If you wish to marry in Korea
If you wish to marry in Korea, there are several things you'll need to learn more about:
What specific documents will you need to get married in Korea if you are an American?
What specific documents will you need to get married in Korea if you are a non-U.S. citizen?
What are the steps to get married in Korea once we have all the documents ready?
How to apply for the proper U.S. visa for your new spouse to enter the U.S.
While consular officers at the Embassy are not authorized to perform marriages, they can 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/fiancée will be 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.
Although marriage statutes in the U.S. differ from state to state, a marriage performed in Korea under the Korean law is recognized in all states. Please visit the Department of State’s website for more information about Marriage Abroad.
A note to military Members: USFK military personnel should inform the battalion/squadron or equivalent level commander in your chain of command of your intent to marry, and comply with the procedures in the USFK regulation on International Marriages in Korea.
Documents needed for U.S. Citizens getting married in Korea: The documents listed below are required by the Korean government, as you will be married under the laws of Korea.
PROOF OF UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP: A valid United States passport is sufficient to prove you are a U.S. citizen for the purpose of marriage. If you have no valid U.S. passport at the time of marriage, you must submit the appropriate documents below to prove your U.S. citizenship:
An original Certificate of Naturalization for Naturalized citizens, or
A certified copy of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or an original Certificate of Citizenship for American citizens born abroad, or.
A certified copy of a birth certificate from the Vital Records Office of your State of birth, with the raised seal or seal of the State on the copy, for native-born American citizens (please note that wallet-sized birth certificates are not acceptable).
PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF OF IDENTITY such as a driver's license, military I.D., etc
A COMPLETED AFFIDAVIT OF ELIGIBILITY FOR MARRIAGE, affirming that you are free and eligible to marry. Once completed, please do not sign the form; you’ll sign it at the Embassy at the time it is notarized. Please make an appointment.
PROOF OF TERMINATION OF ANY PRIOR MARRIAGE(s), including an original or certified copy of a divorce decree, annulment or death certificate for your previous spouse(s).
If the American Citizen is under the age of 18, written permission to marry from both parents is required.
Documents needed for non-U.S. citizens for getting married in Korea:
If your fiancé/fiancée is Korean, please check with the ward or city office nearest you for guidance.
- If your fiancé/fiancée is not a Korean or an American Citizen, s/he should contact his/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.
Steps for getting married in Korea:
- For each American citizen applying for marriage, bring all of the documents listed above for U.S. citizens to the Embassy. Be sure to complete the Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage form. The Embassy will review all of your documents and notarize your Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage. The fee for this notarization is USD $50. (No charge for active duty service members assigned to U.S. Forces, Korea). Only American citizens need to come to the Embassy for this step in the process.
- With your fiancé/fiancée, 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. However, if one spouse is a Korean citizen, this process can take up to 3-5 days, and will be reflected on the Korean marriage certificate (혼인관계증명서, pronounced hone-in-gwan-gae jeung-myung-suh).
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 Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Annex located near the Embassy for 1,000 KRW (price subject to change.) Map to MOFA Annex.
If you need the apostille to use for an official purpose, please remember that it is up to the requesting authorities to make a determination on whether the apostilled document is acceptable.
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.
If you need additional copies of your “Verification of Registration of Marriage” (수리증명서; soo-ree jeung-myung-suh) or the Korean marriage certificate (혼인관계증명서; hone-in-gwan-gae jeung-myung-suh), please contact your local ward office (Gu Cheong;구청). U.S. does not have a central marriage registry and the Embassy does not keep record of marriages performed overseas. Please visit the Department of State’s website for more information about Marriage Abroad.
Additional information is available from the Department of State about marrying overseas.