[Updated on March 20th, 2020] In South Korea, the immigration office may remove or deport from South Korea any person who violated the Immigration Control Act(“ICA”). Any person who is released after receiving a sentence of fine, imprisonment or heavier punishment could be removed from Korea by an exit or a deportation order pursuant to ICA. In this article, we will provide a general overview of an exit and deportation order under Korean immigration law. Continue reading
“I am an adoptee from South Korea to the U.S. Currently I live in the U.S. Recently I found my biological parents died in South Korea. He is survived by his wife and 2 sons. He had businesses in Korea. Can an adopted child inherit from biological parents in Korea? I have never met or spoken to his wife and sons and so I don’t know if he had a will written. What are my inheritance rights under Korean law?”
Everything Boils Down to Whether it is Full Adoption or Simple Adoption
A legal child is entitled to inheritance from his/her deceased parent. When the child is adopted, some jurisdictions treat the adoption as disconnecting the legal relationship with the biological parent, and some jurisdictions don’t. We call the former as a full adoption and the latter as a simple adoption.
As you can understand from the general idea of inheritance, an adopted child can inherit from biological parents in Korea only when the adoption is regarded as Continue reading
We are taking about a situation where a foreigner is accused of any crime in Korea but he has already left Korea for any reason. Some might come back to Korea to defend himself or some might just ignore it. However, just ignoring can’t free you from the potential legal risk. You won’t be allowed to enter into Korea and could be arrested at the border. Recently, Korean Police is very active in requesting the INTERPOL to issue a red notice in order to have law enforcement worldwide locate and provisionally arrest the suspect.
Then can a foreign suspect resolve a pending criminal investigation case while staying abroad? The answer is yes, but in a very exceptional case. The Korean prosecutors are having a strict position that all suspects must appear at the face-to-face interrogation with the investigating authority. If the suspect refuses to do so or the Korean prosecutor can’t locate the suspect, the prosecutor suspends the investigation and asks the court to issue an arrest warrant. This warrant is noticed to the Korean immigration office. As a result, the suspect could be arrested when s/he passes the Korean border. Being abroad are usually insufficient as a just excuse.
There are, however, certain exceptions where the criminal case can be resolved without the suspect’s personal appearance: Continue reading
Q) I’m an American and my wife is Korean. She is living in Korea and I have returned to the USA. We have agreed to divorce. However, I can’t go back to Korea just to sign the papers. Is it possible to have her do it? Or have her email me the divorce agreement for me to sign and return to her?
A) There are two types of divorce in Korea. One is a divorce by agreement and the other one is a divorce by judgment. When people agree to divorce, there is no need to file for a divorce by judgment. A divorce judgment is a judicial judgment that basically requires a court hearing, review and judgment.
There is one particular situation, however, when a divorce by judgment is required even when the divorce is uncontested. That is when one spouse doesn’t reside in Korea.
The divorce by agreement in Korea requires both parties to reside within Korea. The judge needs to confirm the genuine intent of divorce by meeting up with the couple at the courthouse. Thus, when one spouse lives abroad like you, the court cannot process the application for divorce.
You might wonder if Continue reading
I am a U.S. citizen. I currently have a very complicated inheritance case in South Korea. My father passed away 10 years ago in the U.S. and his two Korean half brothers in Korea are currently suing my family for my father’s portion as well as my father’s sister’s portion as she passed away many years ago. They are claiming they want 60% of my father’s portion and all of my aunt. There is no will left by my grandfather. They are claiming that they took care of the grandfather who was a Korean citizen. However, when my father was alive he also sent money regularly to his father and his half brothers but as it was more than 10 years ago I am uncertain how to proceed.
Governing Law Issue
Inheritance gets more complicated when it has some sort of multinational issues. Here the Korean heirs sued the U.S. heirs at the Korean court. The deceased was a Korean national and it is probable that the majority of the estate is located in Korea. That might be one of the reasons why this case should be litigated in Korea, not the U.S.
In an international inheritance case, we first need to find out which country’s law shall apply. As this case was filed with the Korean court, the Korean court decides this issue pursuant to their own choice of law doctrines. According to the Korean choice of law, the law of the deceased’s country shall become the governing law. That means, in our case, the Korean Inheritance law shall apply. (Please refer to this article regarding the basic of Korean Inheritance law)Continue reading
Q) This past weekend I was involved in some altercation with a Korean guy at the local bar. I pushed him slightly, but he fell down and broke his wrist. He phoned a police officer and filed a criminal accusation against me. I am an E-2 visa holder. What can I do now to help myself?
A) If you are a first offender and had no other criminal record, I don’t think this case becomes a serious one. However, as you are a foreigner, any conviction could lead to an exit order and an entry ban decision from the Korean immigration office. Under the current rule, if a foreigner is fined more than 5,000,000KRW for any crime in Korea, the immigration office can issue an exit order and a future visa application and extension could be denied. It can also result in an entry ban. Under the rule, the duration of the entry ban is as follows:
- the total amount of fine for the last 1 year exceeds 5,000,000KRW: 1 year
- committed any crime more than 2 times for the last 1 year: 1 year
- the amount of fine is between Continue reading
Recently our office represented U.S. parents whose adoption application had been denied by the Korean court. The adoption was processed as an institutional adoption which is regulated by the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Promotion and Procedure of Adoption. Institutional adoption, often called an orphanage adoption, is under more strict regulation and qualifications than a private adoption. In this case, the 1st instance court of Seoul Family Court denied the U.S. parents adoption petition due to the concern caused by the adoptive parent’s past medical history of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Our office, leaded by lawyer Mr. Wonil Chung, took this case at the appellate court level. We reviewed the the entire record and documents from the beginning and found that the lower court’s finding and the conclusion were not based on the true facts, but on vague concern. We even found a critical error in the translation of ODC evaluation report provided by the Korean adoption agency.
Mr. Chung argued in front of the appellate judges that U.S. medical professionals had stated that the petitioner’s OCD did not harm his suitability as an adoptive parent. He also pointed out that the U.S. government had Continue reading
Can Korean Police Issue a Summon Even When the Suspect Resides Abroad?
For a starter, there may be a question about whether the Korean police can summon a foreigner who resides abroad. The answer is yes. The Korean criminal law applies to those who have committed crimes within Korea and then gone abroad, as well as those who have committed crimes against Koreans while staying outside of Korea. Thus, a foreign resident could be sued and accused by the Korean police, and in such case, the Korean police moves to demand the foreign suspect to attend the investigation in Korea. Recently, our office sees many cases where a foreign resident employee of a foreign company is called in by the Korean police in relation with its Korean subsidiary’s business.
Do I have to comply with the summon?
Since a foreign country is not within the domain of Korea’s criminal jurisdiction, it is not mandatory for the foreign resident suspect to comply with the summon. However, if the foreign resident suspect refuses to comply with, the Korean law enforcement authority can get an arrest warranty, which could put the suspect at risk of being arrested upon entering Korea. Continue reading
Q) Recently, the Ministry of Justice(MOJ) had revoked my Korean citizenship. I came from Pakistan, lived in Korea for 12 years without any problem and duly acquired my Korean citizenship 3 years ago. The MOJ’s decision was made on the ground that my passport had been forged. But that is not true. It has a different name on it but it was a newly issued one which can be authorized by the local government. Can I get my Korean citizenship back?
A) First of all, the MOJ’ decision to revoke your Korean citizenship is under the judicial review of Korean Administrative court. There are cases where the court overturned the MOJ’s citizenship revocation on the ground that either (i) there is no legal ground for revocation and/or (ii) the decision causes too much personal harm rather than serving a public cause.
There are many fake/newly-issued foreign passport cases in Korea. Some courts held that the revocation made against a person who had submitted a fake/newly-issued foreign passport while Continue reading
There are so many foreign expats working in Korea. As you know well, Korean labor law recognizes a severance liability of all employers in Korea regardless of the size of their business and also the nationality of the employee(check here as to how the severance pay under Korean law is recognized and operates). This also applies to foreign employers such as Korean branches of foreign companies. The problem is that some foreign employers are ignorant of their severance liability under Korean law. Even further, some foreign employers try to evade their severance liability. Sometimes they provide wrong information such as “foreigners are not entitled to the Korean severance” to their staffs, designate a foreign law as the governing law of their labor contracts, and have their staffs in Korea enter into the employment contract with their non-Korean entity such as a head office in the U.S. or a Singapore branch. Those attempts, however, are all meaningless in a sense that regardless of those, they are still liable for the severance pay. Actually, we have represented foreign employees for their Korean severance claim against the Korean branch and recently we won the case.
This case involved the expats working as ship inspectors in Ulsan Gorgon project. We filed the severance suit on behalf of Continue reading