Ask Korea Law

Published by Chung & Partners Since 2008


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[Q&A] Criminal Charge and Its Legal Implications in Exit Order, Entry Ban and Visa Refusal in Korea

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 entry ban is as follows:

  • 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


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[Q&A] You Can Enter into Korea during the Entry Ban Period with a Special Entry Permit from the Immigration Office

Q) I was deported from Korea in 2015. I was given a five year entry ban for domestic violence against my then ex South Korean wife. The sentence I received was 3 years probation. However, I have a young child in Korea, who is taken care of by my ex-wife, but I have been paying the child supports. I would like to visit Korea to see my child but I am very worried that my visa application or entry would be denied by the past record and the entry ban.  My ex wife and I are now in a good relationship and she would provide a supportive letter for me. What is the likelihood that the Korean immigration will allow me to see my son?

A) In principle, a foreigner listed on the entry ban of Korean immigration office is prohibited to enter Korea for some period of time.  There is, however, a special entry permit which can be made during the period of entry ban for some humanitarian reason.  Most common cases are for the family unity purposes.  For example, there was a case where Continue reading


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[Q&A] Fake ID and Citizenship Revocation

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


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[Q&A: Immigration Law] Can I Appeal the Deportation Order Issued by the Korean Immigration Office?

Q) My friend was convicted of a crime and sentenced to 1-year probation.  It was an accident which happened while he was drunken.  After then, the immigration officer ordered him to leave South Korea within a month on the ground of the conviction.  He is having an E-2 visa and was married to a Korean national.  He has a very good reputation around him and planned to live in Korea permanently.  I think it is too harsh for him to leave Korea.  Does he have any chance to appeal?

A) At the outset, the deportation order or an exit order from the immigration office is subject to the review of the court.  It can be overturned by the court based on the theory of misuse of discretionary power.  The court has ruled that the decision of the immigration office to deport a foreigner should not only meet the requirements provided by the relevant statute, but also it should not do more harm to the foreigner’s individual life than benefits to the public, otherwise it constitutes an abuse of discretion and therefore shall be revoked by the court’s order.

For example, the court has ruled that the deportation order against a HIV positive personnel is an abuse of discretionary power considering  the person’s long-time living base established in Korea.  Also a deportation order against the person with one and half year jail time sentence with 3 year suspension for the violation of (then-existing) Anticommunist Act was struck down, as the court found it an abuse of discretionary power after finding his solid living base in Korea supported by other character evidences is a legitimate interest which should be preserved by allowing his legal residency in Korea.  Also there have been many successful appeal cases Continue reading


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Introduction to the Deportation or Removal Order and How to Appeal the Order in Korea

그림 2In South Korea, the immigration office may remove or deport from South Korea any person who breached the Immigration Control Act(“ICA”) of South Korea.  Any person who is released after receiving a sentence of imprisonment without prison labor or heavier punishment may be deported by the deportation order as well.

When the immigration officer reasonably finds a foreigner falling under the requirements for the deportation and risk of her running away, the officer can detain the person with approval from the head of immigration office.  The duration of detention cannot exceed 10 days, which can be renewed up to 10 more days.  During this detention, the officer interviews and decides whether to deport the individual or not.

When the immigration officer decides to deport a foreigner, the officer shall deliver the deportation order to the foreigner and immediately take action to make the person leave South Korea.  But, when the individual files a claim for refugee protection, the deportation order cannot be executed until the refugee claim is decided by the Korean authority.

Then, can you appeal the deportation order issued by the Korean immigration office?  Yes, you can.  There are two possible ways to stop the deportation.  First, Continue reading


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Having No Working Visa Does Not Mean You Have No Right Under Korean Civil and Labor Law

Recently a foreigner asked some questions to us regarding Korean employment law issues.  He has a problem in his Visa status here in Korea and the employer refused to pay some amount to him, a matter of quite frequent occurrence here in Korea, which I’m afraid of though.

Basically foreigners have the same rights as Koreans under Korean civil and/or labor law. Even though the employee does not  have a valid working Visa, it does not hinder him or her from executing his or her right under Korean law.

If the company has no justifiable cause to withhold the money earned by the employee, it constitutes a breach of contract and/or an unlawful act.  The employee can file a lawsuit against the company or put a provisional attachment on its assets.

Please note, however, that the company could threaten the employee saying “Unless you keep quiet, I’ll inform the Immigration office of your illegal stays in Korea and make you expelled!” as is often the case with vicious small entrepreneur in Korea.  Practically it is the primary reason that makes many foreigners working without visa hesitate to take legal Continue reading