I am interested in adopting a child in South Korea. What do I need to know before I begin?

Answer: Adopting a child in the United States is a rigorous process.  Bear in mind that adopting a child in South Korea, or any foreign country for that matter, often means even more paperwork.  Eligibility for an adoption in Korea will require that you navigate the laws of your home state, the federal government, as well as those in Korea.

For an overseas adoption, you first need to be deemed eligible by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  USCIS requires that you be a U.S. citizen with a clean criminal history.  You and your spouse must plan to jointly adopt the child.   You should be prepared to undergo a criminal background check, fingerprinting and a home visit.

In addition to meeting the USCIS requirements listed above, you’ll also have to comply with local South Korean regulations.  Unmarried individuals are not allowed to adopt South Korean children.  Generally, Korea also requires that adoptive parents be between the ages of 25 and 44.  The age difference between you and your spouse must be less than 15 years.

The Korean government will also look at your income and family size in determining your eligibility.  In most cases, you should not have more than five children (including the child/children you plan to adopt).  You will also need to demonstrate that your income exceeds the U.S. national average.

For more information on inter-country adoption in South Korea, click here.


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