Friday, February 21, 2014

Registering Your Marriage In Korea

We got married in November last year, but were a little slack in registering our marriage with the Korean government because it required me visiting the Australian Embassy in Seoul. To register a marriage between an Australian and a Korean you need a few things.
  • A certificate of no impediment (about 90,000 won from the Australian Embassy)
  • Official translation of the certificate of no impediment (about 30,000 won)
  • Your passport
  • Your ARC
  • Your Korean partners passport
  • Government form (혼인신고서) signed by witnesses. Update: If you are under 20 years old it also has to be signed by parents or guardians. Thanks to Karson Tse for correcting me on this. 
The Australian Embassy in Seoul is pretty easy to get to. It is right next to Gwanghwamun Station (the purple line, stop 533, exit 3)

The Australian embassy is in the building next to a bunch of flags (one of them being the Australian flag)

and opposite the statue of the famous Korean general Yi Sun-sin, famous for defending Korea against Japanese invasions. 

The Australian embassy is on the 19th floor. 

As you step out of the elevator you will be greeted by the Australian coat of arms. 

After passing through security, I got busy filling out the paperwork for a certificate of no impediment. 

All done. With my certificate of no impediment in hand we headed for the Korean government office (just around the corner from the Australian embassy) to register our marriage. 

On the way to the government office to register our marriage, I stopped off at King Sejong the Great's statue. There was a TV crew there making some kind of travel documentary and they asked me if I would wave the Korean flag.

It is a boring government building in a busy back street behind the Australian embassy. 

Grab a ticket and wait in line at the "foreigner corner".

Unfortunately, we were giving the bum steer with regards to the paperwork we needed. We were missing two things. Firstly we needed to get this form filled out by the Korean inlaws. 

Secondly, we had to get my certificate of no impediment translated into Korean. Across the road from the government office were a bunch of translation services available, we chose one and went in. 

30 minutes and 30,000 won later, the document was translated. 

After we returned from our honeymoon in the Maldives, we got the form filled out by the Korean inlaws and headed to the government office in Daejeon to try and register our marriage again. 

We wanted work station number 14. 

15 minutes later, our paperwork was processed and we were on our way. We were told we could get a copy of our marriage certificate in about a week. 


  1. Hi Phillip, thank you for posting your adventure. I had a question about the signature by the korean in-laws. I was trying to find information in regards to the form that needs to be filled out by the korean citizen. I did not know there was a form that needed to be filled out by the parents. Can you clarify on this? Also, are witnesses required to be present to sign on anything (I read something about 2 witnesses)? Thanks.

    1. Hi Karson,
      The government form I mentioned is for both the Korean in-laws AND the witnesses to sign. The in-laws can also double as your witnesses. I suggest getting someone who can read Korean to help you fill out the form, but basically the form asks for
      a) The names of the two people getting/that were married (section 1 of the form)
      b) The names of the parents for both the husband and the wife (section 2 of the form)
      c) Info about when you got married, that you are not related, etc (section 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the form)
      d) Two witnesses to the marriage (these can be anyone who witnessed the ceremony) (section 8 of the form)
      e) Signature spaces for the parents, or if the parents have passed away there is also space guardians to sign. (section 9 of the form)

      Hope that helps.

    2. I was just confused because all the information I found only mentioned that parent signatures are required when the individuals are under 20 years old. So that is not the case? So I assume that the form cannot be completed on the spot during 1 visit? Also, information on the iinternet does not mention bringing witnesses or parents to the Ward when submitting the forms, so I was confused. Thank you again Phil!

    3. You are quite possibly right. When we went to the government office we were under the impression that we could complete everything on the spot in one visit. I was confused too when told that the in-laws needed to sign a form, but then Korea isn’t always logical. I suspect that the person we dealt with at the government office didn’t understand the paperwork properly. What you said about people over 20 not needing parent signatures makes perfect sense. I’ll talk to my wife again tonight and see what she says. I’ll update my blog post to try and make things clearer too. Thanks for your question :)

      May I ask, is your wife Korean? Can you speak Korean? The best thing to do might be to call the government office and get the information from the horse’s mouth.

  2. I;'ve asked a few koreans and they never heard about the inlaws needing to sign. May I ask if either you or your wife at the time was under 20 years old at the time?

    Yes, she is korean. I cannot speak korean. Do they speak English?

    1. hahaha, I wish we were under 20 :P We got married last year at the ripe old age of 28.

      The people we dealt with at the government office in both Seoul and Daejeon didn't speak any English.

      I'll update my blogpost to add that inlaws only need to sign if the bride and/or groom are under 20 years old.

      Thanks. Have a great day :)

  3. Hi,

    Quick question about the form. Did you write your name in Korean or English characters.

    I've seen two version of the form. One says to write the name in Korean, and the other says that both are OK.


    1. From memory, I wrote my name in Korean. You could always leave the field blank and fill it out on the spot after asking the person who is processing your paperwork which they would prefer.

      Thanks for reading.

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  5. What is an ARC? And is the no impediment cert absolutely necessary?

    1. Hi Alex,

      ARC stand for "Alien Registration Card". Anyone living in Korea who is not a Korean citizen will have one. It is basically some identification with your photo and visa information on it. I had to renew my ARC every year.

      I am pretty sure the certificate of no impediment is necessary.

      What country are you from?


  6. Hi there, I’m just wondering, as an Australian couple there on holiday, is it possible to just get the Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage, get it translated, go to the Korean government office and thats it? And could it be done within a week if we get in first thing Monday morning? Thanks so much for posting this in the first place!

    1. Yes. The issue the certificate on the spot at the Australian embassy. You then walk around the corner and get it translated outside the Korean government office. If you are both Australian, I am not sure what Korean government paperwork is required. I'm actually not sure the Korean government even cares. I think they only care about registering the marriage if one or both people are Korean citizens.