South KoreaOfficial Name: Republic of Korea
THE INFORMATION RELATING TO THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A PARTICULAR CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO FOREIGN ATTORNEYS. THIS CIRCULAR SEEKS ONLY TO PROVIDE INFORMATION; IT IS NOT AN OPINION ON ANY ASPECT OF U.S., FOREIGN, OR INTERNATIONAL LAW. THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DOES NOT INTEND BY THE CONTENTS OF THIS CIRCULAR TO TAKE A POSITION ON ANY ASPECT OF ANY PENDING LITIGATION.
Embassies and Consulates
188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu,
Seoul 03141, Korea
Telephone: +(82) (2) 397-4114 (from within Korea, dial 02-397-4114)
Fax: +(82) (2) 397-4101
U.S. Mailing Address:
American Citizens Services
U.S. Embassy Seoul
DPO AP 96209
Lotte Gold Rose Building #612, Jungang-daero 993, Jin-gu
Busan 47209, Korea
Telephone: (+82) 51-863-0731
The Embassy and Consulate are closed on weekends and on American and Korean holidays. Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +82 (0)2-397-4114.
List of Attorneys
Service of Process
The Republic of Korea is a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. Complete information on the operation of the Convention, including an interactive online request form are available on the Hague Conference website. Requests should be completed in duplicate and submitted with two sets of the documents to be served, and translations, directly to Korea’s Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention. The person in the United States executing the request form should be either an attorney or clerk of court. The applicant should include the titles attorney at law or clerk of court on the identity and address of applicant and signature/stamp fields. In its Declarations and Reservations on the Hague Service Convention, Korea formally objected to service under Article 10, and does not permit service via postal channels. For additional information see the Hague Conference Service Convention web page and the Hague Conference Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Hague Service Convention.
Service on a Foreign State: See also our Service Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) feature and FSIA Checklist for questions about service on a foreign state, agency or instrumentality.
Service of Documents from the Republic of Korea in the United States: See information about service in the United States on the U.S. Central Authority for the Service Convention page of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Service Convention site.
U.S. federal or state prosecutors should also contact the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, Department of Justice for guidance.
Defense Requests in Criminal Matters: Criminal defendants or their defense counsel seeking judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters may do so via the letters rogatory process.
Obtaining Evidence in Civil and Commercial Matters
The Republic of Korea is a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters. See the Hague Evidence Convention Model Letters of Request for guidance on preparation of the letter of request. Requests for the compulsion of evidence under the Hague Evidence Convention are transmitted directly from the requesting court or person in the United States to the Korean Central Authority and do notrequire transmittal via diplomatic channels. Letters of Request and accompanying documents should be prepared in duplicate and translated into Korean. See the Republic of Korea’s Declarations and Reservations regarding the Hague Evidence Convention. See also the Republic of Korea’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Evidence Convention.
Requests from the Republic of Korea to Obtain Evidence in the United States: The U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention is the Office of International Judicial Assistance, Civil Division, Department of Justice, 1100 L St., N.W., Room 11006, Washington, D.C. 20530.
Taking Voluntary Depositions of Willing Witnesses
Under the Hague Evidence Convention, the Republic of Korea permits the taking of voluntary depositions of U.S. citizen willing witnesses by a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States. Oral depositions of U.S. citizens or depositions of U.S. citizens on written questions may be taken by U.S. consular officers or by private attorneys from the United .States either on notice or pursuant to a commission. If the services of a U.S. consular officer are required to administer an oath to the witness, interpreter and stenographer, such arrangements must be made in advance with the U.S. embassy directly. Korea objected to the provisions of the Convention which pertain to the taking of voluntary depositions of Korean nationals or third country nationals by commissioners. Private attorneys and U.S. consular officers are prohibited from taking depositions of Korean nationals and third country nationals. Consequently, depositions of such willing witnesses in the Republic of Korea must be undertaken pursuant to a request to the Korean Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention and in the context of the Republic of Korea court system.
Authentication of Documents
The Republic of Korea is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. Korea’s competent authority for the Hague Apostille Convention will authenticate Korean public documents with Apostilles. For information about authenticating U.S. public documents for use in Korea, see the list of U.S. Competent Authorities. To obtain an Apostille for a U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, contact the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Office.