U.S. Military Adoption in South Korea
Who can adopt
To bring an adopted child to the US from ROK, you must be found eligible to adopt by the US Government. The US Government agency
responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In
addition to these US requirements for adoptive parents, ROK also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:
Age requirements: prospective adoptive parents must be between 25 and 44 years old. Korean authorities usually require both
prospective inter-country adoptive parents be younger than 45 years old. The age difference between the couple can be no more than
15 years. Some consideration in waiving the age requirements are at least one parent is under 45 years old, the prospective adoptive
parents have previously adopted a Korean child, and are willing to adopt an orphan with serious medical problems.
Marriage requirements: married couples must have been married at least three years. Single individuals are not eligible to adopt a
child from ROK.
Income requirements: the prospective adoptive parents must have an income higher than the US national average and be sufficient
to support the adoptive child.
Other requirements: the prospective adoptive parents cannot have more than five children, including the child(ren) to be adopted.
Who can be adopted In addition to ROK’s specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption, a child must
meet the definition of an orphan under US law for you to bring him or her home back to the United States.
How to adopt
The process for adopting a child from ROK generally includes the following steps:
1. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt: to bring an adopted child from ROK to the US, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt
(Form I-600A) by the US Government, Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In addition to
meeting the US requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of ROK as described in the Who Can Adopt
2. Be Matched with a Child: if you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for inter-country adoption, the central adoption
authority in ROK will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the
needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
3. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in ROK: the process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in ROK generally
includes the following:
Role of the Adoption Authority: the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs authorizes the adoption agencies. They also establish the
criteria for selecting adoptive parents. The criteria are administrative policy guidelines and not legal requirements. Local adoption
agencies generally follow these guidelines.
Role of the Court: the ROK courts grant legal custody to the prospective adoptive parents.
The prospective adoptive parents must complete various procedures (i.e., home visits, complete reports) before permission to adopt is
Role of Adoption Agencies: prospective adoptive parents are required to work with an adoption agency approved by the ROK
Government. Approved agencies are listed in the Contact Information below. The adoption agency facilitates the pre-adoption
counseling, submission of application for adoption, home study, child assignment, application for child’s overseas adoption to the Korean
Government, applications for child’s passport and visa, and flies to the adoptive parents.
Adoption Application: the application for an inter-country adoption is filed with the Korean Government.
Time Frame: the time from when prospective adoptive parents apply for a child in ROK and when the child arrives in the US is
approximately one to four years. Healthy infant adoptions take approximately three years and children with special needs can take
approximately one year.
Adoption Fees: the cost for inter-country adoptions from ROK is between $9,500 USD and $10,000 USD. This includes child care
fees (including payment for foster mother), medical
ADOPTION IN KOREA
expenses, legal processing fees, administrative fees, social worker payment and counseling fees, and post adoption service fee.
Documents Required: most documents required by the Korean Government will be prepared by the adoption agencies. Some of the
documents required include: Home study report; Form I-864, Affidavit of Support; Copy of prospective adoptive parent(s) birth certificate
(s); and Form I-797, Notice of Petition Approval.
4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption: after you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in ROK, the US
Government, Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is
eligible under US law to be adopted (Form I-600).
5. Bring Your Child Home: Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more
steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel
to the US:
Birth Certificate: You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your
name will be added to the new birth certificate.
ROK Passport: Your child is not yet a US citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from ROK.
U.S. Immigrant Visa: After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an US visa from
the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the US Embassy for
final review and approval of the child’s I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home
with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not
provided during the provisional approval stage. For adoptions finalized abroad, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to
acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the US as lawful permanent residents.
U.S. Embassy in ROK http://seoul.usembassy.gov/
Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State E-mail: AskCI@state.gov http://adoption.state.gov
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) http://www.uscis.gov/
ADOPTION AGENCIES IN ROK
Eastern Social Welfare Society, Inc. http://www.eastern.or.kr
Holt International Children’s Services http://www.holt.or.kr
Korea Social Service http://www.kssinc.org
Social Welfare Society, Inc. http://www.alovenest.com
This is not a government sponsored website any information contained here is for reference only and
should not be taken as legal advice always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions