IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Autor)
The following information was provided on 23 March 2001 by an official at the Embassy of Canada in Seoul.
Regarding whether a foreign man married to a Korean woman has the right to work in and be a permanent resident of Korea:
No, he does not have the right to work and be a permanent resident of Korea. He has to apply and be granted an F-1 status (temporary residence), valid up to one year, and continue to renew his status before it expires. F-1 status only allows him to stay in Korea with his spouse and does not give him the right to work.
Regarding the procedure for a man in this situation to obtain permanent residency and/or the right to work in Korea:
There is no permanent resident status in Korea. If one wishes to stay in Korea permanently, he would have to be naturalized or simply keep renewing his status. To work in Korea as a foreigner, you would have to be sponsored by a company and obtain a work visa from Korean Immigration. No foreigners are allowed to work in Korea without work authorization unless you are an F-4 holder (a foreign national of Korean origin - except for ethnic Koreans in China and Russia). Even an F-4 holder does not have permanent residence in Korea.
Regarding whether a Korean woman married to a foreign man has the right to sponsor her husband's application to become a Korean citizen:
According to article 6 (2.1) and 6 (2.2) of Korea's Nationality Act, a foreigner has to be married to a Korean national and be registered as a legal resident of Korea (article 5, Nationality Act Ordinance) for two or more years before he is allowed to apply for naturalization. Anyone who is married outside of Korea has to be married for at least 3 years and stayed in Korea as a legal resident for one or more years before he is allowed to apply for naturalization. Once he/she has lived in Korea for the minimum required period, he/she can apply to take a naturalization examination and submit relevant documents listed in article 3 (2) of Korean Nationality Act Ordinance. Once he/she is deemed to have satisfied all requirements, he/she will get a Minister's Permit to become a Korean citizen (Article 3 and 4 of the Enforcement Decree of the Nationality Act).
Regarding whether a Korean woman's foreign husband has the right to live in Korea while his application for citizenship is pending:
It takes approximately 8 months before a naturalization decision is made. During this time, one has to comply with any visa requirements set out by the Korean Immigration Control Act. (e.g., a foreigner has to have a legal status in Korea either as a worker, visitor, or a temporary resident and continue to renew his/her status as necessary.)
Please find attached to this Response copies of the Korean Nationality Act and the Enforcement Decree of the Nationality Act.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Embassy of Canada, Seoul. 23 March 2001.
Republic of Korea. Enforcement
Decree of the Nationality Act (provided by the Embassy of
Canada in Seoul, 23 March 2001).
_____. Nationality Act
(provided by the Embassy of Canada in Seoul, 23 March 2001).