea, instead I have worked in the community trying to establish a brighter future for young men and women.

    If I have done anything to this great country which I consider my second home, as well as my sons and wife’s then I truly apologize. I am not begging for anything, I am simply stating the fact that I am needed here in Korea.

    For my wife, family, friends, church and all the souls that needs Gods love. I pray that as you read this that you have some advice that can put us in the right direction. Apologies for the long message, I just needed some help.

    Hopefully you understand me, and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Thank you!..
    Mark T.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. Please note that the U.S. Embassy has no jurisdiction over immigration and residence matters in Korea. We suggest you contact the Korean Immigration Office directly for assistance to ensure that you maintain legal status in Korea. They can be reached at http://seoul.immigration.go.kr or telephone 1345 (no area code). Alternatively, you may wish to contact the Seoul Global Center at 02-2075-4130/1 for assistance.

      Thank you.

  25. Good afternoon,
    I currently live in Korea on an E-2 visa. The contract I am currently under expires on March 1, 2014. My husband is from Pakistan (he was here on a business visa). We got married in December 2012. He extended his visa through a Korean lawyer to a G-1 visa before his business visa expired to avoid a penalty or deportation (as advised by a Korean lawyer). My husband went to Pakistan in March because Korean immigration told him he needed to go back to Pakistan to apply for a spouse visa, so this is what he did. After two months of waiting for this spousal visa, it was denied because Pakistan frowns on the G-1 visa (something my husband didn’t know). After a lot of poor guided advice, I am unsure what to do next as he is stuck in Pakistan and we wish to be together. We registered our marriage in Pakistan AND Korea. I am unable to find any advice on what to do next. We have been told to go to Malaysia or Bangkok because they are more lenient than Pakistan due to the G-1 visa issues. Does anyone have any advice? Does he need an American visa first? A Korean lawyer said no. I’m lost. Please advise.

    Thank you

    • Thank you for your inquiry. We are sorry to hear about the inconveniences you and your husband are experiencing. Unfortunately, the U.S. Embassy has no jurisdiction over Korean immigration matters, and we are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation. Questions involving interpretation of Korean immigration law should be addressed to legal counsel licensed to practice law in Korea. Additionally, we suggest you contact the Korean Embassy in Pakistan directly with specific questions related to your husband’s case or the Korean Immigration Office (http://seoul.immigration.go.kr or telephone 1345 (no area code)) in Korea for assistance.

      Sincerely,

  26. hello im Jenna.
    im an american and my husband is korean. We recieved a marriage certificate from ward office Gu Cheong. im wondering if i need to get a certificate of marriage in US too???
    if i do, what do i need to bring? what kind of paper documents are needed for us citizen and korean citizen?
    im going to live in Korea and have F4 visa.

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. Under the international legal principle of comity, marriages which are legally performed and valid abroad are generally also legally valid in the United States for both state and Federal purposes. If you need confirmation that your marriage will be recognized in your state, you may wish to consult the Attorney General of that state.
      Thank you.

  27. Good evening,
    My wife (Korean) was reading a blog saying that we should take our “Verification of Registration of Marriage” to be translated into English and notarized. This I understand BUT do I then have to take the translated/notarized paper back to the American Embassy and get it notarized there as well?

    She is afraid that when we move to the states there will be no proof from the American embassy that we were married in Korea. Just a translated/ notarized paper say we where married in Korea.

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. Since the “Verification of Registration of Marriage ” document is in Korean, many U.S. citizens choose to have it translated into English and to have an apostille affixed so that it can be used more easily in the U.S. Please note that the Embassy cannot provide this service, but the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will apostille English translated marriage documents. You may wish to contact MOFA at 02-2100-7600 for detailed information on obtaining an apostille.
      You should also be aware, however, that under the international legal principle of comity, marriages which are legally performed and valid abroad are generally also legally valid in the United States for both state and Federal purposes. Inquiries regarding the validity of a foreign marriage in a particular state should be directed to the attorney general of that state.
      Thank you.

      • Thank you for a quick response.

        However, my question was not answered.

        Here is my question.
        Once I have had my “Verification of Registration of Marriage” translates and apostilled by the MOFA, do I need/have to take it back to US embassy for any reason?

        Thank you.

      • A) Thank you for your inquiry. Once a Korean marriage certificate has been apostilled, it is ready to be used in the U.S., and you do not need to bring it back to the Embassy for any reason.
        Thank you.

  28. Hi,
    I am an American and just got married two weeks ago to my now Korean wife. We went to the US embassy in Seoul and got my “Affidavit of Eligibility of Marriage”. We then went immediately to the ward office with that document, which my wife translated into Korean, and filled out a “Verification or Registration of Marriage”. The ward said that we would be official in Korea in 3-5 days, so we are done on the Korean side of things, but the ward said that we needed to go back to the US embassy to make it legal in the US. I have read in one place that I need to take the “Verification or Registration of Marriage” back to the embassy for authentication, but most of what I have read doesn’t say what to do after going to the ward office. It just says that the US recognizes the marriage and to contact the attorney general of your particular state.

    I understand that the US recognizes marriages abroad and in a previous inquiry you said that the “Verification or Registration of Marriage” is ready to be used in the US, but what does “use” mean exactly? More specifically, how do I go about making the US “aware” of our marriage now? Do I have to go back to the US embassy or just contact my attorney general? Any insight is appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. The Embassy does not keep record of marriages performed overseas, so you don’t need to come back to the Embassy for any reason. Once marriage procedures in Korea have been completed and you have received the Verification of Registration of Marriage from a Korean ward office, you are considered legally married.

      In general, marriages which are legally performed and valid abroad are also legally valid in the United States. Inquiries regarding the validity of a marriage abroad should be directed to the attorney general of the state in the United States where the parties to the marriage live or intend to live. For immigration purposes, an original marriage certificate, or a certified copy, bearing the appropriate seal or stamp of the issuing authority is required documentation.
      Thank you

  29. Dear Sir/Ma’am,

    Hello, I am here on a Korean E1 visa and my wife – a filipina is here under my visa or a Korean F3 visa. She has obtained a 10 year multiple entry USA tourist visa, and now she is wondering if we should get her an immigrant visa with green card rights. I told her since we are domiciled in Korea and not in the USA, that it would be impossible. All of her Pinoy friends are married to US military and US DOD contractors and they seem to have an exception to this USA Domicile policy. I would like to know if that is correct about the US Military/DOD exception and if I am correct about her not being eligible for a USA immigrant visa at this time.

    Thanks….JR

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. As you are aware, according to our visa regulations, certain petitioners who are living abroad temporarily are considered to be domiciled in the United States if their employment meets the requirements of INA 319(b)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1430(b)(1)). That section requires, for qualifying “employment abroad,” that the individual be in the employ of:

      (1) The U.S. Government;
      (2) A U.S. institution of research recognized as such by the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) (see 8 CFR 316.20 for the list of institutions);
      (3) A U.S. firm or corporation engaged in whole or in part in the development of foreign trade and commerce with the United States or a subsidiary thereof;
      (4) A public international organization in which the United States participates by treaty or statute;
      (5) A religious denomination having a bona fide organization in the United States, if the individual concerned is authorized to perform the ministerial or priestly functions thereof; and
      (6) A religious denomination or an interdenominational mission organization having a bona fide organization in the United States, if the person concerned is engaged solely as a missionary.

      Please note that active duty military members are considered as government employee. If you have further questions, please email us at support-korea@ustraveldocs.com.
      Thank you.

  30. Hi, I was stationed in Korea and was married a South Korean woman In Seoul. According to our divorce decree it took place on 1 August 1970. What would be the best way to go about securing a copy of this marriage? My thanks for any help you may provide.

    Roger

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. If your marriage was registered before January 31, 1995, this copy may be obtained from the International Marriage, Citizens Section, at Seoul City Hall. Please contact them directly at 82-2-2133-7903 for detained information on obtaining a copy of marriage certificate. Another possible source of information about this is the Seoul Global Center. They can be reached at (02) 2075-4130 (English available).
      Thank you.

  31. I wish I could say that this has been a huge help… I was married in Korea to a Chinese national. In order to alter my spouse’s visa to F3 status under my E2 I must produce a certificate of registration of marriage from the United States (specifically from my state of legal residence, Kanas.)

    However, since the marriage was not preformed in the state of Kansas, the Kansas Department of Environment and Health (vital statistics) refuses to register the marriage or validate it in any way. So while apparently I am married under Korean and US law, I cannot add my spouse to my visa, due to your lack of a central registry system. The State Deparment has been less than helpful in obtaining the proper paperwork, in fact simply relagating all such operations to states, leaving people in my situation with no legal alternatives other than flying 10,000 miles (literally halfway around the world) to obtain a piece of paper that should be issued as a simple matter of course from the government who apparently recognizes the legality of my marriage…

    So just a few simple questions,

    1) How is one in such a situation expected to obtain a registration of marriage from the US or an idividual state?

    2) Since the marriage must also be registered in China to conform with thier laws and they require me to obtain an affidavit of eligibility to marry (though under US and Korean law I am in fact married) or proof of registration from my home country, how am I to obtain such?

    3) Why did the US stop registering marriages performed abroad–especially given that such situations are clearly a distinct possiblity when nearly every other industrialized nation on Earth requires such documentation?

    Oh but who am I kidding, you’re just going to tell me the same thing you told all these other people for whom the state department has made a mess of things…

    “It’s not our responsibility.”

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. We are sorry to hear about the inconvenience you and your spouse are experiencing. We are currently looking into this issue to determine why the problem is occurring and what solutions may be possible. We will provide updates to you as they become available.

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  32. Unfortunately my marriage is ending. I have filed for divorce and my wife left and went back to Korea. Now I am having issues getting the divorce because she is not here in the US. What can I do to remedy this problem. I was about to be granted a default judgement but the judge thew it out because she is not in the US anymore. Am I stuck to being married now?

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. The Embassy is unable to provide legal advice, but we encourage you to consult with a competent attorney regarding this matter. Since the roadblock in this case seems to involve the procedures of your local court rather than Korean law, an attorney in your area would probably be best able to advise you on what steps to take next.

      Sorry that we can’t be more helpful, but we hope this reply is useful to you in resolving your situation.

  33. Hello,

    Thank you for your time. I am a U.S. citizen living in Korea. I recently married a Korean citizen and we currently have a Korean marriage certificate, but we do not have an American marriage certificate
    yet as we have not returned to the U.S. to register our bond.

    My issue is as follows: I am applying for an F-6 visa at the moment, and
    I have been told that I need some sort of informal or formal recognition from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul in order to show the Korean Immigration authorities that my marriage is somehow
    recognized by the U.S. government. First of all, is this correct? You issue these sorts of letters?

    I am referring specifically to this section of your website (http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_getting_married.html):

    “Per Korean Immigration Services, if American citizens need to obtain a Korean visa or need to change their Korean visa status due to his/her marriage to a Korean citizen, they must obtain a letter from the U.S. Embassy Seoul to submit to the Korean Immigration Office. Upon request, a letter will be provided by American Citizen Services to customers to be used for Korean visa purpose only.”

    I have made an appointment at the embassy in Seoul for next week in order to obtain this letter from your embassy. I want to make sure that I come with the needed documents in order to get this letter.

    Obviously, I would need my identification, passport, etc. I’m sure you would also need my Korean marriage certificate. But my main question is, do I need to bring a translated copy of it? And, if so, does the translated copy need to be notarized or have an apostille from the Korean authorities at MOFAT or Jongno ward office or some like local authority?

    If you have any insight into this matter, it’d be greatly appreciated.

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, the Embassy offers a letter for U.S. citiizens who need to change their Korean visa status due to a marriage to a Korean citizen. When you come for your appointment, please bring your valid U.S. passport and original Korean marriage certificate to obtain this letter. The marriage certificate does not have to be translated, notarized, or apostilled.
      Thank you.

  34. I’m a US citizen and I’m getting married to a Korean man soon. Is there any way that I can legally change my surname from korea? What about changing it on my passport? I’d like my new Korean visa to reflect my new awesome last name and so I’m hoping to get my passport name change done before applying. Please let me know.

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. If you would like to change your name to your married name on your U.S. passport, you may apply for a passport renewal with a proof of your marriage. Please check our website http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_ppt_card.html#name for detailed information.

      After receiving a new passport with your new name, you may also choose to change your name on your Social Security card. You will need to contact the Social Security Administration to start that process. The nearest SSA processing post is in Manila. You can contact the Regional Social Security Administration Office in Manila (FBU.Manila@ssa.gov) for more information on applying for a replacement card due to a name change.
      Thank you.

  35. I cannot believe what I am reading. Is it really this easy? I have been trying to obtain a K1 visa for 18 months now for my Korean fiancee and am having no luck. Is it really as easy as me visiting her in Korea and getting married while in country there?? All I need is an affidavit stating I’m not married? If so, how will she then come to the U.S. (visa-speaking)? I was beginning to think we would never marry. Please help, thanks!

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. The fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a United States (U.S.) citizen and permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. Further information is available on the USCIS website under Fiancé(e) Visas: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_2994.html

      If you are legally married then you will need to file a petition for your spouse, Form I-130, with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for your spouse to immigrate to the United States. For instructions on how to file a petition, including where you should send the petition, see the USCIS website. In certain circumstances, a U.S. citizen living abroad can file an immigrant visa petition outside of the United States. Review Filing Immigrant Petitions Outside the United States to learn more. Please note if you have already filed a K-1 visa petition for your fiancée with USCIS in the U.S., you must notify USCIS of this when filing a Form I-130 for your spouse.

      For more information on U.S. immigrant visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (IR1 or CR1), please see the USCIS website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_2991.html
      Thank you.

  36. I am a US citizen living in Shanghai, China with a resident permit. My fiancee is Korean living in Shanghai with a work visa. We plan to get marry in Korea, but after marriage, we will return to Shanghai to live. For Marriageability Affidavit form, could I get it notarized at the US consulate in Shanghai and use it to file Verification of Registration of Marriage in Korea or do I need to get the Marriageability Affidavit form notarized at the US consulate in Korea?

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. Since an Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage form is the one of the required documents you need to submit to the Korea ward office, we suggest you contact the ward office where you plan to report your marriage to find out where your Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage form should be notarized. You may also wish to contact the Seoul Global Center (SGC), run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, for assistance. SGC is a comprehensive support center for foreign residents in Seoul and is a one-stop service center for offering daily living, business activities, administrative services, various educational courses and international exchange They can also be reached at (02)-2075-4130.
      Thank you.

  37. Thank you for the response. I was told from the local ward that I can get the Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage notarized in the embassy in Seoul. Does US embassy in Seoul offer and notarized Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage to US citizen not residing in Korea, but just visiting to marry a Korean national?

  38. I have a question. My wife and I are both American citizens who got married while we were both in Korea. I received an assignment to Italy, and when we went to the Italian Embassy in Seoul to apply for my wife’s mission visa, they told us that our verification of registration of marriage was not a valid, legal marriage document. We had it translated, notarized and apostilled, but their embassy refused to issue a visa to her. Can you explain why they would say this? We are now at a loss for how she can apply for a visa if Italy does not believe we are legally married.

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. The U.S. Embassy can confirm that the U.S. government will accept Korean marriage certificates are issued and apostilled by the Korean government. However, we cannot tell you what the Italian government will (or will not) accept. You would have to ask the Italian Embassy in Seoul about the requirements you would have to fulfill in order to have the Italian government recognize your Korean marriage. Also, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) may be able to provide information on how it deals with Korean marriages for purposes of Italian visas. We are sorry that we don’t a definitive answer for you on this. If you could share what you find out, we would appreciate it.
      Thank you.

  39. HELLO SIR/MAM,

    IM A FILIPINO CITIZEN CURRENTLY RESIDING IN KOREA.MY FIANCÉ IS A AMERICAN CITIZEN.WERE PLANNING TO GET MARRY HERE IN KOREA.IS IT POSSIBLE?THIS IS MY FIRST TIME,I DONT HAVE ANY USEA WHAT TO DO FIRST.HOPE YOU CAN HELP ME ON WHAT TO DO.THANK YOU SO MUCH..

  40. I have my affidavit of eligibility for marriage from the us embassy and now I need to get it translated. I live in Masan and I don’t know of any translation services here. Is it ok for my Korean fiancee to write the translation on the original affidavit of eligibility for marriage?

    • A)Thank you for your inquiry. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul does not provide translation services, nor do we specifically endorse or recommend any interpreter or translator service. Since the Korean ward office requires this notarized affidavit of eligibility for marriage form, please check with the ward office nearest you for guidance regarding translation of this form.
      Thank you.

  41. Hello,
    I am a US citizen getting married soon to my Korean fiance. We are having the wedding in Korea and plan to live in the US after marriage. While she is waiting for the spousal immigrant visa to be issued, can she still visit the US under the visa waiver program?

    Thank you.

    • A) Thank you for your inquiry. The Visa Waiver (VWP) is available to nationals of certain countries and allows them to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days in B-2 (Tourist) or B-1 (Business Visitor) visa capacity but without the need for the B visa. If the purpose of your Korean spouse’s trip is fall under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and holds ESTA approval, she may travel under VWP. VWP is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection(CBP). In addition, CBP has sole authority over entry into the United States. You may contact CBP regarding the travel documents necessary for your spouse’s eligibility for travel under the Visa Waiver. Their contact information can be found at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/contacts/.
      Thank you.

  42. Thank you for your response. Another question: Since I am a US citizen, I need to go to the US Embassy to get the affidavit of eligibility to marry, as per your article above. Do I need to make an appointment before I come? And will I receive this affidavit the same day? I want to make sure I don’t run into any surprises or delays. Thank you very much for your help.

  43. First of all, this was very informative on the steps to getting married in Korea – thank you!

    I’m not sure if you’re able to answer my queries about the next step – filing the I-130 in Seoul.
    1) Does the petitioner and spouse have to reside in Korea (as a married couple) for more than 6 months before filing the I-130? or is the foreign spouse’s residence irrelevant for this filing?
    2) Is there a minimum time that we have to be married for before filing the I-130?

    Thanks.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. As you may be aware, Form I-130 is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), not by the State Department. For instructions on the filing process for the I-130 petition, including answers to your questions above, please refer to the USCIS website, or else contact them by email at CIS-Seoul.Inquiries@DHS.Gov or by phone at 02-397-4464, 4548, or 4548 for assistance.
      Thank you.

  44. These may seem like foolish questions, so I apologize in advance. But here I go:

    1. After going to the embassy, can my fiancee and I go to any ward office? (I.e., we live in Sunae, Bundang, right next to Bundang Gu-cheong, so can we go to that?)

    2. Do we need to make two appointments (for each of us) at the embassy or just one (for us as a unit)?

    Thanks.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, you may visit any local ward office where you wish to report your marriage. We suggest you contact the ward office where you plan to report your marriage for other required documents beside the notarized affidavit of eligibility for marriage form. Please note that only U.S. citizens are required to appear in person at the U.S. Embassy to obtain an Affidavit of Eligibility and only one appointment needed. Thank you.

  45. Sir/Ma’am,

    I am a US Citizen who traveled to South Korea to get married. I did not register/submit the korean documents to my current state of residence. Unfortunately, we are now trying to divorce, but I am currently living in the US while the spouse is in Korea. Is it necessary for me to travel to S. Korea to process and confirm a divorce? Any assistance is appreciated. Thank you for your time.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately, the U.S. Embassy is unable to assist filing a divorce in Korea. If you would like to process your divorce in Korea, please contact the Seoul Family Court directly for the most up-to-date information including personal appearance requirement. You may also wish to contact the Seoul Global Center (SGC) run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to see if they can assist you. SGC is a comprehensive support center for foreigners and offers of assistance in foreign languages including English. They can be reached at 82-2-2075-4130. Please also refer to the Department of State website regarding divorce abroad at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/abroad/events-and-records/divorce.html. Thank you.

  46. My soon to be husband was married back when he was 20 in Korea. He lives in the u.s. and his wife lives in Korea, she never got citizenship. How can he divorce her? He doesn’t have any idea where she could be or how to contact her.

  47. Me and my husband got married in korea and we are both in the military. We haven’t been married for 2 years yet and I want a divorce but now we are in the United States. We married at the embassy but are we legally married? We didn’t go to the courts when we got back to the states to validate our marriage.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. A common misunderstanding is that you are married at the Embassy; in fact, you and your fiancé/fiancée are married under the laws of Korea. Marriage in Korea is a civil procedure, so a religious ceremony, while often more meaningful, does not create a legal marriage. It means if you went a Korean ward office and reported your marriage there, you are legally married in Korea. In general, marriages which are legally performed and valid abroad are also legally valid in the United States. If you would like to process your divorce in Korea, please contact the Seoul Global Center (SGC) at 02)2075-4130 for detailed information or refer to the list of the attorneys in Korea. SGC is a comprehensive support center for foreigners and offers of assistance in foreign languages including English. You or your future husband may also wish to refer to the Department of State website regarding divorce abroad at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/abroad/events-and-records/divorce.html
      Thank you.

  48. Hello!
    I am currently living in Korea and I am an American Citizen also I am an f4 visa holder. My boyfriend is a soldier in the US military and we are trying to get married in Korea. I believe that we have to go to the wards office and sign marriage papers but what I am wondering is if that will cancel out my F4 visa. Will I lose my F4 visa for getting married to an US soldier? Or will I still be able to keep it? Thanks in advance =)

    • Thank you for your inquiry. As stated on our website, the U.S. Embassy has no authority over matters related to your Korean visa matters. Korean visas fall under the jurisdiction of the Korean government. For questions or concerns regarding your Korean visa status, please contact the Korean Immigration Service directly by phone at 1345, or online atwww.immigration.go.kr.
      Thank you.

  49. I am an American citizen living near Busan. My fiancee is Korean and lives in Busan. We plan on getting married within the month.I’ve downloaded and printed the form, but it’s difficult for us to travel to Seoul. Is there any way I can submit the Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage without going to the Embassy of the United States in person? Possibly through mail, email, or at the American Presence Post in Busan?

    • Thank you for your inquiry. We will offer American citizen services in Busan on August 25-26, 2014. For full details and to make an appointment, visit http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_outreach.html. If you need an Affidavit of Eligibility before Aug. 25, then unfortunately you need to visit US Embassy Seoul in person (your Korean fiancée does not need to appear). Also please note that the marriage eligibility form you downloaded is likely outdated. Due to security and fraud concerns, the old form was removed from our website and we no longer provide the new form electronically. You will be provided with the new marriage Eligibility Letter in person when you visit the consular office for your notary appointment in Busan or Seoul. Thank you for your understanding and congratulations on your upcoming wedding.
      Thank you.

  50. Hello,

    Thank you for the helpful information listed above. I have a few questions.

    1) Is there a specific local ward office I am to report to for marrying? Or can I go to any ward office? And if any ward office, where are these located? How do I find them? Is there one near the embassy in Seoul? That way, I could schedule an appointment to have my documents notarized at the embassy, and then go to a nearby ward office on the same day to have them perform the ceremony and then go to the MOFA to have the certificate apostilled…?

    2) This second question is to confirm that I understand the specific instructions:

    My fiancee and I are getting married. We are both U.S. citizens. I’ve never been married, but he has. So, in order to get married in Korea, we need to make an appointment at the embassy. At the appt, we bring our passports, and he brings his proof of divorce. We complete an affadavit stating that we are eligible to marry. It is notarized at the emabssy during our appointment. We pay $50. We translate the document including the translator’s signature and date. (is this translation step optional or required because you don’t mention it in your description?) We then take the affadavit to a local ward (see question 1, please), and we receive a Certificate of Marriage Registration, We then take that Certificate of Marriage Registration to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to receive an apostille for 1,000krw. Is this correct?

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. You can report your marriage at any ward office in Korea. There is a ward office and apostille office in easy walking distance of the embassy. Please also refer to our website http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_getting_married.html for detailed information on marriage in Korea including the apostille option. Please note that you don’t need to bring proof of divorce for an affidavit for eligibility for marriage form. (We updated our marriage webpage recently.) You may also wish to check with the ward office nearest you for guidance regarding marriage reporting procedures in Korea since we only can assist U.S. citizens with the paperwork necessary for a legal marriage in Korea.
      Thank you.

  51. Hello again, I meant to include this question in my previous post.

    Is there a fee to marry at the local ward? I thought I read that somewhere that there was a fee for you to marry and receive your certificate? I’m sure it probably varies at different locations, but since I know of no location nor how to contact any, any information, specifically one near the embassy, would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Unfortunately, we don’t have the information your require. We suggest you contact the ward office where you wish to report your marriage directly for assistance to learn if there is fee involved. If you are having hard time contacting the ward office, you may also wish to contact the Seoul Global Center (SGC) run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government for the information you are seeking. SGC is a comprehensive support center for foreigners and offers of assistance in foreign languages including English. They can be reached at 82 2-2075-4130.
      Thank you.

  52. If the wedding party returns to America after the wedding and would like to file Adjustment of Status for one of the spouses through I-130 and I-485, the Verification of Registration of Marriage must be translated to English. You can translate it yourself but it would advisable to get a relative/friend who is fluent in Korean and English to do the translation and sign a statement on the translated document certifying that he/she is fluent in both languages and the document has been translated to the best of their ability and as accurate as possible. The exact verbiage can be found on USCIS’s website. It helps if the translator notarized the certification.

    One question though, the affidavit of eligibility to marry is only for the Korean government correct? This should not be needed to file any US visa/green card applications as it is not the actual evidence of marriage and there really isn’t a US counterpart/equivalent of such a document.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, an Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry form is a document required by the Korean government to report a marriage under the Korean law in Korea. For filing procedures and document requirements for U.S. immigrant visas, please contact USCIS directlty.
      Thank you.

  53. Hi I’m trying to locate a marriage certificate from the 1950’s. Do you know of how I can go about obtaining this? My grandfather was a soldier and got married in Korea. He had 2 children with his wife and for some reason they were not allowed to return to the U.S. with him. I am trying to find his children for my mother who would be their sister. I’m hoping the marriage certificate will point me in the right direction.

    • Thank you for your inquiry.
      Unfortunately, no marriage records are kept in our offices. If your grandfather registered his marriage before January 31, 1995, he may obtain a certified copy of his marriage certificate by writing to the Citizens Section, Seoul City Hall. Additional information may available by telephone through the Seoul Global Center. For English assistance at the Seoul Global Center, please call 02)2075-4130 or email hotline@seoul.go.kr. You may also visit their website at http://global.seoul.go.kr/

  54. Hello, where can I go and get my marriage papers translate and notarized in Korea? then all I need to do is get that translated/notarized paper apostilled right?

    • The Korean government will apostille marriage documents (original & English translation) at their Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Annex located near the embassy. Unfortunately, the embassy cannot recommend particular translation services. We suggest you contact the Seoul Global Center to see if they can refer you to a translation service.
      http://global.seoul.go.kr/
      Information desk: 02-2075-4180
      E-mail: hotline@seoul.go.kr

  55. Hello. So I have another question. I got my Verification of Marriage that I received from the Gu-Chong office. I got it translated, notarized and apostilled. Will this Certificate work for the registration of my babies process of getting the babies passport and Report of birth?
    Also, will it work for my wife’s visa process?

    Thanks!

  56. Hi, im from Pakistan. But my fioncie(from Pakistan) is working in south korea. So we planned to be married in south korea. So is it possible for us to have a korean marriage certificate and change my visa to f3 from B2.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. If your fiancé/fiancée is not a Korean or an American Citizen, s/he should contact his/her own Embassy in Korea for information on what is required to marry in Korea as the procedures followed by other embassies may differ. For Korean visa-related issues, please contact the Korean Immigration Office directly for the information you require. http://www.immigration.go.kr or call (02) 1345.
      Thank you.

  57. Hello! I have a question: I am a US citizen, and my fiancee is Korean. If I need to go to the embassy and get the notarized Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage to prepare for our upcoming marriage, can I go alone to the embassy, or does my fiancee have to go there with me to sign any documents? Thank you for your help!

  58. Hello I’m currently stationed in Korea and my boyfriend is still in the states he plans to come to Korea and our plan is to get married while he’s down here. Everything seems so complicated , what does he need specifically. He’s a United States citizen I’m in the U.S. Army. My next duty station is Germany will he be allowed to come with the marriage certificate I’m getting ?!? After we marry will we have any issues with proving were married , I just want everything to run smoothly. How long will the getting married process take ???

  59. I am going to be getting married to a korean in December. I got a divorce about 8 years ago. But can’t get a copy of my divorce decree. I have tried twice. My ex is already married again, and of course she doesn’t have a copy either. Is there a way without getting the decree.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. Please note that consular officers at the Embassy are not authorized to perform marriages; they can only assist U.S. citizens with the paperwork necessary for a legal marriage in Korea. A common misunderstanding is that you will be married at the Embassy; in fact, you and your fiancé(e) will be married under Korean law by reporting your marriage to the Korean government ward office. Therefore, please contact the closest ward office for the information you require. You may also wish to contact the Seoul Global Center (SGC) run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to see if they can assist you. SGC is a comprehensive support center for foreigners and can be reached at (02)-2075-4130, or hotline@seoul.go.kr.
      Thank you.

  60. My ex husband and I were both stationed in Korea when we got married back in 2001. We are both U.S citizens and I need to obtain a copy of the marriage license/certificate. How would I go about doing this?

  61. I am told for a F-6 visa in Korea I need to be married in both Korea and America if I marry in Korea how can I transfer to being married in America as well?

  62. hi im jenny from Philippines. i have bf in korea he is a usa army. he inviting me for a short tourist and i dont have work and business. My bf will support me all the expenses and everything. if its possible to get a korea tourist visa?, what are documents should i provide. thank 🙂

  63. Dear.

    I am a F4 visa holder and my gf currently living in Hungary, I want to bring her here in Korea and live with me. I just called ward office in Korea regarding 수리증명서. But Korean immigration office will not accept 수리증명서 as a proper marriage certification to issue F1 visa. Immigration office told me that I need a proper marriage certification issued at either US or Hungary. Is it possible to issue US certified marriage certification at the US ambassy? Please give me advice.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. If you are wanting to get married in Korea, you will need to schedule an appointment and visit the Embassy for a Marriage Affidavit (the cost to receive a notarized affidavit is $50). If your future spouse is neither a U.S. Citizen nor a Korean citizen, she will have to consult with her embassy about what appropriate documentation she should submit to marry in Korea. Please consult the Korean Immigration Services regarding the appropriate documentation needed for your girlfriend’s visa application. For more information about getting married in Korea as a U.S. Citizen, please see our website http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_getting_married.html.
      Thank you.

  64. Thanks for your help. But I have some other question regarding your answer. You mentioned that “If you are wanting to get married in Korea, you will need to schedule an appointment and visit the Embassy for a Marriage Affidavit”, so I need a marriage affidavit to get the 수리증명서? Korean immigration office told me that as long as I provide any proof issued by US government that I am officially married, than my fiancee can get a F1 visa. Does a marriage affidavit issued by US embassy is regarded as a proper proof of my marriage? After getting 수리증명서 from local ward office, should I go back to US embassy to get other marriage certification? Sorry about asking million questions. Many thanks in advance.

    • As we explained on our website at http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_getting_married.html, after you have received your Certificate of Marriage Registration (수리증명서), we believe that you will need to bring that document , a copy of your notarized Affidavit of Eligibility of Marriage form along with other required documents for a Korean visa. Many people have the misconception that they were married at the Embassy. While our office assists with notarizing affidavits of eligibility to marry and authenticating the marriage certificate issued by the various Korean ward offices or Seoul City Hall, no marriage records are kept by our office and Embassies do not perform marriages. The U.S. Embassy only assists U.S. citizens with the paperwork necessary (Affidavit for Eligibility of Marriage) for a legal marriage in Korea, under applicable Korean law. Therefore, you will need to check with the Korean Immigration Services directly for the required documents as it is their jurisdiction.
      Thank you.

  65. Hello,

    I am getting married in April in Korea. I am a U.S. citizen and my fiance is not. After the marriage, we are going to live in the U.S. Besides obtaining the affidavit of eligibility to marry, do I need to prepare anything else in order for her to come to the U.S.? I know there aren’t many travel restrictions between U.S. and Korea but I was wondering if we need to prepare for any questions immigration services might ask at the airport.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. Please note that the American Citizen Services (ACS) section does not handle U.S. visas. In general, a person who wishes to immigrate to the United States must apply for an immigrant visa. For all U.S. visa-related inquiries, please contact the Embassy’s Visas section directly for assistance. Their contact information can be found at http://ustraveldocs.com/kr/kr-main-contactus.asp. Thank you.

      • I am a US citizen and we will have a baby this coming December. However, my wife is not a US citizen and I wonder what kinds of papers should I prepare to get my new born baby’s US citizenship at birth. Based on my research, it seems like I have to come with my new born baby to US embassy to get a US citizenship. Is there a way I don’t have to bring my baby to get a baby’s US citizenship?

      • Thank you for your inquiry.
        Please refer to our website for the documentation that is required for your child to receive a US passport and birth certificate. http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_report_of_birth.html As stated on our website, your child must appear at the Embassy at the time you submit the application. However, if your child is currently in the neonatal intensive care unit and cannot appear, please inform the Officer during your interview and be prepared to show medical documents to prove the child’s health condition. The Officer will discuss other options with you. http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_crba_faq.html

  66. Can we get an apostille at the Korean ward office nearby the us embassy . Because that’s the only document that my wife and I needed so that the army will recognize our marriage

    • Thank you for your inquiry. For more information about obtaining an apostille on your marriage certificate issued by Korean government, please contact the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) directly at 02-2100-7600. Should you have difficulty reaching an English speaker at the MOFA, you may wish to contact the Seoul Global Center (SGC) for assistance: by phone at (02) 2075-4130. SGC is a comprehensive support center for foreigners run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and offers assistance in several foreign languages, including English. Thank you.

  67. Good evening,
    Thanks for sharing this article, it was very interesting. However, I am in need of some help. I am a US Citizen, currently living in Daejeon with E-1 visa, and on January 26th I got married to my now wife, who is a non- US citizen (Argentinian) at the local district office (dong gu office). We went through proper channels and got ¨eligibility to marry form¨ from both of our embassies and went to the District Office and were given the 수리증명서 (Certificate of Acceptance), This is the only document we were given, and the officer in the District Office explained to us that they do not provide a “Marriage Certificate” anymore to foreigners.
    After reading your answers/replies here I understand that this document is the one legal document provided by the Korean Government as a “Marriage Certificate”. However, when we went to the Immigration Office to proceed with the change of visa status for my wife, officers there kept asking for a document from the US and/or Argentinian Embassy that authenticates the one given by the Korean District Office. Argentina Embassy persists that we need a ¨real¨ marriage certificate issued from the district office (which is impossible) in order for them to issue an authentication. I am therefore here asking you if the US Embassy provides this Authentication document – if so what do I need to bring to the embassy in order to process it? If not, how are we supposed to resolve this situation?
    I appreciate your response,
    Katsuto

    • Thank you for your inquiry. If you need to obtain an apostille on your marriage certificate issued by the Korean government, please contact the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) directly at 02-2100-7600 for detailed information; only the Korean government may authenticate/apostille documents issued by the Korean government. Should you have difficulty reaching an English speaker at the MOFA, you may wish to contact the Seoul Global Center (SGC) for assistance: by phone at (02) 2075-4130. SGC is a comprehensive support center for foreigners run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and offers assistance in several foreign languages, including English. Please note: We have been told that the Korean Immigration Office requests a copy of the notarized Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage form, not the authenticated/apostilled Certificate of Acceptance. Please contact the Korean Immigration Services at 1345 (just the 4-digits) for more information. For obtaining a copy of your notarized Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage form, please check with the ward office where you registered your marriage. Thank you.

  68. Hello,

    I’m a US citizen and my wife is a Korean citizen… we got married Feb 2015 in Hawaii and received a Hawaiian marriage certificate. My wife is currently with me in Hawaii as a green card holder. My question is, does my wife need to report our marriage to Korean government/ward office in order to update her family registry? (from single to married). Thank you for your time.

    Jay

    • Thank you for your inquiry. In general, marriages which are legally performed and valid in the U.S are also legally valid in abroad. If you wish to find out if your wife needs to report her marriage to the Korean government, she needs to contact a ward office (구청) directly in Korea for assistance.
      Thank you.

  69. I am a US citizen and just got married with Hungarian woman last month. Also got 수리증명서 from a ward office. Now If I want to live in US with my wife, what should I take a next step?

    Many Thanks in advance
    Jason

  70. Hello,
    I am a US born citizen (never been married) and my fiance is Korean born citizen (he is divorced), we would like to get married this coming summer in Korea, but would like some direction on how to do so. And once married, how/where/when should I go about getting a Korea Visa since I will be married to a Korean man and relocating to Korea?
    Do i have to give up my US citizenship? We are only planning on staying in Korea for 2-3 years and then moving to the US where I am from Atlanta Georgia.
    Last question, If we have a child… I want that child to be able to be a US citizen, what do I need to do?
    This process seems so complicated.

  71. Hello, I’m in the Army and my fiancée will be coming to visit soon, we will be getting married. I don’t have the original birth certificate, only a copy. We are both US citizens. Will this be a problem.

    I have my SS card and military ID?

    • Thank you for your inquiry. Many people have the misconception that they will be getting married at the Embassy. However, no marriage ceremonies are performed at the U.S. Embassy. The U.S. Embassy only assists U.S. citizens with the paperwork necessary (Affidavit for Eligibility of Marriage) for a legal marriage in Korea, under applicable Korean law.

      We suggest that you or your fiancée contact the ward office directly where you will register your marriage in Korea for clarification on this issue. You might want to reach out your local legal services officer. You may also wish to contact the Seoul Global Center (SGC) at 02-2075-4180 for detailed guidance on the marriage procedures in Korea. SGC is a comprehensive support center for foreigners in Korea and offer assistance in foreign languages including English.

      Good luck!

  72. Hi,

    I am a US citizen originally born in South Korea. I was born there but moved to the states and was naturalized soon after. I came to Korea to teach on a F4 visa therefore had to renounce my South Korean citizenship–assuming I was unintentionally a dual citizen before.

    At the moment, my fiancee is Australian and he is also working in South Korea with a company that may not be able to sponsor his visa any longer. Is it possible to regain my dual citizenship status so that I can sponsor my fiancee once we are married? Will the South Korean government recognize my dual citizenship status?

    Thank you for your help

  73. Hello I’m an American and my husband is African. We got married in Korea two years ago. I now want to change my last name to his. What is the process and what documents do I need to do this? Most places say it’s best to do this back in my home country. Please advise.

  74. Regina Perkins

    Hello, i am an American citizen and I got married to a Pakistani citizen living in Korea in 2012. We are in the process of obtaining a US Visa for him but having problems with the marriage certificate part. When we registered our marriage at the ward office in Seoul they gave us the Korean document which I assumed was the “Marriage Certificate” Well USCIS is asking for an official marriage certificate or something called Marriage Relation Certificate from Korea.How do I obtain this document?

    • Thank you for your inquiry. We believe the local district office will provide you with a “Certificate of Marriage Registration” (수리증명서, pronounced soo-ree jeung-myung-suh) when both of the marriage partners are U.S. citizens or non-Koreans. However, if one spouse is a Korean citizen, they will be issued an Korean marriage certificate/ Marriage Relation Certificate (혼인관계증명서, pronounced hone-in-gwan-gae jeung-myung-suh). You may wish to check with US CIS office again for the clarification as they are the requesting party.
      Thank you.

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