Korea is the dream destination for many international students. However, have you ever thought of what to do to make sure your Korean degree is valid in other countries? If you’re planning to study/work outside of Korea after graduation, you might need to legalize your diploma before leaving the country.
In order to verify and certify official public and private documents in South Korea, there is a need to legalize these documents by Apostille and/or Notary. This is because South Korea has been a member of the Hague Apostille Convention since July 14, 2007.
According to the Apostille Convention, an Apostille is an international certification that certifies the validity and authentication of public documents between members’ countries, such as South Korea. It also verifies that a document is original and was issued by the legal and appropriate authorities in Korea.
In addition, an Apostille verifies the authority of a Notary Public to notarize documents. It validates the Notary Public signature on the document and also confirms that such a Notary Public is valid according to Korean law.
Almost all the documents officially issued by any agency of the Korean government can be authenticated by Apostille. These include documents such as a Company Registration Certificate, Business Tax Certificate, Article of Incorporation, Business License, Certificate of Good Standing, Certificate of Free Sale, Certificate of Trade Business Code, and university degrees.
Where to Legalize Your Degree
Depending on the type of document and the body that issues it, there are two bodies that can issue Apostille in the Republic of Korea:
- The Ministry of Justice (Korean: 법무부)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Korean: 대한민국 외교부)
In Korea, the Apostille itself is a printed form consisting of 10 numbered standard fields. On the top is the text APOSTILLE, under which the text in French “Convention de La Haye du 5 Octobre 1961” (Hague Convention of 5 October 1961) is placed. This title must be written in French and English for the Apostille to be valid. In the numbered fields, the following information is added:
- Country: [e.g. Republic of Korea]
- has been signed by [e.g. Min Jeong Park]
- acting in the capacity of [e.g. Notary Public]
- bears the seal/stamp of [e.g. Park Notary Office]
- at [e.g. Seoul]
- the … [e.g. 29 July 2019]
- by … [e.g. The Ministry of Justice]
- No … [e.g. XX1234512345]
- Seal/stamp … [of the authority giving the Apostille]
In order to get a document notarized, you need to visit the Korea Diplomacy Center in Seoul. I recommend all students get their diploma and transcript notarized after graduation. You can get there by subway line 3. The building is very easy to find.
If you want to legalize your diploma or transcript, you should go to the Notary Office on the 3rd floor. You should then fill in the application form, and get your notarized documents. The required documents are the Original document and your Resident Card.
It will cost 53,000 won per original document.
Next, you should go to the 6th floor to apostille your document. They also have application forms in the office, you can fill them in there. They will ask you to buy stamps for the documents, 500 won per stamp, 2 stamps per document.
If you visit their office before 11:30 am, you will get your documents within 30 minutes. If you go in the afternoon, you might need to wait and pick it up the next day.
Important Information Before Getting an Apostille
*Not all countries will require your legalized documents in Korea. So this step won’t be necessary.
*Depending on the document, sometimes you don’t need to notarize it before receiving an apostille. However, if you study at a private university, your documents need to go through the notary’s office first.
Korea Diplomacy Center (외교타운) Address: Korea Diplomacy Center, 6F, 2558, Nambusunhwan-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul Korean Address: 서울 서초구 남부순환로 2558 외교센타 Phone Number: 02-3497-7799 *Operating Hours Not Listed
If you have just graduated from university in Korea, your best option may be D-10 Job Seeking Visa. Click Here to learn more about how this visa can help you remain in South Korea.