South KoreaOfficial Name: Republic of Korea
Embassies and Consulates
188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu,
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Telephone: +(82) (2) 397-4114 (from within Korea, dial 02-397-4114)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:+(82) (0) (2) 397-4114.
Fax: +(82) (2) 397-4101
U.S. Mailing Address:
American Citizens Services
U.S. Embassy Seoul
DPO AP 96209
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.
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.
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
SA-17, 9th floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
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
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.
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.
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.
The Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations offers mediation services for custody disputes.
Exercising Custody Rights
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 valid custody order, if the parent attempts to gain access to the child, the parent’s actions may be illegal in the country where the child is physically present and may ultimately delay the child’s return and even result in the parent’s detention. To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney. 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.
The U.S. government cannot legally interfere with the judicial system of another sovereign nation.
Left behind parents should report international parental child abductions as quickly as possible to the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues by calling 1-888-407-4747 from the United States and Canada and +1 202-501-4444 from overseas. This number is available 24 hours/day, including for emergency situations where a parent believes an international parental child abduction is in progress. During federal government business hours in Washington, D.C., country officers who are experts on international parental child abduction are available to provide assistance.
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.