South Korea Country Profile

For more details visit South Korea Passport Ranking
  • Passport Grade
  • Passport Ranking
  • Passport Score
  • Visa-free Countries
  • Visa-required Countries
  • Access to the World's GDP
  • Access to the World's Surface Area
  • Access to the World's Population
  • Access to the Unesco Sites
Citizenship and Naturalization
Birthright citizenship (Jus Soli)
  • Birthright citizenship (Jus Soli)
    No provisions
Naturalization - Standard Conditions
  • Minimum residency period
    5 years
  • Physical presence requirement
  • Language test
    Yes, Korean
  • Need to renounce original citizenship?
  • Can minor children naturalize?
  • Can naturalized parents pass citizenship to a child born abroad?
  • Can you lose naturalization due to prolonged absence/ naturalization elsewhere?
Naturalization - Your Spouse is a Citizen
  • Living IN the country: Residency/marriage requirement
    1 year / 3 years
    Must be married for 3 years, and reside in the country for 1 year. (Must reside for 2 years if have been married between 2 and 3 years.)
  • Living ABROAD: Marriage requirement
    Can live abroad during the first 2 years of marriage, and then move to Korea for the final year.
  • Language test
    Yes, Korean
  • Need to renounce original citizenship?
Naturalization - Other Beneficial Provisions
  • Your child is a citizen
    No provisions
  • Citizens of specific countries
    No provisions
"–": The provision has not been analysed.
For more details visit Cost of Living
  • Taxation Type
A tax resident of a country with a RESIDENCE-BASED tax system pays taxes on their WORLDWIDE income. However, if you lose tax residency status there (e.g., by moving out), the country will generally stop taxing you.
Schiff Sovereign's Take on South Korea
South Korea is truly impressive.

It’s a very productive country, renowned for producing high-quality products while keeping costs down.

Just as recently as the Nineties, Korean cars were ugly as sin. Today, Hyundai and Kia make amazing cars.

During the 2000s, the most prominent electronics company in the world was Japanese giant Sony. Today, Korea’s Samsung is writing the playbook.

The national ethos of productivity has certainly paid off. Today, the country is a remarkable economic success story.

And Korea’s focus on competitiveness and excellence starts young. You see 7-year-olds trying to learn calculus there.

Our founder, Simon Black, once told a telling story in this regard.

He once arrived in Seoul, and to fight jet lag in the middle of the night, he turned on Korean TV.

Just about anywhere else in the world, overnight television would mean infomercials or adult shows. But not in South Korea. The first channel he flipped to at two o’clock in the morning was a program where people… solved mathematical problems.

So it’s no surprise that the South Korean educational system is high quality.

But there are certain downsides to South Korea, however.

The vicinity of a “hostile” North Korea is concerning. A peaceful reunification of two Koreas seems unlikely. And while a mutual tolerance of each other is definitely on the cards in the short to medium term, a serious military conflict between the countries cannot be discounted at some point in future.

And if you spend some time in Korea, it will quickly become apparent that in Korea, it’s all about “Making Korea Great Again”. And preferably, it is Koreans who should do it. 

So it's definitely not like Singapore, where anyone can feel at home and be successful… 

In that regard, Koreans are similar to Japanese. You will always feel a bit like a guest in both places.

So as a result, South Korea is probably not the best place for foreigners to live or do business long-term.

At the same time, Korea can be a great place to invest passively. In fact, many of the stock picks featured in our 4th Pillar investment letter, run by Tim Staermose, are listed in Korea.
Schiff Sovereign's Rolodex
Service Providers available in South Korea
  • Immigration (residency, citizenship)
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South Korea Overview
  • Region
  • Capital City
  • Largest City
  • Currency
    South Korean won
  • Languages
    Korean, English
  • Population
    51.6 million (27th)
  • Life Expectancy
    83 years (15th)
  • GDP (Nominal)
    $1.7 trillion (13th)
  • GDP/Capita
    $33,583 (38th)
Useful Data
For more details visit Cost of Living
  • Cost of Living
    Moderate (4/7)
  • Climate
    Average (3/5)
  • Safety
    The Safest (1/7)
  • Pollution
    Average (3/5)
  • English Proficiency
    Moderate (3/5)

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