Monday, 1 January 2018

Understanding Korean Birth Certificates

Korea Citizenship
Just because your child was born in Korea doesn't mean they automatically get Korean citizenship. Most countries, like Korea, follow jus sanguinis (right of blood) not jus solis (right of soil, i.e. anchor babies). However, they will get a Korean birth certificate.

Birth Certificates
There are no local or national birth certificate records per se. There are family certificates, but it's different than what we use. Each hospital has their own format for the birth certificates. Your doctor or midwife should be able to give you a birth certificate in English as well as Korean. Once you have that, then you should be able to take it to your embassy or consulate and get that country to issue the baby a birth certificate.

You may need to get the birth certificate translated if the embassy won't accept it in English or Korean. If you get it translated, then you will also probably need to get it apostillised. Even if you don't get it translated, you might need to get it apostillised. Ask your embassy what they require. Some translators will do this for you for an extra fee. The apostillisation center is in Gwanghwamun in Seoul, is in the same building as the Korean passport office.

After that you shouldn't need the Korean birth certificate anymore. However, since birth certificates are only issued by the hospital, I would get a few copies just in case. You never know if you may need it in the future.

Information on the Birth Certificate
Each hospital has their own format. The birth certificates that I've gotten are just printed on plain paper and don't look like anything special at all. Most will include:
  • Mother's name, date of birth, job
  • Father's name, date of birth, job
  • Baby's name*
  • Birth date and time
  • Weight and Height
  • Name, address, phone number, email, and fax (if applicable) of the hospital or clinic
  • Doctor's or Midwife's Signature
  • Hospital's, Doctor's, or Midwife's Stamp
*Some hospitals will put down the mother's name followed by the word "baby" on birth certificates. For example, if the mom is called Mary Smith and the baby will be called Jane Smith, they would put down Mary Smith baby. Most embassies will not accept that, so make sure that they put your child's name down.

It's your responsibility to ask your embassy if they need any other information on the birth certificate. Some places put down more information, such as:
  • Nationality of the mother, father, and baby
  • Address of the mother and father
  • Number of prior pregnancies, miscarriages, live births, and still births
  • How many babies were born from this pregnancy
  • Certificate number

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