International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

South Korea (Republic of Korea)

South Korea
Republic of Korea
Exercise normal precautions in South Korea.

Exercise normal precautions in South Korea. 

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to South Korea:

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Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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ALL /
Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Seoul

188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu,
Seoul 03141, Korea
Telephone: +(82) (2) 397-4114 (from within Korea, dial 02-397-4114) 
DSN:721-4114
Fax: +(82) (2) 397-4101
Email: 

U.S. Mailing Address:
American Citizens Services
U.S. Embassy Seoul
Unit #9600
DPO AP 96209

 

U.S. Consulate in Busan

Lotte Gold Rose Building #612, Jungang-daero 993, Jin-gu
Busan 47209, Korea
Telephone: (+82) 51-863-0731
Email: BusanConsulate@state.gov

The Embassy and Consulate are closed on weekends and on American and Korean holidays. Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +82 (0)2-397-4114.

General Information

The Republic of Korea and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Convention (Hague Abduction Convention) since November 1, 2013.

For information concerning travel to the Republic of Korea, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for the Republic of Korea.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizen Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including the Republic of Korea. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
SA-17, 9th floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax:  202-485-6221
Website

The Korean Central Authority (KCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications. Once the KCA receives an application under the Convention, the Ministry of Justice will coordinate with the National Police Agency and the Korea Immigration Service to locate the child. Once the child has been located the KCA will reach out to the taking parent, if appropriate, to encourage a voluntary resolution. The KCA can be reached at:

Ministry of Justice
International Legal Affairs Division
Jungang-dong, Gwacheon Government Complex
Gwacheon City
427-720 Republic of Korea
Telephone:  +82 (2) 2110 3661 (or 3667)
Facsimile:   +82 (2) 504 1378

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in the Republic of Korea, a parent or legal guardian may review the eligibility criteria and instructions with the appropriate Department of State Country Officer and then complete, sign, and date the application form located at the Department of State website. Each document written in English must be translated into Korean. Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the KCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or Republic of Korea central authorities. Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, the Republic of Korea. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in the Republic of Korea. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Retaining an Attorney

The Republic of Korea process does not require parents to retain a private attorney in order to file a Hague Abduction Convention application with a court; however, the KCA recommends that parents have legal representation. Parents may hire a private attorney to assist them with their case and to advise them as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances. A privately hired attorney should contact the KCA and the USCA as soon as possible after the KCA receives the Hague Abduction Convention application. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Republic of Korea, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

The Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations offers mediation services for custody disputes.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: June 1, 2015

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Seoul
188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu,
Seoul 03141, Korea
Telephone
+(82) (2) 397-4114
Emergency
+(82) (2) 397-4114
Fax
+(82) (2) 397-4101
South Korea Map